Reason #29233 to love Bono: New Interview - U2 Feedback

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Old 12-04-2001, 08:54 AM   #1
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Reason #29233 to love Bono: New Interview

This is probably the best interview I have ever read. Be still my beating heart!!! *Carrie, call an ambulance*

The Weekend Australian
December 1, 2001, Saturday

PRO BONO
Andrew Mueller

In New York with a musician on a mission

Faith, hope, redemption ... even in a grieving New York, U2's musical
message to the world risked a certain 'puke factor'. Perhaps only Bono,
God-fearing family man and political campaigner, could pull it off.

THE view from the balcony of Bono's New York apartment sweeps out over
Central Park's uncountable shades of green to a horizon defined by the
silver pinnacles of midtown Manhattan. Inside, the space between the
wood-panelled walls is sparsely furnished and barely decorated -- the
place would be the image of the itinerant bachelor pad were it not for
the presence of the U2 frontman's wife of 19 years, Ali, and the
couple's four children (Jordan, 11, Eve, 9, Elijah, 2, and John, five
months). It is never necessary, where Bono is concerned, to look too
hard to find contradictions: the God-fearing hedonist, rock star, family
man, multimillionaire, debt-relief campaigner is, as has previously been
observed, a great bunch of guys. Bono is here for the New York leg of
the band's Elevation world tour, in a city still in shock after the
September 11 terrorist attacks. "I want to be able to adore this city,"
he is saying, "and I want to grieve alongside it, but at the same time,
if artists are not standing up and talking about tolerance ... I think
that's our gig, and I'm ready to take the criticism for it. I do
understand that singing about peace, love and understanding right now
will lead to a certain, ah ... f--- off factor."

He bought this place about a year ago, and has used it as a personal
bolthole as well as a family holiday home. He was at home in Dublin on
September 11. "I'd just left New York. Of all the serendipities, we'd
been recording a famous anti-war song, Marvin Gaye's What's Going On, on
behalf of the Global AIDS Alliance. So I guess I left on September 8 or
9."

This version of Gaye's song also features Destiny's Child, Jennifer
Lopez and Britney Spears among others, and is available under the name
Artists Against AIDS Worldwide. In recent weeks, U2 have been
incorporating their own version into their encores.

"In the aftermath of September 11, it was the most played song on the
radio here, but it stopped as soon as military action started because
some lines had started to jar -- 'It's no time to escalate/War is not
the answer/And only love can conquer hate' -- and so on. Which is a
shame, because I think even the militarists realise this is a war you
can't win just with ammunition."

It's late on Friday afternoon, and U2 have played two of their three
sold-out shows at New York's 20,000-seat Madison Square Garden. Though
both performances received the ovations they deserved, proof that you
can't please everyone arrived with the morning papers. In The New York
Post, Bono got a bit of a going over. "So liberal," thundered the
review, "so politically correct, he made you want to puke green."

"Yeah, I saw it," smiles Bono, displaying the amusement that seems his
reflex reaction to personal criticism. "Peace, love and understanding,
f--- off. But correct me if I'm wrong, but I hardly said a word last
night. It's hard for me to shut up, but I really did."

It's true that by Bono's formidable standards of garrulousness, he'd
been fairly restrained. The only explicit reference to September 11 at
either show had come during the last encore, One, when a blue screen
behind the stage scrolled through the names of the crews and passengers
of the hijacked aircraft, followed by the police killed in the rescue
effort, followed by the awful, interminable list of dead and missing
firefighters; the names of others lost in the rubble of the World Trade
Centre were projected onto the venue's ceiling, where they drifted like
thousands of bewildered ghosts.

It was a moment few bands would have contemplated attempting, and
probably only U2 would have got away with; their unique willingness to
place themselves at the heart of situations occasionally leaves them
looking awkward (as it did when they relayed live satellite feeds from
besieged Sarajevo during concerts on the 1992-93 Zoo TV tour), but when
it works (as it did when they played in Sarajevo on the PopMart tour
four years later), it is extraordinarily potent.

