Tuesday, September 30, 2014

U2 Now Eligible for Grammys After Pressing Limited-Edition Vinyl

Band makes 'Songs of Innocence' available for purchase right before eligibility cutoff date

After U2, Interscope Records and Apple made the band's latest album Songs of Innocence available for free to 500 million iTunes customers, a spokesperson for the Grammys said that the group would not be eligible for the next Grammy Awards due to the album being unavailable for purchase before the September 30th cutoff.

With that deadline quickly approaching, U2 have sent a limited number of vinyl copies of Innocence to retailers that will be available to buy on Tuesday's cutoff date, a source close to the situation tells Rolling Stone.

A spokesperson for the Grammys tells Rolling Stone that once the record is available on Tuesday, the band will be eligible for the upcoming 57th Annual Grammy Awards on February 8th, 2015. "As long as the album, be it CD, vinyl or digital, is available commercially for sale to the public by our eligibility cutoff date at a nationally recognized retailer or website, then it's eligible for consideration," the spokesperson says.

The group will release a deluxe edition of Songs of Innocence, with four additional songs, on October 14th, two weeks after the eligibility cutoff. It's unclear whether U2's label intended to distribute the limited-edition vinyl from the beginning of the campaign or if this is a reaction to the Grammys' original decision to render it ineligible for the upcoming awards.

The band worked on Innocence for two years with producer Danger Mouse (a.k.a. Brian Burton) before bringing in Flood, their collaborator since 1987's The Joshua Tree, and Adele producers Paul Epworth and Ryan Tedder. To start, the band went back to their musical roots, soaking in punk rock, glam and post-punk icons like David Bowie, Joy Division, the Clash and the Ramones before recording more than 100 tracks.

"We wanted to make a very personal album," Bono told Rolling Stone at the time of the release. "Let's try to figure out why we wanted to be in a band, the relationships around the band, our friendships, our lovers, our family. The whole album is first journeys — first journeys geographically, spiritually, sexually. And that's hard. But we went there."

The group is planning on releasing another album entitled Songs of Experience, but has yet to set a release date. 
For now, the group is starting to think about translating the album to the road. "The tour is still in the planning stage so it's too early to describe what it will be like," says the Edge. "I think we will start small. We certainly can't get any bigger than the last tour."



Monday, September 29, 2014

Bono Is a Superbrand Who Makes the World a Better Place

U2 frontman is our 2014 Brand Visionary By Gabriel Beltrone

Photo: Joe Pugliese/August
All the world is Bono's stage.

As frontman of U2, he is among the most successful rock musicians in history. As a businessman, he's been party to lucrative investments in fashionable new tech companies like Facebook and Yelp. And as a global statesman, he's had arguably more influence than any other celebrity activist, helping lead international efforts to address extreme crises of poverty and disease.

In other words, Bono has universal clout.

"He's one of these timeless global icons," says Charles Gibb, president of luxury vodka brand Belvedere, a partner of (RED), the charity product label Bono co-founded. "He resonates in every single country around the world. He's an absolute driving force on the political scene, in the music scene and in the cultural scene."

Or, just ask any of the 500 million iTunes users that recently woke up—happy or not—to find the new U2 album in their libraries, courtesy of a pricey Apple advertising campaign.
Born Paul David Hewson, Bono and his band mates formed their rock group in Dublin in 1976. Since then, they have accumulated more than 150 million album sales worldwide and 22 Grammy Awards, placing U2 in the upper echelon of the music industry.

A decade ago, Bono took new strides into the business world, helping establish the venture capital firm Elevation Partners alongside veteran Silicon Valley investors and executives. In 2009 and 2010, the private equity shop spent a reported $210 million on Facebook shares that, by the time the social network went public in 2012, were worth some $1.5 billion. Today, the value of that stake likely exceeds $2.75 billion.

Yet despite all those achievements, there's no question that Bono's most important work has been by way of his high-profile activism.

Building on a long history of collaboration with organizations like Amnesty International and his commitment to public service around the millennium, in the mid-2000s the singer teamed up with activist and Kennedy heir Bobby Shriver to co-found a series of nonprofit groups to address issues such as debt forgiveness for impoverished nations.
Now organized under the umbrella anti-poverty campaign One, the duo's joint ventures for good also include (RED), launched in 2006 to rally corporations in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa.

In the years since, the charity has carved out its own place in the pop culture landscape, partnering at different times with countless celebrities, public servants, media companies and, essential to its mission, a slew of zeitgeist-darling brands like Apple, Beats by Dre, Converse and Starbucks as well as top global marketers including the Coca-Cola Co. and Gap. Special edition products and events ultimately generated more than $275 million for the cause and, by (RED)'s estimates, provided assistance to some 55 million people.

Flanked by designers Mark Newson and Jonathan Ive at the (RED) Design Auction in New York, November 2013. | Photo: Getty Images

Bono confirms plans for U2's 2015 tour

Bono has confirmed that U2 are planning an arena tour next year.

