Interviews Part 3

CRANBERRIES ON-LINE INTERVIEW - taken from the web chat hosted recently at <>

Q: Are you going to visit Russia in the future?
A: Dolores: We'd love to go next year.

Q: hugo el v@go : Are you going to visit Mexico again?
A: Mike: We are going on a year tour next year and we are going to try and hit Mexico.

Q: Zoopavaris: Hello! I'm French and I would like to know why have you chosen Paris for your live video (it's a great choice!)
A: Fergal: It was one of our bigger shows- and we really love playing France as we are so popular there.

Q: Berryone: How does Dolores feel, and any new experiences about second pregnancy?
A: Dolores: Feel great, easier this time - I don't know the sex of the child.

Q: Bernd: Could you please tell us something about the new songs?
A: Noel: We have recorded 10 songs so far and we are recording more in April and May next year.

Q: Giovanni (Italy): When will you come back to Italy again? We can't live without you! Please, return as soon as possible!
A: Dolores: Italy - amazing fans and shows, we love Italy.


Q: sebas : Are you playing new songs tomorrow?
A: Mike: Yeah, we are playing two new songs, and a cover version of Elvis Presley's "In The Ghetto".

Q: Piotr Ratajczyk: Please give us only a few titles of the new songs...We are really interested...
A: Mike: "Analyse" and "Time Is Ticking Out".

Q: Raul Revilla: All your albums have a different theme and a different style, now the new album, will it be different, or a mix of the four others?
A: Noel: it will be a mix of all the others.

Q: peppe: what will be the themes of new songs?
A: Fergal: songs vary from track to track.

Q: kris: What do you like most about playing in Ireland...?
A: Fergal: good to be at home as we always have family and friends at the gigs, the Guinness is good too.

Q: Maartje Eenhuizen: How does it feel to be a parent?
A: Dolores: I love being a parent, it's something all of people have to look forward to.

Q: Priscilla (California): where do you usually find your self-writing a song?
A: Mike: mainly we write at home and rehearse four days a week and write when we are tour we have to go on hold.


A: Fergal: we just got it recently and like what we have heard so far!

Q: voulagreece: are you going to give any of your new songs for remix to Paul Oakenfield David Morales or so?
A: Fergal: we have talked about doing a remix album at some stage in the future, it would be an interesting experience.

Q: Zoopavaris: Why don't you release Beneath The Skin in CD Audio?
A: Mike: the DVD will play on a regular CD player.

Q: What is yours favourite computer games?
A: Noel: Tetris, is our favourite but our tour manager keeps beating us!

Q: Ivana: What do you think about Eminem?
A: Fergal: I think he's a bit of a 'Play the head game' he's not as hard as he lets on he is.

Q: Gianfranco: what's the best and what's the worst memory from the last tour?
A: Mike: it was our first tour in a while so we really enjoyed it and all the shows went really fab.

Q: Walko: Is there a complete version of the Uncertain video, or it was only a few shots made and never finished?
A: Fergal: there is a complete version but it is not out on release. We may put it on our web site soon.


Q: WALKO: Dolores, what are the changes in the way you work with Stephen with this album than in the first 2 of the cranberries career?
A: Dolores: Stephen's a lot of fun and he really knows his stuff - very quick to work with, has a lovely style.

Q: Berryone: what is the difference between Cranberries 10 years ago and now?
A: Fergal: we are older and almost wiser!

Q: What do you think of the Internet and email?
A: A great way to communicate quickly especially world wide, certainly the way of the future.

Q: Bernd: Are you planning to re-release the Uncertain-EP?
A: Noel: no not at this point.

Q: Elio O ' Riordan BRAZIL: Dolores have you a plan to go to Brazil in next year? PLEASE, If you really mind about your fans, COME HERE!
A: Dolores : I'd love to come to Brazil. It'll be 2002 I'd say though.

Q: Norbert (Germany): Will the band founding their own record label after album 6 is out?
A: Mike: no we are having a greatest hits after album 6.

Q: S Mulvenna: When will the 1st single be released?
A: Fergal: autumn of 2001


Q: LIAR: why are you (Dolores) so pretty?
A: Dolores: Thanks Darling!

Q: Jeffrey: Which guitar product do you often use?
A: Mike: PRS (Paul Reed Smith) are the ones used normally.

Q: NLAA: Rammstein and The Cranberries? In the Internet we can find a rare unreleased track by Cranberries and Rammstein, is this true?
A: Fergal: no we have never heard of it!

Q: Daria: Have you ever sang a song called "Hot Dog Neddy" and another one called "Gringo"?
A: Fergal: yeah, we did in our very early days.

Q: Jeremy West: You guys HAVE to come to Toronto sometime after the new baby is born. I know this is kind of early to be asking this but do you plan on putting out another album after your most recent work is released?
A: Mike: Yes, it's half recorded already, see you next year.

Q: Ivana: Would you vote for Bush or Gore?
A: Fergal: would vote for Gore.

Q: mary ann: where is your favourite place 2 sing?
A: Mike: the shower!


Q: Oscar Sanchez: What do u think about all that singers and bands like Britney Spears and Backstreet Boys? Because I hate them, and I think they are destroying music... (I love u Dolores!)
A: Noel: You got it brother!

Q: Francesca: Is "WATER CIRCLE" the title of your first demo?
A: Fergal: yeah it was.

Q: Ashley Matt: First of all, I want to inform Dolores that she is going to be appointed as director of the choirs of angels when she gets to Heaven. Dolores, do you know if your new baby is going to be a boy or a girl?
A: Dolores: Don't know but I'd love a little girl this time.

Q: Kelsey Glennie: How did Fergal get his name? Is it traditionally Irish or a family name?
A: Fergal: it's a traditional Irish name.

Q: Des: Is this the first ever on-line interview?
A: Noel: we have done a few so far but its good to do our first one in Dublin.

Q: Walko: Did Mike sell out to Heineken or still a Guinness fan?
A: Mike: (laughs)still on the Guinness!

Q: Gabriel: Will you guys ever release a Greatest hits album? I'd really like to have your earlier work on CD.
A: Mike: it will be our 6th album.


Q: Callie King: What is your best advice to people (i.e. ME! nah, just teasing:-) on reaching your dreams and keeping it together and just things like that in general?
A: Fergal: Life is full of ups and downs so remember the ups and to hell with the downs.

Q: gillian concar: what is it like to be in a band and travelling around the world? Where in the world is your favourite place to play and visit?
A: Fergal: no favourite place, we really enjoy travelling around.

Q: ElectricBlue: Will "Beneath The Skin" be released in North America also? I HOPE!
A: Fergal: Yes, on the 2nd of Jan 2001!

Q: Misael: How many copies of "Bury The Hatchet" have been sold?
A: Fergal: last time we heard it was 5 million.

Q: ZIDEA: what's the meaning of "Bury The Hatchet's" eye?
A: Fergal: it symbolises us when we finished the third album constantly being watched!

