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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
Peter Murphy, 08 Feb 2011
"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.