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Las Vegas: Review Journal (2002)

Source: Click here

NIGHT BEAT: Cranberries have some dedicated fans

Most Cranberries fans are sane enough to approach band members with nothing but gratitude, says guitarist Noel Hogan. But there’s always that one overly enthusiastic fan. In Hogan’s case, some guy started a Web site called the Noel Hogan Worship Center.

“My friends like to slag me about it,” Hogan says in his native, polite Irish tongue.

But, hey, a Web site is kind of flattering, really, especially considering that singer Dolores O’Riordan receives weird letters reading, “I want to marry you and have multiple babies,” Hogan says.

“People arrive at her mother’s doorstep” once every two years, he says of O’Riordan. “Someone threw a letter onstage. It was, like, `I want you to be my mother.’ ”

Hogan, whose band plays at the Palms’ Rain in the Desert Tuesday, says some fans get wacky like that, partly because they believe the band’s lyrics in such hits as “Linger,” “Salvation” and “Ode to My Family” somehow speak to them, or are about them.

Hogan says fans aren’t alone; critics misunderstand lyrics, too. In fact, ever since the band released “Zombie” in 1994, music journalists have misinterpreted the song as a political statement, rather than as what it is: a true story about a tragic Irish feud.

“People go, `You used to be a political band, and now you’re not.’ And we never were,” he says. “We’ve done interviews to try to put the record straight, but …”

He sounds frustrated. But then he chuckles, because he’s misheard other artists’ lines, too.

“We’ve all done it, when you can’t make out the lyrics exactly,” he says. “You’re driving in your car, singing your own lyrics.”

Far from being a political statement, the band’s new album, “Wake Up and Smell the Coffee,” breathes a happy, fresh vibe. Hogan says that’s because O’Riordan was pregnant with her second child during the recording of the first half of the album.

“So the whole thing was quite optimistic,” Hogan says.

Stephen Street produced it. Street produced the group’s early albums, while fortifying his own career as producer for such projects as the “Trainspotting” soundtrack, and acts such as Blur, the Pretenders, the Psychedelic Furs and the Smiths, who were the Cranberries’ main, early influence.

Hogan wrote the skeleton of the Cranberries’ new songs at home on acoustic guitar, then plugged in an electric guitar at a “ridiculous volume” to record the album, he says. His guitar layers come out less crunchy than on previous albums. But he plays harder on tour than on albums, to make the band really rock live, he says.

In the studio, as usual, he used Les Paul, Paul Reed Smith and other guitars. But onstage, Hogan only plays a versatile Smith guitar. To capture the essence of Cranberries albums, he used to take all his studio guitars on tour, he says.

“But then one day, I bought a distortion pedal and realized, `Wait a minute, this saves tons of space. It works just as well!’ ”

The new album has sold well oversees. But the band and its label are just starting to promote it earnestly in America.

“It’s hard to promote something way on the other side of the world. You’ve got to go to radio stations” and do media interviews, Hogan says.

So here’s one more interview behind him. Flickerstick opens at 8 p.m. Tuesday. Tickets are $35 in advance and $40 on the day of the show at the Palms, 4321 W. Flamingo Road, and through Ticketmaster. To charge by phone, call Ticketmaster at 474-4000.

Crows on Coke

Counting Crows, playing Rain in the Desert tonight, arrive just in time to remind fans that they’re all about the music, man. Fans have gotten snippy with the band on Internet posts this month, saying Counting Crows sold out by appearing in a TV ad for Coke. In the ad, teen-agers in beachwear act, like, hey look, it’s the Counting Crows, duh.

The ad is ridiculous, not because it’s a sellout, but because it’s stupid. Adam Duritz defended himself online stating, “I’m truly sorry if it upset some of you, but that’s the breaks.”

Counting Crows have a new album, “Hard Candy,” coming out July 9. The sensitive band also has a new, Monkees-flavored song on the “Mr. Deeds” soundtrack.

Duritz leads the Crows to the Palms at 8 p.m. Tickets are, woof, $40-$75 at Stuff in the Palms and through Ticketmaster. To charge by phone, call Ticketmaster at 474-4000.

Lee presses on

Former Mstley CrYe drummer Tommy Lee sings (yes, sings) Saturday at the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay.

Don’t expect his ex-wife Pam Anderson to show up, not with a history of Lee assaulting her in front of their young child, as she claimed in court; their foray into homemade porn; and the rest of their colorful past.

At this point, Lee has been out of Mstley CrYe so long that he’s become a celebrity just because he’s a celebrity, a star with a more prized creative past, like, oh, let’s say, Pia Zadora.

Lee is touring with a new album out, “Never a Dull Moment.” Maxim magazine denounced the collection, claiming that “between the pity-party lyrics and lame nu-metal balladry, `Never’ is actually overflowing with dull moments.” Rolling Stone was crueler, saying Lee sounded “alternately like a drill sergeant and Keanu Reeves crooning in a faux-British accent.”

I don’t think it is quite that bad, but whatever. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for the all-ages show. The opening acts are two better rock bands, the Flying Tigers and Headstrong. Tickets are $25-$30 at the Mandalay Bay club’s box office, 3950 Las Vegas Blvd. South, and through Ticketmaster. To charge by phone, call 632-7600.

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