Annual article: Stuart Clark looks back at the news stories, rumour and innuendo that shaped the rock'n'roll year.
There’s a swift response from the Irish rock community to the tsunami disaster with Damien Rice, Ronnie Drew, Shane MacGowan, Kila, David Kitt, BellX1, Cathy Davey and Declan O’Rourke among those staging sell-out benefit gigs in Dublin.
Fears that Adam Clayton may be among the dead or injured are allayed when it emerges that the part of Malaysia he was holidaying in at the time wasn’t affected.
In September, Clayton and his U2 bandmates sign up for Shelter From The Storm: A Concert For The Gulf Coast, an American TV fundraiser for victims of Hurricane Katrina.
The network behind it, NBC, issue a public apology to George Bush after Kanye West goes off-script to accuse the president of "not caring for black people."
The year ends with The Edge spearheading an initiative to provide displaced New Orleans musicians with new instruments.
"Something should be done and not just because New Orleans deserves it, but because the world needs New Orleans," he says.
Hot Press witnesses first-hand that, contrary to reports, Pete Doherty is still on heroin when he shoots up in front of our man Steve Cummins.
The ‘I Was There, Honest!’ Moment of the Year #1: Several hundred people are left outside on the pavement as Bloc Party underline their ‘next big thing’ credentials in Whelan's.
Having finally come to an agreement with IMRO, Apple make the European version of the iTunes Music Store available in Ireland.
50 Cent announces that he’s to star in a biopic of his life that’s being directed by Oscar-winning Dubliner Jim Sheridan. Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ opens Stateside in October to lukewarm reviews, and controversy, when a fatal shooting occurs outside a cinema in which it’s being screened.
Having been forced to postpone the first batch of dates due to a family illness, U2 confirm that their Vertigo World Tour will kick off in the San Diego Sports Center on March 28.
An Irish record is later set when the first of their three Croke Park shows sells out in precisely a minute.
It’s not all good news, though, with Larry Mullen personally apologising for the technological glitch that prevents some u2.com members accessing the online pre-sale.
The band’s eye for new talent remains as keen as ever with Snow Patrol, Athlete, Interpol, Kings Of Leon, The Killers, Paddy Casey, Franz Ferdinand, Razorlight, Kanye West and Arcade Fire among those signed up for support slots.
The boys also indulge in some hero worship by inviting Patti Smith on to the bill for one of their Madison Square Gardens shows, jamming out a fabulous ‘Instant Karma’ with her.
More space on their mantelpieces has to be found in November when Vertigo scoops four Billboard Roadwork ‘05 Touring Awards.
Just weeks after the launch of iTunes Ireland, mycokemusic.com also enters the MP3 market here with a catalogue of over 500,000 songs by 12,500 artists.
Cork’s legendary Lobby venue closes after falling foul of the local Gardai.
As the row over a tribute to him in Temple Bar continues to rage, Fine Gael councillor Brendan Travers launches a campaign for Rory Gallagher to be honoured in his birthplace of Ballyshannon, Co Donegal.
The Corrs manager John Hughes and Aslan both receive career achievement awards at the Meteors.
Ash became the first band to feature on a Star Wars-related project. LucasArts selected ‘Clones’ as the theme to the Republic Commando videogame, which went on to become one of the year’s biggest sellers.
The Frames have a lucky escape when their bus catches fire in the early hours of the morning en route to a show in Germany.
"The tour manager was fixing snow chains to the wheels when he noticed that the bus’ heater was smoking," Hot Press is told. "By the time the flames started to appear, he’d woken everybody up and was able to put the fire out before it took hold. If he hadn’t spotted it so early on, I hate to think what might have happened."
There’s another scare for guitarist Colm Mac Con Iomaire in April when a plane he’s traveling on is forced to jettison fuel and return to London.
Having completed a series of European shows, The Frames head to the States where their Burn The Maps album has been receiving rave reviews.
