Biggest battle on tour is booze: Hansard
AWARD-WINNING Irish singer-songwriter Glen Hansard has admitted to feeling like "a mild alcoholic" whenever he finishes a lengthy tour.
The star, who won an Oscar for the song Falling Slowly in the Irish-made movie Once, finds that everyone wants to buy him a drink whenever he finishes a show.
Hansard, 43, revealed: "The most important thing is not to go crazy in a bar after the show. Once you get off the stage people nearly have you in a headlock to pour drink down your neck. I think it's because you're a Paddy and they also want to show their appreciation.
"And what better way to show your appreciation to an Irish person than buying them a whiskey? That's a very slippery and attractive slope. There have definitely been times when I've come off a tour and felt I'm dealing with mild alcoholism. I've spent as much time in the pub as I have on stage. That sort of thing will ruin your voice. And you need to take care of your body.
"I've found that it's crushing for me. Not in terms of my social ability because I can hang out with people all night, but just in terms of the throat."
And in recent years Hansard has been playing longer and longer shows, with his last Dublin gig lasting nearly three hours.
The flame-haired singer, who shot to fame two decades ago in the comedy The Commitments, likes to give value for money. "The Frames have always played long gigs. It's either generosity or stupidity on our part!" he says.
'During the boom I couldn't afford to buy myself a house. Now things have gone in the opposite direction...'
"Every time you play a gig you want to leave people feeling like they've paid in and seen something that was worth the money.
"We come from a country that is culturally so closely related to England, the English culture and that. But I remember seeing bands like The Jesus and Mary Chain in 1989 or something, and they played for just 15 or 20 minutes and I just thought: 'Come on.' It wasn't right."
And the former busker is astonished that given how Ireland is gripped in recession, he is finally making money at last.
"It's a crazy one. I seem to be one of the few people making money in Ireland right now. But I don't feel any shame. I've been working for 25 years. If I get paid now, I'll take it. During the boom I couldn't even afford to buy myself a house. I couldn't afford to do a lot of things. Now things have gone in the opposite direction."
Hansard is in the US to tour his first solo release, Rhythm and Repose.