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Old 11-09-2004, 10:00 PM   #1
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Introducing Me...Happy to be here!

Well, I'm new here. Not that new, though...

I've got around fifty posts or so, but it wasn't until today that I stopped in this fine little corner of Interference to see what, exactly, was what. I've been pretty anti-boards for a good long while, so I admit that I wasn't quite sure how many people actually put anything up in here; I've gotta' say that it's pretty cool that more than a few are doing just that!

I never registered at Interference, although I've periodically browsed these pages for a good many years, now. As time has worn on and I've gotten on in my years as a U2 fan, I've heard a lot of negative shit about this forum/site, so I've always been pretty trepidatious. With everything that happened this weekend, though, I was all over the damn internet, scouring for this, that, and several other things; to my surprise, it was all you fine fine fine folks over here who were my saviors! I've discovered not the cliquey, incoherent swindlers I've read about, from time to time, but rather a group of very well-informed, intelligent, and SUPER helpful people who share a love for U2 which seems to rival even my own...!

My little story:
I was born back in the '82 (right about the time Reagan started trying to exterminate the gay population of America), so I spent my formative years bathed in the warm sounds of U2 pumping out of FM receivers on long car drives and the like. I was just a little tyke, though, so I never knew shit about the band--I was like five when The Joshua Tree came out...I didn't even know who The Beatles were...! Either way, a number of U2's songs from the '80s were sort of ambiguous elements of the soundtrack to my life.

As time wore on, I gradually became more and more of a fan of music. I was a bit too young to get snared by Nirvana, but (believe it or not) Green Day's Dookie was the one that got me into contemporary music, in general. I still recognized all those U2 songs that I loved, but I didn't really know anything about them. Then, in the summer of 1996, a Chicago radio station had a weekend-long countdown (twenty-four hours a day, no less) of the top 500 "alternative" songs of all time. I went out, bought my young ass some cassette tapes, and recorded the songs that I liked. It was through this countdown that I discovered The Cure, Depeche Mode, and various other bands whose work I've come to greatly enjoy--even the Violent Femmes. The countdown wasn't just restricted to '90s alternative music, and the '80s were HEAVILY represented.

It was on that fateful weekend that I realized that this U2 band I was only vaguely aware of had recorded "Pride," a song which I'd come to associate with a film I really enjoyed when younger, In The Name of the Father . Then I found out that they recorded "Bad," a song whose name I never knew but that I knew I fucking LOVED (my fave song of all time for almost ten years, now!). And then I realized that they did "Mysterious Ways." And "One." And "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For." And then, at number eight on the countdown, that these obviously-talented Irishmen had recorded the magnificent "With or Without You." I was fucking hooked, let me tell you!

For MONTHS I listened to that tape! I was without the internet or real money to follow music, so FM radio became my beacon of light--I would stay up till all hours of the night if a DJ said a U2 song would be played at some point. That tape was the CONCRETE soundtrack to my life and was accompanied by some good tunes by the Smashing Pumpkins, School of Fish, DM, The Cure, The Clash, and even Porno For Pyros. Great stuff. I didn't even have cable TV, so that tape and my crumby radio were like my life jackets.

On the final album recorded by The Velvet Underground, Loaded , Lou Reed sang, "Jeannie said when she was just five years old/There was nothin' happenin' at all/Every time she puts on the radio/There was nothin' goin' down at all--not at all/Then one fine mornin', she puts on a New York station/You know, she couldn't believe what she heard at all/She started shakin' to that fine, fine music/You know, her life was saved by rock and roll/Despite all the amputation/You know, you could just go out and dance to the rock and roll station/It was all right," on the classic song "Rock and Roll." That song is really talking about me. I swear to you. U2 was the sound pouring out of my radio, into my room, and into my head.

Then some CRAZY song called "Discotheque" broke...it was a HUGE moment in my life. I stayed home from school to listen to a live broadcast on the radio of U2's KMART press-conference, at one point. I heard them play "Holy Joe;" I was crushed when it wasn't on my copy of Pop . That was when I started buying all the singles I could. That album changed my life; in the first three months of its release, I listened to it more than 250 times. I still listen to it ALL the time, just as I do most of their other albums...and a LOT of other music, too.

I loved this band more than life itself. I traded all my Beatles albums and a lot of the music I already owned so that I could afford to get U2's albums. I devoured them rapidly and with a fiery passion. I traded more prized possessions to get enough money to buy their VHS releases, cuz I HAD to see the band live in some way. When I didn't have money, I still monitored the radio almost 24/7 to find "new" U2 songs. Both "Sunday Bloody Sunday" and "Tryin' To Throw Your Arms Around the World" still look in my mind just like they did that Saturday morning in February of '97--grey skies, rain, beautiful, glowing green grass.

