Dolores O’Riordan and company bring the magic back to life 

the Cranberries skyrocketed to international fame with their debut, 1993’s quintuple-platinum Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? But by 2003, it was time for the Irish group to take a breather. “I just wanted to not be in the Cranberries and not be famous,” says frontwoman Dolores O’Riordan. After making two solo albums, O’Riordan recently reunited with her bandmates for the first new Cranberries album in more than a decade, Roses. We spoke with O’Riordan, 40, about how the Cranberries fell apart—and how they came back together again.

Why did the band break up?

That was more to do with life. My mother-in-law had cancer and died in 2003. We had moved to Canada so her grandchildren could be with her. I quit the band because I could see that in life there’s a lot more than just making music, being on the stage and selling records. There’s people and love and more important things. I started working on a solo record for fun and became a full-time mother—and I loved it.

How did you reconnect?

It was my son’s confirmation in the summer of 2009—that’s a big thing in Ireland. So I invited the Cranberries, and they all came and brought their children. It was my first time seeing them in seven years. We were just relaxing and having a beer and it was like, “Will we get back together?” And it was like, “Yeah, I think so. We’re not getting any younger.” It was all very organic and not thought about. It was like putting on your old comfortable slippers. We all felt like teenagers again—the only obvious reminder would be a bit of gray hair.

How does the band write?

It’s always different. For the songs that I wrote on the album, I had my friend [Canadian producer] Dan Brodbeck come over and we made demos around my ideas. Then for the ones that were written with [guitarist] Noel Hogan, he sent me Pro Tools sessions from Ireland. It was done over seven years, on and off. Even when I was doing [2007 solo album] Are You Listening?, Noel was still sending bits of ideas.

How do you write lyrics?

Lyrics are very important to me. The funny thing is that they come to me at any time, like when I’m washing the sheets or something: “Quick, gotta go get a pen!” In the middle of the night when you’re trying to sleep and the words are going around in your head, you must get up and write them down.

What is “Roses” about?

My father had cancer for six years, and the song “Roses” is about him. He passed away three weeks ago, and I was holding his hand. He was so sick for so long that it was good when he was out of pain. “Roses” was reflecting on the circle of life and how when someone goes, someone new comes in the door. There’s definitely hope, because everybody dies, but with death comes spiritual peace and peace in your heart. It’s the end of any struggle that you might be having. We all get old and we all die, but that’s a new beginning.

Was it difficult to pull together?

Noel sent me the music, and I put in my headset and almost started crying. It totally got to me. I wrote those lyrics in about two minutes when I was at the cinema with my kids. The next morning I started singing it and we all knew there was something very fresh, raw and real there.

–Steven Rosen

comment closed

Copyright © 2012 M Music & Musicians Magazine ·