Q: Aymie: What's your favourite song you've written over all these years?
A: Fergal: It is impossible to choose!

Q: Who is the man on the "Bury The Hatchet" cover?
A: Mike: He is a model, not sure of his name.


Q: Jorge: What others instruments do each of you play, apart from guitar, bass, piano, and drums?
A: Noel: That's it, no more!

Q: NLAA: What about Spain? I think you have a debt with all us due to the cancelled gigs...; I want to know you! you're the best!!! You're like my big brothers and sister!
A: Fergal: thanks a million we were really sad to miss the gig and will make it up to you next time!

Q: Gabriel: One more quick question: will "False" be on the new album? That is if you're allowed to say.
A: Fergal: No False won't be on the new album, it's an old song and hasn't been recorded.

Q: PEPPE: do you still like play "Zombie"?
A: Fergal: yeah, its a good live song.

Q: Petri: Will you ever play "Nothing Left At All" live?
A: Mike: Never.

Q: HarryVoula Greece: is there any possibility that the band will split? Honestly we don't even dare thinking of something like that ...
A: Noel: certainly not in the near future!

-Our thanks to e-merge

SAM: POP QUIZ (May 1, 1999)

Cranberries Dolores OíRiordan:

"Very nice. Very normal. Very real."

Thatís how the Cranberries Dolores OíRiordan describes her bands long-awaited

new album, "Bury The Hatchet". And surprisingly, even after selling 28

million records worldwide and finding herself in more tabloids than any

Irish rock star since Bono or Sinead OíConnor, "nice, normal and real" also

describes OíRiordan herself. As pop stars go, OíRiordan is the closest thing

to the girl next door.

Maybe thatís because less than ten years ago, OíRiordan was the girl next

door. In fact, OíRiordan was still a high school student when she answered a

1990 newspaper ad placed by The Cranberry Saw Us, a quirky bar band from her

hometown of Limerick Ireland. And although she once hoped to attend college,

her immediate and intense focus on the Cranberries pursuit of fame wound up

cutting her university career short. Within three years, "Linger" became an

American hit and put the Cranberries into the international registry of rock

stardom. Since then, behind OíRiordanís remarkable voice, The Cranberries have

spent much of the last seven years racking up hit after hit--translating

their political urgency and pop playfulness into both critical and
 commercial success.

Granted, life has not been just a bowl of berries. Although only 28,

OíRiordan has seen her share of the price that comes with fame: seven years

of non-stop touring, a string of serious injuries and illnesses and a case

of Internet blackmail. But while toils of international celebrity have

clearly stolen some of the innocence from the girl next door, OíRiordan says

all she needed to recover her sanity was a "trip back home"--a three-year

hiatus that ended with Bury The Hatchet, The Cranberries least political,

most focused and most altogether upbeat record.

To mark that release, OíRiordan agreed to give college one more try and take

the SAM Pop Quiz--an easy enough task for someone whoís been through so much,

so quickly and managed to stay so very, yes, "nice, normal and real."

Warning. The following is, as promised, unedited and uncensored. That means

it's sloppy, rambling, confusing and full of the type of glaring grammatical

mistakes that people make when they talk. Normally, magazine editors clean

this stuff up and cut for length and get rid of some of the naughty bits

when articles go to press. But we promised you "raw," so it's "raw" you get.

Question: Had I attended college I would have majored in: a) medicine, b)

political science, c) psychology, d) music.

Answer: (c) Psychology. It has always interested me. Psychology would have

been useful. Iíve always been really interested in the psychology of the

human being and how people think. I think at the end of the day, if you

understand psychology you can understand people better.

As for music, to be honest, I was two grades off getting a music diploma in

high school, but I hated theory. It ruined the beauty and innocence of music

and was all very bloody technical. When I joined the band I was in my final

year in school and was taking the exam that determines if you get into

college or university. It was that year that quit piano and ran away from

home and joined a band.

My parents were distressed by my: a) high school hooky, b) my lack of

interest in college, c) my hanging out with musicians, d) all of the above

Answer: (d) I had the worst attendance record my school had ever seen. I

remember, one year I ditched a whole term, three months out of the year. My

friend was the prefect- it was her job to take my name and say I was in

school. It was this system, where you prefect- a roll call- and I got her to

say I was there when I wasnít. They must be onto that system now, but it

worked then. Of course, I really started failing exams around the same time

too. Skipping school and hanging with the band kind of signaled the end of

my education.

I chose rock stardom over school because: a) clubs are more fun than

libraries, b) I was naive enough to believe rock stardom would be easier, c)

I figured I could always go back to school later, d) none of the above.

Answer: (a) A bit of a) and thatís about it, really. I just thought it was

the more exciting life. Music just seemed real natural. From the time I was

5 years old, all I wanted to be was in a band. I wanted to be Elvis Presley.

As a child, he was really a rock star, doing things people didnít do. At the

same time, I had the chance to be a piano teacher, but I really wanted to do

the rock and roll thing.

Fame at 20 is: a) a great way to avoid a desk job, b) more work and less fun

than anybody imagines, c) really tough to adjust to, d) better than being

anonymous at 20.

Answer: (c) Its really tough and what we did was just keep working all the

time, so we never really adjusted to it until about two years ago. Thatís

when we all kind of went insane and paranoid. It was healthy to take a break

though because we started hating being in the band. It got to the point

where we said "Why are we doing this? We have no friends. We have no social

life. Were lonely. We miss our lovers. Weíve lived in bus for seven years and

all our friends are having fun at home." We needed a career break. And now

that weíve taken it, the sense of magic is back. It's much more fun being in

the band now. Thereís a challenge now and when it got to the point where

there was no challenge it stopped being fun.

The most important pre-millennial music figure in my life has been: a) Kurt

Cobain, b) John Lennon, c) Elvis Presley, d) none of the above.

Answer: (c) John Lennon was a very spiritual man who also didnít give a toss

what anyone told him, so that was important. But Elvis was a star, the

glitter-god. He was the rebel and no matter what he sang, he sang it with

passion. Even now, when I watch the old performance videos--as bad as the

quality is--they make you want to see him live. He had passion like nobody

else and a beautiful voice. Everyone takes the piss out of him now, but I

donít remember the late period Elvis. When I was a little girl, my mom only

played the younger stuff. She was in young with young Elvis. I used to ask

her, "Is there any man in the world you love outside of Dad?" And shed say,

"Well, of course thereís Elvis." She was a great girl and a good mom, but she

had that one thing--Elvis.

I believe my countryís greatest contribution to pop culture has been: a) U2,

b) Guinness, c) Waking Ned Devine, d) Michael Flatly, Lord Of The Dance

Answer: (both a & b) Iíve spent time with both U2 and Guinness [laughs]. I

think U2 is really important for Ireland. They were the first Irish band to

get really huge. They were worldwide massive. I was into the Smiths and the

Cure but they never got that big. For young people in Ireland, U2 showed us

that we could be successful as rock stars. And they spawned a million bands

trying to be that kind of rock star. In fact, their inspiration actually has

a lot to do with why we called our first album "Everybody Else Is Doing It,

So Why Can't We?"

