Glen Hansard from The Frames is a real-deal Irishman. We know this because when we called him up, he spoke at length about how to pull a pint, which seemed way more interesting than talking music anyway. So that is what this interview is about.
Hi Glen, where are you right now?
I’m sitting in a bar and there’s a lovely traditional band just finishing off a session in the room. It’s a very quiet place. I’m in Dublin.
What are you drinking?
Guinness. I only drink Guinness when I’m home. It’s tough for us to drink it outside of here. We have a rule in our band that we don’t drink it outside of Ireland, so it makes it all the more exciting when we’re home to have a few. It’s a kind of faithfulness. Traditionally pints around the world aren’t pulled very well. Often times you go to a bar and you’ll ask for a Guinness and they’ll pull it like they’re pulling a pint of larger.
How's it done?
Guinness takes a bit of respect. You pour most of it, you let it set for five minutes, then you finish it off with the head. And then you leave it sit for a few minutes before you drink it. There’s kind of a ceremony to it that you don't get when you’re away. And it’s also something we enjoy the idea of; we’re going home so we can have a pint. It’s like only wanting to have Vegemite when you’re at home. It’s nationalistic.
Have you ever tried to order Guinness outside of Ireland?
There have been a whole bunch of times where we’ve been on tour, gone to an Irish bar overseas and the person behind the bar pulling pints wasn’t Irish. So we’d ask them if it was OK for us to get behind the bar and pull our own. We'd pay for the drinks, but if we pull them ourselves they'd actually taste pretty great. And people, generally speaking, are quite generous like that.
Glen Hansard is playing Bluesfest with The Frames and sideshows around Australia.
Melbourne: Wed Mar 20, Thurs Mar 21 and Sat Mar 23, at the Melbourne Recital Centre. Tickets from $65 + bf from the MRC.
Sydney: Mon Mar 25 - Tues Mar 26, at The Sydney Opera House Concert Hall. Tickets from $20 + bf from the Opera House.