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All going according to Script

Danny O'Donoghue should really find some time to draw up a new 'list'. You know, as in the kind of 'things to do with my life' itinerary that every ambitious go-getter scribbles at the back of their notebook.

He has, after all, led quite a remarkable life these last couple of years. Become a rock star? Check. Date a model? Check. Support the world's biggest band in their own backyard? Check.

Come to think of it, even if they hadn't sold close to two million copies of their self-titled debut album, or been invited to share the same stage as U2 and Paul McCartney, it's quite possible that The Script would still find something to smile about, what with all those kind words, heartfelt messages, and endless nods of appreciation, courtesy of their hometown fans.

Ah yes, they're very in touch with what really matters, these guys; the genuine article -- not least their boyishly handsome front man from Ballinteer, the aforementioned Mr O'Donoghue, who is resplendent in fancy scarf, leather jacket, and a handful of sturdy hair wax .

A warm, humorous and extremely likeable character, the 29-year-old poster boy for the Dublin trio's unambiguous blend of soulful, melodic heartache, sure knows how to charm his way around a complete stranger.

Our encounter is split into two very separate sittings -- one involving the band, their label, and a pack of hungry hacks, all crammed together in a tight studio to scratch their chins and tap their feet along to the guys' neatly bound second album, Science & Faith; the other a month or so later at Sony's head offices with just Danny and drummer Glen Power to keep me company.

The fact that the guys (minus guitarist Mark Sheehan, who is at home in London waiting for his wife to give birth to their daughter) are in fantastic form, helps a great deal. So, let's kick things off with a chat about the new album. The last one went straight to the top of the UK and Irish charts, while tracks such as the infectious The Man Who Can't Be Moved and the excellent Breakeven also made a bit of an impact in the US, too. Feeling a bit nervous about the follow-up, are we?

"We still don't know whether this is going to be a flop or not, you know?" says Danny, expressing a remarkable sense of honesty for the lead singer of a million-selling pop act. "We're having this interview now, and I'm fully confident it's gonna be great, but . . ."

"We're still out there in the grey zone of the risk factor," interrupts his band mate, 30-year-old stick man Glen. "It's like starting all over again. The only difference is now people know who we are."

Indeed they do. It's taken quite a while to get to this point, though. In fact, as is evident from the group's emotionally frank lyrics, The Script's back story is one of love, loss, pain, and boy bands . . . well, maybe just one boy band. And besides, MyTown -- featuring a younger Danny and Mark -- never really went anywhere anyway.

"We've been in music all our lives," says Glen, "but now, we feel we've kind of hit solid ground with this band."

For Danny and Mark especially, taking on America -- a country where they once lived and worked as a pair of aspiring young producers -- was a whole new ball game as far as The Script was concerned. Sure, they may have just stepped off the same stage as Bono back home, but in the States, they were just another bunch of nobodies desperately searching for that all-important big break.

"It was hard, I'm not gonna lie," admits Danny. "We started off in the Sugar Club here, playing to, like, 30, 40 people and we went back to that in America."

Of course, things have since changed, but, as Danny further explains, returning home amid the success that they began to experience on both sides of the pond was perhaps the catalyst that helped kick-start the band's new lyrical direction, and even sound.

"We got back here at Christmas time and we were hit by stories, you know, we were hit by the recession," he tells me.

"We had friends, families, all people around us, who were really, really fearful about where everything's gone, where their futures lie, and what's happening. And for us, yes, we've had a successful year, you know, we've had everything in this past year that I've ever wished for in my life, but that pales in comparison when you're standing there shaking someone's hand who is after losing their job or is after divorcing their wife because they just found out they're not the person that they thought they married."

A conversation about the current economic climate ensues, but Danny is adamant that the album's lead single, For The First Time, is not some sort of sappy and preachy "recession song", but instead a pulsating and truthful ode to reflect the heart of modern Ireland. But I wonder; as the group become more famous as time goes on, are they themselves not tempted to cash in on the success of their hard work?

"We've never been thrown across the papers," smiles Danny, "we've never been in the rag mags, and we've never been falling out of clubs at four o'clock in the morning -- that's just not us, man. According to Glen, however, they do like to enjoy their time off on the road -- "day off eve" they call it . . . fun and sensible, I think you'll agree. But when you've hung out with a Beatle for a week, the least you can do is pick up a few tips on professionalism.

"We were very, very interested in how he's managed to pull it off," says Danny, discussing the band's time spent in the company of Paul McCartney. "You know, how he's managed to make the 60 to 80,000 people there, night after night, feel like they're on stage with him, and he just passed on information like, 'look, don't be standing up there looking at your f**king shoes. Sing to the audience. They're there to come into your life. These are your songs, these are your words -- tell them a story before, if not, tell them a story afterwards. Let them know -- reel them in'."

That's some sound advice. Unfortunately, time is almost up, which leaves me with just one question left. It's an unlikely situation, I know, but what if it's all downhill from here? What if it all ends tomorrow?

"Carlsberg don't do careers," he replies . . . and I think you can figure the rest out for yourself.

New album Science & Faith is out on September 10


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