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Old 01-14-2009, 01:04 PM   #1
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Deconstructing Larry

Not sure if this has been posted elsewhere. From today's The Independent:

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Deconstructing Larry: the creative tension behind U2

With their first album in five years due, Richie Taylor examines the chemistry that makes the band tick

Wednesday January 14 2009

On first glance it looked like the multi-million U2 bubble was finally about to burst. UK music magazine Q conducted four separate interviews with Bono, Larry Mullen, Adam Clayton and The Edge for their new issue.

So far so good -- except that when finally given a chance to air his world views at length, drummer Larry unleashed what seemed like a broadside on Bono, his politics and his seemingly non-stop humanitarian campaign work.

Larry is best known as a backroom boy, even though it was he who formed the band all those years ago in Mount Temple School on Dublin's Malahide Road. To begin with, it was his band and they all deferred to him. In fact, they apparently still do, to a certain extent.

Larry is the no-nonsense sticksman who prefers to keep his private life out of the spotlight, is extremely protective of his family and is usually the one to cry halt to the other three when things are getting a little bit out of hand.

Larry rarely gives interviews, with himself and bassist Adam Clayton seemingly happy to leave all that extra work to the loquacious frontman Bono and stoic guitar ace The Edge.

Therefore, it was all the more surprising to read Larry declaring that he believes former British Prime Minister Tony Blair should be tried as a war criminal over the Iraq invasion.

"Then I see him and Bono as pals, and I don't like that," he said. But according to Larry, Bono is well aware of the drummer's political views, which seem to be at the opposite end of the spectrum to his own.

And Larry went on to state how Bono is using his weight as a celebrity at great cost to himself and his family, to help other people.

"I don't think there's much of an upside to it for him, I don't think he chooses where he goes and who he meets. But as an outsider looking in, I cringe."

While the above statement could possibly be interpreted as an implication that Bono is neglecting his family and even the band, according to a close friend of the quartet, who are all now rapidly approaching 50, Larry's words were actually spoken in a tone of admiration for the singer.

Since they first came together over three decades ago, the four members of U2 have always enjoyed robust debates and discussions. They have been known to argue vehemently over music, tours, attitude and direction. Despite the high profile of Bono, they have somehow remained a democracy -- of some kind. And when somebody doesn't like something, they are quick to speak out, without caring about the consequences.

At the time of recording their last album, How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb, in their Dublin studios on Hanover Quay, Larry exclaimed in an interview that Bono's constantly having to take off somewhere on his charity work was slowing down their progress in the studio. The only solution for them at the time was to continue to keep on working with the producers until he returned. Which he always did.

The friend said: "The relationship between the four of them is really like a marriage. Sometimes we've expected to see blood and guts on the floor when an argument kicks off at a meeting or in the recording studio.

"But I think that is what keeps them going. They're pulling in four directions all the time and it somehow seems to fuel their creativity, their purpose and their mission."

In the early days of U2, Bono and Larry were actually the closest in the band and used to bunk in together back in the days when sparse finances necessitated cheap twin rooms on the road instead of suites. And insiders believe that in some strange way they possibly still are the closest.

But they hardly ever socialise together now when they're not working. While Bono regularly hits the town with old childhood pals Guggi and Gavin Friday, and occasionally The Edge, Larry prefers to spend time in his retreat in Howth with his family.

While Bono, his wife Ali and pals are photographed every summer with supermodels and Hollywood superstars in the south of France, Larry and his family are never pictured with them. But then neither is Adam Clayton, who reportedly spends a lot of his time abroad with his current girlfriend whenever U2 take a break.

But the ever-so-slightly serious Larry revealed: "When I'm finished on a Friday, I'm straight home to see my family. That's my choice. So we spend less time together on a social level. We're still friends, but it's a lot more difficult now.

"It's not the four guys fighting the world. That doesn't exist anymore. The opportunity to just sit around the pub and have a pint and talk about nothing doesn't happen as often as it should."

And in a way Larry probably does miss the old days when they could pop around to the famous Dockers pub beside the old Windmill Lane studios for a pint, one of their famous sausage sandwiches and a quiet chat, with only the occasional foreign fan dropping in to distract them for an autograph.

