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Old 11-01-2002, 11:11 PM   #1
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BRILLIANT interview with the Edge

The following is a Macphisto.net translation of an interview with The Edge that appears in the
current issue of Rolling Stone Germany.

Translation by Stephanie Glassl

The Edge Q & A

The U2 guitarist talks about the new songs, George W. Bush, an argument with Bono, and juvenile air guitar playing.
By Martin Scholz

He has always been quite the opposite of a guitar hero. With him, you wouldn't think of macho poses, his solos - should he play any -
are usually very brief, and instead of strumming riffs he links the chords to create his trademark filigree sound. Dave Evans is the anti-hero
among the guitar players. And even his mother calls him The Edge.

Once asked by a television team what he would consider to be his most innovative piece of guitar work, he played them the master tape
of "With Or Without You" - the ending, a simple sequence of chords repeating all over and slowly fading. Less is more. "I can't do it any
better than that," he says and looks at the camera, a bit shy.

Understatement is typical for the man with the soft voice. Being the sound architect and the stabilizing element of U2, the 41-year-old is the
biggest imaginable contrast to Bono, the restless crossover between pop and politics. With the "Best Of 1990-2000", U2 have now
released their second retrospective. They recorded two new songs: "The Hands That Built America", the soundtrack to the new Scorsese
film, and "Electrical Storm". The songs were written after September 11.

Q: Is there any protest song you would consider as being timeless?

A: Let me think. I like it when music expresses something that words alone cannot. So as far as that goes, "Machine Gun" by Hendrix would
be my favourite. That song - for me - captures the Vietnam War in a very disturbing way. It's like a painting of the war, with all its shades.
Which is rather due to the music than the lyrics.

Q: Springsteen digested September 11 in his gospel requiem "The Rising", whereas other artists preferred to write political songs. Paul
McCartney sang "Fight for the right to live in freedom", Neil Young muttered "Let's Roll". And while George Bush prepares a new war against
Iraq, Bon Jovi sing lines such as "Now we stand united, we stand as one", showing themselves to be good Americans. How come pop and
protest don't seem to fit at the moment?

A: Good Question. I think many of those songs were probably an immediate reaction to September 11. But I don't think that pop has lost its
political instinct for that matter. Springsteen has faced the subject in a very non-patriotic way, he mourns in gentle, pensive lyrics. If the USA
should start a war against Iraq, which I hope won't happen, then we would also see protest raise in pop.

Q: But even U2 poured balm on America's wounds with "The Hands That Built America".

A: First of all it's the soundtrack song to Martin Scorsese's film "The Gangs Of New York" that deals with the birth of America. We began writing
that song before September 11, but the last lines were written after the attack.

Q: "There's a cloud on the New York skyline"?

A: Yes, like many other people we sympathized with the victims, especially with the fire fighters - men who simply did their job, who went into
the burning towers to save other people's lives and lost their own in doing so. This solidarity was appropriate. Those were just normal people
who had nothing to do with the power strategists in Washington.

Q: "Electrical Storm" describes the tension before an upcoming storm. Is this a metaphor for the present global uncertainty?

A: It's a love song, first of all. It's a song about love in a strange and bewildered time. We wanted to capture the atmosphere after September 11,
this feeling of "Who knows what's going to happen?". It reflects a mood that 's still present today. But it's no comment to the general political
situation. I think at the moment, everybody is holding their breaths, hoping there won't be a war against Iraq but a diplomatic resolution of the
conflict.

I hope the USA's threats are only a bluff, and that they won't do anything without consent of the UN. A horror scenario. Any single-handed effort
of the USA would be fatal. The present US politics often have very little in common with the multilateral worldview of Bill Clinton.

Q: U2 have been on tour in the USA for a long time. How has the country changed after Clinton's departure?

A: We've also been on tour in the States after the attacks. What shall I say? Dividing the world in good and bad is no concept. But besides the
battle cries of the new cold warriors I also heard different opinions. I met people during the tour who said: "We can't go on like this. We have to
ask ourselves why the world hates us so much." A global responsibility also requires recognizing the origins of terror - the divide between First
and Third World. This is a subject that Bono brings before the public on his mission for debt cancellation for the poor countries. A lot of people in
the Third World countries feel cheated by the West. This situation is a breeding ground for extremists.

Q: At the end of the 80s, U2 often wailed they were taken too seriously. In the 90s, you tried to overcome the seriousness with satire: For instance,
you walked out of a giant lemon wearing an oversized cowboy hat. Not long ago, Bono was on the cover of Time magazine, beside him the
serious headline: "Can Bono save the world?" Are the fun times over?

A: I've managed to accept the fact that U2 are musically and politically relevant. In the 80s, the situation was different: The media had depicted
caricatures of ourselves and we had helped them in doing so. We were the good people of rock.

Q: With all due respect - what is the difference today?

A: Today, we feel self-confident enough to let down our pants and say: This is who we are. We're four bastards, spoilt by luck, maybe even gifted,
but that doesn't mean we don't use our position for serious matters. And people make a difference between our music and the cause. As far as the
debt cancellation campaign is concerned, it's not about Bono, it's about the cause he supports. It takes very much of his time, but we can live with
that. The music's first, then come the politics.

