- 06 Nov 18
As their groundbreaking Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? album gets a box-set re-release, NOEL HOGAN joins STUART CLARK on the sofa to talk about the Cranberries’ formative years, and the pain of losing Dolores O’Riordan.
There’s a tendency among musicians to romanticise their early years, but Noel Hogan is brutally honest about The Cranberry Saw Us’ live prowess (or lack thereof) when they played their first few local Limerick gigs with new singer Dolores O’Riordan, a true rock ‘n’ roll ingénue who’d previously only performed with her church and school choirs.
“We were absolutely terrible,” Noel winces. “We’d write and record these songs and then try and recreate them on stage, which didn’t work because we were using lots of reverb and effects in the studio that ended up being empty space when we did them live. Dolores was really nervous and would stare at the floor, the ceiling, Mike playing the bass, Ferg drumming – at anything other than the audience who mainly got to see the side and back of her head.
“A turning point was being flown to London by this American label, Imago,” he continues. “We naively thought, ‘This is it, we’re going to be signed’, but after playing in a room next-door to the Town & Country Club, the main guy said, ‘You’re just not ready yet. Go away and develop.’ So, tail between our legs, we went home, bought a proper amp and a distortion pedal and started to beef it up. It was a combination of that and Dolores and I getting to know each other a lot better. At the beginning, you’re gingerly dancing around things because you don’t want to insult somebody you’ve only just met.”