October 31, 2001 17:44

NEIL'S NOT LAUGHING

The frontman insists the decision to sack the rest of the band was taken for creative rather than financial reasons...

NEIL'S NOT LAUGHING
NEIL HANNON has reacted angrily at accusations that the split of THE DIVINE COMEDY was down to financial, rather than creative reasons.

Speaking to NME.COM this afternoon, the sole remaining member of the group said that he thinks it will be better for him as a songwriter if he works alone in the future.

He said: "I am changing the band less for financial reasons than creative. I stand by 'Regeneration' and think it contains some of our best work, but it is time for a change of emphasis. This is, I believe, my prerogative, as I write the songs.

"The band were on a full retainer for the whole period we've worked together. Just as none of them are signed to Parlophone, none were signed to our previous label Setanta. It was not our management who paid the group, but me; it would be vulgar to discuss amounts but, in relation to the advance from Parlophone, it was a more than fair split."

Hannon backed-up his views in an interview with XFM earlier today.

He commented: "What I want to do is make some more music and see if it sounds like The Divine Comedy and if not, not call it that. I just want to have that freedom. It's very hard to actually keep that freedom when everyone's telling everybody different stories, but I need to have that little thing.

"I kind of missed the wilderness years y'know, my attic years when I kind of built things up from scratch myself....I don't know why I missed it, I just had this horrible feeling at the pit of my stomach that I needed to squeeze it all away. It's not nice for everybody else, but there you go."

Earlier in the month, NME.COM revealed the group's current tour would be their last, with Hannon remaining with current label Parlophone.

He maintains that his relationship with the label is good. He concluded: "Parlophone have never asked for any creative control, nor have they said they wanted more hit singles."

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