A strange but pleasant sense of déjà vu took over as The Script drummer Glen Power waxed poetic about life and music over afternoon tea, a few hours before the band’s recent Manila concert.
Maybe it was because we were back at Shangri-La Edsa Hotel’s Mactan ballroom, where the alt-rock trio first charmed the pants off the Filipino press two years ago, or that this was the nth time we’ve been lucky enough to chat with the affable Glen.
Hearty laughter boomed from the other tables as front man Danny O’Donoghue and guitarist Mark Sheehan regaled the other media members with funny anecdotes.
Humility comes easily to these three men as naturally as wit and humor do. They might have done countless interviews and met millions of people around the world, but they still greet each person they meet like they would an old friend—with a warm handshake, a bear hug, a huge smile. Nice to know they haven’t changed a bit.
The jolly Irish lads have come a long way from being a “faceless” band to one of the best-loved artists on the planet. That’s why it was no surprise that they filled up the Smart Araneta Coliseum from pit to nosebleed section last March 31 as easily as they did in 2011.
Of their first Manila show, Glen only had fond memories—how shocked they were to have performed at the same place where the legendary “Thrilla in Manila” boxing classic was held. “It’s such a coincidence that we have a song called ‘Hall of Fame’ [to play there],” said Glen.
Historical venue aside, it was the overwhelming Filipino reception that had them completely floored. “I remember we all walked off that stage and thought, ‘Wow! What a great audience!’ You guys love our music over here; you’re not afraid to enjoy yourselves,” Glen observed, grinning.
One doesn’t have to be a fan to see why The Script’s music resonates so deeply with sentimental Pinoys. Right off the bat, the melodies are lovable and the lyrics wholly relatable without being trite. But it’s the band’s uncanny knack for writing songs that are heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time that has earned the band a solid place in fans’ hearts—and in music charts—worldwide.
Following the immense success of 2008’s eponymous debut and 2010’s “Science & Faith,” The Script has released a new album, “#3,” for which it has been on tour of late. This album saw the band going back to its hip-hop roots, incorporating a little more rap verses like it had done in the first record.
Glen revealed that they tried experimenting with a few new elements, such as the use of sampling in place of live drums for certain songs. “I think we’ve stretched musically,” he said. “We decided to venture down that road because we wanted to really aim for Top 40 radio…”
This musical evolution doesn’t sound contrived, nor does it change the band’s vibe at all. If anything, the album offers more of the anthemic tunes and emotionally raw lyrics that we love.
The first single, the rousing will.i.am collab track “Hall of Fame,” has apparently won the fans’ approval. “Whenever we play that song, people just go crazy,” Glen said. “It’s an amazing feeling to be at the tip of all that energy coming at you. You never get used to that; it’s such a blessing.”
The band’s popularity has skyrocketed over the last few months, thanks to Danny’s stint as a coach on reality singing tilt “The Voice UK.”
“[Danny] had to really sacrifice a lot of his private life, because being on a TV show as big as that is tough. He can’t walk down the street now in Ireland or in England,” Glen said.
“It was very good of him to be the sacrificial lamb to go on TV and do that, and he enjoys that, so that’s great,” he added. “He made us proud because he’s a very good mentor on the show. And he did us a favor so people go, ‘Ah, The Script!’ Now they know who the band is; the job is done.”
As for the secret to staying grounded, Glen summed it up in one word: Desperation. The band has actually been around since 2001, but it was only in 2008 that its career finally took off. “We had nothing for such a long time, and we struggled for so many years, that when it finally arrives you tend to feel blessed,” he confessed. “At no point at all during any of this do I ever take it for granted, or think this is normal. You always have to remember that you’re very lucky, and that you belong to a small percentage in the world that gets to do this job.”
It’s been a rocky but fulfilling road to fame, and Glen has picked up a bunch of hard-earned pearls of wisdom along the way. “When I was growing up, my dad always told me to never leave a bad taste with anybody, because the job you do may put you in front of lots of people, but it doesn’t change who you are as a person. You’re still just a person.
“And I believe fame is a magnifying glass; if you’re a little a**hole at the start, you’re gonna be a massive a**hole when you get famous. So, I think we’re not a**holes, thank God,” he said, chuckling.
The greatest lesson he’s learned? “I suppose that the world isn’t as scary as I thought it was. That everything is connected. That nowhere is far away. And that everything will be okay, ’cause it always is, even when you think it’s not,” he mused. “There’s something looking after everybody; I believe that, I really do.
Everything happens for a reason. Even the way I met Mark and got in this band. It was accidental, but it was for a reason. And here we are.”
The Script live in Manila 2013: ‘A roller-coaster ride of emotion’
GLEN Power said that the concert would be a “real roller coaster ride of emotion,” and it was. There was laughter, tears and swooning all at the same time as a capacity crowd sang along with Danny O’Donoghue to full lung capacity, light sticks dotting the Big Dome from top to bottom (like a sea of “Candy Crush” blocks, as one app-happy friend commented).
Together with reliable crowd-pleasers from 2011’s set list— “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved,” “Breakeven,” “Nothing,” and “For The First Time”— the band dished out four new tracks from “#3”: the jaunty opener “Good Ol’ Days,” the anthemic “Hall of Fame,” the woeful “Six Degrees of Separation” (which the band had cleverly patterned after Alcoholics Anonymous’ 12 steps to recovery), and the emotional tribute “If You Could See Me Now,” where both Mark Sheehan and Danny looked a bit teary-eyed as they remembered their deceased parents.
More than the music and the lyrics, the band members themselves showed just how powerful their connection is with Filipinos. While Glen and Mark turned in high-energy performances onstage along with touring bassist Ben Sargeant and keyboardist Rodney Alejandro, Danny literally got up close and personal with the screaming audience, even going all the way to the Lower Box section and around the Coliseum. We were surprised that he still had his shirt on by the time he hopped back onstage.
Other funny, memorable moments included Danny grabbing a phone from the crowd and singing “Nothing” in its entirety… to someone else’s ex; Mark and Danny duking it out in an onstage beer-drinking contest, which the former won; Glen’s vocals blending beautifully with Danny’s in the sweetly entreating acoustic duet “I’m Yours”; and, in the spirit of Easter, Danny being tackled to the ground by a guy in a pink bunny suit.