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Old 10-17-2007, 01:48 AM   #1
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Tension Between Band Members

I've often wondered --- to what extent, and between whom, is there tension/infighting in the inner-U2 camp?

I sometimes get the impression that Bono and Larry get along at a very deep level, and have a tight friendship despite the fact that they often take jarring jabs at each other in interviews or on stage. It's almost like Larry is the little brother that Bono has to always put in his place.

While Edge and Bono do not seem (of course I'm guessing) to have that same kind of tight and deep connection, they obviously have a hugely successful working relationship, which I'm sure both revere and respect. Back in 1990/1991 there was the famous Bono/Edge vs. Larry/Adam disagreement over the new direction for U2...

I sometimes wonder if there's any tension between Larry and Edge. They were the two most musically proficient members when the band started (and for several years, really), and must have dominated the sound/style of the band through the teenage baby-band years. Larry liked to joke about Edge always being out of time (as in Rattle & Hum) and of course there's the wonderful "Edge-gets-pissed-off-at-Larry-and-throws-his-guitar" moment in the Boston DVD. I can't recall seeing just the two of them out on the town together or doing interviews together, etc.

And I also wonder about the aftermath of the infamous Sydney concert (the first of two) in 1993, which Adam completely missed due to being either (a) depressed or (b) drunk and passed out, or (c) both. Flanagan details this night in 'U2 At The End of The World', and as I recall (it's been 11 years since I read it) he said that the other three more-or-less brushed it off and said nothing directly, and just got on with the business at hand. Clearly this was a major incident, however, and I wonder what it did to internal relations.

Then there's the obvious "three band members against Bono" aspect, which must have been occuring in various degrees since the "megalomania" (as Bono calls it) set in.

This is all just speculation, and in the end we all have no accurate idea. But it's quite interesting. No matter how serious the little rifts between them, they can't be too serious as the band is working late in its 4th decade together.... that's amazing.
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Old 10-17-2007, 03:21 AM   #2
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Aside the infamous AB tensions, there are/were tensions between the other 3 and Bono since he spends less time in studio (for a very legitimate reason, though). There may have been tensions during making of Bomb when in 2003 Bono and Edge thought they had a finished album and Adam and Larry said no. Then there's the October era when Edge almost walked out on the band, and in the early years Adam probably feeling left out as the other three were believers and he wasn't.

"The band survived but the relationships changed" - Adam, a few years ago

I think Bono and Edge have a real tight friendship relationship, you see them hanging out together outside of U2 events a lot, they are real comfortable with, say, hugging each other etc. I can also see Bono and Larry having a deep connection due to both of them losing their mothers early.

With all that, there are also several moments proving their bond, like Bono convincing Edge to stay with the band after his doubts during October era, Bono having Adam as his best man to reconcile their differences from the early years, Edge going to Larry's (or was it Adam's?) house when he was getting divorced, Larry convincing Adam to go into rehab, and most recently Edge and Larry attended Bob Hewson's funeral and they helped carry the coffin. If I remember right the other three attended Edge's wedding with Morleigh, too.
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Old 10-17-2007, 03:39 AM   #3
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I'd imagine it's nothing out of the unusual between 4 lifelong, very close friends. With of course the added pressure of creative differences, and the added pressure on top of that of a multi-million dollar business to operate, and then travelling the world together non-stop for a year straight. So, they're probably about ready to kill each other most of the time.

I do know this though: If a punch up ever breaks out on stage, I will drop everything I am doing - birth of my firstborn son, whatever - and be straight in to watch the action in PLEBA. You could never underestimate how entertaining that would be.
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Old 10-17-2007, 03:51 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by Earnie Shavers
I'd imagine it's nothing out of the unusual between 4 lifelong, very close friends. With of course the added pressure of creative differences, and the added pressure on top of that of a multi-million dollar business to operate, and then travelling the world together non-stop for a year straight. So, they're probably about ready to kill each other most of the time.

I do know this though: If a punch up ever breaks out on stage, I will drop everything I am doing - birth of my firstborn son, whatever - and be straight in to watch the action in PLEBA. You could never underestimate how entertaining that would be.
I think your first paragraph is most likely very accurate. I imagine they often can't stand each other, but also that when it comes down to it they care very deeply for each other. They've been through a lot together.

