Fan’s Perspective: And So It Begins*

August 30, 2004

By Devlin Smith
Contributing Editor
2004.08

I was listening to Tami Heide?s music news on KROQ today during my drive home. She talked about new music from the Foo Fighters, Green Day and Sum 41, as well as the Curiosa Festival set to hit the Home Depot Center this weekend. She ended with the tiniest snippet about U2?album hitting stores Nov. 23, single to be released next month.

This news was really nothing new, we?ve been reporting the same information from various sources for at least a month, maybe longer. For some reason, though, maybe the fact that I was actually hearing it, just made all of this sink it. ?Next month!? I screamed while pounding my steering wheel, the clanging chords of ?Mysterious Ways? finishing out Tami?s report in the background. ?Next month!? Now it was real, now I finally grasped, truly understood that a new U2 album was coming. And so it begins.

We?ve known this was an eventuality for years, literally. The band first talked about songs to appear on the new album during a Nov. 2002 MSN chat. ?Full Metal Jacket? was dropped as a title then. In Feb. 2003 some friends and I were lucky enough to meet Bono outside Hanover Quay in Dublin. He told us the band had been working long nights in the studio. This album has been in the offing for ages and now it?s finally in the clearing, just slightly beyond the horizon but definitely within reaching distance.

Next month, it?s close enough to taste, and my body knows it. For the first time in a long time I?m getting U2 jitters. I think I may be too close to it sometimes, I spend my days scanning the Internet for news, making calls and sending e-mails to get scoops and confirmation, I don?t get too much time to wallow in my fan-girlness. Today that fan girl side finally came out, shrieked and pounded and giggled. Next month!! We?re getting a new U2 single next month!

I can countdown the days now, feel the time fluttering by as that fateful day in September finally presents itself. Of course I know it won?t really be a month, it?s certainly just a matter of weeks before Jo Whiley at Radio1 in the UK, Dave Fanning at Ireland?s 2FM, a KROQ DJ in LA or any of their radio brethren around the world has the honor of getting that first play. The song will be online within seconds of that debut. A video will soon follow.

So now is the time to prepare, to stretch both my critical and fanatical muscles. I?m going to go back to the beginning of U2, do my own marathon and play all the band?s albums in order, reacquainting myself with its path to greatness??Boy,? October,? ?War,? ?The Unforgettable Fire,? ?The Joshua Tree,? ?Achtung Baby,? ?Zooropa,? ?Pop,? and ?All That You Can?t Leave Behind.? I?ll analyze the similarities and differences between these albums, marveling at the craftsmanship and artistry, tracking the group?s progress from scruffy-haired post-punks to rock ?n? roll elder statesman. And then I?ll play the B-sides version of ?Electrical Storm? a few hundred times, hoping to find some hint of the new U2 in Edge?s charging solos, Adam?s swaying bass, Larry?s pounding drums, Bono?s mournful vocals.

And I believe this kind of preparation is in order, once this single hits the next two years are going to be jam-packed. There?s the tour that, if all the indications are correct, will begin in Miami or Boston [in] March 2005. Then there?s TV and radio appearances, videos and singles, magazine and newspaper interviews, signings, sightings, performances, sound bites, spoofs, critiques, accolades and award show sweeps on the way. That?s a lot for a fan to take in.

Now that I?ve got my U2 Global Extravaganza ?04-?06 preparations figured out, I wonder what the band is doing to prepare for the onslaught. I imagine rehearsals and pow wows, workouts and freak outs, prayer and meditation, bulk amounts of quality time spent with family and friends. These next few years are certain to be unlike anything Bono, Edge, Larry and Adam have faced in their 25 year career, it?s going to be extraordinary and excruciating. I bet that can?t wait just like we can?t.

Until I hear that single for the first time; until its lyrics, guitar, bass and drums have infiltrated my consciousness; until I learn the album?s title; until I first hold that square parcel in my hand; until I first pop it into my CD player and contemplate it, lyric sheet and all; until the tour dates are announced; until my tickets arive; until I enter the arena; until the band hits the stage; until the Grammys are awarded; until the yearly top 10 lists are announced; until the video collection is released; until the concert DVD hits my player; until the band first talks about the album to follow Tami Heide?s words will fill my head. Next month! The U2 single is coming out next month! And so it begins?

