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With The Cranberries
Global Times | July 21, 2011 08:22
By Global Times
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Vocalist Dolores O'Riordan with The Cranberries Photo: CFP

From Faye Wong's verbatim cover of "Dreams" (in both mando and canto flavor) to college bands butchering "Zombie", Chinese video sites have chronicled Limerick-born The Cranberries' legacy of fandom in the middle kingdom that unlike the band, never took a break.  

"The fact that the people remember you after being gone for so many years, it's mad," explained guitarist Noel Hogan through e-mail about the band's recent resurrection and two-date visit to China, which closes with an appearance at Wukesong Arena on July 28.  

Despite a cancelation in Estonia during the European leg of their current tour earlier this month due to family illness, the Cranberries will still kick off their two-week Asian tour as scheduled in Jakarta on Friday, according to their agent Wednesday.  

After a seven-year split and reunification in 2009, the band's first-time China stint precedes the long-awaited album Roses; a reunion with long-time producer Stephen Street (the man behind 1992 breakthrough album Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We? and follow-up No Need to Argue), which stylistically harks back their first two records with a more "relaxed" feel.

According to Hogan, the band had just wrapped up final edits and cover art for the 11-song record between touring Europe this month. 

"We recorded 19 songs and think we might, and it's a big might, release an EP before the big album," he said. "The original plan was to do half a bit over the last few months, and then in September do the rest. But we just started clicking inside of the studio and next thing we knew, we had finished everything."

The album marks nearly 10 years since their last studio album Wake Up And Smell The Coffee (2001), which, released among the boy bands and rap metal popular at the time, garnered lukewarm reviews. According to reports, Roses contains re-recordings of earlier material written just before their 2003 split.

Despite the band members continuing on individual projects, such as frontwoman Dolores O'Riordan's solo record and Hogan's groups Mono Band and Arkitekt, he admitted that getting back together in 2009 after so many years was rough at first.

"At first, there were just problems everywhere, the sound was bad and it was kind of hard to remember everything. You know I personally hadn't played guitar in a year and a half for that point," revealed Hogan. 
 
But admittedly it was this period of getting familiar again and trying out new material on the road that prepped the band for their album release.  

"If we had gone recorded an album right away, we would have been freaking out; does anybody like it, does anybody remember who we are? It's a lot more relaxed to do it this way. How lucky we are to be able to do this and come back."

However, Hogan explains that releasing new material today is a far cry from the early 90s, where the culture of downloading that has drastically changed people's "buying habits" has affected record companies more than artists, and it serves them right.

"It's the way that people consume the music that has changed, but people will still come to you and say I love this song and I love that song, and that's all it matters, you know that's the joy of the music," he explained. 

"Nowadays the record companies are down their knees because of downloading, but to be fair all those years record companies have destroyed some really good bands." 
Hogan feels the Internet has helped bands more than hurt them.

"You don't really have to have a million dollar contract or whatever, but you can still try to get it out there. I mean it's harder for a new band to get big without selling a record, it's so different from what we began. I guess we're old-schoolers now." 

Although critics and fans say the band has toned down their political opinions and perhaps mellowed with age ("Zombie" was written about an IRA bombing while there's "no social commentary or politics anywhere" on the new album), Hogan explains the band was more about capturing moments in time rather than conscious social statements.

"Most of the songs are about relationships than anything else," explained Hogan. "Songs like 'Zombie' just captured something that was happening at that moment. It's not something that we spent too much time thinking about."

"Dolores writes something that captures her at that moment: it could be her kids, it could be her husband, it could be me, it could be you, it could be something she watched on CNN," he explained. 

"If you write just really good songs, it won't age; So you better always follow what you believe, because mainstream trends come and go, and nobody remembers who those bands are anymore.

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