The PopMart tour was announced. I spent every dime to my name and scrimped and saved all I could just to get two lawn tickets to see the band at Soldier Field (my mom had to go, cuz I was too young to drive or go alone). The show was a mind-altering experience. I now own almost every single piece of music that U2 (or a member of the band) has ever had anything to do with. If I don't, then I'm looking for it. I don't have a lot of money, so my collecting has taken some time...but I have pushed on, you know?

Achtung Baby taught me what love was. I didn't even know what love and loss could be until that album EXPLODED in my conciousness and continued to reverberate there for years...it still does, today, and is even now counseling me through the hardest period of my life. Pop gave me a new persepctive on religion and faith. Passengers changed the way I looked at modern art and mass communication, in general. U2 has truly changed my life and they continue to do so--without them, I wouldn't even listen to The Velvets or The Clash or The Ramones.

After that initial flurry of love, then, U2 and I settled into a nice, steady, long-term relationship. I always love them, I always listen, and things get really crazy and intense whenever new music comes out. The highlight, though, of my fandom still must be recounted. I apologize for rambling (I'm sure that nobody's reading, anymore...your loss, boys and girls! ), but this was the greatest thing ever.

In May of 2001, during the Elevation Tour, I was lucky enough to see the band play three of their four shows at Chicago's United Center. On the last night of their stand, May 16, my voice was pulverized. I had bad seats cuz I couldn't ever afford to subscribe to Propoganda and had to settle for the REAL cheap seats, but it was still a great time. I had finally gotten to hear "Bad" live for the first time, the night before (with the love of my life, no less...!), so I figured life was complete. Well, then they decided to open with the Zoo TV setlist!!! Replace "Zoo Station" with "Elevation" and then "Unchained Melody" with "Wake Up Dead Man," and you've got it; it was astounding.

I was sitting practically at the roof of the place, looking down at the left side of the stage. I had no voice left at ALL and was content to just sit back and enjoy things--but then Bono gave a lengthy intro. to "Stuck In a Moment" and the place got WILDLY quiet. I knew I had to take my chance--I was like a mile away from him, but I figured I'd just shout something and at least get some people to look at me. Little did I know, I fucking EXPLODED with sound! The whole arena in front of me (even several levels down) turned to look at me...and so did Bono. It was hilarious, perfect, and really cool. Only later would I realize just how loud I really was, when I got a hold of a bootleg recorded in the heart during that show....and you could hear me on it from eighty yards away in a sold-out indoor arena.

It was awesome. So there you go. I study English and Cinema/Comparative Literature at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, and will be heading to UCLA for grad. school in a year-and-a-half or so. I have written professionally both for newspapers and other publications and am one hell of a smart motherfucker. The last book I wrote was at the age of 18, but I'd like to take that up again once school calms down in a few years. I still love U2 even as I grow more cynical, but I have to admit that I'm not as into their last two albums as I was into most of their previous ones; I listen to the "Salome'" sessions a lot more than I do their last album...I'll say that much. A LOT more.

So there you go. There are a MILLION more things to say, but I guess that's for another time. I haven't even said anything about my being inspired to manage some bands by Paul McGuinness. Good stories, all--but for another time, another place...
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Old 11-10-2004, 09:00 AM   #2
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Welcome to Interference!
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Old 11-10-2004, 09:14 AM   #3
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Wow, you have quite the history! Glad you're here!
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Old 11-10-2004, 10:03 AM   #4
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is the way to
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Old 11-10-2004, 02:43 PM   #5
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Howdy!
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Old 11-10-2004, 06:06 PM   #6
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Nice story, Welcome
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Old 11-10-2004, 08:16 PM   #7
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Old 11-11-2004, 12:13 AM   #8
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Old 11-11-2004, 09:27 AM   #9
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Nice to have a "smart motherfucker" amongst us!!!
Let us know when you finally reach So. CAL


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Old 11-12-2004, 12:26 PM   #10
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very cool name


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Old 11-12-2004, 02:37 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by FallingStar
very cool name


Thank you! I thought it was quite clever, myself... You've been the first person to mention it, so kudos to you, friend!
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Old 11-12-2004, 02:43 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by If you shout...


Thank you! I thought it was quite clever, myself... You've been the first person to mention it, so kudos to you, friend!
*treasures the kudos*
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