Your second paragraph however... that made me laugh so loud I scared the cats.
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Old 10-17-2007, 04:06 AM   #5
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Fights on stage ?
That happened too. There's a story on one of their early shows (think Boy or October) where Larry forgot to play/messed up the drum part, Bono chased him backstage and Edge had to stop him from getting Larry.

Then there's the story on Zoo TV where Larry played Pride wrong and Bono threw the microphone at him.

There's the fist fight story from their RnR Hall of fame induction, and of course the infamous Boston DVD Edge rage.

"Edge tried to knock me out a few times. The head-butt's my specialty." - Bono, on fights on stage
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Old 10-17-2007, 04:07 AM   #6
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The October and AB era's are the two most well documented for significant tensions within the band, where they did actually start to question whether staying together was genuinely worthwhile, but I don't think there's been any real serious difficulties which have threatened the future of the band since then, with the possible exception of the whole Pop and Popmart campaign, where I think the notion that this might be the end for the group was vaguely considered.

I think tensions have bubbled under over the years both on and off stage, particuarly in the eighties when they were still a 'baby band'. We all know about the infamous incident during the October tour when Larry didn't pick up his cue and Bono tried to attack him, leading the Edge almost knocking him out. I think these were all seething tensions which would occassionally boil over. Flanagan's book is quite interesting for this kind of thing, Edge does admit in it that at times over the years he and Adam haven't particuarly got along. Adam backs this up in the same book when he says that the working atmosphere on the Joshua Tour, Rattle and Hum, Lovetown and AB was shit.

Depending on how much credibility you give Lola Cashman, in her book she says that during the JT tour there were times when the band members were pretty cool towards each other and would sometimes barely even talk at all during the day, but that you would never realise it during the concerts at night. She also tells a funny story about Bono and Larry fighting in the showers after Bono kept making jibes at Larry until he finally snapped. I think these were more of the seething tensions talked about.

With all that said, it's pretty clear that the bond, good will and loyalty among the members has always been stronger than all the problems and frustrations put together. No matter how bleak things looked the positives of the band obviously outweighed the negative. Bono clearly adores Edge, and the band seem closer than ever.
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Old 10-17-2007, 04:08 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by U2girl
There's the fist fight story from their RnR Hall of fame induction,
Okay, I've heard all of those apart from this one... ???
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Old 10-17-2007, 04:14 AM   #8
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The Kodak moment, as Bono said:

"It's 1982, New Haven I believe. Things are not going well -- there's a punk rock band on stage trying to play Bach. A fight breaks out, and it's between the singer and the guitar player. Now you look at this guitar genius, and this Zen-like master, and the brital icy notes, and you know you can't play like that unless you have a rage inside you. I forgot that on that particular night, and he tried to break my nose. I learned a valuable lesson that night - don't pick a fight with someone who lives off hand and eye coordination."
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Old 10-17-2007, 07:13 AM   #9
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It's very normal for a band who's been together for so long to have all kinds of tensions, after all the individual members are very different, but Bono always says that the arguments are what keeps them going, they keep the creativity alive. I think it's a very interesting dynamic in the band, the members just continue to challenge each other. Apart from the AB sessions and maybe Adam's breakdown in Sydney, I don't think there have been really seriously threatening situations for the band. And I agree that they, especially Bono and Edge, seem to be very close, so their friendship and loyality is stronger than the tensions. I also think that they are not hanging out together in private so much - maybe except B and E, becaue they are such goods friends - so there is a lot of distance which is really a good thing in every relationship.

Btw, I feel that the band members have become more mature and comfortable with each others with the years. I guess it comes with age. When they are performing on stage nowadays, you can feel that.
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Old 10-17-2007, 09:27 AM   #10
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It is quite an amazing thing, to be able to create and perform SO well over these decades. I think they each bring something to each other and, as they say- have a whole that is better than its parts. Especially since knowing each other for so long, and sharing so much as they grew. I believe they look out for each other and love/respect each others differences. and when you can do that, you are blessed.
Maybe one day there will be a book......
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Old 10-17-2007, 09:33 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by U2girl
The Kodak moment, as Bono said:

"It's 1982, New Haven I believe. Things are not going well -- there's a punk rock band on stage trying to play Bach. A fight breaks out, and it's between the singer and the guitar player. Now you look at this guitar genius, and this Zen-like master, and the brital icy notes, and you know you can't play like that unless you have a rage inside you. I forgot that on that particular night, and he tried to break my nose. I learned a valuable lesson that night - don't pick a fight with someone who lives off hand and eye coordination."
toad's place basement
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Old 10-17-2007, 09:34 AM   #12
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Imo in friendships its a lot healthier to have these fights and bust ups than not to. If i had a £1 for every time i had a fight with my best mate i be a multimillionaire.

