Interview : BP Fallon, DJ/Photographer/Writer - U2 Feedback

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Old 10-07-2003, 02:02 PM   #1
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Interview : BP Fallon, DJ/Photographer/Writer


By Devlin Smith

For a kid who's grown up eating, breathing, sleeping rock 'n roll skimming BP Fallon's biography is mind-blowing. He's worked at Apple Records for The Beatles, handled publicity for Led Zeppelin and T. Rex. He's a photographer, writer, DJ and performer whose friends, subjects and collaborators include Bob Geldof, Sinead O'Connor, Public Enemy, The Rolling Stones. He warmed up the crowds for U2's ZooTV tour and ended up writing a book about the experience, "U2: Faraway so Close." And that just scratches the surface. Like I said, mind-blowing.
These days, Fallon is making his acting debut in the film "Headrush," tours Europe with Death Disco and continues his writing, picture taking and DJ-ing. He also took the time to answer some questions about his life, his work and his love of rock 'n roll for Enjoy!!

What first sparked your interest in rock 'n roll?
Hearing "Move It," the B-side of the first single by this new rock ’n roll singer Cliff Richard. It was 1958 and I was 11 and I knew I needed to be part of this astounding noise. This sounds as crazy as it’s true - Cliff was raw and sexy and adults deemed him lewd. Fine! "Move It" was a great track and still is, the very first real English rock ’n roll record. The next two, in order, were "Shakin’ All Over" by Johnny Kidd & the Pirates (later covered by The Who) and "Brand New Cadillac" by Vince Taylor & the Playboys (later covered by The Clash). Up to those three records by Cliff, Johnny and Vince, all brilliant full-on rock ’n roll was American, period.

When did you know that music was something you wanted to be a part of all your life?
Immediately on hearing "Move It." That was it, BANG!

Out of all the things you've done -- writing, DJ-ing, photography, promotion -- what has been your favorite?
Right now DJ-ing and taking photographs. I love writing when I’m all vibed up but that doesn’t come out of the tap. Well, sometimes it does. Love comes in spurts.

You've worked for record labels and have also written for music magazines, was it hard transitioning between music promotion and reporting?
No, because for me it was the same thing - turning people onto music you believe in, turning people onto people you believe are dynamite. That’s a privilege.

Who has been your favorite artist to interview?
John Lennon, Jerry Lee Lewis, Quentin Crisp, Spike Milligan, Rufus Thomas, Mavis Staples, Van Morrison, Chuck D, there are many people from whom to learn.

Who has been your favorite artist to photograph?
Miss Jaime Coon [the model, actress and Fallon's costar in "Headrush"].

How did you become involved with the ZooTV tour?
I’d just been working with Tone-Loc in Los Angeles and I was in Ireland for Christmas. Bono invited me to write the ZooTV tour programme and after a few weeks of hanging out at the rehearsals he said “If we asked you, would you come on the road with us?”

What did you see your responsibility as DJ with ZooTV being?
Vogue described what I did at the gigs as “foreplay” for U2. It was brilliant fun and a great honour for which I thank the band and Paul McGuinness. I’ll always have a parking space in my heart for Bono. Yo, yo Mr. Bongo!

Was it your intention all along to write the book "U2: Faraway so Close" about your experiences with the ZooTV tour?
No. The band and Paul were looking at my photographs on the plane one day and said “Why don’t you do a book?”

"U2: Faraway so Close" is currently out of print, are there any plans for a reissue?
Paul McGuinness kindly said in the Irish Times that it’s a great book. It’s not only about U2, it’s about rock ’n roll in general. One of my favourite reviews said “This whirlwind of a tome - liberally illustrated with the writer’s fine photography of everyone from the conquering Irish heroes to the elegantly gnarled Rolling Stone Keith Richards to the ghost of Elvis -- is a trawl through rock’s underbelly as seen from the top, from this cracked lunatic seer sage DJ being cautioned by the band’s manager for the age of the girls in his room to the brutal murder of his beloved drug dealer”. Should such a book be available?

While DJing for the ZooTV tour, you also took part in ZooRadio. How did that idea come together?
ZooRadio was the sonic knob of ZooTv, pictures for yer ear’ole. We had Bono singing "Two Shots of Happy, One Shot of Sad" on the airplane, Flavor Flav doing a rap, and a bunch of silly sketches with Bono that are brilliant. It was put together by Bill Kates and myself in New York and - with much thanks and appreciation to Chris Blackwell - in Jamaica. It is, apparently, the rarest U2 CD ever - only 1,000 were made by Island, for radio stations.

