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A Glen For All Seasons
Since winning an Oscar for Once, Glen Hansard‘s life has swerved like an out of control rollercoaster. There was a whirlwind romance with, and painful separation from, Markéta Irglová; the suicide of a fan which left him with brains on his shoes and a chasm in his soul and the strange guilt he felt at being successful. With his first solo album about to be released, he pulls up a stool and explains how he learned to stop worrying and love his new life in New York.
Stuart Clark, 26 Jun 2012
A certain Danish beer company doesn’t do months, but if they did they’d be like the one Glen Hansard has just enjoyed in New York, where for reasons both professional and personal he’s been living for the past year.
“May was one ‘pinch me!’ moment after another,” he smiles on a rare day back in Dublin. “First, I played in this tiny club, The Living Room, on Ludlow St. where I got to do ‘The Auld Triangle’ with Bono! Usually these things leak out, but everyone was gobsmacked when I said, ‘I’ve got this buddy who’s going to sing with me’ and he just ambled up on stage, gave a little bow and launched straight into it! I imagine you’ll find it somewhere on YouTube.”
Yup, there’s a six-minute clip of this meeting of great musical minds, which fair sends a shiver down the spine. Glen does a fine ‘I wish to Jaysus they’d raise me wages!’ while Mr. Hewson downs what looks suspiciously like a
“That’d be about right! We were also involved in this other thing up in Harlem at the Apollo. There’s this amazing charity called The Jazz Foundation, which pays the rent and medical bills of Little Jimmy Scott or a guy who played in Thelonius Monk’s band or with Mingus. They had these great moments in the sun, but they weren’t the lead guy so now they’re fucking broke. Bono did ‘Angel Of Harlem’ – what else? – and I got to sing with Dr. John. It was an amazing night.”
I’d give my first-born to share a bevy with Mac Rebennack. What sort of character is the good Doctor?
“He’s a funny one. I chatted with him for a few minutes – musician to musician – and he couldn’t have been friendlier. But then some full-on guy butted into the conversation, and he switched into Cajun gris-gris. It’s his defence mechanism. Whoever it was couldn’t understand a word and just went away. I saw Dr. John do it twice that night. Shane MacGowan’s the same – if you approach him and he doesn’t want to talk to you he just acts drunk. It’s like sliding down a marble wall.”