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Old 12-10-2004, 02:21 PM   #1
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BONO: Up int he blue with the feet ont he ground

I think this interview hasn't been posted in ages, so i thought it would be cool to post it again for the new members


BONO
Up in the blue with the feet on the ground

That's how my daughters sees me. Like someone who might get to meet the Spice Girls. Says Bono, the singer in U2 in a conversation about life, Dublin and the revolution.

By Maria Domellöf

He did have a greedy phase in his life. A period when he devoted himself to be a materialist.
Bono is calling from a café in Nice, and he tells me in his little hoarse Irish:

You buy a house because you can afford it, and then you want to fill it with things. All of a sudden you're standing there with chairs and tables in front of you. In something that looks like a show room, in the antique dealers back yard.

(Sound clip: You buy...)

-You are watching while he's telling you about all the people that's been sitting on all of these chairs. Then you come to your senses and might even start to wonder: "What am I doing?"

Bono is continuing his self-examination:

- You're becoming middle-class that's what's happening. You learn... you're turning in to a person with a "good taste". And that's the beginning of the end. Because you're trying to defend your wealth by spending it in the "right" way. When I was somewhere around 30 I went through that... I was becoming middle-class, for a while. Something I do believe that my friends thought was very ridiculous. Now almost 10 year has passed, and money and success have become less interesting.
-But of course, I can still do stupid, ridiculous things, for example like buying a hotel.

Bono's talking about The Clarence Hotel on Wellington Quay in Dublin, where the members of U2 have opened a club.
He and the Edge (back then Dave Evans) used to sneak in to the 1900-century Hotel to drink a Guinness in peace, when they still were students at Mount Temple-school.

...and then we're sitting there, me and Edge, in the same old show room, and we're looking at the tables and the chairs (laughter). And... we're just looking at each other and we know that it's time for... revolution.

(laughter) So what is the most important, valuable for you? Now when you've reached, as you say, a place beyond middle-class? - Eh...solidarity, probably. Cohesion.

What do you put in that word? -Family. Friends. The ones you work with. And... I do think that I'm pretty much a patriarch, I do tend to handle the business if you know what I mean. I'm trying to make it the best for every one. Mostly because I want every one to stick together.
-Friendship takes time, and to really get to know someone you have to know what has happened to them.

You've been with your wife, Ali, since high school. Is that a part of it all? - Yes. It's really made a different for me. Even if I don't want to reduce the relation by trying to sum it up. It's something that I haven't thought of yet. But the fact is that I need her more then she needs me.

She's got to have a lot of patience, since you're away during long periods? - I do believe that she likes it. (laughter)

She likes it? - Yes, but you really need to know her to understand what I mean. But she's pretty cool, you know. She did a documentary about Chernobyl a couple of years ago, Black Wind, White Land. If you can find some time, see it. It's a wonderful film... that has won several documentary prizes.

Do you find time to spend time with your family during the tour? - Yes, during these past two months I have. But in September my daughters will start going to school again.
- I do believe that the thing that disturbs a relation isn't breaks but routine. And my children, when they're with me they're really there, if you understand what I mean.

Yes, but then it is all of these common things that you might be missing... - Yes, but we had last year, and we will have next year again. They came along the tour for awhile when the school was out. And their mother teached them, during that time, to see if it worked. I couldn't get Ali to follow me on the entire tour, not literately, because she was interested in it. But she and the children went to New York and then to the west coast. They did meet up with me from time to time, so we could be together for awhile. They tagged along on the tour for a week, or two, 'til they got bored and went somewhere else.
* So my daughters gets a pretty good idea of what I'm doing. And, eh... they see me as a dad that might get to meet the Spice Girls. If you understand what I mean. (amused)

(Sound clip: They see...)

(Laughter) Yeah. - The Spice-burger.

...And that's the coolest thing that they could imagine... - That's right. It would be cool.