Fan’s Perspective: Bono for President?*

August 30, 2004

By Joel Tanner
Chief Elvis
2004.08

Normally I try to discourage any political articles for Interference.com. This, however, is an exception.

I have come in contact with many eligible voters here in the United States who are seriously considering either not voting, writing-in a vote or voting for a minority party candidate for the presidential election in November. Recently I, and a number of others, received an e-mail from an Interference.com reader urging voters to write-in a vote for Bono for president. The author makes the following claim about Bono, "This guy, who is not at all eligible to run for this office, would be so far superior to our current choices that the point has to be made and the protest vote has to be lodged. Consider joining me in the ultimate protest vote in 2004 and vote Bono for president.?

I love the idea but the problem I see with calling people to action to write-in someone like Bono is that they will be wasting critical votes that will be needed in what is to be another tight race. Every vote counts. As was seen in the last election, the country’s president was decided on by less than 1,000 votes.

As a U2 fan, and a voter, I urged this author not to pursue his "protest" actively and to indicate to his site visitors that they should use their vote wisely and not to waste it on a vote that will not be counted toward one of the two major parties.

I’m worried not because of who will be the next elected president but how American voters use their voice, and when they use it. This race for the presidency has been going on for months, the first line of candidates long since gone from the evening news. The time to decide, and influence, who will run for president has passed. The primaries are over. If you want to protest who our candidates are, I urge you to get involved in the political process and dedicate your efforts toward the following election.

Now is the time, even if you think you’ll be voting for the lesser of two evils, to make your vote count.

For more information on the presidential election and candidates, please visit: http://www.moveon.org, http://www.rockthevote.org, http://www.georgewbush.com, and http://www.johnkerry.com.

Featured Cause: The One Campaign*

August 23, 2004


By Brenda Clemons
2004.08

The One Campaign is about the power of the individual, its goal to get Americans involved in the fight against global AIDS and poverty, specifically in African nations. American citizens are some of the most powerful in the world but we don’t act upon it, only a small percentage of us vote. According to the DATA Web site, it is estimated that Americans can help stop 23 million Africans from dying of AIDS each year, and put nearly 104 million children in schools around the world by increasing US aide to the world’s poorest countries and influencing other wealthy nations to do the same.

It’s extremely urgent that we do become involved now, because, as Bono has said, "This is not a cause but an emergency." Efforts, such as The Millennium Challenge, and PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief) promised much needed aid to the countries hardest hit by AIDS, TB and malaria (as much as $15 billion over a five-year period) but funding for these initiatives has been slow or lacking. Just recently, the House passed its 2005 Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill and cut nearly $2 billion from President Bush’s initiative to fight global AIDS and poverty. Our elected officials keep saying that they want to do more to help but then don’t, and this is partially because they do not hear from the voters. If they do not hear from us, they think that this is an issue that is not important to us as voters. In effect, by remaining silent, we are conveying the message that we don’t care.

What is the One Campaign petitioning for? Increased funding to fight AIDS, TB and malaria; more money for development assistance (of the richest countries, the United States gives the smallest percent to developing nations); a level playing field for trade (it is estimated that Africa could earn six times what it now receives in foreign aid if only they could trade equally with the rest of the world); and debt relief (for example Nigeria borrowed $5 billion and has paid back $16 billion yet still owes $32 billion in interest).

So, what can you do? Visit the DATA Web site at www.data.org to learn more about The One Campaign and the crisis in Africa. While there you can also find a DATA event in your area. If you belong to a religious organization, talk to your clergy and ask if there might be a way you can organize a letter-writing campaign. College students can check to see if there is a political group on campus that might be interested in working with DATA. Talk to your neighbors and help them understand the crisis in Africa and what can be done to help. Bono said, "For the first time we have the means to end extreme poverty and the scourge of AIDS but do we have the political will?" The One Campaign could prove we do.

Luminous Times: An Anniversary Tribute to Bono and Ali Hewson*

August 21, 2004

By Debbie Kreuser
2004.08

"I got married when I was young so it definitely was not planned. I just met this extraordinary woman who turned my whole life upside down."

Review: A Selection of U2

August 16, 2004

By Andr

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