Q: Isn't it nerve-racking at times to have someone around who constantly switches from Superman to Clark Kent, from rock star to serious political
activist?

A: The frontmen in rock bands are the big communicators, that's their job, that's what they're here for. With Bono, things took their course, and he
cannot get his ideas over to solely a U2 audience. He has also managed to do it on a political level. His job is quite simple: He poses with them
for pictures, makes them look good, if they help him to push debt cancellation.

Q: Doesn't this become a bit tiring in the long run?

A: He knows how uncool he is. It doesn't look good for a rock'n'roller at all to constantly hang around with politicians. But he doesn't care. He keeps
telling us: "I keep this campaign going for as long as I can, and I squeeze as much out of those guys as possible."

It seems to become a never-ending story: Three years ago, he seemed to have shaken everybody's hand from Clinton to the Pope, everybody
who had omething to say. But he can't be stopped, and he didn't back out from Putin and George Bush. But because of his persistence and
tenacity, he has earned credibility in political circles. Although I have to admit that at times, it takes on frightening dimensions.

Q: What scares you?

A: Sometimes I'm shocked by what people he meets. If he talks to a liberal like Bill Clinton, fine. But George Bush? That went too far for my taste.

Q: You could have kept him off doing it.

A: No chance. But I really tried it. I talked to him like to an sick horse: "Bono, please, you seriously don't want to meet George Bush, do you?" He
just laughed: "Edge, I know what goes through your mind. But I'd meet anybody, just anybody if only he supports this cause." I couldn't believe it
and pressed him again: "Bono, that's not only incredibly uncool - it's fucked up, especially if you consider the politics he stands for." He just said: "I
know, but I can take the malice." We had a long argument about it, but finally, he got his way. Whatever: If at the end, the Bush government decides
to support the campaign big-time, it was worth the input.

Q: And what will U2 do if Bono enters politics?

A: I don't know. We'd probably all vote for him. But I don't think he seriously takes that into consideration in the next twenty years. But sometime
when the band's long over, he might run for the office of mayor of Dublin.

Q: You're considered to be the introverted conductor in the background whereas Bono is the "bigger than life" star. Do you sometimes feel you're
put in the shade by your ubiquitous frontman?

A: No. It works exactly because we're so different. Our strengths and weaknesses are complementary in a very strange way, and that only works
because after all this time, we're still very close friends. U2 are still like a street gang. From that point of view, we've never really grown up. If we had
three singers or two guitar players, it would be more difficult. But with things being as they are, everybody has their own place.

Q: Be honest, did you play air guitar at parties when you were younger?

A: Oh God, a delicate subject from my past. But okay: I admit that, when I was fifteen, I did play air guitar and played imaginary solos, most of the
time to incredibly bad songs.

Q: "Smoke On The Water"?

A: That song is indeed quite underground, but not bad enough. My favourite back then used to be "Bohemian Rhapsody".

Q: There even are competitions for air guitar players now.

A: I couldn't compete with those people anyway. Compared to them, I'm a beginner.
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Old 11-01-2002, 11:39 PM   #2
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I read that interview this morning. Its really great and clarifies lots of things...at least for me.

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Old 11-01-2002, 11:55 PM   #3
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Great article!
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Old 11-02-2002, 12:18 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally said by the Edge:
Today, we feel self-confident enough to let down our pants and say: This is who we are.
Now those are some pictures I would like to see...


Oh Adam put that thing away...we've already seen yours...
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Old 11-02-2002, 12:21 AM   #5
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Thanks for this post, great, informative article!!
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Old 11-02-2002, 12:22 AM   #6
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wink

that is a great article. thanks for posting this!

i want diamond to read this. particularly about dubya.
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Old 11-02-2002, 12:53 AM   #7
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That's fantastic.
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Old 11-02-2002, 10:18 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Zoomerang96
that is a great article. thanks for posting this!

i want diamond to read this. particularly about dubya.
I just did..
Bono finds goodness in everyone..shouldnt we?

diamond
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Old 11-02-2002, 02:34 PM   #9
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I liked that article but it bothered me some that they had to ask Edge about Bono so much. Is nothing else going on in and around U2 that they have to bring up Bono that much? The question has been asked many, many times about how Bono's political work impacts the rest of the band -- we know they're proud of him, we know it is sometimes a strain on them, let it go! It just seems like if you have the opportunity to interview Edge, someone who has been really outspoken about his view of the band's work over the past 20 years, then you might want to talk a little more about that, about how he feels to be sorting through all these songs for the greatest hits, to have the ability to remix some of them, what he thinks of the '90s version of himself 10 years on.
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Old 11-02-2002, 10:20 PM   #10
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I read this a 2nd time..
And what I get from it is that although Bono isnt estactic about GW he doesnt hate him either..
There was a time Bono hated Republicans..
Now he likes to use em
Bono is being more universal in his approach..
Edge clearly does not like GW.