Do you recognize yourself in your daughters? - Yes, actually I do that. In both of them, but in different ways. One of them loves to draw. She's very funny, a little clown to her personality... The other, eh... is a kind of child that can seem confused. Then she can, now and then, ask very hard questions. Or... she writes little poems. She's rather amazing, because she can stand in front of a mirror and stuff. You know, to very much be a "little girl". Then you hear her say something really weird: Like, for example, "Why did I even bother getting here?"
- I'm replying "What do you mean? Here? To this city? In America?" or what ever it can be. And she replies "No, to the world!"

(Laughter) Oh... - I really like those things. Like when she's writing those little poems. We went to see Bill Clinton when we were in Washington we've known him for the past... mm... what can it be, seven years.
- And... (he laughs at the memory) Eve had this drawing to Clinton and Jordan stands in the middle of the oval room and starts reading a poem that she wrote herself about Northern Ireland. And I find that to be a good poem. She's eight(?) I mean that's amazing.

Are they with you now? - No, they've gone back to Dublin.

Now when we're talking about your children, how do you look back at yourself as a... teenager. When you were Paul Hewson?

(Sound clip: Paul is dead...)

- Paul's dead! (Laughter) Paul is dead! Do you remember the rumour about the Beatles, Abby Road or something? That old rumour about "Paul is dead". Eh... I don't know. I honestly don't think much about it. It's this Belgian design genius, Walt, who's stirring the pot now in Paris and, well, all over the world. Anyway, he's designed underwear that our basist, Adam, is wearing. On the front it says "Kiss the future". And on the back "Fuck the past". And that's how it feels. I don't really think about my past. I like the moments your spending in the present. I think that it's important. And... I think about the future.

Where is U2 the next millennium?

(Sound clip: First band...)

- We'll be the first ban on the moon! No, I don't know... during the ZooTV-tour I thought that we'd be the first band that turned in to a TV-station. Eh... This time I'm not so sure that we can maintain this size.
- By stripping off all the other stuff we might bring out what's us. I'd like to simplify to be able to hear what each and everyone in the band can do. We rented a smaller premises in Washington where just the four of us played. It was something fascinating in that.

Are you still friends in the band? Or are you on each other's nerves? - Eh... hrm... We are really tired of each other. Especially during the making of records, not as much when we're on the road. On a tour it's more varied, but in the studio it gets heavy. But you know, we're robust, and nothing's really changing.
All the sojourns for Achtung Baby were a bit too much. Everyone was fighting in their corner. I could say a few mean things about it...

How long to you think this irony will last? It is some irony in what you're doing, isn't it? - Not in this show. Okey, a bit here and there, but irony was the word of the day for awhile, and people got the impression that they should associate it with U2 just as honest should've been used about U2 in the '80s. But this show is more like a sci-fi-gospel-show. Not as smart-assed as ZooTV. The songs are more intimate, emotionally rawer and you might just have to use a big lemon to weigh it up a bit.
- I've let MacPhisto go to sleep for this tour the last rock devil. Before we went on our ZooTV tour we tended to see ourself as angels. So we needed some devils to even it out. To make it a "fair fight" as a spectator said.


You used to have a strong belief. What kind of place does God have now, in the big arenas? - No one goes to church any more, but take a look at the arenas they're crowded. They are the new cathedrals, aren't they?
- I saw this wonderful quote on a wall in Berlin, that said: "God is dead Nietzsche" and below it someone had written: " Nietzsche is dead God". (laughter) I do think that it sums up the moment that we're living in perfectly. Because, I'm a believer. And in these days I get some really tough questions.
- It's not the easiest of times to believe in God. But I have to. And I do believe that I can see... love. I do hope and believe that there is some kind of love even though I also see chaos in the universe. But I tend to blame the humans for that instead of God.

Do you think that God had a purpose when he sent U2 to the people?

(Sound clip: Good has...)

