Don't Fuck With The Fairies

Glen Hansard talks to Peter Murphy about the highs and lows of being in The Frames, and how musicians can help rescue Ireland from its current malaise

"I'M HEARING HORROR STORIES OF HOME, BUT JESUS IT'S GORGEOUS HERE,” SAYS GLEN HANSARD ON A DAY OFF IN L.A. BEFORE THE FINAL DATE OF THE FRAMES' 20TH ANNIVERSARY AMERICAN TOUR.

Two decades after the band made their debut at the Clifden Blues Festival, an epic journey marked by six studio albums and countless tours and personnel changes, The Frames are at last packing the kind of US venues they've always coveted. It's been a long, circuitous route, one that saw them battle through indifference, adversity and record label woes to become a festival-sized people's band, before morphing into The Swell Season with Marketa Irglova, seizing Oscar glory with the soundtrack to former Frames bassist John Carney's Once – but that's a whole other story.

Or is it? Three years ago, as Once was picking up impetus on the indie film festival circuit, Glen, then furious at proposed plans to remove a chunk of the Hill of Tara to make way for a motorway, gave a controversial interview to Roisin Ingle of the Irish Times, decrying the materialism and money-mania rampant in his home country. Hansard received a few brickbats for saying what you could hear in any bar on any night of the week, but from this end of the meltdown, as the Celtic Tiger's carcass is buried by snowdrifts, that interview looks more than prescient.

“So listen, Peter,” Hansard says at the conclusion of our hour-long conversation, “what is this piece about?!!”

Now read on.

Hot Press: What was the American tour like?

Glen Hansard: It's been a celebration. It's so funny how difficult it was to switch gears. We rehearsed for a few days thinking we'd get up on stage and get right back to where we were. But it actually took us about five gigs, and now we're beginning to get good again. It was pretty scary for those few gigs because you realise it's a very, very different beast. Tempo with The Frames is a lot more important than it was with The Swell Season. You have to double-up on any eye contact with this band. To use the old analogy of robbing a bank, it's a tight operation and if you get it wrong somebody's gonna get hurt.

Watching the performance of 'Finally' on the Jimmy Fallon Show from a couple of weeks ago, it struck me that this is a remarkably similar band to the one I saw in the Baggot Inn twenty years ago.

(Laughs) That's good. I mean The Swell Season definitely had a very favourable effect on The Frames, because I think we lost our way for a period, to be honest. I look back at the end of Burn The Maps and into The Cost, and I think some part of me might have already fled the band, which is kinda the reason The Swell Season exists. I can't quite put my finger on what it was, but I just wasn't in it any more. The Cost came out and I didn't do any touring on it because I was too busy with Once, and so it became this sort of weird record that came out and didn't get any attention.

What was your problem with the band at that time?

I was kinda dissatisfied with what The Frames was, the whole thing had turned into a song-and-dance and I wasn't feeling it as much as I used to. It was almost like the serious band aspect of it had gone out the window a bit, and I was struggling to find my own satisfaction in the context of what the gigs had become. There's that tricky thing where you and your audience become so familiar, everybody stops learning from each other. The magician stops being a magician, he starts being your buddy. There was some kind of mystery that seemed to go out of it for me, and The Swell Season allowed the whole thing to start from scratch again.

Romance is easy, marriage is hard.

Yeah, I guess things ebb and flow all the time and what you realise, being 40, and having been in a band for 20 years, is that there are good periods and there are periods where doing something else might be the wisest thing. I was always so gung-ho with The Frames, us against the world, me and the boys, we learned never to rely on the press for any of our success, never to rely on anything outside of just working hard. And I was lucky in that I went off in a different direction and it brought a whole new breath of life into my world, and I was really happy to go back to The Frames and go, "Right, here's a whole other aspect we can all go down." And fair play to them, everyone in the band was very gracious about my heading off and doing the whole thing with Mar. 'Cos they could have been, "Okay, fuck this," but everybody stayed patient with it. Nobody has really said to me, "What's going on with The Frames – are we getting back together?" So I think through years and years of playing music together, we've become really good friends. And I can go back to The Frames now with a whole new enthusiasm and confidence.

I interviewed Patrick McCabe recently, and he was talking about how people sometimes forget an artist has an emotional life, and the work comes from that. A record or a book mightn't make sense in isolation, but if you view it as part of the overall narrative or body of work it makes sense.

There is a bigger pattern at work in all of our lives. It's a funny thing, I didn't think I could ever have let myself admit this, but The Frames have made a couple of bad records, and that's okay. Y'know, I don't think our first record was any good, I don't think The Cost is any good. And you don't set out to do that, it just sorta happens.

