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Old 11-05-2006, 06:22 PM   #1
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Inside Bono's dressing room

With Irish supergroup U2 about to begin their long-awaited Australian tour, Christine Sams meets their charismatic frontman.


"I've never thought of myself as cool," he said, with a low, throaty chuckle. "Irish people are not cool - they're hot."

The man who is the world's biggest rock star - U2 frontman, global political activist and proud Irishman - took time out of rehearsals in Brisbane last week to chat to S. Bono was so naturally talkative, so warm and effusive, he chatted for nearly 40 minutes. The singer even waved away his PR at one point, saying: "I'm enjoying myself."

So what's Bono like up close? A little more freckly than you might expect, his hair cropped close, his wrists wrapped in motivational wristbands (the familiar yellow logo of Lance Armstrong's Livestrong, plus the white wristband for Make Poverty History), not to mention his toes sticking out of a pair of thongs.

If truth be known, Bono didn't even make it to rehearsals with his U2 bandmates The Edge, Larry Mullen jnr and Adam Clayton - he seemed happier staying inside his dressing room talking.

"The band are rehearsing now, I'm getting out of it by talking to you, which is great because I really can't stand rehearsal," he said, laughing. "I really do find it very hard to sing those songs unless there's people [the stadium audience] there."

To see Bono so relaxed bodes well for U2 fans. It means the band is fresh and ready for some of the biggest concerts of the year, including the Sydney shows, which begin on Friday.

"This is going to be something unique unto itself," said Bono, of the impending concerts. "I think everybody's just excited about it for that reason. I mean, it couldn't be better."

The U2 Vertigo tour had originally been scheduled for March, before it was postponed because of personal reasons - believed to be an illness affecting a member of The Edge's family.

"I'm sure the shows would have been memorable had we gotten here last time [in March] but there's a very different mood in this camp," Bono said. "We've got a guitar player who is just on fire. I will be discovering the songs in a different way."

He candidly opened up about topics close to his heart as a musician - including the band he has worked with since his working-class youth in Dublin, through to the fans who love and respect U2's music.

The band

"It's a bit of a street gang," said Bono, puffing his chest out, to show how the group feels when they're together. "I do a lot of work on my own, because I have to, but I'm always reminded of how much I miss that feeling [of the four of us]. It's very different.

"Sticking together is the hardest thing, whether you're a family, a business, a relationship . . . it's almost impossible to stick together. It's like gravity is against relationships. Everyone seems to as they get older withdraw into their own walled city, where you can be lord of your own domain. I've seen this going through my 30s, as I got to 40, I could see people ridding the room of argument. It just makes it less interesting. It may make it easier, but it's definitely less interesting. That's why, what we have . . . it's blood brothers.

"When we walk on stage, that's the reason why people's hair goes up, including mine by the way. There's something about the four of us - it wouldn't happen if there was two of us, it wouldn't happen if there was three of us. There's something about that chemistry, that you know there might be the chance of some magic. Maybe that's all you can expect of a rock'n'roll show."

The fans

"They've given us a great life," said Bono, of the fervent U2 fan base, both in Australia and overseas.

"I know sometimes you shouldn't judge your audience by the fans you meet, especially if they're in a flowerbed in your garden at home [he laughs] but U2 fans are different, they're very humane," he said.

"Intimacy is a great word. A lot of people are listening to music through earphones [these days] and you know, you're whispering into people's ears. It is a very intimate relationship and I think the place where it flowers is, of course, at these shows. You realise that people are not screaming their lungs out for you - I've kind of known this - they're screaming for themselves. And they're screaming for the moments they attach to those songs, the lives. Our songs tend to be with people at either the best of times or worst of times. When things are going normally, I'm not sure people listen to our band very much ," he said, laughing again.

"Those songs, they open up a series of memories for people - and big ones."