On the road, I get most of my news from: a) television, b) radio, c) the

Internet, d) news?ówhoís got time for news?

Answer: (a) Iíve spent way too much time in hotels watching CNN. And when it

becomes a source of writing like it did, thatís when its miserable, and thatís

when you have to take a career break and head back to find yourself a life

again. Otherwise, youíre just writing global issue crap and stop being the

person you were when you started the band. Watching CNN does not generate

normal songs for normal people.

My lyrical bent towards politics is: a) generally misunderstood, b) the only

responsible way to use my fame. c) better than writing about sex, drugs and

rock n roll, d) all of the above.

Answer: (a) I think people think were a

political band, I guess because "Zombie" was such a hit all over the world.

But were not political, were just emotional humanitarian people. We write

about human things and sometimes it might tie into politics, but I donít give

a toss who rules what country at the end of the day as long as nobody is

getting hurt. Besides, from where were standing you can get on the soapbox

all too easily. Some people that get successful and famous think they should

hang out with politicians and leaders and go for pints with them. And the

politicians Iíve met I wouldnít want to sit down and hang around with. Theyíre

really a different kind of people. Theyíre no fun.

If I were eighteen years old again, Id be: a) more cynical, b) following

exactly the same path, c) working on a college degree, d) outside the

student union protesting one thing or another.

Answer: (b) Id probably do what I did again. I have no regrets. Iíve had some

really bad experiences and done some stupid things. But the crap you take in

your life, in bad relationships or whatever, are part of growing up and part

of becoming the person you are. And I think if you toss away some of the

tougher experiences you wouldnít be as informed as you are today. Not to want

to follow the same path could be just as dangerous.

The most surreal and disturbing side effect of my rock stardom has been: a)

the internet blackmail incident, b) the knicker incident, c) the consistent

press focus on how I look over how I feel, d) the press attention my family

has received, e) all of the above.

Answer: (e) We just had some crazy journalist come to Ireland to interview

me and instead, he went to my dads house. My dad is really quite innocent,

so he invited him in and this guy takes pictures of the inside of his house.

It was all unannounced and not cool at all. My dadís 60 and a nice Irish

country man, he must have assumed this guy was nice and invited him in for

tea. My dad doesnít really take much notice of what I do. He knows Iím a big

pop star, but Iím still just his daughter. Its kind of lousy that some people

donít respect that. You may be a big pop star, but your ma and pa are

different people that should be left out. In some ways thatís part of the

job, but Iíve done really good with my child. If a photographer comes near my

son Iím definitely going to break the camera over their head. Its not fair to

take try and take pictures of babies. Children should be left to themselves

until they can make decisions and decide what they want to be.

I wish I knew less about: a) The Spice Girls, b) war (the political

conflict, not the 70s funk band), c) hair and make-up, d) Oasis.

Answer: (a) You cant help but hear about them if you live over here. You

turn on the television and there they are. The loud English girl thing is

grating. They seem like a bunch of little kiddies, but theyíre grown-up and

famous. Theyíre quite funny at times, but its not really music. It all sounds

like Christmas songs or something, with 20 layers of vocals and videos with

air blowing and big-boobed girls. Its all so manufactured. At the same time,

its nice for them to get a break in life. Just because I think what the

music is and what the Spice Girls are is crap, doesnít mean they cant be nice

people as individuals.

You can call the Cranberries anything but: a) dreamy, b) chick rock, c)

disposable, d) whirling.

Answer: (c) To be honest, I think "Linger" is such a beautiful song that it

could have been a beautiful song twenty years ago. Its not really

disposable, fashionable music. It seems like the kind of song that will

always be around. And while a song like "Zombie" has a lot of vibe going

along too, its more kind of Nineties. I think that our music can cut through

fads and fashion. And I think we used to whirl a bit more as teenagers. We

stomp now. Whirling is a nice way to start--whirling and gliding until you

figure out your own sound and get a little more naughty and aggressive. Its

really hard sometimes to play those whirling songs. In rehearsal I sometimes

start to fall asleep. But the truth is, while we may have whirled eight

years ago there were also same strange meds in the venues in those days. The

room was whirling for a lot of people...

The Cranberries are: a) a disfunctional family, b) in need of another woman

member, c) a constantly changing beast, d) one person short of a great

basketball team.

Answer: (e) None of the above. We can be disfunctional when we work too

hard. And were kind of like a family but its kind of different than the

normal family. What we do is like a job and we all have our own families,

wives, and husbands but at the end of the day the four of us definitely love

the band.

Its part of our lives. You have to have your band and your family too. A few

years ago we started spending more time with each other than our families

and it all started to fall apart. We all loved each other but it was like,

"Hey man, youíre as cool as a breeze, but Jesus, I wish I knew what was going

on in your head." It had been months since we sat down and talked like

normal people. Every time we met we were on camera or on-stage and we

started to feel like we didnít know each other that well. And it took us a

while to realize we werenít having fun because nobody wanted to say it. But

once we talked we realized we all needed a little time at home, away from

the crowds, away from the stage. Its much more fun being in the band now.

And the irony now is that when youíre on-stage every day you miss being home

writing songs about the local pub, its the simple things you miss. Then

again, this is the first time weíve been famous and you can only learn from


My history of show-stopping injuries and illnesses has made me: a) take

better care of my body, b) realize Iíve often pushed myself too hard, c)

reconsider my occupation, d) a hypochondriac.

Answer: (both b & d). Since I had the baby its really different. Suddenly

you realize you have a beautiful body thatís good for something. After

breast-feeding I discovered what those things hanging from me were. I was

never into that whole boob/female thing. After living in a bus with men for

seven years, you get to a point where you wish you were a boy. Iíve always

been into men and found them gorgeous and attractive, but it had also seemed

more attractive to be male to me. Then when I had my baby I changed my mind.

A man can never experience the things I have recently. And its made me

grateful for my body and looking after my health, because at the end of the

day you have a child to look after. I also think Iím very psychosomatic. At

the end of the last tour, I hadnít slept for three months. Id get into bed

and worry about the next night. I was working too hard and got completely

wound up too easily. Thatís not healthy so Iím going to take it much easier

now. Life is too short to spend working.



A new baby seems to have brought the Cranberries some much-needed joie de vivre. Their new record bursts with a celebration of life. Dolores O'Riordan and Fergal Lawler talk about all the factors that led to making Wake Up and Smell the Coffee.