I picked up the reissue of the first album in a record shop last weekend and was amazed by how many great songs are on it. They were just dressed in ill-fitting clothes.

And wearing make-up! I've great memories of that time. That was definitely the first time I was ever in love, so that record will always mean a lot to me because every song on it was about one girl. And in all honesty, every song on the two records that came after that were about that one girl too. I guess what I always wanted when I was younger was to be doing this long enough that a pattern might emerge.

It's kind of a perverse thing to embark on a celebratory 20 year anniversary tour in a territory where the band weren't ever that big.

What are the audiences like?

Before, we basically borrowed money, and when we couldn't afford to tour the States I'd come alone and play some Irish bar, we were always trying to get something going over here, so it's wonderful to do a tour that's all sold-out. And these are the people who have kinda joined the dots. We didn't do any press for this tour, we just put it up on our website and hoped that people who saw Once or The Swell Season would pay enough attention. I've always been sensitive about overly marketing the fact that I've got this other band. So the rooms have been full of people who have done just that, and we've been playing for two, two and a half hours each night and not playing any Swell Season songs.

Is that a matter of policy?

It’s not that I'm against playing them... Some idiot the other night shouted up for 'Falling Slowly' and some other idiot shouted, "Fuck that song" or something to that effect, and I found myself going, "Hang on a second, everyone standing on this stage is in that other band, so fuck you. You insult that, you insult all of us." All this petty nonsense about one band is better than the other. Mostly people who like The Swell Season like The Frames, but for some reason people who like The Frames sort of hate The Swell Season because they see it as the thing that came along and fucked up their band, and whatever sense of ownership they felt suddenly spawned hatred to do with this other band. Fuck those people. I couldn't care less about them.

It's been three years since that 'controversial' Irish Times interview. There now seems to be a feeling of people clinging to songs and books and art like lifeboats.

I totally agree, and I think you're going to see some fucking amazing bands rise up over the next few years who've really got something to say. I'm really excited about that, because for so long it feels like it's been stale. Everybody had money, but nobody had any ideas.

There was a sense that if you were creating something for love rather than money, even if it was just making a sculpture out of a tree in your back yard, you were regarded as a crank. A good friend of mine David Cleary's first record was called Shut Up And Make, and I always go back to that: "Shut up and go make some fucking music and tour it and work – just do it and stop fucking talking about it." I think what's on the table right now is an opportunity. People have been forced into being politicised. People know what's been going on, not 'cos they want to know but because it's everywhere, you cannot escape it. During the boom all people fucking talked about was money, the price of their house, how much they were making, what car you were getting, then the crash happened... Now you turn on the radio, and your average working class guy cannot relate to figures like 36 billion. You just cannot relate to it. It deadens people to listen to the figures they're throwing around on the radio to do with the national debt, blah blah fuckin' blah.

So what can a musician do?

I'd love to see a troupe of musicians, everyone from Christy Moore to Villagers, going out on tour and playing every town and no money passing through hands. And have people like Fintan O'Toole get up and talk. The last thing I want to get into is the world of complaining about what's wrong in Ireland. I'd love to start talking about what's right about Ireland. Where can we go from here? People are turning to songs and art again. I'm not an economist, I can barely even complain about it intelligently, but I know there's something wrong with the spirit, and if I feel any authority in any area it's that I can go sing songs.

It all goes back to a bunch of people sitting around the fire, afraid of the thunder, and someone makes up a song or a poem or a yarn about the thunder god and everyone feels better.

I hear that one hundred per cent, and I feel it's vital that we have gatherings. So many people who are musicians, what they're concerned about is the bottom line, and it becomes part of some entertainment industry. If I say anything in this interview, I think a lot of musicians that I know need to remember what it was that got them started. Because what got me started was a sense of wonder. And if you lose that you're fucked. I know it's a shitty thing to say, but we've got an opportunity to live in very good times right now. It's kind of hard for me to talk about it – I've never had money in my life and for the first time I've got a bit now. I was hit with an enormous tax bill this year and on one hand I felt shit about it, but on the other hand I felt good about it, it's the first time I've ever been able to pay my part. I've always rented, I don't have a mortgage, I don't have a kid, I'm very lucky in that I don't have these things hanging over me at this time. I'm still travelling the world and singing songs for a living and I feel very fortunate. But it's very tough when I come home and see my mother and brothers and my family and how fucked they are with the current situation just crushing people. It would be great if whatever revolution happens is an artistic one, but sometimes you need to throw a few stones at government windows just to let people know what is actually going on.

I like the French method. Just down tools.

