Cranberries guitarist Noel Hogan recalled how their 1993 debut album Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? appeared to have been such a flop that the band expected to be dropped by its record label.

But when a call came through from the company, the message was the opposite of what they’d been preparing for.

“It came out and basically disappeared without a trace,” Hogan told Rolling Stone in a new interview. “So we figured, ‘That’s it. We’re done now.’ We were doing empty clubs as an opener in the U.K. and it was pretty depressing. We really, really thought it’s just a matter of time before we get that call and they say, ‘We’re going to move on, thanks very much.’”

But when Island Records made contact, “we were told we had to drop off our tour and come straightaway to America,” Hogan said. The reason: Their single “Linger” had become a hit on U.S. college radio.

“You could have knocked us over with a feather,” he admitted. “And so the next day we flew to Denver and did our first gig in the U.S., opening for the The. We walked out onstage that first night and everyone in the theater knew our songs. And from there everything changed.”

The Cranberries recently announced that, following the death of singer Dolores O’Riordan in January, the band would split after completing In the End, an album that features her last work. “The Cranberries is the four of us,” Hogan said. “Without Dolores, I don’t see the point of doing this, and neither do the boys.”