by Joanna Orland & Isla MC
This interview was super exciting for me. Not only do I love The Frames, but ‘The Commitments’ is one of my favourite films. So imagine my excitement when Frames front man Glen turns up for our interview and I recognise him as one of the band members from the film! Well, I was pretty star struck, let me tell you. This was a top interview. Glen was charming and funny, and in the Irish way had lots to say for himself. I’m bored of writing up interviews, so I’ve selected some choice quotes so the man can speak for himself. What a character. And he writes some good tunes too.
On The Frames’ sets at V: “Getting a gig out of 25 minutes is very difficult. When I heard we were only getting a half hour set I suggested we pull it, but actually both gigs were great. Sometimes it’s good when you’ve only got a tiny window because it means you can’t self-indulge at all. All you have to do is go up there and let go and be present and this mad fucking character comes out of you, who doesn’t exist when you come off stage.”
On the songwriting process: “Well, I write the songs… and the band come in and wreck them.”
On leaving school at 13: “I’m pretty educated, you know. They say education is everything you remember after you’ve forgotten everything you learnt at school. I know it sounds like some fucking Oliver story, but you learn who’s going to rob you, who’s going to take the piss out of you, who’s a good person, who’s a bad person. You don’t know how to divide or multiply, but your bullshit radar gets really tuned in.”
On England: “We came to England and played all the toilets. No-one ever came to see us. Our audience increased by two or three people each time. I calculated that we would have to be together for 68 years to ever fill these shitty rooms. We stopped coming to England for about six years, but now we’ve got a foothold in other places we’re gaining a following here. It’s like the girl who doesn’t fancy you. England never fancied us, and to be honest we never really fancied her much either, but I wanted to get her! Now that all the other countries are into us, England’s going ‘Hmm, yeah you’re alright’.”
On musical influences: “Me mam was really into Leonard Cohen. And the Beatles and Dylan. She brought us up listening to music. That and cleaning, obsessively cleaning the house. So we had a very tidy, very musical house. I’m still listening to this stuff, but I love the Pixies, the Kings of Leon. I love rock music. But I don’t LOVE IT love it. I’m looking around me at all these eighties revival bands, and it’s Duran Duran without the hair. I’m thinking ‘You cheapskate bastards, will you not write a fucking song!’”
On the elusive nature of success: “It’s hard when you’re in a band, and you know you’re good, but a band who’s so obviously shite is headlining a festival. Cheeky little bastards.”
On himself: “One word to sum me up? Fuck. No, that’s not it. Erm. Old. I dunno. You’ve got me there. (At this point Glen was attacked by a wasp, which stalled the conversation for several minutes). Optimistic is a good word. I’m not cynical. After all my experiences they still haven’t turned me into the twat that I could be.”
On celeb spotting: “Oh my god, it’s the guy from The Office. Over there, look in the corner. See, with the shades on, sitting down in the corner. There’s Gareth Keenan and then there’s beside him… Tim! That’s it, Tim! You see him! I’m so excited! I hung out with him a minute ago. He’s very sweet, except I called him Tim and he was like ‘Aah, fuck off!’ No, he didn’t really.”
On moving to Prague: “I think Dublin’s turning into a slut. A greedy fucking whore. I love being Irish and I love my country but I don’t want to live there. It’s all about money, it’s all about less for more. Horrible. It’s nothing to do with the place I grew up in.”
On women: “There’s so many hot chicks here.”
On songwriting: “Self-imposed isolation is the only way. You go home, you shut yourself away, and… woosh! Something comes out of you and you’re budding, you’re fertile. It’s about self-healing. If songwriting’s not medicinal, if a song doesn’t have any medicine in it then it’s not a song, it’s a jingle. Sometimes you write a jingle and they’re shit, they never last. You sing them a couple of times and you’re bored of them. The songs that are medicine stay with you. You can take them on stage and you can get behind them.”
The Frames latest album, ‘Burn The Maps’, is out now.