You know what I'd love to see? I'd love to see everyone in the country take off their Eazy Pass tags, drive on the fuckin' roads and don't pay anyone. Just refuse to. It's nonsense. They build all those roads and put tolls on them. We shouldn't still be paying that M50 toll after all this time. Fuck them. Anyway, sorry!

Have you seen Maser's graffiti art, using fragments of Damien Dempsey's lyrics as poetry bulletins?

I've seen them all over Dublin, I've never met him, he's one of those secret dudes. I fucking love that idea. A young man full of fire who speaks about the country. And whenever I think about Damien Dempsey I always think about Atlas – a young man carrying the country on his back. I always feel like he has the weight of an old Ireland and a modern Ireland on his back. I've so much respect for Damien and I hope that in his life he manages to take care of himself as much as he metaphorically takes care of the country, he's a huge soul.

I think the country needs heroes right now, real ones, not some bullshit that's been marketed by Sony. The kind of people who are creating homeless shelters and putting every cent they get into helping the situation, not putting on a concert and making five grand for yourself. We've been living in the land of 'Me' for so long, I really would love to live in the land of 'Us' again. When people were talking about taking part of the Hill of Tara away and building a fucking road through it, there was something seriously, seriously, wrong.

The thing that is most embarrassing when I look back at that Roisin Ingle thing was I said about Ireland, ‘All I can see is a bunch of pigs at the trough’. I guess that was the most visceral thing I said. But I actually stand by it. It was fuckin' ugly. When you're talking about building a road through the Hill of Tara I don't think it's crazy to start thinking about the idea of the old Irish spirit, the fairies or whatever you want to call them, going, ‘All right, if you want to fuckin' fight, we're going to turn this country on its fuckin' arse’. A couple of years later the country's in a fuckin' jocker. It's the classic thing of farmers in rural Ireland who won't cut down certain trees because because everyone knows the story about some farmer who bulldozed some fairy ring and next thing his wife dies, sickness and misfortune befall him.

For seven generations. Don't fuck with the fairies.

Absolutely! I really feel like we've been fucking around with sacred shit in Ireland and the karmic rooster's coming home. Do you believe in this idea that all the great heroes that have ever lived, in every generation those people still exist, they just keep coming back? They might not necessarily do anything that garners them any sort of fame in their lifetime, but I believe they migrate, so you could easily draw a line between Cú Chulainn and Christy Moore or Damien Dempsey, or look at Aengus and look at Ronan Ó Snodaigh and be like, "That's the same fuckin' dude." That doesn't necessarily mean he has to do huge heroic acts, but the spirit is in the Irish people.

There's a powerful idea in the Talmud that says at any time upon the earth there must be thirty-six good souls – any less and the world is lost. Those souls mightn't even be aware of their own nature, or may only wake to their own nature at a certain point in their lives, but their presence is necessary to keep the world in balance.

That's huge. I'm a big fan of that idea. The ones the Irish are throwing spears at right now are idiots, they're not even smart, they're just fucking idiots, and greedy and self-serving. There's no point in wasting energy on idiots like them. Forget about throwing spears at Brian fucking Cowen. Go back and focus on the poetry of it all. As bad as things are right now, there's a spirit rising in the country that's fucking priceless. We are the past, we are the future and we're the now. We all look back at Michael Collins – we are that. It's in us. We just have to tune into it and believe in it.

'The Auld Triangle' by Glen Hansard and Damien Dempsey is available now with proceeds going to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. The Frames play a special Free The Birds show on March 30 in Vicar St., Dublin with Interference supporting. Check hotpress.com for archive interviews.

THE THING THAT IS MOST EMBARRASSING WHEN I LOOK BACK AT THAT ROISIN INGLE THING WAS I SAID ABOUT IRELAND, ‘ALL I CAN SEE IS A BUNCH OF PIGS AT THE TROUGH’. I GUESS THAT WAS THE MOST VISCERAL THING I SAID...

BUT I ACTUALLY STAND BY IT.

Hot Press: What was the American tour like?

Glen Hansard: It's been a celebration. It's so funny how difficult it was to switch gears. We rehearsed for a few days thinking we'd get up on stage and get right back to where we were. But it actually took us about five gigs, and now we're beginning to get good again. It was pretty scary for those few gigs because you realise it's a very, very different beast. Tempo with The Frames is a lot more important than it was with The Swell Season. You have to double-up on any eye contact with this band. To use the old analogy of robbing a bank, it's a tight operation and if you get it wrong somebody's gonna get hurt.

