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The Script: Danny and the boys are buzzing to get back to their loyal Northern Ireland fans at Tennent's Vital

By Kelly Allen

Published 26/08/2015

"We would never leave Belfast out," said Danny (above) Niall Carson/PA Wire.
Down to earth: Kelly Allen with The Script.

Most bands who attain a certain level of fame are surrounded with huge entourages that make unreasonable demands ahead of an interview and intervene at the slightest hint of a difficult question.

But with The Script it’s different. They may be at the top of their game, but nothing is off limits and they are only too happy to open up — whether it’s discussing frontman Danny O’Donoghue’s love life, Simon Cowell or getting One Direction’s Niall Horan to arrange driving lessons.

Sunday Life was the only newspaper to hang out backstage with the band ahead of the biggest gig of their lives, playing to a sold-out 80,000 strong Croke Park crowd in Dublin last month.

The boys, who have performed all over the world, are returning to Belfast for the first time since 2013 to headline Tennent’s Vital at Boucher Road next weekend.

Having skipped Belfast when on tour earlier this year, many Northern Irish fans thought they would miss out this time as a result of the Croke Park gig, so they were thrilled when The Script announced they were coming back to Belfast.

Greeting us like old friends, Danny said: “There were so many people that were angry we didn’t have Belfast on our tour list in March, but we couldn’t say anything. We knew it was going to be announced, but we had to wait. We would never leave Belfast out.”

“It’s amazing performing there,” added drummer Glen Power. “The crowd really get behind you and we love it there.”

But guitarist Mark Sheehan admitted there is one thing about Belfast that they don’t enjoy.

He said: “It’s good playing outdoors, but you can never depend on the weather in Ireland. I hate the rain and I feel for the fans if they’ve paid hard-earned money then they have to stand in the p***ing rain. I’m hoping we might get a rare day of sun for Vital!”

The band last headlined Vital when it was at Ward Park in Bangor in 2011 and it holds a special place in their hearts.

Mark said: “Vital is a great gig. It was that night when we sat down and talked about Croke Park. We didn’t know exactly what we were going to do, but we knew we wanted to do something. It feels like now we are here it’s all come full circle.”

The Script are joined by Kodaline, Clean Bandit and Annie Mac, at Tennent’s Vital at the Boucher Road Playing Fields on Sunday August 30, while Calvin Harris headlines the previous day. And the lads are looking forward to a catch-up with their pals backstage.

“We are playing with Kodaline so I’m looking forward to that,” said Danny. “It’s a good line-up.”

As well as Kodaline, the band count U2 as close friends and they also love hanging out with Snow Patrol, as well as Niall Horan from One Direction, admitting they love how the Irish are taking over the entertainment industry.

“There’s no doubting it’s a good time to be Irish. Irish people are studying abroad and working abroad. Our talent is going everywhere. Most great directors are Irish. We are infesting the world!” laughed Mark.

“We try to keep in touch with each other and help each other out. I talk to Niall (Horan) on the phone a lot. He’s doing really well. It’s really odd as he’s so much younger than me.

“I called him the other week and said how on earth did you pass your driving test? I can’t drive and I need to learn. So Niall has hooked me up with his driving instructor. He sorted the whole thing.”

The one Irish person the band don’t have much time for is Louis Walsh, admitting they are glad to see the back of him on X Factor as he is replaced by Radio 1’s Nick Grimshaw.

Danny, who enjoyed a stint as a judge on BBC talent show The Voice, explained: “Grimmy’s a nice person. He will be better than Louis Walsh. If he’s got to criticise someone he will do it in a nice way.

“Simon’s got a good head with that show. He knows what he is doing getting Grimmy and Rita from the BBC. I think it’s wrong for Rita to go to X Factor and turn her back on The Voice like that, but I’m sure she has her reasons. It’s great news for Simon, but the BBC are fuming.”

And with the news that will.i.am has quit the show, could we see Danny returning to the big red chair?

“I wouldn’t go back to it now,” he said firmly. “It’s a lot of work and I’m enjoying the ride too much with the band. If the band ever lost popularity or didn’t sell records, TV is a logical place to go.

“In the future, I imagine myself as the Tom Jones. If I could have his life in my 70s, I’d be pretty happy. It keeps him relevant and he has the experience.”

And it looks like Danny is having Tom’s success with women too. Since splitting from model Irma Mali two years ago, he’s been linked to singer Bo Bruce, former X Factor judge Tulisa Contostavlos, Lindsay Lohan and most recently Brazilian model Anne De Paula. However, he insists he is still single.

“I’m enjoying dating and having fun. It’s easy, I could walk out now and get a date. I’m not worried about their intentions. I’m happy enough cos I know what their intentions are!

“I didn’t date Lindsay Lohan or Tulisa. I’ve never dated any celebrities. Of course I would date a celebrity if I found the right one, but they are broken and twisted — just like me,” he added.

- The Script perform at Tennent’s Vital 2015 at Boucher Playing Fields on August 30. Tickets available from Ticketmaster and all usual outlets.

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