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Old 07-05-2004, 07:29 PM   #1
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Big talk from young Bono- arrogant but prophetic quotes from 1981

I found an old Rolling Stone from 1981 with an article named U2: Here comes "the next big thing."

Bono sounds kind of bigheaded in some of it, but he has backed itg all up! It's fun to read this now knowing what we know now.

Here are some of the quotes:

"I don't mean to sound arrogant, but even at this stage, I do feel that we were meant to be one of the great groups. There's a certain spark, a certain chemistry, that was special about the Stones, The Who and the Beatles, and I think it's also special about U2."

And they called him pretentious in '88 for associating himself with BB King and Elvis!

"Right now, the word is 'go!' for U2! It is my ambition to travel to America and give it what I consider it wants and needs."

I never knew U2 was so confident of their long term success!

I can't type all of it and I don't have a scanner, but the reporter seems to agree that U2 is special band with a future.

This is on page 50 of the Feb. 19, 1981 Rolling Stone.
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Old 07-05-2004, 07:41 PM   #2
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here's the full text. i found it on the net so i didn't type it all either.

Quote:
Rolling Stone Magazine
U2: HERE COMES THE "NEXT BIG THING"
19 February 1981
James Henke

Here I am, an American writer, dining with an Irish band in a Greek restaurant in the heart of England. Strange? Well, so is the scene that's unfolding in front of me. A few feet away, two musicians are seated on a platform. One is playing bouzoki, a stringed instrument similar to a mandolin, while the other, a heavy-set fellow in black suit and dark glasses who looks remarkably like the Godfather, is hammering away at a small electric keyboard with built-in rhythm machine. In front of them, approving patrons toss plate after ceramic plate to the floor, where they shatter at the feet of U2's Bono Vox, who is demonstrating that a rock singer from Ireland can be quite a lively dancer.

Though this seems like some sort of international celebration, it's only another preshow dinner for U2. The band, which has been touring Britain nonstop since the release of its debut album, Boy, in mid-October, has garnered more than the usual amount of attention -- thanks in part to an overzealous English music press. Since early last year, the media have been touting U2 - vocalist Vox, drummer Larry Mullen, guitarist "the Edge" and bassist Adam Clayton --as the Next Big Thing. If all the publicity weren't enough, Island Records President Chris Blackwell proclaimed the group the label's most important signing since King Crimson.

In concert, the loquacious Vox tries to play down all the hype -- he regularly tells audiences to "forget all that stuff you may have read and make up your own minds" -- but privately he concurs with the press. "I don't mean to sound arrogant," he tells me after the dancing has died down, "but even at this stage, I do feel that we are meant to be one of the great groups. There's a certain spark, a certain chemistry, that was special about the Stones, the Who and the Beatles, and I think it's also special about U2."

A mighty boast, to be sure. But Boy, scheduled for a late-January release, does indicate that U2 is a band to be reckoned with. Their highly original sound can perhaps best be described as pop music with brains. It's accessible and melodic, combining the dreamy, atmospheric qualities of a band like Television with a hard-rock edge not unlike the Who's. In particular, Edge's guitar playing and Bono's singing stand out; the lyrical guitar lines slice through every song, while the vocals are rugged, urgent and heartfelt.

The title Boy is appropriate and significant: not only are the band members young -- Bono and Adam are twenty, Larry and Edge are nineteen -- but the bulk of their songs deal with the dreams and frustrations of childhood. "We're playing to an audience in Britain that ranges in age from seventeen to twenty-five," Bono explains. "There is a massive unemployment, and there is real disillusionment. U2's music is about getting up and doing something about it."

But wasn't that also the aim of punk? "The idea of punk at first was, 'Look, you're an individual, express yourself how you want, do what you want to do,' " Bono says. "But that's not the way it came out in the end. The Sex Pistols were a con, a box of tricks sold by Malcolm McLaren. Kids were sold the imagery of violence, which turned into the reality of violence, and it's that negative side that I worry about. People like Bruce Springsteen carry hope. Like the Who -- 'Won't Get Fooled Again.' I mean, there is a song of endurance, and that's the attitude of the great bands. We want our audience to think about their actions and where they are going, to realize the pressures that are on them, but at the same time, not to give up."

