Last Wednesday night (22nd March 95), the most sucessful Irish band since U2 rolled into Festival Hall. The Cranberries played a sold-out show to a wildly enthusiastic crowd and no-one left disappointed. Any doubts as to their abilities to carry it out live were promptly dispelled, the bittersweet semi-Celtic musings of the band setting off Dolores O’Riordan’s exceptionally powerful and dynamic voice. That highlights were of course the hits ‘Dreams’, ‘Linger’, ‘Zombie’, and ‘Ode To My Family’, but everything from Dolores’ lone rendition of ‘No Need To Argue’ to the newest, unheard songs were welcomed with frenzied applause and floor-stomping. The Cranberries came, saw and conquered, and left us with memories that will indeed linger. While in Brisbane, the Cranberries’ guitarist Noel Hogan spoke to Time Off about the triumphant shows and the business of being in such a high-profile band- and the impact it had on their lives.
SM: So the reception has been great all over the country. It must have been a while since you’ve had to win a crowd over.
Noel: Two years..but we had to do it for three years before that. There are times. I suppose the last time we did a Duran Duran tour in the States, their audience was a completetly different audience to ours, which was the whole idea of doing the tour. I think at first they kinda stood there and went “What the hell is this ?”, but the majority of them-for all I know they probably left and never even remembered they’d seen us- but the majority of them seemed to enjoy it. Because it’s not like we were kind of way out there, or anything, a lot of the stuff is pretty poppy.
SM:What has it been like as things have taken off around you?
Noel: Well that’s just it, we let it happen around us, not to us. You know we started this as a hobby, we liked writing songs and writing the music and that was it. And other things happened, it took off, but it seemed to us that the peope around us got more excited that we did, the record company and people like that. Because it’s like it’s fine that they’re all happy, but tomorrow if we can’t write another song, or get carried away and say “Let’s take four years off and not do anything and live off what we’ve made”, no one’s going to care less about you anymore. So you musn’t live under the preconception that because you’ve sold records that that’s it , you’re sorted for good.
SM: Who feel the pressures of that success the most?
Noel: Oh, Dolores, definitely. It’s Dolores who is going to be on the front page, it goes on and on. We try as hard as we can to share it between all of us, but still at the same time she’s got more pressure – and gets recognised more. It’s harder for her to do things. You know, like I can go out and do things, and 99% of the time I won’t get stopped once. If I ever stepped out it’s once in a blue moon, but with her you’d nearly be guaranteed it, all the time. So in a way you lose your life I think – which is something I couldn’t handle. I think Dolores definitely,I think she’s got more to handle that the rest of us. I can go home to Limerick, so can the lads, and we can walk around because people are used to seeing us. Dolores can’t anymore, she had to move, because Limerick’s a very small town. For her to walk down the street, she’d have no peace at all. You get people coming up going “I love the band”, blah, blah, blah, then you get the begrudgers, who’ll pass smart comments. We’ll even get that every now and then, but I can’t imagine what she’d get.
SM: That happens to australian bands too.
Noel: The Irish are famous for it. They hate to see their own do well. The press give us a hard time at home – but I think that’s mainly because we don’t come from Dublin. We’re the only band I think to ever not come from there, and make it bigger that any other Dublin band – other that U2 obviously- so they were not impressed by that. And then at home, like for instance my family where we used to live, we lived there since ‘72, and then the band took off and like my dad’s car got wrecked a few times, there’d be people outside the house shouting things at night and all this crap. But that’s just a certain amount of people. The majority of people that I’ve met come up and they’re really happy for you and they just want to say congratulations or whatever.