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Music on the Road: “The family of the Cranberries” (26.04.02)


Mike Hogan, Dolores O’Riordan and Fergal Lawler LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) — After making music together for more than eleven years, the Cranberries say the time has come to “Wake Up and Smell the Coffee.”

That’s the name of the Irish quartet’s fifth studio album, and they’re currently on a world tour to support it, their first release since 1999. The band has arrived at perhaps its most comfortable place to date, thanks mostly to the fact they all have become parents and realize the importance of family.

Members Dolores O’Riordan (lead singer/guitar), Mike Hogan (bass), Noel Hogan (guitar) and Fergal Lawler (drums) emerged on the music scene in the early 1990s with a guitar-driven pop sound and the distinctive vocals of O’Riordan. After scoring a string of hit singles early on and going on to sell more than 33 million albums worldwide, the Cranberries also weathered some tough times, including rumors a few years back of O’Riordan was possibly leaving the group to pursue a solo career. The Cranberries talked with CNN in Los Angeles about how they have evolved both personally and professionally over the last decade.

CNN: What’s the meaning behind “Wake Up And Smell the Coffee”?
Dolores: One of the songs is called “Smell the Coffee” and we took it from that. … It’s kind of like I have an awakening occurring right now in my life and I kind of just have woken up and I’m smelling the coffee, and it’s kind of like encouraging other people maybe to venture on that beautiful awareness, awakening.

CNN: When you’ve had a lot of success, is there always pressure to outdo yourself the next time?

Dolores: Not really. It’s not really the same when you start a family. You don’t really think about it like that anymore. It’s more like “Hey, it’s a fun kind of gig.” It’s nice to have a job to go to like everyone likes to go to work. And this is a nice job and stuff, but I don’t feel like we have to have another “Linger” or another “Zombie” or sell more albums. As long as the record company is happy and we’re happy and as long as the fans are happy and people like our music and what not, as long as there’s a crowd to play to and it’s kind of worth our while going out there doing it, we’ll do it. I still love singing.
Fergal: It’s a job but it’s also a hobby. It’s still our escape. CNN: Is that something you had to come to terms with over the years

CNN: is that something you had to grow into?

Fergal: It’s gotten easier as we’ve gotten older. I think our attitude has become more relaxed and we’re kind of trying mostly just to enjoy it and have fun as much as we can. I mean you have your bad days, of course, you do at every job, but most of the time it’s really good and just not taking ourselves too seriously.

CNN: Over the last 11 years, what changes stand out in your mind?

Fergal: There’s so many different things really. I mean it was really exciting the first time we came over. We were talking about it the other day when “Linger” broke over here and we did our first tour. It was like “Wow, America!” — mind blowing. We spent six months here — three months, went home for a week and came back for three months again.
Dolores: I think it’s been interesting as well becoming parents together in the same few years, because we all grew up together and we met each other as teenagers and then we became celebrities together and then we became parents kind of at the same time.

CNN: Will you let your little ones be rock stars?

Dolores: I don’t know. Whatever they want to be really, I wouldn’t really pick or choose for them. You encourage them to do something they love or to have a career that’s kind of fruitful as opposed to busting their asses scrubbing for little pay. Obviously, you hope that they will have some kind of a decent career, but by the same token, I don’t expect them to do as good as I did. At the same time, if they end up window cleaners, I’m not going to give out either. I’m going to try to be a cool mother and just nice and not give them pressure.

CNN: Talk about the power of your songs.

Dolores: Yeah, they love “Linger” and “Zombie.” “Ode to My Family” is another one people go “Ooo.” And they tell stories about their family. … They can relate to all the different songs and that’s lovely and I like getting a story from people about their moments and stuff like that.

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