Part of U2's attitude comes from the fact that they are, as Bono puts it, "appreciative of our background." The group formed in 1978 at an experimental school in Dublin. "It was multidenominational," he explains, "which, in terms of Dublin and Ireland, is quite unique. It was also coeducational, which was unusual too. We were given freedom, and when you're given freedom, you don't rebel by getting drunk."

That message comes across again when the group headlines a show at London's Marquee club a few days later. After a rousing forty-five-minute set, the band returns to the stage for an encore. But before launching into another song, Bono makes a short speech about the little boy pictured on the British version of U2's LP. "Some people have been asking about the boy on the cover of the album," he says. "Well, he happens to be a kid who lives across the street from me. We put him on the cover 'cause he's a pretty smart kid. And sometimes I wonder what his future will be like -- and I wonder about ours."

At this point, U2's future looks bright. The band has managed to deal level-headedly with its sudden popularity in the U.K. In addition, they've shunned such traditional rock and roll pitfalls as booze and drugs. Finally, the band is willing to work. A three-month U.S. trek will begin in March, and Bono is, as usual, confident about the band's chances in the States. "Right now, the word is 'go!' for U2," he says. "It is my ambition to travel to American and give it what I consider it wants and needs."
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Old 07-05-2004, 07:47 PM   #3
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Thank you!
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Old 07-05-2004, 07:51 PM   #4
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very nice thanks.......... I always love reading early articles on them!
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Old 07-05-2004, 07:53 PM   #5
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I don't think this was really ego-driven or big-headed. I think he was really convinced of their potential for greatness. Do you remember that letter he wrote to his father, even earlier than the above article, that said, "This strength [their faith in God] will, I believe, be the quality that will take us to the top of the music business. I hope our lives will be a testament to the people who follow us....It is our ambition to make more than good music."
They followed through on both counts. They've made great music that has taken them to the top, but they have also done great things outside of the music, in support of social justice and their Christian faith. I have always been amazed at how prescient those early remarks were, but clearly he had some sort of vision of the future, and they were ambitious enough and talented enough to pull it off.
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Old 07-05-2004, 08:09 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by U2Kitten
Thank you!
no problem!

i think that's also in the rolling stone book and/or propaganda (the book), cuz that first line (about being an american interviewing an irish band in a greek restaurant) sounds very familiar.
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Old 07-05-2004, 11:23 PM   #7
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It's in the Rolling Stone book on U2. We have it in our local library!
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Old 07-06-2004, 07:22 AM   #8
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"There's a certain spark, a certain chemistry, that was special about the Stones, The Who and the Beatles, and I think it's also special about U2."

Arrogant - yes; prophetic - no. The spark that U2 have is of different elements/chemicals from that of the Stones, the Who, and the Beatles.

The Stones are a joke nowadays. They are nothing more than a fossil and a ceremonial group. They make records that don't sell and dub every tour as a farewell tour. They are just parodies of their old selves. U2 will never slip to this level - ever.

The Who may have made great music but their time was short-lived and they never made it mainstream and sell that many records.

The Beatles were a great band but they didn't last long. Their legend and popularity grew only after they disbanded. Their music influenced a generation, and they sold lots of records. But as a band with all four members together, their career was quite short and pales in comparison compared to U2.

So U2 may have been arrogant but they were not prophetic. They exceeded their prophecy and have become a better band than all three of those bands combined.

Cheers,

J
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Old 07-06-2004, 07:39 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by jick
They exceeded their prophecy and have become a better band than all three of those bands combined.
I'm not the first to say it, but I can't believe I agree with Jick.
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Old 07-06-2004, 07:52 AM   #10
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I don't think it was arrogant, like he said "I don't mean to be arrogant". He is right that all big bands have a spark, something that makes them special and sets them apart from the masses.

The "best band in the world" thing would be more likely to be seen as (and was taken by some as) arrogant. And he said that after 20 years of their career!