The 54-year-old singer revealed that the band are looking forward to promoting their new album Songs of Innocence, but they don't want to play outdoor gigs this time around.

Speaking to Absolute Radio's Christian O'Connell, Bono said: "We're gonna be touring. We're gonna start next year. We're gonna try and play the O2 and places like that, more indoors that outdoors this time, but we'll see where it takes us.

"It's exciting. We'll be coming your way and these songs are the songs that, I think . . . I think they will play themselves."

Bono further admitted that he finds it harder than ever to tour and leave his family.

He added: "Only if the songs are great can you bear leaving home. We all have families and mates and... so you know, you're looking for 11 great reasons to leave home and I think we've got them.

"You know what it's like now, it's like a whole city goes on the road with us. Our kids go out on the road, they get excited about it. It's like . . . yeah, it's kind of a whole . . . Dublin goes on the road."


Eve & Jordan Hewson Support Global Citizen Festival

eve hewson global citizen festival bono george clooney wedding 03
Sisters Eve and Jordan 

Eve Hewson poses for a photo with her older sister Jordan while attending the 2014 Global Citizen Festival to end extreme poverty by 2030, held in Central Park on Saturday (September 27) in New York City.

While the ladies were in the Big Apple for the event, their parents Bono and Ali Hewson were on the other side of the ocean to attend George Clooney‘s wedding in Venice, Italy!

Eve recently chatted with Refinery29 about how she films racy scenes on her Starz series The Knick.

“There are these things we have — these front thongs, if you will — that kind of go up and cover you from front to back and just sort of stick there, so you can film from the side and not see anything,” Eve said.
Jordan Hewson - 2014 Global Citizen Festival In Central Park To End Extreme Poverty By 2030 - VIP Lounge
Jordan and Jessica Alba


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Bono & Ali Arriving at Venice Airport for Clooney's Wedding

U2 frontman , Bono  , accompanied by his wife , Ali,  landed at Venice airport .He was greeted by fans and he stopped for a few minutes to sign autographs and taking a selfie. Then  they got on the taxi to reach by sea the hotel where George Clooney hosts the guests at his wedding.


Friday, September 26, 2014

After 'Innocence': U2 Look Ahead to Tour, New LP 'Songs of Experience'

"I think [the tour] will start small," says the Edge. "We certainly can’t get any bigger than the last one.”

In late 2010, U2 began recording a new album with producer Brian "Danger Mouse" Burton during downtime from their 360° world tour. They had little idea they were kicking off a four-year process, far and away the longest they'd ever spent on a single album. "The experiments and excursions we took with Danger Mouse at the start of the album recording were unashamedly unhinged and free of all critical judgement," says the Edge. via e-mail. "We were happy to suspend disbelief just to see where we could get to. Those early sessions were some of the most productive and fun U2 studio sessions I can remember."

According to Bono, who spoke to Rolling Stone over e-mail, the group ultimately recorded about 100 different songs. "We had great fun getting lost in the creative process," says the U2 frontman. "The thing that propelled us to reach deeper and aim higher was a new appreciation of the craft of songwriting." But he wasn’t completely happy with the material produced in the early days. "We realized that some tunes are just better than others, some lyrics just more coherent, some soundscapes just more compelling," he says. "We found ourselves bored with material that just felt good or unique."

The Edge felt the same way. "At a certain point, as the songs were coming into focus, we could see that certain qualities, hallmarks of our work where not represented," he says.  "This meant we needed to go off and write some new songs and rework a few that were almost finished."

Former Interscope Records head Jimmy Iovine served as the group's sounding board through much of the recording process. "When they first played me music I didn't hear songs that were going to include people that weren't U2 fans," he says. "I heard lyrics and ideas that could, but not songs."

He told them they had to dig deeper: "I was straight up with them. I said, 'In order to make the record you want to make, you have to go to a place where you don’t live now. And it hurts. It's dark and painful, but you have to go there. Can you put yourself back in the place you were at 25 or 35 and the world was coming at you 100 per hour and you don't give a shit?'"

In order to get there, Bono began writing songs about his difficult teenage years in Dublin and the music that changed his life, most notably the Clash and the Ramones. "I went back and started listening to all the music that made us start a rock band," he says. "It gave us a reason to exist again. That’s how this album started."

Bono also attempted to simplify his songwriting. "We wanted the album to have songs that would stand up when played on acoustic guitars or piano," he says, "not relying on Edge, Adam and Larry’s atmospheres or dynamic playing. We’re putting out an acoustic session with the physical release to try to prove this point."