THe bono and larry jibes in the shower is quite strange, i wonder what the jibes were about lol....
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Old 10-17-2007, 10:10 AM   #13
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Like this, at least they're not related to one another... Look at the Gallagher brothers, now there's band dysfunction right there...
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Old 10-17-2007, 10:52 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by vaz02

THe bono and larry jibes in the shower is quite strange, i wonder what the jibes were about lol....
Bono was using the word 'we' a lot, but Larry confused it for 'wee' and being the self conscious fellow Larry is he took it personally, it was all just a misunderstanding.
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Old 10-17-2007, 03:04 PM   #15
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Bono's Diary, 10/17/07:

Once again, no one is on speaking terms with me. Edge has adopted the "Shun/unshun" method of talking to me from "The Office." "Unshun -- Bono, hit the goddamn notes next time -- reshun." I mean, what's the deal with that? Larry keeps staring daggers at me when I tell everyone that I'm now embarking on a goodwill trip to mediate a peace treaty between North and South Korea, followed by a trip to Turkey to resolve the issue with the Kurds, followed by a trip to Hawaii because apparently there are some tribal lands that are about to be desecrated. What's the big deal? I'll only be gone until mid-2008. I'll just breeze in, do a quick lyric session a la Unforgettable Fire, and we'll be good to go.

Adam and I haven't spoken in years, but he doesn't speak to anyone who's not 27, a triple-D, and a woman.
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Old 10-17-2007, 04:47 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by Headache in a Suitcase


toad's place basement
Ah yes, Toad's. I'm pretty sure there's a New Haven Coliseum gig around that time, opening for J Geils Band...so could be there too.
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Old 10-17-2007, 08:32 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by nathan1977
Bono's Diary, 10/17/07:

Once again, no one is on speaking terms with me. Edge has adopted the "Shun/unshun" method of talking to me from "The Office." "Unshun -- Bono, hit the goddamn notes next time -- reshun." I mean, what's the deal with that? Larry keeps staring daggers at me when I tell everyone that I'm now embarking on a goodwill trip to mediate a peace treaty between North and South Korea, followed by a trip to Turkey to resolve the issue with the Kurds, followed by a trip to Hawaii because apparently there are some tribal lands that are about to be desecrated. What's the big deal? I'll only be gone until mid-2008. I'll just breeze in, do a quick lyric session a la Unforgettable Fire, and we'll be good to go.

Adam and I haven't spoken in years, but he doesn't speak to anyone who's not 27, a triple-D, and a woman.
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Old 10-18-2007, 02:33 PM   #18
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Quite clever!! Poor Bono, even gets dissed by those who love him. But we would'nt want him to be any different.
It's that unconditional love thing.
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Old 10-18-2007, 02:57 PM   #19
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Originally posted by CTU2fan


Ah yes, Toad's. I'm pretty sure there's a New Haven Coliseum gig around that time, opening for J Geils Band...so could be there too.
no it was deffinetly toad's
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Old 10-18-2007, 03:30 PM   #20
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I dont claim to know much, but this I do know....

Being in a band, is much like, and perhaps more difficult, than being in a marriage. Here's why...

It's not just 1 + 1 coming together. In a bands case, you have (and particularly in this case) 4+ member coming together, and essentially living together.

4 different guys
4 different musical influences/styles
4 different goals
4 different personalities
4 different habits
4 different musical talents
4 different schedules
4 different family lives
4 different egos
4 different levels of testosterone flaring at any given minute

and much much more....

take all that, and mix it all up, and tell everyone they need to get along, and make great music, and manage to not strangle anyone in the process, is an amazing feat in itself, for even a short period of time. NOW do that for 28+ years! NOT easy!

I know I've been in my band now for a little over 2 years, and the singer and I have had our bouts. I consider him one of my best friends, but we've stepped up before, and been really close. Its cause we are both pretty head strong, and we're both pretty passionate. I can recall one instance vividly. I thought it might be WWIII! LOL And yet, I cant imagine doing this with any other guys then the 3 I'm with.

But we shake it off, and im sure our 4 favorite irish lads do the same thing. Im sure there have been some instances never written about, or never even mentioned again.

a band can be a trying thing, but one of the most rewarding things too.
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