One of the most fulsome appears in Billboard who describe it as "a collection of songs that demand your attention, rife with soft/loud dynamics reminiscent of Sebadoh and Mogwai magnified to fill the lungs of a sold-out Giants Stadium."
It’s not quite a stadium, but there’s not a spare ticket to be had in November when Glen & Co. sell-out The Point. The year ends with the lads working on a new album.
Over 10,000 people take part in the hotpress Public Vote for the 100 Greatest Irish Albums of All Time. U2’s The Joshua Trio is in pole position followed by Damien Rice’s O, their own Achtung Baby, Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks and My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless.
Zed FM seek a judicial review of the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland’s decision to award the Dublin Alternative Radio Licence to Phantom FM. While the High Court upheld the BCI’s original decision, the matter has now gone to the Supreme Court.
The Fat Lady Sings trigger a spate of reunions with their first Dublin gig since 1994 in Vicar St. Also doing the resurrection shuffle in ‘05 are Mexican Pets, Toasted Heretic, Whipping Boy, Paranoid Visions, Kerbdog and Sultans Of Ping FC.
In a shock move, Snow Patrol sack bass-playing founder member Mark McClelland. "Following a life-changing year in 2004, Snow Patrol found themselves under a whole set of new and unexpected pressures," reads a band statement. "The pressures have taken their toll on working relationships, and it was felt that we could not move forward with Mark as a member. Coming to this decision was the hardest thing we have ever faced."
A shocked McClelland counters by saying: "Gary wanted more control and less interference. It’s a solo effort now because he’ll be the only one really contributing. There was no indication of these ‘pressures’ they were talking about. They just sprung it on me."
His replacement, ex-Terra Diablo man Paul Wilson, debuts with the band a few weeks later at a secret gig in Dingle where the follow up to Final Straw is being assembled.
2005 ends on a surreal high when they join the likes of Neil Hannon, Damien Rice, Hector, Marty Whelan, Karl Spain and Mundy for a Presidential knees-up in Aras an Uachtarain.
Director and The Marshal Stars sign on the dotted line with Atlantic Records. Also inking deals this year are The Chalets (Setanta), David Hopkins (Reekus), Autamata (N4), Declan O’Rourke (V2), Roesy (N4), The Answer (Albert Music), Leya (Rubyworks) and Humanzi (Fiction).
In another major coup for the Cork duo, Métisse are recruited by former Police drummer Stuart Copeland to provide music for the hit US TV series, Dead Like Me.
The Thrills offer a reward for the return of a laptop that’s been stolen from a car in the Harold’s Cross area of Dublin. "The computer has new material we’ve been working on," rues guitarist Daniel Ryan. The setback is only temporary, with the band embarking on a Christmas club tour to preview their third album.
Sinéad O’Connor fulfils a lifelong ambition when she records an album of reggae covers in Jamaica with Sly & Robbie.
Fatboy Slim, Flaming Lips, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, James Blunt and Kraftwerk are among the first batch of acts to be confirmed for the Electric Picnic, which takes place on the Stradbally Estate, County Laois on September 3 and 4 and proves to be one of the year’s musical highlights.
Delighted with the 25,000 sellout, head honcho John Reynolds announces that the ‘06 event will run over three days and feature improved camping facilities.
Meanwhile, Hot Press exclusively reveals that Reynolds’ rivals, MCD, have booked Eminem for Slane, which is to take place three weeks later than normal on September 17.
Lord Henry Mountcharles reacts angrily when the Detroit motormouth pulls the gig in August citing ‘exhaustion complicated by other medical issues.’ "I don’t think the Rolling Stones or U2 would cancel owing to ‘nervous exhaustion’," Lord Henry fumes. "He’s a stunning artist, but I don’t think he’ll get a shot at Slane again." The "other medical issues" are subsequently revealed to be an addiction to sleeping pills.
