Cranberries Library and Cranberries Music Video Edits have been in contact with Noel Hogan periodically over the past year,
mostly regarding music videos and permission to post content on CranberriesLibrary.com.
It's been evident from the beginning that Hogan is a down to earth, humble and genuinely good person.
There are no traces of a typical fame seeking rockstar celebrity whatsoever.
Initially we set up a time to for a relaxed talk about music, not a formal interview.
During our conversation, some little known facts came out that I thought fans would be interested in learning.
These came from questions of a "Cranberries fan" perspective instead of a "journalist perspective".
Enjoy these little tidbits of information:
It's Hard To Remember Everything:
Hogan has recorded 9 Cranberries Albums, several EPs, a Monoband album and Architect Album and toured extensively
all over the world. In addition to the songs used on albums, several unused songs or half finished songs have been
written over the years.
That's a lot! It can also be hard to keep track of!
It comes as no surprise that sometimes fans may remember more details than the band does.
If a song hasn't been on a setlist for a long time or ever, it's sometimes forgotten about.
A recent example includes seeing a clip of the song I Really Hope and realizing he forgot the song existed,
a testament to how large The Cranberries Catalogue really is.
The Early Songs:
Many fans have wondered if studio versions of Serious, Same Old Story and the "Unknown song" exist.
Noel explained that they were part of the early setlists, but as time went on, they felt they wrote stronger songs
and those were the ones that they decided to record.
With the musical experience they have now, If Linger were written today, it would be a more musically complex song.
Noel states that the band was so young and still learning their instruments back then that the simplicity may have
added to the song's charm.
Earlier this decade, The Cranberries participated in a web chat.
A fan asked if we would ever hear the studio version of False.
Fergal responded that they released it as a b-side already, which was....well, False.
After talking today, Noel is aware that a studio version was never released and the song appears on a recording chart
presumably made by Producer Bruce Fairbairn.
The Cranberries have played several acoustic shows at radio stations over the years and did not play an acoustic version
for over 20 years. Noel stated that the band rehearsed an acoustic version of Dreams several times, but were never satisfied
with how it sounded. In fact, the band wasn't confident that the mega-hit would make it on the Something Else album.
The strings, notes Hogan, are what helped the acoustic version come together and sound complete.
Speaking of Dreams...Noel drove into his garage one day last year and noticed a box of tapes.
One tape was sticking out of the box further out than others: the tape that contained the Demo Version of Dreams and
the Pop Version of Dreams. Keen music observers may have noticed that the the music is a half step lower than the Album Version.
Did they ever change the chords to Dreams? "No," responds Hogan.
It's most likely that since the tape was so old that it played slightly slower (and lower) than normal.
Shine Down is an early song that Noel really liked.
Noel, Fergal and Mike preferred varying setlists while Dolores preferred more consistent setlists.
The Cranberries are great live performers. In the United States and other places in the world, everyone plays live and
only the untalented "artists" lip-synch or play to their album track. This is very confusing to some people when we see
this happen with The Cranberries on a lot of European TV shows. Hogan notes that the TV shows control the performances.
Some shows want total playback and lip-synch and others want playback and give the option for live vocals.
Rarely, they get the opportunity to play fully live. The band or artist does not have a choice in this matter.
I Can't Be With You (Live):
If you listen to various recordings of I Can't Be With You over the years, you'll notice that the earliest versions of
the song are very fast, the album version is slower as are the No Need To Argue tour versions. The song is performed faster
as the years go on. Hogan states that looking back, he thinks the album version of I Can't Be With You could have been played
a bit harder. As for live performances, it's a delicate balance. Noel shares a funny story regarding the excitement and
energy of the crowd, the band tended to play the song pretty fast. So much so that occasionally Dolores would have a hard
time keeping up with the lyrics! Apparently there was a little "look" that Dolores would give to Noel as if to say, "slow
Ridiculous Thoughts is one of Noel's favorite songs to play live. The music for Ridiculous Thoughts was originally 2
completely different songs. The chorus and the verses were separate songs and combined to make Ridiculous Thoughts.
What about the unique intro? "I don't know where that came from," laughs Hogan.
Daffodil Lament/Electric Blue;
If there's a connection to the similarity in sound between the end of Daffodil Lament and introduction of Electric Blue,
Noel is not aware of it. Though he says both songs are quite fun to play live.
Dolores and Noel wrote Yesterday's Gone the night before MTV Unplugged, practiced with the strings the next morning and
performed later that day! It's the only concert they ever played it at and the song was never recorded in the studio.