On writing songs

"I used to be really cross with our early work because it just struck me as a load of unfinished lyrics. It's a reason to play them now, because I can finish the lyrics. That's one way of looking at it. The other way is that people finish those songs themselves. Really, as a writer I sketch a feeling and I point towards a direction; I think the music is more articulate than I am.

"When I get it right, I try to put into words what the music is telling me. The music is very redolent of all kinds of feelings; you have the ecstatic side of our early work - the pure joy of it, the punk rock energy, and then the melancholy of some stuff, then the righteous anger. I can tell you what these emotions are because I have to go through them every night, in order to sing them. Some of those notes I can't hit unless I've stepped right inside the song."

On being cool

"Lou Reed told me that growing up in the era where cool was invented he found very restrictive. And this is the coolest man in the world, in the best sense of that word.

"Painters, novelists, poets . . . just can't be too cool. Because that's what models are supposed to be, that's what fashion people are supposed to be. If your definition of art is breaking open the breastbone and pulling open the ribcage and, you know [he mimes his heart tumbling out], a blood transfusion - you can't be cool [when you're] like that.

"If you have to be cool, you can't be honest, You can't say when you're afraid, you can't say when you need help, you can't say what are the wildest dreams in your head, because you'd be afraid that people might laugh at you. I've never thought of myself as cool. And yet, if I'm honest, you get better at it as you get older. You have to be careful of that. Irish people are not cool - they're hot . . . passionate, Latin. We're like Latin people who can't dance or dress!"

On juggling stardom, activism and family

"It must be my feminine side," said Bono, with a sexy drawl. "I think that's true, it is a feminine thing - the plate-spinning.

"I think maybe there's a hyperactive kid in me, intellectually more than physically. I can absorb a lot of information in a short period quite well. I work better in short, concentrated bursts - or another way of putting that is I'm better in small doses," he said, laughing. "I think fear of boredom is the answer to the question."

U2 performs in Sydney on Friday, Saturday and next Monday night (November 13). The band will release two new songs as part of the U218 album release on November 18, through Universal Music.
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Old 11-05-2006, 06:47 PM   #2
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great article



I'll be at those Sydney concerts! wooooooooooooo!!! *dances around*
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Old 11-06-2006, 12:30 AM   #3
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I was going to go to the Hawaii concert - even have a ticket.

But alas, life took me in other directions. So now I sold my ticket (will mail it this week).

Would have been fun...
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Old 11-06-2006, 09:48 PM   #4
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Re: Inside Bono's dressing room

Quote:
Originally posted by Niamh_Saoirse
A little more freckly than you might expect
This was my favorite part of this interview.
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Old 11-06-2006, 10:35 PM   #5
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Great interview, Thanks.
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Old 11-07-2006, 08:48 AM   #6
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Re: Re: Inside Bono's dressing room

Quote:
Originally posted by martha


This was my favorite part of this interview.
did you know that even the insides of his ears are freckled?
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And if U2 EVER did Hawkmoon live....and the version from the Lovetown Tour, my uterus would leave my body and fling itself at Bono - for realz.
Don't worry baby, it's gonna be all right. Uncertainty can be a guiding light...
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Old 11-07-2006, 11:41 PM   #7
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I didnt know!!! Let me take a look......
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Old 11-08-2006, 10:50 PM   #8
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Re: Re: Re: Inside Bono's dressing room

Quote:
Originally posted by Galeongirl
did you know that even the insides of his ears are freckled?
















Now that's all I'll be able to think about and I'll crash my car.
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Old 11-09-2006, 04:09 AM   #9
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You're counting them eh?
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Originally Posted by GraceRyan View Post
And if U2 EVER did Hawkmoon live....and the version from the Lovetown Tour, my uterus would leave my body and fling itself at Bono - for realz.
Don't worry baby, it's gonna be all right. Uncertainty can be a guiding light...
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Old 11-09-2006, 08:10 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Galeongirl
You're counting them eh?







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