Watching the performance of 'Finally' on the Jimmy Fallon Show from a couple of weeks ago, it struck me that this is a remarkably similar band to the one I saw in the Baggot Inn twenty years ago.

(Laughs) That's good. I mean The Swell Season definitely had a very favourable effect on The Frames, because I think we lost our way for a period, to be honest. I look back at the end of Burn The Maps and into The Cost, and I think some part of me might have already fled the band, which is kinda the reason The Swell Season exists. I can't quite put my finger on what it was, but I just wasn't in it any more. The Cost came out and I didn't do any touring on it because I was too busy with Once, and so it became this sort of weird record that came out and didn't get any attention.

What was your problem with the band at that time?

I was kinda dissatisfied with what The Frames was, the whole thing had turned into a song-and-dance and I wasn't feeling it as much as I used to. It was almost like the serious band aspect of it had gone out the window a bit, and I was struggling to find my own satisfaction in the context of what the gigs had become. There's that tricky thing where you and your audience become so familiar, everybody stops learning from each other. The magician stops being a magician, he starts being your buddy. There was some kind of mystery that seemed to go out of it for me, and The Swell Season allowed the whole thing to start from scratch again.

Romance is easy, marriage is hard.

Yeah, I guess things ebb and flow all the time and what you realise, being 40, and having been in a band for 20 years, is that there are good periods and there are periods where doing something else might be the wisest thing. I was always so gung-ho with The Frames, us against the world, me and the boys, we learned never to rely on the press for any of our success, never to rely on anything outside of just working hard. And I was lucky in that I went off in a different direction and it brought a whole new breath of life into my world, and I was really happy to go back to The Frames and go, "Right, here's a whole other aspect we can all go down." And fair play to them, everyone in the band was very gracious about my heading off and doing the whole thing with Mar. 'Cos they could have been, "Okay, fuck this," but everybody stayed patient with it. Nobody has really said to me, "What's going on with The Frames – are we getting back together?" So I think through years and years of playing music together, we've become really good friends. And I can go back to The Frames now with a whole new enthusiasm and confidence.

I interviewed Patrick McCabe recently, and he was talking about how people sometimes forget an artist has an emotional life, and the work comes from that. A record or a book mightn't make sense in isolation, but if you view it as part of the overall narrative or body of work it makes sense.

There is a bigger pattern at work in all of our lives. It's a funny thing, I didn't think I could ever have let myself admit this, but The Frames have made a couple of bad records, and that's okay. Y'know, I don't think our first record was any good, I don't think The Cost is any good. And you don't set out to do that, it just sorta happens.

I picked up the reissue of the first album in a record shop last weekend and was amazed by how many great songs are on it. They were just dressed in ill-fitting clothes.

And wearing make-up! I've great memories of that time. That was definitely the first time I was ever in love, so that record will always mean a lot to me because every song on it was about one girl. And in all honesty, every song on the two records that came after that were about that one girl too. I guess what I always wanted when I was younger was to be doing this long enough that a pattern might emerge.

It's kind of a perverse thing to embark on a celebratory 20 year anniversary tour in a territory where the band weren't ever that big.

What are the audiences like?

Before, we basically borrowed money, and when we couldn't afford to tour the States I'd come alone and play some Irish bar, we were always trying to get something going over here, so it's wonderful to do a tour that's all sold-out. And these are the people who have kinda joined the dots. We didn't do any press for this tour, we just put it up on our website and hoped that people who saw Once or The Swell Season would pay enough attention. I've always been sensitive about overly marketing the fact that I've got this other band. So the rooms have been full of people who have done just that, and we've been playing for two, two and a half hours each night and not playing any Swell Season songs.

Is that a matter of policy?

It’s not that I'm against playing them... Some idiot the other night shouted up for 'Falling Slowly' and some other idiot shouted, "Fuck that song" or something to that effect, and I found myself going, "Hang on a second, everyone standing on this stage is in that other band, so fuck you. You insult that, you insult all of us." All this petty nonsense about one band is better than the other. Mostly people who like The Swell Season like The Frames, but for some reason people who like The Frames sort of hate The Swell Season because they see it as the thing that came along and fucked up their band, and whatever sense of ownership they felt suddenly spawned hatred to do with this other band. Fuck those people. I couldn't care less about them.

It's been three years since that 'controversial' Irish Times interview. There now seems to be a feeling of people clinging to songs and books and art like lifeboats.

I totally agree, and I think you're going to see some fucking amazing bands rise up over the next few years who've really got something to say. I'm really excited about that, because for so long it feels like it's been stale. Everybody had money, but nobody had any ideas.