New Dublin independent, Faction Records, debuts with a nine-track sampler featuring The Marshal Stars, Director, Angels Of Mons, Red Organ Serpent Sound, The Blizzards, DC Pakt, Future Kings Of Spain, Cathy Davey and Republic Of Loose.
Damien Rice and Lisa Hannigan release ‘Unplayed Piano’ in support of the Free Aung San Suu Kyi Birthday Campaign, a global initiative to free the Burmese dissident leader who turns 60 in June.
A spoken word version of Hothouse Flowers’ ‘Don’t Go’ probably isn’t the best way for ex-Boyzone man Shane Lynch to relaunch his music career.
After several months of speculation – much of it in hotpress! – Bob Geldof confirms that Live 8 will take place in London’s Hyde Park on July 2.
Among those press ganged into action are a stunned Snow Patrol. "Geldof sent us a letter saying, ‘Me and Bono have been talking and we might need you for a wee gig in the summer," says drummer Jonny Quinn. "Initially we were like, ‘Oh, okay’, but now it’s sunk in, we’re completely shocked."
Watched by the largest worldwide TV audience ever, the event launches with U2 who are joined by Paul McCartney for a run through of ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’.
Bono and Sir Bob later express disappointment that Eminem ignored their invitation to play.
Liam Gallagher uses the pages of Hot Press to launch a scathing attack on Pete Doherty. Informed by us that the Babyshambles man was joined on stage at the Trinity Ball by Kate Moss, he storms: "She came on stage? For fuck’s sake! There you have it, the future of English rock ‘n’ roll – a rent boy who lets his missus sing with him."
Van Morrison promises to set the record straight about his career by writing his autobiography. "You get biographies, which claim to be about me," he complains. "They interview people from years ago who know nothing about me now and probably didn’t know much about me then."
Gary Moore, Eric Bell, Brian Downey, Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson are confirmed for The Point tribute to Phil Lynott in Dublin in August. The gig is timed to coincide with the unveiling of a lifesize Philo statue in Dublin’s Harry Street.
Brian Wilson is the guest of honour at a screening of Beautiful Dreamer: Brian Wilson And The Story Of Smile in Dublin’s Temple Bar Music Centre.
This year’s Oxegen festival proves to be the most successful yet, with 70,000 people flocking to Punchestown for a two-day bill headlined by Green Day and Foo Fighters.
It’s another triumph for MCD’s Denis Desmond who’s just had his and Clear Channel’s £39 million takeover of the Mean Fiddler Music Group green lighted by Britain’s Office of Fair Trading.
The MFMG was set up 20 years ago by Tramore man Vince Power who pockets £13m for his 35% stake.
Hot Press reveals that Bono is the Script Editor on a film called The Virgin Of Las Vegas, which has been written by long-time U2 collaborator and Horslips man Barry Devlin.
Good news from Los Angeles where the city’s top alternative radio station KCRW is putting its considerable might behind BellX1. After dropping in to their Morning Becomes Eclectic breakfast show and performing a session that’s archived at www.kcrw.com, the band play to a sell-out Viper Room crowd that includes Mischa Barton and Rachel Bilson from The OC.
Damien Rice says that he wants to run his own festival in Ireland this summer. "It’d be great to have something to go to where you can watch music, and have amazing food and where there’ll be fires and music going on all night," he enthuses. Recording commitments mean it doesn’t materialise this year, but keep those fingers crossed for 2006!
Dublin’s Colm McGinley is the winner of our ‘design a sleeve’ competition. A graphic artist, his work will adorn Pierce Turner’s ‘The Ballad Of Rory Gallagher’, which is available exclusively from www.hotpress.com and samples the legendary Fender-bender.
The Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA) welcomes the High Court decision to compel a number of internet service providers to release the names of the 17 individuals engaged in serial filesharing of music here. Abuse of copyright on the net has contributed to a €28 million drop in music sales between 2001 and 2004.