U2 -- Bono, guitarist Edge, bass player Adam Clayton and drummer Larry
Mullen Jr -- have undergone a number of stylistic transformations since
forming at Dublin's Mount Temple School in 1978. Though they were
heavily influenced, initially, by the music of post-punk outfits like
Joy Division and Television, they never subscribed to the alternative
sector's disdain for commercial ambition: their mid-1980s albums, The
Unforgettable Fire and The Joshua Tree, made them one of the biggest
bands on earth. To their eternal credit, that wasn't enough, and U2
spent the '90s releasing some of the most inventive and troubled albums
ever recorded by a band of their stature -- Achtung Baby, Zooropa, Pop
-- and teaming them with extravagant live spectacles only slightly less
ambitious than D-Day, and almost as expensive.

"I like those albums," says Bono, "but I find them unbearable to listen
to, because I can hear the paranoia and the panic. Achtung Baby is full
of it. Zooropa kind of revolved around that great lyric by Edge, Numb.
And Pop is so f---ing black. I can't think of a more un-pop record. I
remember Larry saying after the sessions that maybe next time we should
make an actual pop record."

The current album, All That You Can't Leave Behind, is not quite that,
but it is a rediscovery of U2's core values: faith, hope, redemption. It
is not insignificant that the accompanying tour, which took in 15
countries between starting in Miami in March and finishing in the same
city this month, is named for the album's second single, Elevation.

ONE of the few things Bono did utter on stage in New York was a brief
salute to the Irish Republican Army, who had announced that they were
ready to begin decommissioning their weapons. Bono's views on Irish
paramilitary violence have never been in doubt -- in the concert film
that accompanied 1988's Rattle & Hum, he famously introduced the song
Sunday Bloody Sunday with a scalding anti-IRA tirade, the keynote phrase
of which was "f--- the revolution" -- but how much applause is the
organisation due for announcing that after 30-odd years they're going to
destroy as much or as little of their arsenal as they deem expedient?

"I like the line -- I don't know who said it -- that just because you
have a past, it doesn't mean you can't have a future. I really believe
that. That's a fundamental for me. That we can begin again. That's the
whole concept of a lot of what U2 do. It's certainly the whole concept
of Jubilee."

Jubilee is the London-based debt relief coalition, formerly known as
Jubilee 2000 and now called Jubilee Plus, which has been pressuring
Western governments to write off the debts owed them by their Third
World counterparts. It's not a very rock'n'roll subject, and Bono has
carried out his work on Jubilee's behalf since 1998 in a very
un-rock'n'roll manner. Rather than sloganeering about peace and love, he
has met with economists, hit the books and been as serious a lobbyist as
has ever worn wraparound sunglasses. Using his fame as a skeleton key,
Bono has taken Jubilee's case to dozens of US congressmen and senators,
White House staff including Secretary of State Colin Powell and National
Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the
prime ministers of France, Great Britain and Canada, the presidents of
Russia and Nigeria, and Pope John Paul II.

"Most were smarter, and more hard-working, than I thought. It's a
dangerous idea, that all politicians are wankers. If that's given, you
stop voting. Without wishing to be too windy, democracy is a blip on
history. The moment that lethargy takes hold, your civil liberties will
be robbed from you."

It could, just about, be argued that Bono has a mandate of his own. U2
have always worn their beliefs on their record sleeves, and they've now
sold more than 100 million albums -- a figure well in excess of the
electoral support enjoyed by any head of government, even before you
consider how many people would spend $30 to vote for their candidate.
But even so, does Bono ever wonder why these potentates are listening to
him?

"Oh, most of the time," he laughs. "Larry Summers, the US Secretary of
the Treasury, the guy whose signature is on the dollars, was drumming
his fingers on the table in the White House and staring at the ceiling
for the first 20 minutes I was in there. But an hour later, he walked
out to his chief of staff and said, 'We've got to help this man.' I'm
aware of the absurdities, but ideas to me are like melodies. Some just
have a certain unarguable quality, and debt relief is one of them."

The jobs of rock'n'roll singer and political campaigner do not seem
complementary. The former comes with a licence -- if not a duty -- to be
unreasonable. The latter calls for engagement and compromise. How badly
does one job interfere with the other?