"I liked it (back then) because it created a bond that was unshakeable. Because the studio can be a difficult environment to work in, when people get het up and passionate. And when people become passionate they become difficult. So the further away you go from confirming your friendship, the harder it is."

Larry has stubbornly remained the only group member to stay based on their native northside. His house looks out on the beach and he has also quietly bought up nearby properties to safeguard his privacy.

The enigmatic Clayton, who has been teetotal for many years now, lives in the Daneswood mansion in Rathfarnham, while Bono lives in Killiney and The Edge lives in Dalkey.

It sounds like the forthcoming album No Line On The Horizon is the result of much hard work and blood, sweat and tears in the numerous recording studios where it was made.

The first single off the album, Get On Your Boots, will be performed live by the band at the Brit Awards in Earl's Court, London, on February 18. US rock bible Rolling Stone described it as "a blazing fuzzed-out rocker which picks up where Vertigo left off".

The album was initially to be produced by the legendary American knob-twiddler Rick Rubin, the man who turned the late Johnny Cash's career around for the last 10 years of his life.

But the sessions didn't work out quite as expected, and they subsequently called in Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois, who have worked with them since The Unforgettable Fire in 1984. And they are quick not to blame Rubin, who apparently just has a different method of working in the studio than the Dublin supergroup.

Former Roxy Music member Eno and New Orleans legend Lanois were also involved in some of the writing process, and sessions took place in the south of France, Morocco, London and, to a small extent, Dublin. It was initially supposed to be released last November but was put back until the end of February as all concerned felt that they could do better.

But Larry isn't the only one to sometimes get concerned by Bono's extra-curricular activities. Bono revealed: "Edge always says to me, 'You're an artist, remember that. You're not a politician.'

"But if you've looked into the face of a mother whose daughter or son has died for no good reason, they don't know or care who is president of America. It's something that once you're a witness to, you can't get it out of your head and so you don't take s**t on their behalf."

And when asked why the now veteran band don't just go out and play all the old hits, Bono is adamant in his response.

He said: "Chemistry is a very peculiar thing. As you get older, males want to be lords of their own domain.

"They rid the room of argument and miss out on the friction that caused the spark of their genius. The really sad and pathetic thing is me and Edge have two sons around the same age whose names rhyme -- Eli and Levi. God forbid they should ever form a band, Eli and Levi. It's like a bad joke."

But Larry's comments seem to have caused little worry to Bono, who was out partying last Saturday night with his coterie of close friends. They hit Lillie's Bordello, their favourite late- night haunt, and according to onlookers, Bono was in sparkling form and enjoying a few beers, as well as strutting his stuff on the dancefloor for a few numbers.

Larry was probably tucked up in bed at home by then, dreaming bad dreams about Tony Blair and George W Bush, and how to keep the band on the straight and narrow, without any detours and compromises. Good on him!
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Old 01-14-2009, 09:11 PM   #2
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Thanks Biff for the article
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Old 01-14-2009, 09:13 PM   #3
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Thanks, biff. I hadn't seen that yet.

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Old 01-14-2009, 11:07 PM   #4
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Poor Larry! 131 views and only two comments. Kind of the opposite of Bono, where you might expect two views and a bejillion comments.
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Old 01-14-2009, 11:14 PM   #5
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^Don't feel badly for Larry. I'm sure he is just fine with that!
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Old 01-14-2009, 11:21 PM   #6
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Anti-social bastard!
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Old 01-14-2009, 11:33 PM   #7
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^You forgot the or !

Before anyone becomes totally unglued... we are JUST KIDDING here, betwixt ourselves!!

Although this being a thread not involving Bono, I think we are safe from the those who take it all too seriously!!











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Old 01-14-2009, 11:47 PM   #8
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^ ouch!

That's actually a pretty nice article, asking readers to keep things in perspective and in context if you ask me.
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Old 01-14-2009, 11:56 PM   #9
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Yes, it's a very nice article, I agree!

Not sure what earned the "ouch", I think it was obvious that what was said was all in good fun!