There was a sense that if you were creating something for love rather than money, even if it was just making a sculpture out of a tree in your back yard, you were regarded as a crank. A good friend of mine David Cleary's first record was called Shut Up And Make, and I always go back to that: "Shut up and go make some fucking music and tour it and work – just do it and stop fucking talking about it." I think what's on the table right now is an opportunity. People have been forced into being politicised. People know what's been going on, not 'cos they want to know but because it's everywhere, you cannot escape it. During the boom all people fucking talked about was money, the price of their house, how much they were making, what car you were getting, then the crash happened... Now you turn on the radio, and your average working class guy cannot relate to figures like 36 billion. You just cannot relate to it. It deadens people to listen to the figures they're throwing around on the radio to do with the national debt, blah blah fuckin' blah.

So what can a musician do?

I'd love to see a troupe of musicians, everyone from Christy Moore to Villagers, going out on tour and playing every town and no money passing through hands. And have people like Fintan O'Toole get up and talk. The last thing I want to get into is the world of complaining about what's wrong in Ireland. I'd love to start talking about what's right about Ireland. Where can we go from here? People are turning to songs and art again. I'm not an economist, I can barely even complain about it intelligently, but I know there's something wrong with the spirit, and if I feel any authority in any area it's that I can go sing songs.

It all goes back to a bunch of people sitting around the fire, afraid of the thunder, and someone makes up a song or a poem or a yarn about the thunder god and everyone feels better.

I hear that one hundred per cent, and I feel it's vital that we have gatherings. So many people who are musicians, what they're concerned about is the bottom line, and it becomes part of some entertainment industry. If I say anything in this interview, I think a lot of musicians that I know need to remember what it was that got them started. Because what got me started was a sense of wonder. And if you lose that you're fucked. I know it's a shitty thing to say, but we've got an opportunity to live in very good times right now. It's kind of hard for me to talk about it – I've never had money in my life and for the first time I've got a bit now. I was hit with an enormous tax bill this year and on one hand I felt shit about it, but on the other hand I felt good about it, it's the first time I've ever been able to pay my part. I've always rented, I don't have a mortgage, I don't have a kid, I'm very lucky in that I don't have these things hanging over me at this time. I'm still travelling the world and singing songs for a living and I feel very fortunate. But it's very tough when I come home and see my mother and brothers and my family and how fucked they are with the current situation just crushing people. It would be great if whatever revolution happens is an artistic one, but sometimes you need to throw a few stones at government windows just to let people know what is actually going on.

I like the French method. Just down tools.

You know what I'd love to see? I'd love to see everyone in the country take off their Eazy Pass tags, drive on the fuckin' roads and don't pay anyone. Just refuse to. It's nonsense. They build all those roads and put tolls on them. We shouldn't still be paying that M50 toll after all this time. Fuck them. Anyway, sorry!

Have you seen Maser's graffiti art, using fragments of Damien Dempsey's lyrics as poetry bulletins?

I've seen them all over Dublin, I've never met him, he's one of those secret dudes. I fucking love that idea. A young man full of fire who speaks about the country. And whenever I think about Damien Dempsey I always think about Atlas – a young man carrying the country on his back. I always feel like he has the weight of an old Ireland and a modern Ireland on his back. I've so much respect for Damien and I hope that in his life he manages to take care of himself as much as he metaphorically takes care of the country, he's a huge soul.

I think the country needs heroes right now, real ones, not some bullshit that's been marketed by Sony. The kind of people who are creating homeless shelters and putting every cent they get into helping the situation, not putting on a concert and making five grand for yourself. We've been living in the land of 'Me' for so long, I really would love to live in the land of 'Us' again. When people were talking about taking part of the Hill of Tara away and building a fucking road through it, there was something seriously, seriously, wrong.

The thing that is most embarrassing when I look back at that Roisin Ingle thing was I said about Ireland, ‘All I can see is a bunch of pigs at the trough’. I guess that was the most visceral thing I said. But I actually stand by it. It was fuckin' ugly. When you're talking about building a road through the Hill of Tara I don't think it's crazy to start thinking about the idea of the old Irish spirit, the fairies or whatever you want to call them, going, ‘All right, if you want to fuckin' fight, we're going to turn this country on its fuckin' arse’. A couple of years later the country's in a fuckin' jocker. It's the classic thing of farmers in rural Ireland who won't cut down certain trees because because everyone knows the story about some farmer who bulldozed some fairy ring and next thing his wife dies, sickness and misfortune befall him.

For seven generations. Don't fuck with the fairies.