"Well, the new album might have come out a lot sooner. But the
campaigning helped, because I was coming back to the studio energised by
the idea that maybe the world was more malleable than I thought, that if
you put your shoulder to the door, sometimes it opens. Celebrity is a
pretty useless thing. I figured that if you can find something to do
with it, you might as well."

Celebrity is not a useless thing, though. It's about the most useful
thing you can have. It's the only way anyone can get people to listen to
them any more.

"Well, OK. But it upsets God's order of things. It is noxious. As New
Yorkers have learnt, nurses and firemen are real heroes. Celebrity is a
bit silly, but it is a currency of a kind, and if I can spend it on
behalf of Jubilee, I will. If you find yourself on a football field, and
the ball lands at your feet, and the goalie is looking elsewhere ..."

Fair enough. But you can understand why it makes some people
uncomfortable.

"Of course. There are three of them in the band."

THE temperature drops with the sun and we retreat inside after only
about 10 minutes of struggle with the toddler gate. Workaday
practicalities are not Bono's strong suit: later, he will fail to locate
a corkscrew in his own kitchen, and contrive to lock the pair of us in
the flat while trying to open the front door so his family can come in.

Bono turned 40 last year, but says that milestone meant little. Far
more important, he says, were the births of his two youngest children
("It made me much more determined to have a go at things") and the death
in August this year of his father Bob Hewson, aged 75, after a long
illness. Bono lost his mother, Iris, when he was 14, and the subsequent
relationship between the postal worker father and the rock star son was
not always tranquil.

"He was a very tough guy," he recalls "and very funny. Which is a
dangerous combination if you want to cut somebody down, and he could.
But we'd made our peace."

The day Hewson died, U2 were due to headline Earl's Court in London.
The show went ahead. "And it really helped me," says Bono. "It might
have put the audience off their tea, but it really helped me. That
recent tour in the UK is something I will never forget, because every
night I would go expensively home to Dublin to sleep beside my father,
on the floor of his hospital room -- the crowd was still ringing in my
ears as I sat down to his silence."

Bono has recently written a song about his father, called Sometimes You
Can't Make it on Your Own. In the absence of a handy guitar, he
half-sings, half-speaks some of it ("You don't have to put up a
fight/You don't have to always be right/Let me take some of the punches
for you tonight"), and then subsides into an uncharacteristic hush.

"I've said before," he says, eventually, "that to need 20,000 people a
night to tell you they love you to feel normal is a very sad state of
affairs, but that's actually not what's going on. That's me being a
smartarse. Because your audience is probably one. You're probably going
up against yourself or, if you dig deeper, one other person -- a lover,
or your father, maybe. So people look at someone like me and think he
wants the world to love him. No. He probably wants one person to love
him, and we all have to f---ing hear about it."

At every show since his father died, Bono has dedicated Kite, from the
new album, to his memory. It was originally written about Bono's
children.

"It's a reference," he explains, "to an absurd moment of parenting,
where I took a kite up on Killiney Hill with Jordan and Eve -- I'd been
away, and wanted to do the dad thing. It was very Tommy Cooper -- the
kite blew off the line and smashed to smithereens on the first flight,
and Evie just asked if they could go home and play with their
tamagotchis. So the song is about realising you have to let go of them
at some point. Songwriting is still a surprise, because you often think
you're describing one thing, and it just turns on its head. Suddenly I
was back in a caravan site when I was a kid, and I realised that he had
tried to do exactly the same thing with a kite, and it had gone equally
badly. I realised I wasn't singing from quite as theoretical a place as
I thought."

Kite is not the only new song that seems to have changed meaning since
the beginning of the Elevation tour. Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get out
Of, originally conceived as a lament for Michael Hutchence, has assumed
the qualities of a universal balm. So has Walk On. In the sleevenotes of
All That You Can't Leave Behind, the song is dedicated to Burmese
activist Aung San Suu Kyi. In New York, the chorus's echoes of You'll
Never Walk Alone lend the song a communal power that verges on the
hymnal -- something Bono acknowledges with a chorus of hallelujahs as
the song embarks on an extended coda.

