From the paper: The Frames’ long innings
Some thoughts and memories ahead of the band’s 25th anniversary shows in the coming week
Back in the early 1990s, The Frames invited me to come to their office over a ramshackle antiques’ shop on Dublin’s Batchelor’s Walk. I knew the band from various gigs they were doing around town so I thought we were just going to have a conversation about what they were up to or what was going on with their debut album. Instead, they asked me to manage them. I’m not so sure how I reacted but I was kind of shocked and suprised and I definitely said no.
I wrote about the band in the paper at the weekend at their long run and that story was part of the mix. Because of that incident (which band member Colm Mac Con Iomaire believes also involved Bewleys’ sticky buns), I’ve always watched with interest from the sidelines as the band have developed, grown and kept on trucking. They mark 25 years in the business this year with a trio of sold-out gigs over the next week and a new collection of songs “Longitude”.
They remain one of the most colourful and intriguing Irish acts because of all that has happened over that quarter-century run, from the early days’ rumblin and major label SNAFUs (Glen Hansard’s maxim that they’re a band who snatch defeat from the jaws of victory used to apply to those situations) to their fortright DIY state of independence, glorious second chances and all that has happened since “Once”. They also remain the only band in the world capable of showing their best and worst sides on the same night at the same gig.
They’re also a band who show just how rare it really is for a group to survive so long. When you’re on the outside looking in, you’re always fascinated by the psychology and power struggles which happen within a creative unit. You wonder just what is it which keeps a band together for the long-run, which makes them put up with a lot and not be jolted a little when things go awry and friendships are tested. They’re still writing songs – there’s a great new song called “None But I” on the new collection credited to The Frames and presents all kinds of possibilities about future studio exploits – and, who knows, may well be around for another quarter century. Here’s, then, to their 50th.