The reason? It's most likely that they simply forgot about the song when it came time to record To The Faithful Departed.
The original version of Will You Remember?:
Have you ever noticed that Hogan is credited as the co-writer on Will You Remember, even though it's an organ sounding,
keyboard based song? That's because Noel wrote the original version on an acoustic guitar. Dolores added the keyboards and
when listening back, the band thought it sounded better with the guitar out until the end of the song.
Musical Integrity, No Egos & Doing what's best for the song:
There were no hard feelings about leaving the guitar out of the first half of Will You Remember?. In fact the band wants
to do what's best for the song, even if it means they don't play in the song. There are no hard feelings when the full band
doesn't play in songs like No Need To Argue.
It's common practice to have to edit songs down for time to be played on radio stations. One time a radio station refused
to play their song unless a pop remix was made. The radio station had someone remix the song and the band felt strongly that
the original intent of the song had disappeared. Rather than damaging their song and getting airplay, they told the radio
station that they would not give permission to use the remixed version, even if it meant their song didn't get any airplay.
Artistic Integrity at it's finest and it paid off, the radio station still played the song.
A touring back up singer before Steve DeMarchi?
Sort of, the band began rehearsing with a female singer for a short while, but ultimately decided against the idea.
Later, Steve DeMarchi would sing back up while playing guitar (96-03), Denny Demarchi would sing back up and play keyboards
and guitar (09-11) and Johanna Cranitch, now Johanna Wiseley would sing back up and play keyboards (12-17) while on tour.
To The Faithful Departed:
Salvation and Free to Decide are Noel's favorite songs from the 3rd album. If he had the opportunity to redo any moment
of The Cranberries career, he would have taken a break between albums 2 and 3. How would that have changed To The Faithful
Departed? They may have written more songs for the album and had more to chose from and it's possible the arrangements or
production would have been different.
Bury The Hatchet:
When the band returned with Bury The Hatchet, they did not care about success or album sales.
They set out to do the album for themselves, the fans and to have fun again. They certainly succeeded!
Hogan stated that while Tomorrow was a great song, he thinks that Conduct would have been the stronger single.
Conduct, Fire & Soul, Roses and Playboys were among his favorites on the album. Noel did some of the programing for Roses,
the was a slight mistake in the drum loop of Loosing My Mind. It actually sounded better so they kept it in.
However the drum loops, especially with this "purposeful mistake" sometimes make it a little bit difficult to perform live.
Very Confident, Last Minute Second Guessing:
Hogan was very confident that recording In The End was the right thing to do and that it would be a strong album.
The night before All Over Now was released, he temporarily second guessed him self and was worried about what the
response would be, Luckily fan and critic response have been very positive and the anxious moment passed quite quickly.
Wake Me When It's Over:
In a recent interview, the band initially heard Wake Me When It's Over and it didn't think it was a Cranberries song.
What did that mean and why did they feel that way? According to Hogan, it had a very heavy Reggae vibe to it.
After making some alterations, it certainly sounds more Cranberries and less Bob Marley!
Last year, a D.A.R.K. song called Illusion appeared on sound cloud for a very short period of time before getting taken down.
Is the Cranberries song Illusion the same as the D.A.R.K. song? The answer is....possibly? This song has a very long history.
Noel wrote this song for his Monoband project around 2004 or 2005, he never used it for his own projects and at one point sent
it to Dolores. Dolores sent it back with some vocals but nothing ever happened with the song. Noel states that the song is a
little bit different from a typical Cranberries song and would have been a good fit for the D.A.R.K. band sound.
It's possible that they used the song and would have given him a writers credit when published. This is another example
about the lack of ego in The Cranberries. Bottom line: it's possible that the only people who will know if the D.A.R.K. song
and Cranberries song are the same are the very few who heard the D.A.R.K. version before it was taken down.
Sometimes The Last To Know:
This promotional tour has had a lot of last minute additions, sometimes when Noel is trying to figure out his schedule,
he visits CranberriesWorld.com, because "I don't know how, but they seem to get the information before I do."
Sometimes he'll get a call with his promotional itinerary and already knows the information because Cranberries World
reported it a few days earlier.
Each time the Cranberries took a break or came back with a new album, they never knew what the response would be.
They've been surprised and grateful for the fan response over the years, including the wonderful response for In The End.
I hope you learned a few new interesting facts from this article!