Don't ask the Cranberries' Dolores O'Riordan about her nervous breakdown or what it's like to be a 29-year-old siren with four multi-platinum albums to her credit. What she really wants to talk about is her new baby - and the Irish quartet's post-natal new disc, Wake Up and Smell the Coffee. Dolores and drummer Fergal Lawler sat down with's Jon Weiderhorn to explain how their quest for success nearly drove them crazy, and how raising their families resulted in this very young band's most carefree album yet. Here are their thoughts on pressure and pleasure.

VH1: Wake up and smell the coffee is a warning of sorts. Did you have a revelation? What's there that wasn't there before?

Fergal Lawler: A realization that life isn't all about work, work, work. Life is to be enjoyed. You've only got one chance, and it's too late when you're 60 or 70 and you turn around and say, "I should've done this, or I should've done that." Follow your heart.

VH1: You were work-obsessed. Was there some straw that broke the camel's back, when you said, "Wow, this is out of hand. I don't have a life."

Fergal: It was in the States, a couple of weeks into the American tour. The four of us sat down backstage and asked each other how we were feeling. Everyone agreed that it was not fun anymore.

Dolores: You can even tell by the songwriting the direction that the mentality was going in. On [1996's] To the Faithful Departed, I suddenly realized that a lot of people had died, and I hadn't even been to their funerals. My grandmother died and I didn't go to her funeral because I was on tour. It was a really sad tour. All the songs were so sad. A lot of the audience related to that particular album because they had lost loved ones in their lives, too, but it was depressing. We all just cracked up in the middle of that tour.

VH1: There were reports in the press of exhaustion, cancelled gigs. Did you have a collapse of some sort?

Dolores: I had a breakdown and I had to see a psychiatrist. When you've signed contracts to do massive tours that are sold out months in advance, a lot of money is at stake. It's made very obvious that the money is very important to many people around the world. They have worked very hard to get ready for the show, tickets go out, and the whole world is pumped. That's an extra pressure. You're feeling really sick, but thinking, 'There's millions at stake. If I cancel this tour, it's going to cost these people all this money.' You're stuck in the middle of it all, trying to go along with it. But physically, you're drained. I was so thin. I was like ninety pounds, a nervous wreck. There was a lot of speculation ... she's very thin; she has anorexia. I was going, 'No, no, no, I'm just depressed. I want to go home. Please, please, please, let me out of the public eye, no more cameras. Let me get out of here.' People were saying, 'You're fine. Just get up there and sing now.' It was a weird time. There are lots of people that don't really care about you. So I went off with my husband to this tiny Caribbean island with just one shop.

VH1: It must have worked. This sounds like it was an enjoyable record to make.

Fergal: Very much so. Everyone was really relaxed. We recorded eight or nine songs in the first segment, while Dolores was pregnant. They're the softer ones I'd say. We took some time off while she had her daughter. Then we went back into the studio in April and did the heavier stuff.

VH1: It's funny you did the louder songs after you had your baby. Did you have to let off some steam after the baby kept you up all night?

Dolores: I couldn't really sing rock songs because it was quite a big little lump in there. To use your stomach muscle is really hard when you've got a baby sitting there. I don't want the poor child to be thinking, What was my mother doing rocking around the place? But they do feel rhythm and stuff like that.

VH1: It shows on the album. There's a greater distinction this time between the gentle ethereal songs and when you guys rock out.

Dolores: When you're pregnant there's an inner peace that you have. You're preoccupied with these things that are happening in you. My husband would say something to me and I'd be like 'Huh?' We're with the fairies because you're in heaven most of the time, you know? That's a certain thing you capture in your voice, in your spirit, that you're kind of a bit in heaven. It's a very big high really.

VH1: The first single "Analyze" seems to be saying, "If you dig into things, you ruin them.' Do you think in the past you've overanalyzed situations?

Dolores: I did definitely. I found my first pregnancy was definitely harder than my second 'cause I started analyzing what I should and shouldn't be doing. It's like your first relationship. You're paranoid, but when you stop analyzing things and just follow your heart, you really enjoy everything more. It's something you learn with a little bit of experience. I'm glad that I've come to that conclusion now, because it means that I've started to enjoy life like I've never done before.

VH1: What are some of the little things that you enjoy more about life?

Dolores: Things like just going out and lying in grass and looking at clouds, and making shapes out of the clouds in my head. I know it sounds terrible, but in [Wake Up and Smell the Coffee's] "Never Grow Old," the lyric, "Birds In the sky/ They look so high" is from a personal experience. I was walking along a countryside road with my children in a pram. My little girl was asleep and my son was holding on. I was looking at them, and I was thinking, 'God, this moment's perfect. I hope it never goes.' As I was looking at my kids I had a flash, and I became my mother and my daughter became me. I suddenly thought, 'Jeez, I'm moving a generation here... aah.' I got scared. It was like, 'I'm not a child anymore.' But as I was thinking about my childhood, I remember that when I was in the pram I used to look up. I started looking up at the sky and the birds were flying around. I thought, 'Those birds look really high.' They just perch somewhere, have a little bit of a crap, fly off, perch somewhere else and eat a worm, so carefree. I thought, 'Birds have a great life. There's no stress.' Sometimes when I'm feeling stressed, I look at birds. It helps. My children opened the doors and took me back into my childhood for a few minutes, and that's a great thing. So many adults are always trying to return to that beautiful naivety and that freedom. It's almost an out-of-this-world kind of experience, where you'll have a flash from your childhood.

VH1: Are you only as old as you feel?

Dolores: I'm going to be 30 this year, so it's funny. When I was 20, I felt 30. Now that I'm 30, I feel 20. In the early days when we were working, I always felt like an older person. Now I feel younger. It all paid off, because I can really relax and enjoy things now. I'm 29 years old and I have two kids already. I've been married seven years. For me now, it's like I have started my family. I'm well on the way, so I can really enjoy it. I guess it was all meant to happen.



Interview from Irish magazine Hot Press (

Vol.24, No. 07, 26th April 2000

Up Close And Personal

After years when her triumphs were in danger of being masked by her tribulations, DOLORES O'RIORDAN is back in defiantly upbeat form.
She talks to STUART CLARK about confidence, critics, Calvin Klein and her "confirmation-size breasts"!

YOU THINK I'm going to talk to you now, you bastard? You were supposed to be here at 12 o'clock. TWELVE-O-FUCKING-CLOCK! Now sod off or I'll set the dogs on you!"

Dolores O'Riordan says none of these things as myself and H.P. sharpshooter Mick Quinn arrive 45 minutes late for our tęte-Š-tęte with the Cranberries frontperson. The one thing they neglect to teach you at journalism college is how to overtake tractors ≠ the Clarkmobile's arrival in Kilmallock was delayed by a particularly slothful Massey Ferguson.

Obviously confusing Hot Press with Hello!, Dolores has invited us in to her beautiful County Limerick home, a palatial abode which befits her status as one of Ireland's richest women. There's no sign of her full-time security team, although it's possible that the three old fellas tending her herbaceous border have Special Services training.