Jick, I can't agree with you. First because U2 has yet to finish their career so it can be evaluated and second, I don't think they're better band than the Beatles.
While I agree they surpassed the Stones (and I won't comment on the Who because I don't know their work enough) I don't think any band will ever be better than the Fab Four. True, they had a relatively short career, but apart from having the huge influence on popular music (the first band to REALLY make it with the now classic line up of guitars/bass/drums with their own songs - even now, majority of music you hear is based on the songwriting concept they made famous - and to conquer US and the world), there has yet to be a songwriting team that will be better than Lennon/McCartney. Even 30+ years after their break up, they still have amazing selling power (the "1" collection) and their music stood the test of time and is considered a standard younger bands strive for.
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Old 07-06-2004, 08:38 AM   #11
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I'm sorry, I didn't know this article was so well known. I was excited to find it in an old box of papers, it's the actual copy of RS from 1981 and it has the Police on the cover. It's in good shape, I wonder if it's worth anything.
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Old 07-06-2004, 11:58 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by U2girl
Jick, I can't agree with you. First because U2 has yet to finish their career so it can be evaluated and second, I don't think they're better band than the Beatles.
While I agree they surpassed the Stones (and I won't comment on the Who because I don't know their work enough) I don't think any band will ever be better than the Fab Four. True, they had a relatively short career, but apart from having the huge influence on popular music (the first band to REALLY make it with the now classic line up of guitars/bass/drums with their own songs - even now, majority of music you hear is based on the songwriting concept they made famous - and to conquer US and the world), there has yet to be a songwriting team that will be better than Lennon/McCartney. Even 30+ years after their break up, they still have amazing selling power (the "1" collection) and their music stood the test of time and is considered a standard younger bands strive for.
That's the advantage of the Beatles being such a short-lived band, people tend to look at their "rosy" past. A short-lived career makes people exagerrate the band's actual greatness and talk about the could have's and would have's instead.

A big example of an extremely overrated band was Nirvana. They had the benefit of having Cobain die at the peak of his powers - thus people think of him as some great rock god. But had Cobain lived, Nirvana would surely never had been acknowledged as a great band and they would just be wherever Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, Silverchair, Soundgarden and the Black Crowes are today - just a bunch of nobodies or disbanded.

The Beatles retired at the peak of their powers, and Elvis died close to his peak. Look at other great artists from the past - their legacy is somewhat underestimated or underrated simple because they have used up their welcome and have become parodies, laughing stock and the butt of late night tv jokes --- Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson.

Had U2 died in a plane crash in 1987 or 1988, or Bono comitted suicide or U2 decided to quit at that time - they would have had a legacy of Beatle-like proportions. But U2 went on and on and reinvented their sound numerous times never to go out of fashion --- and up to this day continue to make great music that still sells to the masses. U2 have the impact of the Beatles, the swagger of Elvis, the longevity (without the parody) of the Stones -- all rolled into one while keeping their relevance.

I think U2 are a greater band than all those other bands rolled into one. It shows insecurity and inferiority when a band calls it quits at the peak of their powers - I guess they feel they can't outdo their previous efforts. The Rolling Stones stayed beyond their peak because they want to be a commemorative trip-down-memory-lane band. U2 in the meantime only record new albums if they feel it will outdo their previous efforts, and most of the time they succeed. U2 don't rest of their past successes but always bank on their newest music to drive them in tours and in promotions. U2 don't live in the past but always look forward. U2 are the best and no one compares. Enough said.

Cheers,

J
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Old 07-06-2004, 12:44 PM   #13
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when we are young, we are all arrogant in one way or another :P

good article
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Old 07-06-2004, 01:10 PM   #14
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Beatles would have been as famous even if it didn't end after 10 years, because their fame mostly has to do with the music, not the "what if"s. Their music is a part of the world in a way no one elses is.

I agree with Nirvana comments, I don't think they'd be glorified the way they are if it hand't ended the way it did.

Beatles didn't retire, they broke up - unfortunately, a side effect of having two superb songwriters can be ego fights. True, they were still No.1 when it was over, while Elvis was far from being No.1. At the end, drugs destroyed him and musically, new sounds and bands surpassed him.

If U2 ended in '87 the way you said, they'd be something like Nirvana of the 80's IMO - overhyped and overglorified. Some people argue their peak already happened (Joshua tree and Achtung Baby) and that they never really matched those heights again.