- (laughter) Big laughter. I do believe that he's pretty fed up with all the crappy music that's wasted on him. Or her, or it. What ever you should say...

You recently said on TV, after the concert in Rotterdam, that "you were just four ordinary guys that liked to play your own songs". Do you experience it like that? As you are a down to earth kind of guy?

(Sound clip: Would I?)

- No. (laughter) Probably not. I met someone recently that said "You know, Bono, you've changed". And I said "Yes I do hope so". And I... won't come down. But I don't think that I am more cut off from the reality then anyone else.
- Some of my old friends probably live a more exiting life then I do. When we were kids we grew up in a kind of street gang environment. And for awhile it looked like I was the fine one.
-And I still hang around these people. They're my closest friends. One of the is a really good artist and he's getting his art work sold now. Even though it's been tough on him trying to get attention for his talent. In the shadow of his mate.

Do you miss Dublin? - Yes I do. I mean, Dublin is... oxygen. It's all or nothing. A kind of base where you can camp. I judge everything from the basis of Dublin, in a way. But I'm pretty keen on going away too.
- And travel like a maniac. I like touring. (laughter)

When you're out touring, do you miss the Irish stuff? Like Irish food for example?

- No, it's a lot of Irish people around us here. Actually we almost have more of them here then we do back home. Our entire touring staff .
- We're surrounded by people that we grew up with. It's just a big high tech circus, that's touring all around the world. Full of Irish people. I like that.

Bono calls for another cup of coffee, but soon he's continuing philosophise about Ireland:

(Sound clip: Irish people are...)

Irish people are island-people, if you know what I mean. They like the ocean. To be out with their boats, maybe roll over, and being close to drowning. I do think it's normal to be in deep water.

So do you feel like a typical Irishman? - Yes, very typical. The entire U2 is that, in the same way. It's not like we're struggling in the water because we think that we're drowning. But a bad insight that I've gotten these past six months is that I feel like we, as a group, really whips up our own problems.
- All the time we're doing things we can't handle. Because it makes us feel like we're on the edge. Every time we're going out on a tour even during the Joshua Tree tour, which was the closest thing to a mainstream-success we ever came, I remember we constantly asked ourselfs "What are we doing?".
- We were the first group in our generation that tried to play the really big arenas. And it was... rough. (roof he says with a typical Irish accent).
- With ZooTV, it was the same thing, we were on the verge of financial collapse. And now... with this tour... we even started selling tickets before we'd released the album.

Thousands of people will see you. It must be a fantastic feeling, but isn't there something else too? Why do you think you need that kind of acknowledgment? - (laughs) Why? Well... (pause)

...or was that a weird question to ask on the phone??? - No, you just popped the 10 000 Dollar question.

Oh... I see.

(Sound clip: To need...)

- Multibilliondollar question. But I'm not going to answer that. But you're right, to need 50 000 people every night to tell you that they love you to make you feel normal is a very sad story.
- Eh... I constantly ask myself that question. The only question you really have to ask yourself: Why?
- It's madness. But still it is a madness with it's feet on the ground.

More sound clips: Bono calling from Nice: Yeah... About joy: You know ... About the German director Wim Wenders: I actually think...
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Old 12-10-2004, 02:36 PM   #2
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that's a nice interview

thanks for posting it Flavia
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Old 12-10-2004, 02:59 PM   #3
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thanks for posting that
sounds like Bono's daughters are basically two halves of himself
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Old 12-10-2004, 03:05 PM   #4
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thanx !!!!!!!!!
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Old 12-10-2004, 03:28 PM   #5
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Very cool! An interview with Bono is always interesting.
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Old 12-10-2004, 03:41 PM   #6
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Thanks for posting!
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Old 12-10-2004, 03:42 PM   #7
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Old 12-10-2004, 04:58 PM   #8
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Thank You
I love this line: Friendship takes time, and to really get to know someone you have to know what has happened to them.
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