“We will now be writing to the 17 individuals informing them of the seriousness of their actions,” says IRMA Director General Dick Doyle (right). “We will offer them the opportunity of settling their actions. If they refuse our settlement terms, we’ll pursue the matter through the courts.”
In the first test case, John Paul Nevin of Navan is fined €1,500 on each of four sample counts of copyright infringement.
Phase II of IRMA’s legal action is launched in November and includes the FastTrack – on which KaZaA runs – and Gnutella networks among its targets.
Bob Dylan fans celebrate as it’s confirmed the Never Ending Tour will roll into Dublin again in November. The Big Zim also graces our screens in Martin Scorsese’s No Direction Home documentary, which focuses on the 1961 to 1966 part of his career. A sequel is being mooted for 2007.
With Annie Tierney departing for solo pastures, The Radio draft Caroline Lee-Baker in as their new lead singer. Following a successful CMJ showcase in New York, they’re confirmed as one of the two 2FM-elected acts, The Chalets being the other, who’ll be journeying to Holland in January 2006 for Eurosonic.
The Arctic Monkeys make their Dublin debut with a Sunday night gig in Whelan’s. Two months later they’re top of the UK singles chart with ‘I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor’.
Damien Rice is among the all-star cast that spends Thursday September 8th recording a track for the new War Child Help: A Day In The Life compilation, which can still be downloaded for a bargain €9.99 from www.warchild.com. According to manager Bernadette Barret, "'Cross-Eyed Bear’ is an old song that Damien and the band took a break from working on new material to rework. War Child approached us a few weeks ago, and we were delighted to say, ‘Yes’."
Unfortunately, a "technological mess up at mastering" leads to a slowed-down version of the track making it on to the War Child site. Mistake spotted, it’s quickly rectified and Damien’s becomes one of the fundraiser’s most downloaded songs.
Irish acts and promoters take up no fewer than six of the berths in the Billboard Boxscore chart. Positions one through four are held by U2, whose August 3rd stop-off at the Munich Olympiastadion extracted e4.3 million from 77,435 paying customers.
Vicar St. is to open a 2,500-capacity sister venue as part of the Point Village development in Dublin Docklands. Building will commence in February 2006, with the first gig likely to take place in the spring of 2007. Harry Crosbie, who owns the 12-acre site, is also planning to increase The Point’s capacity to 14,000.
The celluloid version of Pat McCabe’s Breakfast On Pluto receives a high profile screening as part of the New York Film Festival. The story of an Irish transvestite cabaret singer in ‘70s London, it’s directed by Neil Jordan and stars Cillian Murphy, Liam Neeson, Stephen Rea, Brendan Gleeson and U2’s mate Gavin Friday.
Former Cranberries man Noel Hogan is most displeased when his custom Taylor acoustic is half-inched from Dublin’s Temple Bar Music Centre.
Ireland has a somewhat tenuous reason to celebrate as Antony & The Johnsons win the 2006 Mercury Music Prize with their I Am A Bird Now album. Although a fully paid-up member of the New York maverick's club, the boy Hegarty has an Irish dad and spent the first 11 years of his life in Chichester, West Sussex.
The whiff of sour grapes is overwhelming as Kaiser Chiefs drummer Nick Hodgson complains that, "He’s an American, really. It’s a good album but it’s daft that he’s got it on a technicality." Yes, but is he more of a threat up front than Clinton Morrison?
Mundy announces a date in Liberia as part of his upcoming tour. The unusual pit stop sees him playing for UN peackeepers there, including Irish soldiers.
Dublin gets a new rock ‘n’ roll landmark with the unveiling of the Wall Of Fame. U2, Dolores O’Riordan, Sinéad O’Connor, Luke Kelly, The Undertones, Paul Brady, Rory Gallagher, Phil Lynott, Bob Geldof, Christy Moore, Van Morrison and Shane MacGowan make it on to the wall in question, which adorns the side of the Temple Bar Music Centre. Fans can vote artists on and off via-the www.walloffame.ie website.