Absolutely! I really feel like we've been fucking around with sacred shit in Ireland and the karmic rooster's coming home. Do you believe in this idea that all the great heroes that have ever lived, in every generation those people still exist, they just keep coming back? They might not necessarily do anything that garners them any sort of fame in their lifetime, but I believe they migrate, so you could easily draw a line between Cú Chulainn and Christy Moore or Damien Dempsey, or look at Aengus and look at Ronan Ó Snodaigh and be like, "That's the same fuckin' dude." That doesn't necessarily mean he has to do huge heroic acts, but the spirit is in the Irish people.

There's a powerful idea in the Talmud that says at any time upon the earth there must be thirty-six good souls – any less and the world is lost. Those souls mightn't even be aware of their own nature, or may only wake to their own nature at a certain point in their lives, but their presence is necessary to keep the world in balance.

That's huge. I'm a big fan of that idea. The ones the Irish are throwing spears at right now are idiots, they're not even smart, they're just fucking idiots, and greedy and self-serving. There's no point in wasting energy on idiots like them. Forget about throwing spears at Brian fucking Cowen. Go back and focus on the poetry of it all. As bad as things are right now, there's a spirit rising in the country that's fucking priceless. We are the past, we are the future and we're the now. We all look back at Michael Collins – we are that. It's in us. We just have to tune into it and believe in it.

'The Auld Triangle' by Glen Hansard and Damien Dempsey is available now with proceeds going to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. The Frames play a special Free The Birds show on March 30 in Vicar St., Dublin with Interference supporting. Check hotpress.com for archive interviews.

 

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Glen Hansard Interview

Having just released a powerful and emotionally direct second solo album, Didn’t He Ramble, Glen Hansard is a man with a lot on his mind. He talks to Olaf Tyaransen about teenage delinquency, his complicated relationship with his father, the tragic death of a man at a Swell Season gig, and why he’s grateful for the advice he’s received from Bruce Springsteen and Eddie Vedder.

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Glen Hansard Gig at Tower Records

Glen Hansard Gig at Tower Record

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Live Review: Glen Hansard Secret Gig

New album Didn’t He Ramble supplied the perfect excuse for one of Dublin's favourite sons to take over a city centre building with an evening of stunning musical entertainment

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WATCH: Glen Hansard & Dubliner John Sheahan perform together

Their 'McCormack's Wall' collaboration is all sorts of gorgeous

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WATCH: Glen Hansard blows the cover on secret Dublin show + acoustic TV set

Wristbands are available now in return for buying a copy of his new album in Golden Discs on Stephen's Green

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WATCH: Glen Hansard plays American radio station gig + talks new album

KCRW listeners were spoiled rotten this week!

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WATCH: Glen Hansard lines-up Dublin double + new acoustic performance

Catch him before Christmas in Vicar St.!

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Didn't He Ramble - Glen Hansard

Mature reflection from the Irish stalwart

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Surprise Glen Hansard Appearance is Picnic Highlight

He was joined onstage by the Booka Brass Band and The Lost Brothers...

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WATCH: Glen Hansard performs one of the tracks from his Didn't He Ramble LP

Read the review in the new issue of Hot Press

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Amy Schumer and Glen Hansard Sing Together in Grogan's

The visit of the hot feminist comedian to Ireland has turned into a highly entertaining event. Bill Hader and Judd Apatow are also in town for the Trainwreck premiere...

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Glen Hansard & Paul Williams perform at US Ambassadors Residence.

Glen Hansard & Paul Williams perform at US Ambassadors Residence.

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WATCH: Glen Hansard reveals solo LP details + video & album trailer

What we've heard of Didn't He Ramble so far sounds pretty damn awesome!

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Monster Irish music auction to go up for grabs

A new initiative to raise money for homeless people will see one lucky bidder collect one jumbo load of loot

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Glen Hansard on The Frames' Hot Press bow, Jeff Buckley & his new album

Glen Hansard is among those recalling My First Time In Hot Press as part of our bumper 900th Issue, which is in shops now with Ham Sandwich's Niamh Farrell on the cover.

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Glen Hansard painting set to raise tens of thousands

Colin Davidson's amazing piece will be auctioned for the US-Ireland Alliance

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UPDATE: Glen Hansard joins Trad Against Racism lineup

SARI benefit gig will also feature Mundy, Lisa O'Neill and more this evening.

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Glen Hansard at Vicar Street

Glen Hansard at Vicar Street on 15 December. Glen was joined on stage by August Wells, Declan O’Rourke, Lisa O’Neill, Mundy and Damien Demspsey. The show was held in aid of the Peter McVerry Trust.

