“It’s pretty crazy at the moment,” says The Script’s drummer, Glenn Power, with just a hint of understatement. In the past month he and bandmates Danny O’Donoghue and Mark Sheehan have been as far afield as Australia, The Philippines, the Netherlands, and the United States.
How do you stay sane with such a busy touring schedule?
I think we all have our own ways of dealing with it. I’ve had to change up my routine a little bit in the last while because I found that, not just the travelling, but I was perhaps partying a little too hard and that was all kind of getting to me a little bit. So I started trying to be a bit more healthy — hit the gym a bit more, get more early nights, eat a little better, drink less. You find a way to cope. We’re probably four or five years into it now but it is tiring. Travelling is the hard part — going on stage is the easiest part of it all — so you kind of have to watch yourself. You always know when you’ve gone too far and need to recuperate, go to bed early and pull your horns in. But we’ve managed to survive and we’re doing well, but we’re also very very lucky. There are a hundred bands out there who’d jump to have the shot we have.
So it’s not something you want to mess up.
Exactly. You’ve worked so many years and you’ve worked so hard to get where you are, you have to balance the appreciation with the hard work and you need to make sure that doesn’t equal too much partying. I think the word in all of this is ‘balance’ and we’ve spent the last two, three years trying to figure that balance out. But we’re human as well so every now and then you stay up too late or feel a little tired, but once you go on stage it’s amazing what an audience can do for you, and the atmosphere at a gig can do for your body. When you walk on and that adrenaline hits you, you could probably lift weights you could never lift otherwise. It does something to you and re-energises you. So I love that moment before we walk out and then when you’re out there everything else paves the way.
There is something magical about live performances — the number of people there, and to do it internationally at the level we’re at now — so we nurture that and we want to take care of that. We don’t want to mess anything up.
Do you think things would have gone pear-shaped if all this had happened when you were 19?
There’s always a possibility when you put a group of people together in this situation that somebody may let it get to their heads and lose themselves. There’s a possibility of that — I can’t say for definite whether that would happen or who it would be — and I can see how it could happen when people get success when they’re younger and how they change to not so nice people. We’re just so grateful to have got the shot now after so long. There were plenty of times along the way where I thought of giving up or getting a real job. I’m just so glad I stuck at it that I appreciate where I am now. You can’t forget where you came from, and if you do, you need to sit down and remember that because it’s where you came from that will keep you where you are.
Do your friends knock you down if you start acting like a rock star?
No, they never have to. I’m still the same me around the friends I have from before this all happened. They still see me as me but they come with me sometimes when there’s a show and they see everything that surrounds what I do and they get a bit of a shock and say: ‘I’m surprised you’re still grounded with all of that going on.’ And when I come off the stage I’m very much the Glen that’s talking to you now. I think we’ve managed to retain who we are in all this ‘fame’ and ‘success’. With fame usually comes a heightened awareness of that everyone knows you and stuff, but that’s really not what we’re in it for — we’re in it for music. We just want to be in a band, get on stage and play great shows, and excite people. That’s all we focus on so we don’t show up at VIP parties, or fall out of clubs, or get into the tabloids. Recently somebody asked why they couldn’t find any gossip about us on the internet — and the reason is, there is none. We just play music and after that we go back to our private lives. I think we’ll keep it that way — it’s better for us and the music.
What was the initial adjustment — from playing clubs to suddenly supporting Paul McCartney and U2 — like?
That’s a big leap of faith, because you go from smaller shows to the chance of getting to play along with your heroes. You have to remember we’re from Ireland so the chance to support U2 is almost like David and Goliath — except we’re not against them [laughs]. I’ve idolised U2 since I was a kid, so playing with them was the most nervous I’ve ever been because here i was on their stage in front of their audience — I was thinking ‘I’m getting a chance to feel what they feel, it’s a big privilege, I’d better not mess this up’. But the gig was amazing, we just felt like we were 100 feet tall in front of Irish people singing the songs back to us, and for U2 to give us a chance to taste what that feels like was a great gift and it gave us an insatiable hunger to want to try to aspire to those levels ourselves. It really planted a seed in our heads that if we can get up and do this as a support band, why can’t we get up and do this as the main band?
Danny and Mark initially bonded over a love of American R&B — what do you bring to the mix?
I bring more of a heavy rock sensibility to the table, with a bit of funk on the side. I studied funk, rock, and a bit of jazz with the drum teachers I had in Dublin. I met Mark through some musical friends of mine in Dublin and he invited me to Los Angeles and it was out there I met Danny. When the three of us got together in a studio to have a jam, it was kind of like you’ve been trying to make a jigsaw puzzle for your whole life but you’ve been missing a couple of pieces. Something clicked in the room — we didn’t say it, but we felt it without knowing it. And when we made a demo and the record company heard it, they heard it too and wanted to sign us. Mark called me shortly after that and said: ‘There’s a record company over here who want to sign us, they think we’re a band. Do you want to do this?’ I had no intentions of being in a band with these guys — I’d just gone out there to check out LA for myself. At that point I had been working on my own album as a singer-songwriter, but drums was my first instrument, so it just seemed too good to turn down. We just got on so well as mates, I thought this would be more fun to do together. It turns out I was right and here we are, successful and still going?
What do each of you bring to the band as people?
Mark will be the driving force. When we had no management, he was like the manager of the band and in many ways he still is the driving force — he really has a great mind for business and the direction we should go. He’ll run it by us but he’s the band leader in many ways. I suppose I’d probably be the joker — I’ve brought that from my school days.
If you’re building a house, I’d be the foundation, Mark would be the walls and the windows, and Danny would be the paint — he’s the one who has to get out front and make it look good. He sells it.
So we all work together really well in our roles. We know what we need to do, we know how to work together and hold each other up and make each other strong. It’s an amazing thing to find that mix. We weren’t looking to be in a band — the band found us — and I think some of the best things in life happen naturally that way, organically.
So what can we expect from you when you reach South Africa?
You can expect one of the best shows of the whole year, I can tell you that. When we go somewhere new and we’ve never played there, we have to prove a very big point and have to make a very big statement. You’re going to get to see us at a real peak because we’ve spent the last four years touring non-stop, so South Africa is going to get all that experience and all that passion and energy in the two shows. I think people are going to get really blown away and they’re going to get a taste of what’s to come. We’re very excited about going there — we’ve never been and I’m really excited.
- This article originally appeared on EntertainmentAfrica.com.