Ed. I thought it was obvious that some of us were trying to be funny, but I guess it should be stated up front, in case that was not!
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Old 01-15-2009, 12:35 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biff View Post
Poor Larry! 131 views and only two comments. Kind of the opposite of Bono, where you might expect two views and a bejillion comments.
Oh, no, don't blame Larry,...or even Bono on that! It's just everything in this article was on the interviews on Q magazine and we discussed them a few days ago, we got to a conclusion, I think, that U2 is made by for men, and that all of them are fantastic!
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Old 01-15-2009, 01:14 AM   #11
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While the above statement could possibly be interpreted as an implication that Bono is neglecting his family and even the band, according to a close friend of the quartet, who are all now rapidly approaching 50, Larry's words were actually spoken in a tone of admiration for the singer
that's the thing with written interviews. you cannot hear the words being spoken, you cannot hear the tone of voice and you don't see the expression of the speaker's face.

Larry and Bono (and the other two) have been through a lot together. I do believe there are tensions and perhaps even conflicts, but I will never believe they disrespect one another.

now, Ladies, proceed with the joking
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Old 01-15-2009, 06:26 AM   #12
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The thing that impressed me most about Larry during interviews was that his humour was so wry - if you blinked, you'd miss it. But he comes off with these little quips and one-liners that you would NEVER expect him to say, being the "serious one." I found that he was actually QUITE funny and refreshingly so.

I would have LOVED to see his face during this interview. A million tells, I imagine. . .
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Old 01-15-2009, 09:12 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by GracelandHarley View Post
Yes, it's a very nice article, I agree!

Not sure what earned the "ouch", I think it was obvious that what was said was all in good fun!



Ed. I thought it was obvious that some of us were trying to be funny, but I guess it should be stated up front, in case that was not!
Sorry Linda. I should've said "ouch "



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Old 01-15-2009, 10:08 AM   #14
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Larry is one to let his drums do the talking; he's not much for interviews. While Edge and Adam have often been interviewed in guitar and bass playing magazines over the years, Larry has only been in Modern Drummer only once. But that isn't the magazines fault, as I found out in December of 2003.

I'd wrote to the editor of Modern Drummer asking WHY did it appear that they were giving no time to the drummer of one of the biggest bands ever. I reminded him that since that original feature in 1985(!), U2 had put out a little album called "The Joshua Tree", film called "Rattle And Hum"... went to Berlin to reinvent themselves with another great album called "Achtung Baby" followed by the the task of making an album while on tour ("Zooropa"), taken on two of the most ambition tours (Zoo TV and Popmart) and then when some seemed to backlash, they came back with Grammy winning album and singles via "All That You Can't Leave Behind".

The editors response? "You're absolutely right, Larry and U2 have achieve so much during their career but the lack of coverage in Modern Drummer has not been on purpose." The editor pointed out that they have tried, repeatedly, to get Larry to sit down for interviews but to no avail. FINALLY, in 2001 he'd agreed and they were to have met up in San Diego. But in the last minute, Modern Drummer was told, "Larry isn't feeling well today and needs to conserve energy for the show. He will reschedule". And Larry has not rescheduled.

My point? I have to have a point? Damn IT. Well, the point basically being that for the most part, Larry seems content letting Edge and Bono do the interviews for most things. And as for the music press, let Adam talk to Bass Player magazine and Edge all of the guitar magazines out there but Larry is quite content not having to explain that he does, how he does it and what brand of drums/cymbals/t-shirts he uses doing it.

...and, oh yeah... it IS all about the drums.
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Old 01-15-2009, 10:44 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Edge_Orchestra View Post
Larry is one to let his drums do the talking; he's not much for interviews. While Edge and Adam have often been interviewed in guitar and bass playing magazines over the years, Larry has only been in Modern Drummer only once. But that isn't the magazines fault, as I found out in December of 2003.

I'd wrote to the editor of Modern Drummer asking WHY did it appear that they were giving no time to the drummer of one of the biggest bands ever. I reminded him that since that original feature in 1985(!), U2 had put out a little album called "The Joshua Tree", film called "Rattle And Hum"... went to Berlin to reinvent themselves with another great album called "Achtung Baby" followed by the the task of making an album while on tour ("Zooropa"), taken on two of the most ambition tours (Zoo TV and Popmart) and then when some seemed to backlash, they came back with Grammy winning album and singles via "All That You Can't Leave Behind".