Not being a fan of the new rock Puritanism ≠ I'm talking about you, Thom Yorke ≠ I'm pleased to report that chez O'Riordan is a shrine to loadsamoney self-indulgence. After pausing to admire the stained-glass window, which has the lyrics to 'Zombie' inscribed on it, we're ushered into the gaff's very own Jungle Room.

I'm not sure what I'm most impressed with ≠ the full-size Wild West bar or the saddle-stools lined-up in front of it. To the right of that are a giant sofa, a snoozing bearskin and the biggest fuck off telly you've ever seen.

As for Dolly herself, there's no sign of the edginess which a few years ago made interviewing her such a minefield. Having ditched the peroxide in favour of a more natural reddy-brown do, she doesn't look a whole lot different to the girl I first met a decade ago in a Shannonside hostelry of ill-repute. Except for her t-shirt, that is. The teenage O'Riordan would never have worn a top with the legend "psychobitch" emblazoned across it.

Taking care of bartending duties is her Canadian husband, Don. Looking slightly offended when we decline a snorter of the bourbon he's imported from back home, he does the honours with the Diet Cokes and talks enthusiastically about the Japanese steak house that him and the missus are opening in D4. Further evidence of the O' Riordan-Burtons' penchant for good grub is provided by the Italian pizza oven plonked in the yard.

Asked later if Don is the Cranberries' Yoko Ono, drummer Fergal Lawler laughs so hard he almost falls off his saddle. "It might seem like that from the outside but, nah, he's never got in the way of our relationship," Lawler says, once he's regained his composure. "In fact, he's really helped with the business side of things."

Which, contrary to what you might have read elsewhere, is booming. Despite a relatively poor showing in the States, the band's current album, Bury The Hatchet, has just sold its five millionth copy. Gigs in Europe and South America are still deemed intimate if there's less than 20,000 people there, and it didn't take long for Calvin Klein to come knocking when he needed an instantly recognisable face for his ad campaign.

STUART CLARK: Did you enjoy your first taste of being a fashion model?

Dolores O'Riordan: I got loads of free jeans and some cash as well, so it was great. If it had been for something more girlie I'd probably have said "no", but that denim and black eye look is what I'm into myself. The fact that Moby and Macy Gray were the other people doing it shows that, in the States anyway, we're still thought of as being "alternative". To be honest, I wouldn't have got the gig if they were looking for a mainstream babe. I haven't got the legs or the boobs.

Were there big bucks involved?

I'd say it's pretty big for models, but most of the artists get about Ł20,000 to do it.

After that, I was expecting you to be the first to volunteer for catwalk duties at the Point.

(laughs) I'd probably have done a Naomi Campbell and fallen on my arse! I know Ann and Ally (Hewson) quite well as girls, and they persuaded me to come along and present one of the designer awards. I don't usually go to stuff like that in this country, but why not? The fashion world's the same as the rock 'n' roll world. You've got your really sound down-to-earth people and the pretentious assholes who you try to avoid.

I went back to The Clarence afterwards, which was great 'cos I was able to gawp at all the really big stars. I stayed there for about an hour and then, realising I was getting obliviously drunk, slipped out. My fear in those situations is that I'm going to end up dancing on a table and giving somebody a headbutt.

Didn't you do something along those lines once in Limerick?

That was a hormonal thing. I'd just stopped breast-feeding, so I was in a weird kind of a mood and not able to hold my alcohol. I don't know if you're aware of this, but after having a baby, women go through a period when they feel really insecure. You go out for the first time, there's this gut of leather hanging off you, and you don't take too kindly to other women giving your man the eye. There was a bit of a scene, but nothing serious.

Do you recognise yourself from the descriptions of you in the paper?

Five or six years ago, I was way too serious. Somebody would ask a question that was, maybe, a bit too personal, and rather than laughing it off, I let it get to me. Now, I'll either answer it straight, make a joke out of it and change the subject, or tell you ever so politely to fuck off! I'm not afraid to let my sense of humour come out or, if needs be, be assertive.

What's the daftest thing that you've read about yourself?

I don't know, really. Sometimes people say "she's a bitch to work with", which I can be when it comes to being on stage. It may be somebody else's fault, but I'm the one who's left looking like a plonker in front of thousands of people. All of my crew know that I'm really, really sound as a person, but if my guitar's out of tune or the monitor's not working, I'm going to blow a gasket. That's just because I'm meticulous about my job. I don't think I'd have gotten this far in life without being that way.

Being branded a bitch is one thing, but didn't you have to take an injunction against a foreign journalist who was dishing some serious dirt?

We went to court and it was proven that the story was made up. When that happened, the paparazzi guy who'd supplied it started to blackmail (us), so we had to get a lawyer on him.

There was also a German you had to take legal action against.

The guy on the Internet? I wouldn't go into that 'cos he was arrested and everything. I don't know how psychologically balanced or unbalanced he was.

I imagine, with a young son, that you're very concerned about security.

Yeah, I am. I mean, God, look out there at all those cameras and infra-red lights. We have full-time security which is essential when you're living this far out in the country. I've had people come up to the front gate and sleep outside, which isn't what you want. They'll ring the buzzer and I'll go, "Sorry, she's in Indonesia". Not that I'm a prisoner, though. If it ever got to the stage where I couldn't go out and do what I wanted, I'd knock it on the head. Band over.

Have you been following the Angela's Ashes debate?

I didn't read it myself, but from what Ferg (Lawler) was telling me, it sounds pretty accurate. God, there were seven kids in my family, and four of us in one bed for a long time. We used to have a big saucepan of potatoes ≠ 30 or 40 of 'em ≠ on the range and eat pig's head, tails and trotters. When you're hungry and a kid, that's grand.

I know as well that there was a lot of drinking and stuff. Fathers went out and drank because there was no money and they needed a release and dah, di, dah. I mean, how can people say that the author's lying when they haven't been through his experience? Everybody has demons in their closets, but it's from these demons that we learn and become better people. There was certainly poverty around in Limerick, but at the same time I had a lot of spirituality which made up for it.

Do you still consider yourself to be a spiritual person?

I could if I had to be, but I've got a lot of toys now! I love boats and I love motorbikes. The biker culture ≠ like rock 'n' roll ≠ is something that's misunderstood. Harleys, which are my dream bike, are a bit too heavy for me, so I normally stick to four-wheelers.

It doesn't sound like you've got much in common with Meg Matthews.

A new Gucci bag? Nah, get me some more machines! I wouldn't really be into clothes and make-up, except for when we're going on tour and I can't just throw on a pair of jeans. Calvin Klein jeans, that is!

Is the upcoming Dublin show a chance to ever so regally wave two fingers at your critics?