Most recently, you've been touring Ireland and parts of Europe with Death Disco. What exactly is Death Disco? Are there plans to travel it beyond Europe?
Death Disco is the freedom to rock. It’s a mad travelling party that I formed with Alan McGee and we DJ - maximum rock ’n roll and punk and thrash and glam. We have guest DJs at the parties - people like Courtney Love, Shane MacGowan, Jaime Coon, Mani from Primal Scream, Pelle from The Hives, Gavin Friday. We like it to be mental, people just rockin’ out. It’s very uplifting, very good fun. We played at the Roskilde Festival in Denmark and it was wild, 70,000 people shakin’ it gloriously, just going nuts. We’d
like to shake it in America next - they’d absolutely love it.

You've also just made your featured acting debut in the film "Headrush." What made you decide to take on acting? Can you explain a little about the picture and your role in it?
"Headrush" is a very funny drugs-and-cops-and-gangsters-and-love comedy caper, loosely in the lineage of "Trainspotting" and "Withnail and I" and "The Lavender Hill Mob." There’s some U2 and Passengers music in it. Stephen Berkoff plays the mad psychotic monster The Uncle. I’m Blowback, the wisdom- and weed-dispensing guru. Shimmy Marcus, the director, said “Just be yourself,” so I sat there naked in a big egg smoking joints as I did my verbal, and that’s Blowback.

On your Web site you are described as "BP Fallon is to rock 'n roll what a stamp is to an envelope." How do you feel that description suits you?

Where did the King Boogaloo moniker come from? Is it connected to the Ringo Starr song?
Marc Bolan wrote "Back Off Boogaloo" though it’s credited to Ringo. Marc and I worked together for several magic years during the wonderful T. Rex-tasy madness and he called me King Boogaloo or worse! I called him Boley. I love Marc.

What are the five CDs/albums you can't leave home without?
Well, I burn my own CDs. They’re titled, variously, "You Burn Your Candle On Me," "Ride Yer Pony," "Steppin’ Razor," "Eileen and Claudine and My Blue-Eyed Jane," "Wow! You Know Lucy Was Right!" etc., etc. The music therein is everything from Frank Sinatra to the Flaming Sibeburns. Other CDs that I carry with me everywhere are Van Morrison: "Astral Weeks;" Bob Dylan: "Highway 61 Revisited" / "Blonde On Blonde" / "Bringing It All Back Home;" Howling Wolf: "The Rocking Chair Album;" Elvis: "The Sun Sessions;" Sex Pistols: "Never Mind The Bollocks;" Bowie: "Ziggy;" Primal Scream: "Evil Heat." Among my favourite bands are Primal Scream, BRMC, The Raveonettes, The D4 and, from Dublin, The Things. I love the bright new Peaches' album "Fatherfucker" - sharp, filthy, funny, fun and forthright.

In one sentence, how would you sum up BP Fallon?
“Bless us who are still alive and bless us who are still in heaven, bet your mama don’t know you can scratch like that, nothing you can do that can’t be done”.

[b]As a special treat for the U2 fans at, has provided us with access to "never-before-seen" photos of U2 taken by BP Fallon. Please go to and follow the link to the gallery.

Much thanks to Mr. Fallon and all with!

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Old 10-07-2003, 03:05 PM   #2
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Very cool

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Old 10-07-2003, 03:07 PM   #3
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"Knight in shining Zubaz."

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Old 10-07-2003, 03:14 PM   #4
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Wow. Very cool.

People like him, or Paul Shaffer, or Dick Clark, or others along that line...I think it would be absolutely fascinating to sit down with them sometime. Think of all the stories they have about various musicians! That would be worth sitting and listening to.

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Old 10-07-2003, 03:30 PM   #5
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Originally posted by Moonlit_Angel
Wow. Very cool.

People like him, or Paul Shaffer, or Dick Clark, or others along that line...I think it would be absolutely fascinating to sit down with them sometime. Think of all the stories they have about various musicians! That would be worth sitting and listening to.

I completely agree!

I'm actually WOW'ing that we got this interview
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Old 10-07-2003, 03:48 PM   #6
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Awesome ... great interview
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Old 10-07-2003, 03:53 PM   #7
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Old 10-07-2003, 07:56 PM   #8
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Wow! Very cool interview!
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Old 10-07-2003, 08:41 PM   #9
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Old 10-08-2003, 09:56 AM   #10
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i still think he looks like putin
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Old 10-08-2003, 03:28 PM   #11
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i love that man.

i miss death disco dublin! bring it on to americae, baby!
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Old 10-08-2003, 08:43 PM   #12
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Cool cool cool! I had no idea that book was OOP. I'm glad I got to read it a few years back when a friend lent it to me!
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Old 10-09-2003, 12:05 PM   #13
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Jeh. Rock on King Boogaloo ~
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Old 10-25-2003, 12:48 AM   #14
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I just bought the book off ebay, three are a few on there if you look hard enough

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