MTV are accused of snubbing Irish acts after none figure in the nominations for their 2005 Awards.
Julie Feeney bags ‘Irish Debut Album of the Year’ with 13 Songs. "The most intriguing female voice to come out of this country since Sinéad O’Connor," says Jackie Hayden, and you know what, he’s right! The New York Times agrees with him, describing the collection as "charming, urbane and dreamy."
Dolores O’Riordan is close to completing her debut album, which she describes as "the most personal record I’ve ever made."
Talking exclusively to Hot Press in Dublin, the Cranberries singer reveals that the as-yet-untitled collection will emerge in late spring/early summer 2006 and be accompanied by a worldwide series of live dates.
"As wonderful and great as the Cranberries was, we’d been together 14 years and things had gotten a bit predictable and boring," she confides. "I’ve been able to write songs in my own time and in my own way. There are lyrics on this album that I’d never have sung in a boys’ band that happened to have a girl singer."
She also reveals that she’s playing for The Pope in December, but is worried about his rock ‘n’ roll credentials.
"John Paul used to work the crowd a bit whereas Benny is new to the gig," Dolores jokes. "He probably needs a few lessons and a pair of shades from Bono."
U2 – yes, them again! – figure prominently in the promotion of the new video iPod. Equipped with a 2.5’ screen, the 60GB model stores 150 hours worth of video.
The Corrs receive an Honorary Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) from the British Ambassador, Stewart Eldon. Awarded on behalf of the Queen, the MBE is in recognition of their "outstanding contribution to the music industry and charitable contributions." The Wolfe Tones are unavailable for comment.
Westlife make history by becoming the first Irish act to simultaneously top the UK single and album charts. ‘You Raise Me Up’ sells 58,175 copies to fend off The Arctic Monkeys’ ‘I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor’ while Face To Face dislodges Robbie Williams’ Intensive Care by shifting a whopping 216,879 units during its first week of release.
The search is on for the Irish acts who’ll get to have a broadcast quality video made for them gratis by students from the Tisch School of The Arts. Affiliated to New York University, Tisch is responsible for getting the likes of Martin Scorsese, Oliver Stone and Spike Lee up and running.
The bands they’ve collaborated with in the past include Republic Of Loose, Headgear, The Immediate, The Blizzards, Fair Verona, Rulers Of The Planet and La Rocca. If you’d like in on the deal, send a recording of the track(s) you believe deserves a promo clip, photo and 250 word biog to hoT Press ‘Set Your Music In Motion’, 13 Trinity Street, Dublin 2 to arrive no later than Friday January 20th, 2006.
Hot Press’ campaign to get eyebrowy.com on the telly pays off with the Dublin-based animators producing a series of shorts for Dave Fanning’s The Last Broadcast. Needless to say, the regulars at Whelan’s are extremely worried.
The station that rewrote the commercial radio rulebook in Europe, Radio Caroline, is added to NTL Ireland's cable line-up. Launched in 1964 by Dubliner Ronan O’Rahilly, Caroline initially broadcast illegally from a series of boats anchored off the British and Dutch coasts. Those who took to the High Seas with them include Tony Blackburn, Dave Lee Travis, Johnnie Walker, 2FM’s Gareth O’Callaghan, Today FM’s Tom Hardy, Phantom FM’s Steve Conway and, briefly, hotpress’ Stuart Clark.
It’s lock up your wife, daughter and household pets time as the Kilkenny People reports that Marilyn Manson and his stripper fiancé Dita Von Teese are planning to marry in the city this month. They're out by roughly 40 miles with the knot-tying actually being done in Gurteen Le Paor mansion near the south Tipperary village of Kilsheelan. Guests include Lisa-Marie Presley, Johnny Depp and Jean-Paul Gaultier.