There's no agenda apart from wanting to play the best gig possible. It's not going to stick out in my head and be different to Mexico or Malaysia. I'll pick out my clothes, have my massage, do my yoga, meditate and then go out there and kick ass. I've proved anything I've needed to by selling 22 million albums. I'm 28 years of age ≠ I've got a beautiful husband and a beautiful child. It's natural to want to be liked, but if somebody thinks that I'm shit, I'm not going to loose any sleep over it.

It has got pretty personal, though.

There have been a few times when I've had to remind myself that I'm not a murderer or, worse still, a politician. You don't know these people, yet there they are saying they hate you. If you're strong ≠ like I feel now ≠ it's water off a duck's back. If you're in any way vulnerable, though, watch out.

You said the last time we met that you'd suffered something akin to a breakdown. Looking back now, can you understand what brought it about?

I think what happens is that through a combination of working too hard, and constantly being in the public eye, you start becoming paranoid. You can't see the good things because of all the bad things that are in the way, which is a textbook definition of depression. Everything's sad and bad, which of course comes across in your interviews. If I'd read me five or six years ago, I'd have thought I was a right miserable cow! Having taken the prolonged career break that we did, I realised that there are far more nice people than there are bad asses. It's difficult to explain without sounding all clichťd, but it really is a case of coming out of the tunnel and being dazzled by the light.

Just how fucked-up were you?

I'd accomplished all these record sales which, yeah, made me feel incredibly proud, but I didn't have a home or a car or anything I could really call my own. I was afraid to come back to Ireland. I hadn't come back for years, and when I did I'd be freaked out and hiding under a hat. Basically, I was scared of my crap.

Ireland is a small country, which when the Cranberries started was still very Catholic and judgmental. I feel much more comfortable now that the Celtic Tiger's kicked in and things have become more liberal. Eight years ago it was, "Oh my God, she said that!", whereas now no-one gives a damn. Being in a business where drug-taking is almost mandatory, did you ever turn to chemicals for solace?

No, I just never wanted to be that out of control. I've seen my friends doing mushrooms and they'd be like, "God, your head's gone all furry!" It seems a lot of fun, but with my stomach I'd probably puke. In America, especially, it's harder not to take drugs. The more I was encouraged to try 'em, the more I thought, "No, I'm not going to give in to peer pressure." If I'd wanted to take drugs I would have, but I didn't.

Would you fire a crew member if you knew they were popping pills?

No. They can do what they like as long as they function on stage.

How's your new 'month on, month off' regime working out?

Brilliant. We're flying to Puerto Rico tomorrow to do a show, and I'm really looking forward to it 'cos I know that, in a few weeks time, I'll be back home with my friends and family again. The gigs are better because we're not on such a treadmill and permanently knackered.

Is rock 'n' roll life enough for you, or do you have ambitions outside of music?

Don't laugh, but I'm totally into trees. We're going to set about eight acres 'cos I think everyone should give what they can back to the environment. We're also opening a Benehana here ≠ that's a Japanese restaurant where the chef cooks your food in front of you. We've just got the building in Dublin, so that should be open next year. It's something that Don, myself and the lads are doing together ≠ partly for a giggle and partly as an investment.

After your night of debauchery in The Clarence, have you thought about opening your own hotel?

Actually, I have. Not here but in somewhere like the South of France. The other thing I'm big into is new beauty treatments and therapies for women. There's a huge need nowadays for stress relief, so I'd love to open a place which would do everything from massage and reflexology to yoga and natural organic highs.

I guess, being into the natural side of things, you'd never consider getting a boob job. Are you saying that my tits are small?

(acutely embarrassed) What I meant is that you'd be opposed to cosmetic surgery.

I think I speak for all women who have small breasts when I say that we can be beautiful too, without getting a big pair of soccer balls hanging off us. Certain men find us attractive. I'm not insecure about the fact that I've confirmation-size breasts. It's part of me, and I'd feel very strange with a pair of soccer balls. Having answered that, I insist you ask the lads if they've considered getting their penises enlarged.

I'll make a note of it. Before you have me escorted off the premises, a few quick questions.

Do you still get trolleyed from time to time?

Yes. Last Friday I did an all-nighter. I began consuming alcohol at approximately eight o'clock and was still standing ≠ well, slouching ≠ at 9 a.m. on Saturday morning. I don't think going on a bender once in a while does you any harm. Except for the hangover, that is. They definitely get worse as you get older.

The best film you've seen recently?

The General's Daughter.

Where did you usher in the new millennium?

At home. We fired the pizza oven up, opened a few bottles of Cristel and had a party.

Were champagne corks popped when you heard that Westlife had scored their fifth number one?


Would you regard them as being even more insidious than Boyzone?


Do you still think that The Corrs are evil personified?

I've nothing against them, but to me their music's boring. It's kind of squeaky clean. There's not a hair out of place, the lipliner's perfect and they've always got high-heels on to make them look longer and thinner. They're very pretty girls and I totally appreciate that other people love them. Guys especially. I was at the party in Dublin and it was like (does very convincing canine impersonation) puppies panting all around them.

When are you going solo?

(laughs) Wasn't I supposed to have done that five years ago? Nah, no plans whatsoever.



In an interview from the forthcoming Cranberries edition of the Hot Press Collectors' Series , Dolores relates the somewhat shocking news that she will be recording her first solo album, because, she says, "the boys need some freedom for a while."

"I'm definitely going to mess around now after the Greatest Hits," she says. "I'm not going to go back and do another Cranberries album. I need to do a different project completely, and the boys need some freedom for a while."

Indeed, Dolores stresses that the solo project will be much unlike anything The Cranberries have done before, which is why she plans to do it without "the boys." Dolores plans to incorporate a mixture of ethnic sounds into the project as well. "Istanbul blew me away! At 5.00am the music from the Mosques, the chanting awoke me. It was so gorgeous, it sounded a little scary at moments and at other moments very reassuring. It was like something from another dimension. I'd love to go back there on vacation and go and visit the Mosques. I believe it would really be inspiring," she wrote only days ago on the band's Official Site. "I'd like to do a little bit more work in the studio," she told Hot Press, "or a little bit more flying out to places like Turkey or Africa and recording some different ethnic things and bringing it back for inspiration."

The Cranberries chanteuse also hinted at the possibility of working with the eclectic producer Brian Eno sometime in the future. "It would be [a possibility], yeah. The reason we didn't at the time was because Brian likes to experiment in the studio, he likes to go in with pretty much nothing and just write in there. And we were like, 'Aw, but sure we've everything written!'" 

(The interview is taken from Zombieguide)


According to an interview with Cranberries bassist Mike Hogan that appeared in Tuesday's edition of the Mexican newspaper El Universal, The Cranberries are on tap to open for the classic rockers The Rolling Stones sometime next year.

"We have the same company that schedules our tours, so they proposed it to us to be part of it and of course we accepted, although it'll only be five or six dates in Europe," Mike told the paper while in Treviso, Italy earlier this month.

The gigs are likely to come in early summer, as Fergal Lawler wrote on the Official Website last month, "We will be doing some shows with some other artists in June and July to wrap up a great 2 years on the road."

