Meet The Script: Danny O’Donoghue (vocals, piano), Mark Sheehan (vocals, guitar), Glen Power (vocals, drums). Three Irish men who are as direct – as impassioned – as their songs. The onetime studio whizzes who stepped up to form a band, then, on their last album, stepped front and centre. It was called #3, it featured the trio on the artwork, and did exactly what that no-nonsense cover and title intended.
“The last album was us stepping out in to the light,” affirms Danny, as impressive a speaker as he is a frontman, but now with a top-spin of telegenic confidence, courtesy of his two seasons judging on The Voice on BBC1. “We’d been the faceless band before that,” he adds with typical candour. “We’d had two albums that were enormously successful but there was a disconnect – people might know the song but they wouldn’t know the band, or the name of the band.”
But their 2012 worldwide smash Hall Of Fame – a collaboration with Danny’s Voice co-judge Will.I.Am – changed all that.
“That song put it in no doubt who this band were,” nods the singer. “We went full frontal. We went from being the alternative Irish pop/rock to the mainstream. And that was partly achieved by The Voice,” he acknowledges, explaining his band-focused reasons for taking the telly gig in the first place.
“The excitement and energy went off the Richter scale,” continues Mark. “And it did that in America too. As we’ve toured and toured there, people are coming back to the shows, bringing their friends and their parents – a real cross-section of people and ages. It’s a great thing to have that broad appeal. It’ll give us longevity.” “It feels like a festival crowd every time,” adds Glen.
Such was the impact of The Script’s newfound live power.
“That sound on #3 – we were loud and proud,” says Danny with well-earned satisfaction. “We’d spent a couple of tours trying to perfect the stadium-filling sound. And we found it with Hall Of Fame. And it was amazing to get to that on our third album – most bands these days don’t even get to their second album.”
The Script did, and then some. Here’s how:
– the #3 world tour in 2013 tour spanned 11 months and included shows throughout Europe, North America, Asia, and Australia
– it ended in August 2013 and included 63 arenas (including 18 in the UK) and 18 festivals
– The Script have sold 20million records
– all 3 albums have been multi-platinum throughout the world
– two UK Number One albums and a Number One single
– sold over one million albums in the US.
– five platinum US singles (two of which are triple platinum)
– Hall Of Fame was a worldwide Number One, with over five million sales, 100 million YouTube views, and over 100 million Spotify plays (making the service’s top 10 acts of all time)
– won one World Music Award, three Meteor Awards, nominated for two Brit Awards
– The Queen personally invited the band to perform for her when she went in to Radio 1
“So that,” concludes Danny, “was job done.”
Then, of course, The Script had to do it all over again – but, somehow bigger, better, brighter. And again, it’s job done.
The Script’s fourth album, No Sound Without Silence, is the sound of a band firing on all cylinders and channelling the momentum of their last, rocket-powered campaign. They finished touring #3 at the end of last year, took a scant couple of weeks off, then quickly re-entered their studios in London and Dublin.
They had to: this trio of songwriters had had so many ideas while touring, they were bursting out of the specially-built mobile recording studio they’d taken with them on the bus.
“When I hear this music I can feel certain states pass me by,” laughs Mark. “We should have called the album Songs In The Key of Bus. We put this studio in the back of the tour bus and it happened to be sitting on top of the engine – and the noise! It was the worse tour bus in the world. I don’t know how it made it across America. Everyday something went wrong. The AC would break, or the toilet malfunctioned. One night it crashed – and we had it recorded! It sounds like the end of the world.”
Transport mishaps aside, The Script wanted their new songs to capture what Danny describes as “that nervous energy coming straight off stage. It was a bit uncontrollable at the start, it was shooting everywhere.”
But gradually these seasoned writers/producers – they compose and record everything themselves – wrestled their songs into shape.
So you have a song like the ultra-catchy Superheroes, the first single, blessed with an appropriate sense of sky-scraping uplift, and underpinned with crunchy guitar riffs.
“I’d come off stage and be shouting some Muhammad Ali shit" – laughs Danny. “Just messing around. So we wanted to try and bottle that and get it down. The Rolling Stones did that – get some of what Jagger called the sexual energy in there.”
Another single contender is The Energy Never Dies, "about the moment you realise you may not have long left on this Earth”, says Danny. With the lyric when you know your days are numbered and you’re looking in my eyes, it’s not the end, cos the energy never dies, “It’s saying to the one you love, we will meet again in the after life”, explains Danny.
Without Those Songs is a road song of a different kind. It was written after a visit to the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, and is The Script’s hymn to the power of classic songs, and of classic songwriters.
Then there’s No Good In Goodbye, destined to join Breakeven, For The First Time and The Man Who Can’t Be Moved as a live singalong favourite. It’s lyrically smart too, opening up words and meanings and sentiments with characteristic Script emotion.
Says Danny, “that’s all we try and do: condense complex thoughts down to really simple songs. With that one, we wanted to put a twist on a word: where’s the good in goodbye, where’s the fair in farewell... Then we tried to make that into a lyrical idea, which seemed to work really well.”
As counterpoint there’s Flares, a gentle song build around rippling piano. It started off as love song, but after Danny’s mum suffered a brain aneurysm as the band began recording, it took on new meaning for the frontman.
“It’s about faith – ‘did you see the flares in the sky, were you blinded by the light…’ And I did, yeah,” admits this otherwise sceptical man. “The situation changed and it was a fucking miracle.”
Like Superheroes, Flares is a “very uplifting song, about people getting past adversity. And when you’re told by more than one doctor that your mum won’t make it through the night…” Danny stops and shakes his head. “Well, the only person who changed that – challenged that – was my mum. And she fought her way through to where she is now,” he says, the relief writ large in his face, his voice, and his band’s songs.
All that, and a modern Irish anthem, Paint The Town Green, an energetic, feelgood, party-on hymn to the spirit of their homeland.
“We’re not crying on the page,” insists Mark with a grin, “and it’s not super-emotional as a song. It’s just about missing home and talking about what every emigrant around the world feels.”
The Script better get used to that. No Sound Without Silence and its impassioned, catchy, emotional songs will be keeping them on the road, all over the place, for a good while to come.