At a certain point, Danger Mouse had to step away to focus on Broken Bells and his many other ongoing projects. "We took the opportunity to work with people like Ryan Tedder and Paul Epworth," says Bono. "[They] were equally strung out on the old fashioned notion of 'songwriting.'" Flood, whose tenure with U2 dates all the way back to The Joshua Tree, was also brought in to help. "It takes a village to make a U2 album," says Bono, "whether its The Joshua Tree or All That You Can’t Leave Behind, we have always needed all hands on deck."

Eventually, the group found themselves with a collection of songs they felt stood up to their best work. "We had achieved a lot in terms of establishing a fresh perspective but we also wanted the album to contain some elements of what you might call the Big Music," says the Edge. "It’s a good sign that if you asked me what songs came together last I would really have to think about it. The album has a cohesion in spite of our strange process."

With the end of recording in sight, the band turned to an issue almost as serious: how to make a big, U2-level cultural impact at a time when album sales are at a record low and rock radio is diminished. "We wanted to reach as many people as possible," says U2 manager Guy Oseary. "We brainstormed and brainstormed. Apple has hundreds of millions of iTunes accounts – giving it away just made sense."

There have been reports that Apple agreed to pay $100 million or more in marketing, which a source close to the band believes is incorrect. "I have no idea where they are getting that number from," says the source. "I think it's wrong." The amount the band was paid directly by Apple remains even more of a secret. "There’s no such thing as a free album," says Bono. "It costs time and energy to make. It was free to people because Apple paid for it. It was their gift." ("There was a payment made to the label by Apple," is all that Oseary will say when pressed for more info.)

Perhaps predictably, considering that the album went out to half a billion people, reaction to Songs of Innocence has been all over the map: everything from elation to curiosity ("Never really been a big fan, but that Songs of Innocence [is] kinda dope," said one tweeter) to bewilderment ("Either someone hacked my iTunes or I'm buying U2 albums in my sleep," wrote another) and even to anger. After the release, Apple received so many complaints that it put out a software tool that allowed users to delete the album from their iCloud accounts. But the band's camp points to the fact that 17 of U2's albums appeared in the iTunes top 100 chart in the days following the release. "There's not much rock in the zeitgeist," says Iovine. "So what the band were trying to do is defy gravity. And whatever tools you can use to do that, you should use."

There’s also another album in the works called Songs of Experience. "Early on it became obvious that we were working on two separate albums," says the Edge. "The majority of the unfinished songs are worthy of becoming part of Songs of Experience and some are already as good or better then anything on Songs of Innocence. The Songs of Experience album will be released when it's ready. I hope it won't take nearly as long." Bono is unwilling to predict when the album will be ready. "As is obvious, I'm not very reliable on predicting release dates," he says. "Ask Edge."

For now, the group is beginning to turn their attention to getting on the road and playing their new music live. "The tour is still in the planning stage so it's too early to describe what it will be like," says the Edge. "I think we will start small. We certainly can't get any bigger then the last tour."

In the meantime, nobody with the band is apologizing for aiming high on the release of Songs of Innocence. "By this point, seven percent of the planet has gotten the album," says Oseary. "It might be too big, but we like to think big." Bono, when asked about the response to the record via e-mail, puts it even more simply: "If you don't want it, delete it. Here's the link."


Cover Story

Songs Of Innocence (cover), featuring Larry Mullen Jr with his 18-year-old son

The band have completed the artwork for next month's physical release of Songs of Innocence.

The visuals reflect the new songs and their inspiration in the early years of U2 as teenagers in Dublin.

Glen Luchford's striking cover image of Larry Mullen Jr, protecting his 18year old son, resonates with the band's iconic 1979 debut album Boy - and the album War, four years later.

Both featured the face of a child, Peter Rowen, the younger brother of Guggi, Bono's childhood friend growing up on Cedarwood Road.

'We've always been about community in U2, about family and friends,' explains Bono. 'Songs Of Innocence is the most intimate album we've ever made. With this record we were looking for the raw, naked and personal, to strip everything back.'

The idea of the unique relationship between a parent and child, the image of a father and son, came from the band. The shoot with Larry and his son was initially an experiment but everyone loved it as a visual metaphor for the record.

If you know the album, reflects Bono, you'll see the themes in the visual language, how 'holding on to your own innocence is a lot harder than holding on to someone else's.' 

The physical release of Songs of Innocence on October 13th comes in three formats which are available for pre-order hereand through Island Records, and U2.com
Pre-order digital here

Deluxe, 2 CD Format which comes with 2 x 16 page booklets, the 11 track album on CD1 plus additional tracks on CD2 including a 6-song acoustic session along with Lucifer's Hands, The Crystal Ballroom, The Troubles (Alternative Version) and Sleep Like A Baby Tonight (Alternative Perspective Mix by Tchad Blake). 

2 LP 180gram White Vinyl Format featuring the 11 track album on sides 1, 2 & 3 with bonus track The Crystal Ballroom 12" Mix on side 4. 

Single CD Format with a 24-page booklet along with the 11 track album.