When asked if The Cranberries had any plans to release a full live album anytime soon, Mike said that no such plans were on the drawing board. "I don't believe we'll do one, although it's only been a few days since we released a DVD with a live show that we recorded in Paris, France."

Mike also went on to talk about the importance of his family life and how it fits in with the band. "Having a family makes things easier and we have more fun because you can go home and take your time with your family. In addition, it lets us do new things in our music, [it makes it] more happy and optimistic. It's been a big influence."



Berried treasure

The biggest Irish rock band since U2 are celebrating the 10th anniversary of their debut album with a global tour. The Cranberries, still friends, still three lads and a lass from Limerick, have sold over 38 million albums. But next year they're taking time out. Barry Egan met up with them in Milan.

THE disguise works a treat. No one recognizes her. Not even the security guard who block the superstar's path to her own show. There are no stampy-feet hissy-fits. She manages a laugh until one of the tattooed brick-shithouses on patrol comes to his senses.

He realises that the elfin figure in the shades with the baseball cap pulled down over her face is actually Dolores O'Riordan -- one of the reasons why 20,000 people are queuing up outside a giant venue in Milan tonight as the pouring rain rolls off the Alps.

O'Riordan was bored hanging around the drab hotel in the italian city and walked up to the venue on her own. She wanted instead the sanctuary of her own dressing room, a world of scented candles, sumptuous cushions and coming colours. It is in here that Dolores disappears.

Before a show she has a routine of Reiki, a massage and yoga. However, beneath all that Eastern calm, Dolores is desperately missing her two children. She's chartering a private jet to be home for her son Taylor's birthday on Saturday. Thirty thousand euros. Worth every cent. Giant balloons are being inflated and clowns hired. [Editor's note: We hope Mickey the Clown is not among those invited.

"He'll never be five again. I don't care about the money," she says. "I'm a mother more than I'm a rock star."

After the birthday bash in Kilmallock, her home in Co Limerick, Dolores is due to fly back to Italy the following day for a show in Trevisio, then move on to Strasbourg, Brussels, Amsterdam, Glasgow and London. In the past 48 months, the band have performed in 30 countries around the world. It is non-stop. Or at least it was.

Come January, the Cranberries are taking a year off. O'Riordan is taking some long-overdue time out. Being on tour for long periods, she misses Taylor and baby daughter Molly like crazy.

"We were asked to go to Asia in January but I couldn't," she says before the show. "You miss them growing up. You'll never have that back."

The year 2003 is Dolores O'Riordan's year for being mammy again. She also has plans to take acting lessons and maybe do a movie if the right part comes along. "But then maybe I'd be f**king crap!" she laughs. (She was offered a part in Titanic but turned that down flatly -- and the offer to write some music for the film.)

She would also like to record -- at home- an album of left-of-centre songs. She played a snatch of just such a number behind the big white piano at soundcheck earlier in the day: it is ethereal, surreal, sad, beautiful and trance-like. And decidedly unlike anything we've ever heard Dolores play before.

"We were in school when the Cranberries took off, so that's all we've ever known," she says later. "We've never really fully experimented and tried different things."

Meanwhile, guitarist Noel Hogan is running the London marathon in April next year. (He runs 15 miles every second day.)

"And I..." begins his brother, Cranberries bassist Mike, "...I'm going to have another sex change next year."

"I can just imagine you in a wig and women's underwear!" says drummer Fergal Lawler.

Dolores doesn't have to imagine. She can recall the early days of the Cranberries when the brothers Hogan would break into her room, liberally applying her make-up before helping themselves to their singer's undergarments.

Like two gaelic Danny La Rues, Noel and Mike would then appear on the tourbus imitating the two girls, young Dolores and her good friend Brefni. "They used to bust my bras and knickers all the time!" Dolores remembers as Mike and Noel look on horrified that their secret's finally out. There I was minding my own business when suddenly the two of them would run down the bus in my underwear and plastered in lipstick.

Another night, after traveling up in the back of a bread van from Limerick for a Dublin show, Dolores and the band, desperate for digs, stayed in accommodation in Mountjoy Prison. (Relax: Dolores's brother works there.) Apparently the brothers Hogan found loads of women's clothes in the hot-press in the 'Joy and once again dressed up to take the mickey out of their young singer.

They can all laugh about it now, the days of having nothing. They can remember the early days when Dolores was dating ("nothing serious") Liam O Maonlai of the Hothouse Flowers, and the times the unknown Limerick band played the support slots to the then hugely popular Dublin band. Starving, the male members of the Cranberries would pester Dolores into getting food from her boyfriend's band's dressing room.

"The Hothouse Flowers have very nice cheese," Mike, Noel, and Fergal would say. "Get us some!"

"Leave me alone!" she would reply. "I'm not scoring cheese off my boyfriend for you!"

"We were the bummer opening act," Fergal remembers now. "We had nothing. No food. No drink. No prospects. And no cheese!"

Ten years on, dairy products are no problem for the biggest rock band to come out of Ireland since U2. (Their opulent, cheese-filled dressing room is a testament to this.) The Cranberries, still friends, have sold over 38 million albums. They are known right around the globe.

Closer than ever, their trust, loyalty and friendship remain incalculable. They also have a shared, out-of-kilter sense of humour of people who have spent years living in each other's pockets.

Dolores tends to begin anecdotes with a[n] anxiety-inducing "He'll kill me for this," before dredging up the time Fergal drank a bottle of local tequila in Mexico in 1997, complete with the worm inside the bottle and some ants' eggs, before "throwing up for hours."

Unfortunately for the Cranberries, the next morning they were brought like visiting dignitaries to see a local attraction. Somewhat the worse for tequila and wine, a day in the baking hot sun was not what their fragile Limerick systems needed.

"Our throats were like someone had poohed in them," says Dolores. "We were all dying of hangovers. This religious Indian guy, who took peyote every day, kept trying to get us to chant, but all we wanted was water. He gave us names. I was Snake."

Another night, after a binge in an English country pub, the band were cycling back to their posh hotel when Dolores's husband Don fell off and lay prostrate on the ground. Once she got him back to the hotel, Dolores, in search of some life-giving elixir, slipped her tiny hand in behind the locked bar downstairs and managed to turn the key. Drinks for everyone.

"You have to be a bit naughty sometimes," she says. "One of the great things is, it's still fun being in the Cranberries. And if it stops being fun, you should stop doing it. It would ruin it. Because we've been there before, when we almost became a commodity. We were like four basket cases freaking out of our heads all the time. "How many panic attacks have you had today?"

Panic attacks are very much a thing of the past. They are now celebrating the 10th anniversary of the release of their debut album, Everybody Else is Doing It, So Why Can't We?

