a short site about The Divine Comedy

The Divine Mr Hannon

Neil Hannon is soon to be disbanding his mega famous band The Divine Comedy. So, is this the last we'll hear of the soulful, playful poet of pop, or has he other things up his foppish sleeve? We sent Carmel Morrissey along to his final Dublin gig to find out.

Why throw in the towel now, when it's all going so nicely?
Well, we've had this line-up for donkeys years, six years or more. I don't know if I'll have a different name or keep the same name or use my own name or when I'll next make a record. All I do know is that this current set-up is kind of being dissolved. A couple of times per career you get a kind of urge that you just want to start again, and I happened to get the urge this year. I just felt that I didn't want to be doing this in the way that I was any more. I wanted to do different stuff, mad stuff, don't know what. I'm looking forward to doing some things I haven't been able to do recently, like go into some art galleries, watch a lot of television. But I'll definitely stay in music because I can't actually do anything else.

Although I have very little clue about what I'll be doing, I do know it will be dead exciting. There's been no big crisis or drama around this. In fact, it's been a great year, what with finding out that my wife was pregnant with our first child. That was fantastic and possibly that was part of the decision to break up the band. Crikey, I've been nesting all this time and I just didn't realise until now! And the album has been motoring along nicely, purring in fifth gear down the motorway, a bit like myself.

Any idea what the rest of the band have planned?
I very much doubt if anybody will be down the dole office as they're all startlingly intelligent and highly accomplished musicians. I daresay we'll work together in the future but it's hard to say in what way. Obviously, there's a lot of people in the band and there have been a range of reactions, a range of degrees of shock. Some people saw it coming and some didn't.

What will you miss about The Divine Comedy once this line-up is disbanded?
We have a lot on fun on tour with our riotous rock-and-roll behaviour, which with The Divine Comedy usually involves playing a serious amount of scrabble. Of course I win. Actually, I'm just saying that so when the other band members pick up Face Up they'll all get very annoyed at me. They know that the highest scoring word I ever got is about 55, and even then I cheated.

Scrabble aside, how would you sum up your achievements to date?
I think our achievement has been to have hit records with songs that don't really fit into the general kind of run-of-the-mill expectation of what modern music is about. I'm very pleased about that. All our songs sound like 60s novelty hits, which is cool by me, but we just seem to be a 'one hit wonder' who've had many 'one hits'. Having said that, I fully intend to go on having one hit wonders for a long time yet.

Face Up 01/2002