I think quitting at the peak is a good move, because it's better to end on a high note than to slowly fade away. (which is what U2 themselves said they plan to do) While it's true they achieved more than any of their contemporaries in the 80's and come closer than any active band to the likes of Beatles and other bands mentioned, they're not there. (not impact wise, not songwriting wise)
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Old 07-06-2004, 01:34 PM   #15
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i agree with jick wholeheartedly. there is somehting to be said for a band who stays in the mainstream and who keeps old fans interested for 25 years.




jick, i didnt know you were in the philippines! i'm not the only filipino who loves u2!
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Old 07-06-2004, 03:34 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by jick


U2 have the impact of the Beatles, the swagger of Elvis, the longevity (without the parody) of the Stones -- all rolled into one while keeping their relevance.



That is the most beautiful thing that I have ever read. (Although I do love the Stones)...

As for the boys being arrogant, well Bono said it best in 1981..."Megalomania set in pretty early." And I for one, am glad it did. The music industry and the world, is much better for it.
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Old 07-07-2004, 12:19 AM   #17
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Big Grin 'in the beginning......{USA-wise}

I have a very similar interview {similar themes/ quotes by Bono} done a month or so before they toured America first time-- in the legendary Punk/NewWave NY Rocker Magazine, but printed in May of 81!!

This is probably the earliest thing I have of U2, except for Boy single & later the album of same.

I don't have time to read this article right now,U2Kit... but if it dosen't contain the particular type of quotes Bono made in realtionship to The Who and performing Live!and themselves, then I will xerox my NYR article and trancribe a few key quotes{ important to me} here in the next several days.

why would I bother?And why so'important' to me?
Because it is those '80/'81 quotes {and a postive, very prophetic live Pre-USA tour, concert review from England done by NYR editor <"anthemic, ambitious, connecting with audience- these guys COULD make it to the Stadeum Level, if they can keep it together!"> from same interviewer, editor of NYR-- that really compelled me to look out for these guys!!!

ANd they HAD some stiff competition then especially for those of us in NYC following the to be legendary bands from CBGB's around '75/'76 onwards, for instance......
We were following The Talking Heads {U2 opened for them in a different tour} rise up the venue ladder-- TH just gotten to play the 1,200 seat outdoor Schaefer{beer} Music Festival that ran in NYC's Central Park for nearly ?12 years! {'67- ??79 ish}. PLus Tom Verlaine had just started touring on his own, a yr or 2 after after Televsion brokeup {a band U2 very nfluenced by poetry & for Edge- Verlaine's gutair work}

In fact when they moved that very Central Park Venue to Pier 84 in ?81 or so, {i saw Big Country there}... U2 played there in 83!! The 'concert' I only saw/heard Adam & The Edge practicing NYD, as I sailed on the Circle Line around Manhattan {and was 'forced to' previously committ to a get together, so that i could not attend that show

Actually The CircleLine Tix {use during that season} was a freebie gift from a friend, and if I remeber rightly-
I deliberately took the 4PM CL Ferry hoping that I* *just might hear/see some of U2 doing Rehearsal & Sound Check** even if only from a distance-- and so I did! At least I got that '83 glimpse, ahead of the curve !
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Old 07-07-2004, 12:48 AM   #18
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Great article thanks U2Kitten and Khanda!



dazzledbylight!
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Old 07-07-2004, 04:18 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by discothequeLP
i agree with jick wholeheartedly. there is somehting to be said for a band who stays in the mainstream and who keeps old fans interested for 25 years.




jick, i didnt know you were in the philippines! i'm not the only filipino who loves u2!
Where in the Philippines are you from? You still reside there now?

I think U2 are greater than the Beatles. If people say the songwriters of the Beatles couldn't handle each other's egos, then it shows weakness of the band. It shows a short-lived chemistry that cannot stand the test of time. It just puts the Beatles in the same sentence as the Police and that doesn't really say much, does it?

Cheers,

J
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Old 07-07-2004, 04:28 PM   #20
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Go ahead, but even U2 would not put themselves above the Beatles. (as Bono often says, Lennon is one of his favorite songwriters) They influenced U2, not the other way around. The influenced band is usually not considered bigger than whoever the influence is.

Well, egos is just one theory. (I don't believe that Yoko Ono broke it up). Still it does not diminish their lasting power and undeniable legacy on popular music.

Since you mentioned the swagger of Elvis, one could argue Bono borrowed some of his moves on stage and adapted them - most notably the pelvis thrust and holding/shaking the microphone stand a la Beautiful day video.
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