It all started in May 1990: a[n] 18-year-old Dolores Mary O'Riordan turned up at the Hogan's house with a keyboard under her arm to sing Linger. Within three years, the Cranberries had achieved staggering success in America and the UK. The massive stardom hasn't overpowered Dolores to the extent that she has withdrawn from public life. You still occasionally see her around the clubs of Limerick.

"We don't think of ourselves as stars," she says. But they are. Bigger than a thousand Pop Idols put together.

Growing up in Limerick, and still living there, has stopped the band from ever getting big heads, says Fergal. "Irish people slap you down if you start getting too big for your boots," he laughs.

The path to fame is not always an easy one. Those whom the gods wish to destroy are granted fame and fortune at a dangerously early age, they say. And the Cranberries were but babies. They survived where others before them perished. "When you become famous very young -- when you become a millionaire almost overnight -- people expect you to be screwed up," Dolores says. "So it makes you more determined to keep your life together. It makes you more determined to make the simple things in life right."


"Like a good marriage," she says. "Having children. Being a good parent." Keep your marriage together. Staying loyal, and seeing the big picture. And not getting caught up with the small, quick temptation, or whatever."

Dolores and Don Burton, Duran Duran's former tour manager, were married in 1994 in Holy Cross Abbey outside Tipperary. (Noel's wife is Catherine, his brother Mike is married to Siobhan and Fergal's wife is Laurie.) They seem blissfully happy together. Tonight in Milan, Don buzzes adoringly around her all evening. She dotes on him in return, hugging and kissing him at every opportunity.

On the tourbus later, she recounts affectionately how her husband is like an animal in bed. Snores like an animal, that is. To illustrate her point, Dolores reaches over and demonstrates how she holds his nose, but even that doesn't stop him, it seems. When he finally stops, baby Molly will invariably wake up in the other room.

Earlier, while Dolores held 20,000 Italians in thrall for two hours, Don brought me up onto the side of the stage where he gushed with the praise of the truly in love: "That's my wife! And she's the greatest singer in the world!"

From the reaction of the crowd to Dolores's vocal dynamics on Dreams, Linger and Zombie, there are plenty of people who agree with his assessment.

Don's relations from Canada are over for the show. While his wife gets changed for the night's main entertainment in her dressing room, Don orders pasta and steak for everyone, and, in the backstage dining area, holds court: outlining the special freedom of riding his horses bareback on their 250-acre ranch in Kilmallock (it makes the Ewings' South Fork look like an afterthought). He says proudly that their children get up on horses like sitting up on a chair.

He charms everyone. Well over six foot, with spiky blond hair, he reminds me of nobody so much as Fachtna O Ceallaigh, Sinead O'Connor's former boyfriend, about who she sang Nothing Compares 2 U. When I comment on the similarity, Don tells me about the occasion a long time ago when Sinead sat down on his knee -- platonically, of course. Until Don's future wife noticed that he was being used as an armchair and said: "Grrr!"

TONIGHT, Dolores runs around the stage like Penelope Pitstop on tequila. For other reasons, it must be exhausting being Dolores. Everybody wants you. Even the Pope. She will make a solo appearance at the Vatican's Annual Christmas Concert in Rome on December 14.

Last year, she sang for His Holiness with the Vatican Orchestra (and Westlife -- Dolores and Don's son Taylor has Westlife on the side of his lunchbox. Dolores bought it for him.)

"Don is not Catholic -- he's atheist or heathen or whatever you call it, he was never baptised -- but when he met the Pope, he was moved," O'Riordan recalls. "The Pope's presence is amazing! He is so old but is still rocking at his age. And he's bigger than the Rolling Stones!"

The Cranberries can't wait to be home for Christmas. Noel Hogan will have a double celebration. He was born on Christmas day, 1971. "My dad was pretty pissed off," he says, "because there weren't any pubs open on Christmas day in 1971 to celebrate."

Dolores will be bringing Taylor to midnight mass for the first time. "At the age of five, Taylor and kids his age start to become really aware of Christ. Thankfully, at school the heavier elements of the catechism for children have been taken out. When we were kids we learnt about burning in hell and the devil. That is gone."

None of the Cranberries are practicing Catholics but they all bring up their children in that belief system, because, says Fergal, "You should give your child some identity, and then when they're older they can choose."

Churches have a special potency for Dolores. When she was 15, she played the organ at mass in Ballybricken. The choir ranged in age from 35 to 75, she remembers. "It was like my youth club. I learnt a lot of good things -- like Latin and hymns."

At school in Laurel Hill in Limerick, Dolores used to play camogie. He legs were permanently black and blue from the wallops she got on the field but that only seemed to embolden her. She and another girl were the only two in a class of 35 who played camogie. The other 33 girls played hockey.

Dolores hated hockey. It was, she says, for posh sissies. You had to wear culottes. "I wanted to wear shorts and socks and push and shoulder and shove like the boys."

Stuff patriarchy! Give me those hurleys now!

Twentysomething years later, the same girl emerges from the dressing room at nine o'clock, a glamorous Dolce e Gabbana goddess. The crowd greets her appearance onstage like the arrival of gladiators in ancient Rome. Noel and Mike Hogan and Fergal and Dolores play like their lives depend on it.

Afterwards, beyond the security guards at the backstage door, hundreds of fans have waited patiently in the rain for a glimpse of their idols. Genuinely shy, Dolores sees the crowd and asks me whether I think she should go out or not. I tell her that they love her. Soon Dolores is shaking hands and giving autographs for the multitudes.

"Ciao, Dolores! Dolores! Brava Dolores!" they shout.

Fifteen minutes later the object of their devotion is inside her state-of-the-art tourbus, opening a bottle of wine and contemplating the nature of her existence. She knows God's existence is as impossible to prove as it is to disprove. But she knows there's something else after death. She views her life as being like river water, gushing over rocks to begin with, later flowing wider, and finally merging painlessly with the sea, losing its individuality but continuing as part of the greater whole.

On tour in Turkey in mid-November, Dolores recalls waking up at dawn to prayers being chanted from the mosques. After the concerts, the Turkish fans gave Dolores presents of decorative eyes that, they said, kept watch to keep evil away.

"I have a big collection of eyes," says the green-eyed chanteuse. "That's the great thing about traveling the world: you realise how similar a lot of religions are."

She tells me about her lucid dreaming -- crashing on planes into bunkers then waking up still on the plane. Freud wouldn't get a look in.

Dolores, who turned 31 last year [sic], says she appreciates life more than she used to. "I'm more impulsive. Instead of talking about things, I just do them. I trust my own instincts, I'm a little bit more connected with the spirit. That is one of the good things about getting older. Gravity kicks in, yeah, but there are better things than the visual."

One of Dolores's earliest memories is being about five at school in Limerick. The headmistress brought her out of the class and up into the sixth grade class where the 12-year-old girls were. She sat Dolores up on the teacher's desk and told her to sing for them. The five-year-old loved it -- singing was something she had "that could win people over."

(The interviews are taken from Zombieguide)



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