DB9
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Old 11-02-2002, 11:03 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by diamond
I read this a 2nd time..
And what I get from it is that although Bono isnt estactic about GW he doesnt hate him either..
There was a time Bono hated Republicans..
Now he likes to use em
Bono is being more universal in his approach..
Edge clearly does not like GW.

DB9
I may be asking for trouble in asking opinions on this, but I'm wondering why Edge seems to have such a problem with Bush. I know that no one is perfect, and maybe this is too simplistic, but I stand behind Bush almost solely because of the fact that he is a Christian and I truly believe he strives to make his decisions based on prayer and principles layed out in God's Word. As professed believers, I'm curious as to what issues Bono and Edge disagree with Bush on. Does anyone know of any direct quotes related to this?
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Old 11-03-2002, 12:48 AM   #12
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my thoughts and feelings exactly, BLS, which makes me wonder what the Gdub hubbub is all about anyway.

But hey, even if I'm all for GWB and Edge isn't, that doesn't mean I like Edgie any less, eh?

GREAT article, btw! (ANYTHING Edge is great!)


Quote:
Originally posted by bonosloveslave


I may be asking for trouble in asking opinions on this, but I'm wondering why Edge seems to have such a problem with Bush. I know that no one is perfect, and maybe this is too simplistic, but I stand behind Bush almost solely because of the fact that he is a Christian and I truly believe he strives to make his decisions based on prayer and principles layed out in God's Word. As professed believers, I'm curious as to what issues Bono and Edge disagree with Bush on. Does anyone know of any direct quotes related to this?
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Old 11-03-2002, 01:11 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by bonosloveslave
As professed believers, I'm curious as to what issues Bono and Edge disagree with Bush on. Does anyone know of any direct quotes related to this?
I don't know any direct quotes offhand (I'm sure other people are much more knowledgeable about this than me), but all the U2 guys seem to be much more pro-environment (Sellafield, Greenpeace, etc) and anti-war/violence in foreign policy than Bush. And they're obviously for gun control (video before BTBS, etc), which is not a Republican platform. In my view, just because Bush and Edge are both Christian doesn't mean that they have to agree.
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Old 11-03-2002, 03:21 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by bonosloveslave


I may be asking for trouble in asking opinions on this, but I'm wondering why Edge seems to have such a problem with Bush. I know that no one is perfect, and maybe this is too simplistic, but I stand behind Bush almost solely because of the fact that he is a Christian and I truly believe he strives to make his decisions based on prayer and principles layed out in God's Word. As professed believers, I'm curious as to what issues Bono and Edge disagree with Bush on. Does anyone know of any direct quotes related to this?
BLS-
I have many many old Bono interviews where he abhors most things Republican esp in the 1980s..

Attending U2 shows in the 1980s Bono habitually poked fun at Reagan and Bush..from the stage..
It didnt bother me even though I voted for Reagan/Bush twice..

With DATA having bi-partisan support, Bono has changed his posture towards Bush and some Republicans who support this.
President Bush has strongly endorsed Bono in this endeavor..

Bono also supports the idea of faith based charities implemented by President Bush...

This is the most that Bono has veered from the left more to the center..and alot of ppl on the left get their "panties in a wad" over this..
With Bono's normal alliances w-
GreenPeace
Amnesty International-(what Giant Lemon said)

-this comes to a shock to some that Bono is even dealing w Republicans..

My take is Bono likes all ppl regardless of polictical affliation,
genuinely likes GW after finally meeting him..thats what I got from watching recent interviews on CSPAN ect..

Bono was w GW on War On Terror going after Osama..
Some of Europe isnt sure about war w Iraq yet..
Bush is trying to make the UN, make Iraq get right..
Some ppl are under the delusion that Bush wants blood in the streets of Iraq..
I dont think thats the case..

That Bono has mixed and mingled LOTS in this administration makes some ridgid folk on the left uncomfortable..

Some staunch traditional ppl left of center are abit afraid of change perhaps?..

Hope this makes sense..

DB9
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Old 11-03-2002, 02:05 PM   #15
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Nice interview!
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Old 11-03-2002, 04:12 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by dsmith2904
I liked that article but it bothered me some that they had to ask Edge about Bono so much. Is nothing else going on in and around U2 that they have to bring up Bono that much? The question has been asked many, many times about how Bono's political work impacts the rest of the band -- we know they're proud of him, we know it is sometimes a strain on them, let it go! It just seems like if you have the opportunity to interview Edge, someone who has been really outspoken about his view of the band's work over the past 20 years, then you might want to talk a little more about that, about how he feels to be sorting through all these songs for the greatest hits, to have the ability to remix some of them, what he thinks of the '90s version of himself 10 years on.
Agree. Same thing with that short Edge interview I posted in another thread. People tend to focus on Bonos extra curricular activities way too much...and end up wasting a great opportunity to have a more meaningful conversation with our good man The Edge...about music, for instance.
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Old 11-03-2002, 04:55 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by Giant Lemon
In my view, just because Bush and Edge are both Christian doesn't mean that they have to agree.
I couldn't agree more.

I really liked the interview, by the way -- thanks for posting it Same goes for the other article you posted, as well.
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Old 11-03-2002, 09:25 PM   #18
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Very informative
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