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Live Review: Glen Hansard at Vicar Street

The now-traditional festive gig from the Frames frontman is long on time and even longer on joy

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WATCH: Glen Hansard & Damien Dempsey perform at the Right 2 Water protest

Glen Hansard and Damien Dempsey teamed up on a version of 'The Auld Triangle', which warmed many a Right 2 Water protest cockle this afternoon in central Dublin.

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Glen Hansard Unveils New Songs At Film Fundraiser

It was one of those special Dublin nights. The occasion was a fund-raiser for a new short film, entitled Descend, directed by Hedi Rose, and written by Irish-based Texan screenwriter Margaret Miller. The location was upstairs in The 51 Bar on Haddington Road.

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Glen Hansard announces extra Dublin charity gig

He's doing his bit for the Simon Community in Vicar St.

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Glen Hansard announces charity Christmas show

Glen Hansard brings a full band including string and brass sections to Vicar St., Dublin on December 15 when he plays a special gig in aid of the Peter McVerry Trust, which tackles homelessness, drug misuse and social disadvantage.

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LISTEN: Glen Hansard covers Bob Dylan

Glen Hansard is among the celebrity admirers contributing a cover – he opted for Saved’s ‘Pressing On’ – to Bob Dylan In The ‘80s: Volume One.

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Glen Hansard live at Vicar Street

Last Tuesday’s second Vicar St. show marked the end of an 18-month round the world jaunt for Glen Hansard and his talented musical entourage.

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WATCH: Glen Hansard & friends perform Pogues classic

Iron & Wine, Calexico and Kathleen Edwards joined the Dublin man to sing ‘Fairy Tale of New York’ last night on NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

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Glen Hansard, Vicar St.

Glen Hansard's concert at Vicar St. on Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

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Glen Hansard for Simon Community benefit gig

Vicar St gig is also in aid of the Peter McVerry Trust...

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LISTEN: Glen Hansard streams his new EP

Glen Hansard’s new EP is available now for your streaming pleasure at www.nytimes.com/interactive/arts/music/pressplay.html?_r=3&

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Hansard & Geary Team Up For Xmas Single

Glen Hansard and his old mucker Mark Geary have collaborated on a festive tune, ‘Christmas Biscuits’, which hits iTunes on November 29 to raise funds for St. Vincent de Paul.

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LISTEN: Glen Hansard covers Springsteen for new EP

His favourite Bruce Springsteen tune provides the title for Glen Hansard’s new Drive All Night EP, which Anti-Records are releasing physically on November 29 with digital following on December 3. Photo Credit: Zoran Orlic

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Glen hansard announces extra Vicar Street date

Glen Hansard has announced a second Vicar Street concert this November 25.

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Glen Hansard and John Kelly for evening in Dublin

The Helix will play host to a Halloween night of music and conversation.

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Glen Hansard announces Irish dates

A winter homecoming...

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Glen Hansard, Steve Wall & Mik Pyro for songwriting workshop

The Factory on Barrow Street has lined up a superlative list of leading Irish artists to act as mentors for a brand new songwriting and performance workshop.

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WATCH: Glen Hansard Iveagh Gardens film

When Glen Hansard stormed the Iveagh Gardens last month, Arbutus Yarns, AKA music documentarian Myles O’Reilly, was there shooting the whole thing.

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WATCH: Olaf interviews Glen Hansard

Still waters run etc. etc. A glorious summer’s afternoon by a millpond Corrib was the setting for our man Olaf Tyaransen chatting to Glen Hansard last week ahead of his Galway Arts Festival appearance.

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Glen Hansard on Bruce Springsteen

It’ll be a dream come true on July 27 for Glen Hansard as he gets to open for one of his heroes, Bruce Springsteen, who in recent years has also become a close musical confidante. From a hotel room in North Carolina, he tells Olaf Tyaransen what makes The Boss so special...

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WATCH: Glen Hansard doc

Myles O'Reilly captured the Frames star on the road last month

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Glen Hansard & Lisa Hannigan acoustic session

C! Le Cargo! Webzine Musical! marked their 500th session with a beautiful acoustic performance from the Irish pair...

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Glen Hansard for Iveagh Gardens show

Glen Hansard adds his name to the already impressive summer schedule at the Dublin 2 park this summer...

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Watch: JDIFF 2013 music films trailers

This year’s Jameson Dublin International Film Festival has a real rock 'n' roll flavour with The Frames, Ginger Baker and Marina Abramovic coming under the spotlight.

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Glen Hansard, Vicar Street

Vicar St; Dublin

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Glen Hansard, Vicar Street

The fantastic Frames frontman fingered his frets for the festive season at Vicar Street...

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WATCH: New video for Glen Hansard's 'High Hope'

It was shot in Ballymun.