"For me," he nods, "music is praise. Praise to creation. Even when it
gets ugly, or brutal, as long as it's truthful it must be beautiful to
God. Even anger, or people working out the biliousness in their darkest
corners -- truth can never be truly ugly. Though I know some people's
response to that would be, well, you're on drugs, Bono -- what's going
on here is people having a good time."

For all that Bono has been mocked as a messianic windbag -- not least
by himself -- he still seems driven principally by doubt, which is why
U2 have stayed interesting, why they're still able to play I Still
Haven't Found What I'm Looking For like they mean it. All That You Can't
Leave Behind, from the title down, is an album about departures, from
homes, from lives, from life, from any cosseting certainty -- it's no
wonder it has started climbing the US charts again. For a band that have
well and truly arrived, U2 still do a lot of travelling.

"I saw this photograph recently. Anton Corbijn had an exhibition in
Holland, and he made me go into this room full of Bonos -- a horrifying
thought. And I noticed a shot of me at 21, and the look in the eye was
so much clearer. Part of me must have thought our critics were right,
and that beautiful naivete -- that I now see in my own children's faces
-- I went about killing off. I thought it was something that you had to
get rid of, and it's not true. Innocence is much more powerful than
experience, especially when it has that teenage fearlessness beside it.
That's really something."

Isn't that just rampaging adolescent ego? The kind that makes a grown
rock star want to save the world?

"You'd think so, but it's not. Not long after that picture was taken,
when we were 23, all of a sudden America was going off for us, and the
UK. You'd think that your ego should inflate, but an odd thing happens
-- it implodes. I can remember times of being paralysed by fear where
once I had faith -- in myself, in God, people around me. It was gone. At
some point along the way I lost my nerve, and replaced it with front. I
think I'm getting back to a more courageous place now."

So if you could go and meet the youth in the photo, what would you tell
him?

"That he was right. That's what I'd tell him."
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Old 12-04-2001, 09:15 AM   #2
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Wow that was a kewl interview I especially loved this part:

THE temperature drops with the sun and we retreat inside after only
about 10 minutes of struggle with the toddler gate. Workaday
practicalities are not Bono's strong suit: later, he will fail to locate
a corkscrew in his own kitchen, and contrive to lock the pair of us in
the flat while trying to open the front door so his family can come in.


That was feckin hilarious



------------------
The U2 revolution has been reinstated.

THE Larry Mullen Jr. Page
http://www.geocities.com/kiti_regia/index.html

Meeting Larry:
*MG shows Larry poster*
*Larry reads poster*
*Larry smiles and says "Thank you that's very nice of you"*
*Larry signs paper, shakes MG's hand*
*MG almost dies then sees tearaway pants and gets bad ideas*
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Old 12-04-2001, 09:27 AM   #3
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I LOVE HIM

like a siren,
olive

------------------
What do you do when female fans get too agressive?
Adam: We let Larry deal with those things.

* U2 Take Me Higher *
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Old 12-04-2001, 09:32 AM   #4
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Excellent article.

'Of course-there are three of them in the band'. Love that part-LOL.

------------------
If you are really good friends with The Edge, you can just call him The~ Adam

The right side of my brain is kinda redundant~ Larry
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Old 12-04-2001, 10:58 AM   #5
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It's articles like this that make me swoon!

------------------
Jessica

"Rock and roll doggie"
--Bono

"I'm very secure with the fact that I'm not black. I'm white, pink and rosy. But I've got soul."
--Bono

“We make music you can have sex to.”
--Bono

“Never trust a man who tells you it's from the heart, never trust a man smoking a cigar, never trust a cowboy or a man who wears shades.”
--Bono
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Old 12-04-2001, 12:18 PM   #6
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Oh, this is so wonderful. Thankyou.

