"But I'm happy to say that the money that has come in my direction has been a healthy figure; I've not been overwhelmed by it." He has tried to use it wisely, helping his mother, stricken with emphysema (his father died five years ago), and looking out for various family members."In a working-class family, everyone is always going to hit you up; there is a constant need," he says.Until, that is, Carney implored his friend to step in.Hansard had been reluctant to repeat his experience on The Commitments –"Nothing wrong with acting, it's just not for me" – but eventually agreed.
We spoke for an hour each night for a week." The two have subsequently recorded music together, and toured. There is no wife yet, no children, and sometimes he pines, "But I've essentially a brilliant life; I'm exactly where I want to be." Once, he concedes a little awkwardly, has made him a rich man."Eddie made me feel slightly less self-conscious about it," he says."I'm grateful for that." Hansard and Vedder became friends in unlikely, and tragic, circumstances."Not interested in all that," he scoffs, "and I'm not on the social media." Though he did make the gossip pages recently, photographed mid-singsong in an Irish pub with the American comedian du jour Amy Schumer. "I didn't even know who she was." When you listen to the rough-hewn beauty of Didn't He Ramble, it becomes clear why Bob Dylan invited him on tour, and why his band, the Frames (currently on hiatus), have found success the world over since forming in 1990. "Early on, we worked out it would take us 60 years of touring here before we filled a room, at which point we just thought fuck having to beg this place for acceptance. "I'd started getting into trouble – drinking, glue, the usual stuff. Dad was drunk the whole time, hardly a figure of authority. He wasn't." Guidance came instead in the form of his headmaster, who took Hansard aside one day, concerned.Ballymun was a troubled place: 45 children in my class, and none of us getting any particular attention or education." And at home? "He knew I had a brain, just that I wasn't engaging it." Despite the legal requirements concerning children in school, the headmaster encouraged him to leave.I was in a different part of my life, a different suit.