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Glen Hansard confirms second Dublin date

It's a double whammy for the former Frame in December..

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Glen does Letterman

He was joined by the Brooklyn Youth Chorus.

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The Boss helped me deal with success, says Hansard

In our new issue, Glen chats about his friendship with our cover star Bruce Springsteen...

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John Martyn Tribute Festival returns

The Kilkenny festival is back for its second year.

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A Glen For All Seasons

Since winning an Oscar for Once, Glen Hansard‘s life has swerved like an out of control rollercoaster. There was a whirlwind romance with, and painful separation from, Markéta Irglová; the suicide of a fan which left him with brains on his shoes and a chasm in his soul and the strange guilt he felt at being successful. With his first solo album about to be released, he pulls up a stool and explains how he learned to stop worrying and love his new life in New York.

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Free Music Friday!

The likes of Glen Hansard, The Walkmen and Metallica are here to soundtrack your weekend.

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Glen Hansard on The Committments

Our cover star on last year's reunion tour...

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Glen Hansard talks Hollywood!

The singer opens up to Stuart Clark in our new issue, out tomorrow...

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Once wins big at the Tony Awards

The Broadway musical had the most nominations this year.

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Rhythm & Repose

An Irishman’s ‘New York Year’ yields musical gifts for the folks back home

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Once Tops Tony Nominations In New York

The extraordinary success of Once continues.

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WATCH: New Glen Hansard

We get a first glimpse of his first solo effort.

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Glen Hansard solo album details revealed

Rhythm And Repose will be out June 15.

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Glen Hansard to release solo album

Glen Hansard is set to release his first solo album. As yet untitled, the record is slated for a June launch by Anti, and will be released on the Epitaph label.

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Glen Hansard for Music Show panel

The star studded line-up for The Music Show became even stronger last night with the news that Glen Hansard had been added to the list of panellists.

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Glen Hansard

Ringleader of festivities, Glen Hansard, is in his usual fine form, joking and telling stories.

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Glen Hansard to guest on Eddie Vedder ukulele album

Not an April Fools Day joke folks!

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Liam O Maonlai & Glen Hansard play Whelan's

If you want tickets, get moving!

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3rd Barretstown Inspirations Gig for the Olympia

Glen Hansard and Delorentos are among line-up

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Glen opens music studio for kids

Give it a few years and The Frames are going to have a lot of new competition!

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Glen Hansard & Mark Geary Live at the Cobalt Café, Dublin

The stuff of pure imagination!

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Glen Hansard plays Haitian benefit in Whelan's this weekend

There are also more fundraisers coming up in February.

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Glen Hansard joins benefit bill

The Dublin Simon Longest Night bash takes place next week.

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RTÉ reveal line-up for Other Voices

Popular RTÉ music show Other Voices is back for a sixth series, with a line-up including Glen Hansard, Sinead O'Connor and more.

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US success of Once predicted to continue

Things are going seriously well for Glen Hansard in the States with his soundtrack to the Sundance winning Once going top 10 on iTunes there.

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Once enters US film charts

Aftering the news that The Frames are to support Bob Dylan down under, Glen Hansard's week has gotten even better as the film he co-stars in, Once, has made it into the American box-office top 20.

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Hats off to the busker man

Indie-hit Once director John Carney talks to Tara Brady about how to make an Irish musical, while star Glen Hansard confesses he was pleasantly surprised at the film’s success.

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Glen Hansard to host songwriting course

Fresh from getting dickie-bowed up for the Irish premiere of Once, Glen Hansard has announced that he’ll be hosting the Songwriting Course at this year’s Listowel Writers Festival.

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The Frames new album: details here

We cornered Glen Hansard in a dark room and forced him to reveal details about the next Frames album. He happily obliged.

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Glen Hansard album art unveiled

Hot Press is delighted to bring you this first peek at the cover artwork for Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova’s collaborative album.

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Glen Hansard solo tour

The Frames man rings in spring with a tour all his own.

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Glen Hansard to release solo material

While the next Frames album is still a long way off, Glen Hansard has confirmed that he’s a collaborative solo project, The Swell Season, in the can.

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Glen Hansard and Eoin Duihnan to release live recording

The Frames frontman and pipe-playing Duihnan release a limited number of live CDs next week

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For The Kids: Irish artists to play St. Stephen's Day charity bash

Glen Hansard, along with Paddy Casey, Goodtime John and Ann Scott (among others) provide an acoustic cure for Christmas hangovers

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Glen Hansard to play solo gig in Whelan's

It won't be the full Frames experience but Hansard's wee gig will keep you going till the December tour

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