------------------
"The idea is to eroticize the male body instead of the female." - Bono

Well, again, within that spirit of not-seriousness:
"To all intents and purposes, the mystery and power of the penis is, what will it become?" - Adam
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Old 12-04-2001, 12:23 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by On The Edge:
Well, again, within that spirit of not-seriousness: "To all intents and purposes, the mystery and power of the penis is, what will it become?" - Adam
OMG where did you get this quote? LOL!



------------------
What do you do when female fans get too agressive?
Adam: We let Larry deal with those things.

* U2 Take Me Higher *
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Old 12-04-2001, 12:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by oliveu2cm:
OMG where did you get this quote? LOL!
A recent Hot Press interview with him called Ace of Bass.

------------------
"The idea is to eroticize the male body instead of the female." - Bono

Well, again, within that spirit of not-seriousness:
"To all intents and purposes, the mystery and power of the penis is, what will it become?" - Adam
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Old 12-04-2001, 12:53 PM   #9
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Thanks for posting that article, VelvetDress. I loved it.
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Old 12-04-2001, 01:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by VelvetDress:
Anton Corbijn had an exhibition in
Holland, and he made me go into this room full of Bonos
Can someone tell me where to find this room?

------------------
God has got his phone off the hook, babe...Would he even pick up if he could?
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Old 12-04-2001, 04:49 PM   #11
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*has the U2 fuzzies*

anyone know where I can find an mp3 or the lyrics to that song "You can't make it on your own?" I really want to hear it.

------------------
~*Mona*~ Echo's Pimpstress Protege, 97% compatible with Bono
Love me, give me soul.

"I said I believed in standing, and in leaving your life for rock and roll, and in television, and in origins..."

"For the good of the nation, you must defile Bono!" ~Echo~

A little less circuitry,
a little more poetry.
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Old 12-04-2001, 04:51 PM   #12
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Cool interview!!Thanks for posting it!
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Old 12-04-2001, 05:00 PM   #13
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thanks!

------------------
"Revolution starts at home, in your heart, in your refusal to compromise your beliefs and your values." - Bono

"And I wear gray underwear." -Bono

Love,
Emily


Visit my webpage for U2 wallpapers:
www.geocities.com/springtime5348/index.html

You hurt yourself, you hurt your lover, then you discover what you thought was freedom is just greed...
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Old 12-04-2001, 06:55 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by She ls Raging:
Can someone tell me where to find this room?


When you find out....I'm right behind you !!!

He is amazing.....
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Old 12-04-2001, 07:59 PM   #15
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Great Interview!
Thanks for posting it.
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Old 12-05-2001, 01:59 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by VelvetDress:
"Most [politicians] were smarter, and more hard-working, than I thought. It's a
dangerous idea, that all politicians are wankers. If that's given, you
stop voting. Without wishing to be too windy, democracy is a blip on
history. The moment that lethargy takes hold, your civil liberties will
be robbed from you."
Thanks for posting this Velvet... you have no idea how you've effectively saved my life.

------------------
All my life, I never learned,
My bridges raise, My bridges burn.


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Old 12-05-2001, 05:41 AM   #17
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Yes, kind of restores your faith in humanity, doesn't it? Happy to share such a lovely Bonothing with you guys! Glad you enjoyed it....
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Old 12-05-2001, 05:15 PM   #18
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Man, he is such a man.......
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Old 12-05-2001, 05:16 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by Amna:
Man, he is such a man.......
LMAO!!! Sorry I'm sure Bono would be glad to hear that





------------------
~*Mona*~ Echo's Pimpstress Protege --97% compatible with Bono
Love me, give me soul.

"If I am close to the music, and you are close to the music, then we are close to each other."
~BonoBaby~

"I believed in leaving your life for rock and roll, and in television, and in origins..."

"For the good of the nation, you must defile Bono!" ~Echo~

"All our songs are about God or women, and we often get the two mixed up." ~BonoBaby~
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Old 12-05-2001, 05:37 PM   #20
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Okay, it's RIGHT back to the books for me after this thread, (where was that post about quitting school??!!) but I had to take a minute to say interviews like this are why I always think of that TLC song when I think of Bono.

What a man...what a mighty good man!

Bono, you rock my world....

"I am smitten. I am in deep smit."

Sherry Darlin
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