The editors response? "You're absolutely right, Larry and U2 have achieve so much during their career but the lack of coverage in Modern Drummer has not been on purpose." The editor pointed out that they have tried, repeatedly, to get Larry to sit down for interviews but to no avail. FINALLY, in 2001 he'd agreed and they were to have met up in San Diego. But in the last minute, Modern Drummer was told, "Larry isn't feeling well today and needs to conserve energy for the show. He will reschedule". And Larry has not rescheduled.

My point? I have to have a point? Damn IT. Well, the point basically being that for the most part, Larry seems content letting Edge and Bono do the interviews for most things. And as for the music press, let Adam talk to Bass Player magazine and Edge all of the guitar magazines out there but Larry is quite content not having to explain that he does, how he does it and what brand of drums/cymbals/t-shirts he uses doing it.

...and, oh yeah... it IS all about the drums.
And THAT my friends, is what makes Larry Larry.

Good on ya to write the editor! I like what you had to say, as well.

It is all about the drums!
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Old 01-15-2009, 11:08 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Edge_Orchestra View Post
My point? I have to have a point? Damn IT. Well, the point basically being that for the most part, Larry seems content letting Edge and Bono do the interviews for most things. And as for the music press, let Adam talk to Bass Player magazine and Edge all of the guitar magazines out there but Larry is quite content not having to explain that he does, how he does it and what brand of drums/cymbals/t-shirts he uses doing it.

...and, oh yeah... it IS all about the drums.
couldn't have put it better myself.
I really loved your post
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Old 01-15-2009, 12:11 PM   #17
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Excellent points, Edge Orchestra and Abelives.
They are one, but they're not the same.

Larry is awesome, just wish he'd make him self more available for his fans.. when in public.
Poor Larry girls, don't get enough of him. Unlike us Bono addicts.. too much is still not enough.
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Old 01-15-2009, 12:25 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edge_Orchestra View Post
Larry is one to let his drums do the talking; he's not much for interviews. While Edge and Adam have often been interviewed in guitar and bass playing magazines over the years, Larry has only been in Modern Drummer only once. But that isn't the magazines fault, as I found out in December of 2003.

I'd wrote to the editor of Modern Drummer asking WHY did it appear that they were giving no time to the drummer of one of the biggest bands ever. I reminded him that since that original feature in 1985(!), U2 had put out a little album called "The Joshua Tree", film called "Rattle And Hum"... went to Berlin to reinvent themselves with another great album called "Achtung Baby" followed by the the task of making an album while on tour ("Zooropa"), taken on two of the most ambition tours (Zoo TV and Popmart) and then when some seemed to backlash, they came back with Grammy winning album and singles via "All That You Can't Leave Behind".

The editors response? "You're absolutely right, Larry and U2 have achieve so much during their career but the lack of coverage in Modern Drummer has not been on purpose." The editor pointed out that they have tried, repeatedly, to get Larry to sit down for interviews but to no avail. FINALLY, in 2001 he'd agreed and they were to have met up in San Diego. But in the last minute, Modern Drummer was told, "Larry isn't feeling well today and needs to conserve energy for the show. He will reschedule". And Larry has not rescheduled.

My point? I have to have a point? Damn IT. Well, the point basically being that for the most part, Larry seems content letting Edge and Bono do the interviews for most things. And as for the music press, let Adam talk to Bass Player magazine and Edge all of the guitar magazines out there but Larry is quite content not having to explain that he does, how he does it and what brand of drums/cymbals/t-shirts he uses doing it.

...and, oh yeah... it IS all about the drums.

Larry just act like the way he's. why he's going to be someone that isn't him?
he just wanna play drums
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Old 01-15-2009, 03:43 PM   #19
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Superb article! I laugh when I read just how much tension is between Larry and Bono! And how the press say they hate each other

Let me just say one thing. Bono wears only 1 ring! and it is NOT given by Ali, it is given by Larry! The press never figured that!
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Old 01-15-2009, 03:51 PM   #20
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Superb article! I laugh when I read just how much tension is between Larry and Bono! And how the press say they hate each other

Let me just say one thing. Bono wears only 1 ring! and it is NOT given by Ali, it is given by Larry! The press never figured that!
It's a good thing, too, because then there would be a fat lot of OTHER rumours all the livelong day!
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