Monday, November 30, 2009
Rapper Fabolous and U2's Larry Mullen Jr. attend Rihanna's 'Rated R' album release party at the Juliet on November 24, 2009 in New York City.
Having fun anyone? You derserve it, Larry!
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
As one of Belfast's most important and influential bands a biography on Stiff Little Fingers' original career was long overdue. Kicking Up A Racket fills that gap admirably.
Combining a wealth of contemporaneous source material with over eighty all new, in-depth interviews with the band members and managers from the time period, friends, fans, musical contemporaries and music journalists Kicking Up A Racket sets out to chart the high-octane story of Stiff Little Fingers initial incarnation.
From their beginnings as a blisteringly ferocious, late Seventies Belfast punk rock combo right through to the granite hard guitar pop/rock offerings of the early Eighties: it's all here. Combined with a plethora of photographs, most previously unseen, Kicking Up A Racket is the last word on Stiff Little Fingers' original time together.
From punk rock to biting guitar pop this first period of the band's existence provided a fine body of work, which continues to inspire, enthuse and motivate to this day. Kicking Up A Racket is a must for all Stiff Little Fingers devotees and fans of punk rock and guitar music in general.
Based on a desire to read a book on his favourite band author, Ro Link, spent seven years researching a new biography of Stiff Little Fingers, along the way linking up with like-minded long time SLF fan, Ian Templeton. Ian spoke with Adam and Edge about the band's early records, their live performances and the influence they had.
Both recall seeing the band in 1978 at Moran's and McGonagles in Dublin.'I remember most definitely the first time I saw Stiff Little Fingers,' recalls Adam. 'The reason I recall the show was because it was so mind expanding. They were just so incredibly powerful, they were the equivalent, I guess, of an English person seeing the Clash at the 100 Club or something.'
'In Dublin, ' he adds. 'Certainly within our circle, those shows kick-started a hundred Irish bands across the city'.
Edge recalls the 'great punk anthem' that was 'Suspect Device'. 'It had everything really, it was an incredible three-and-a-half-minutes. So much venom in the lyrics and the sound was so messed up. It was perfect in its imperfection. These guys just really meant it. It meant everything. It was life or death, that's what I remember from the show.'
The title of the book is a nod to SLF guitarist, Henry Cluney, and Edge recalled his whirlwind style. 'I just remember being blown away by the intensity of the band's playing, particularly actually Henry. Just the way he would attack the guitar, he was gone, he was so lost in it. Just the total commitment to the playing, there was not a hint of holding back or posing.'
'Kicking Up A Racket The Story of Stiff Little Fingers 1977 - 1983' is published by Belfast-based Appletree Press and available from here.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Excellent article by always clear and to the point Neil Mc Cormick. It appeared in The Telegraph. For me it clarifies and supports what many die-hard U2 fans think about U2´s upcoming presentation in Glastonbury.
U2 are to headline Glastonbury this year, on the festival’s 40th anniversary. There has been some predictable scepticism expressed about this from the anti-U2 brigade, although it seems a bit of a no-brainer to me: rock band plays rock festival – let the controversy begin!
Like last year’s headliners, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, the Irish group have a long established reputation as outstanding live performers, which has helped make them one of the most consistently popular live attractions of the last few decades. It was probably a given that U2 would get to Glastonbury sooner or later (The Rolling Stones are really the only other band of that stature never to have played the festival), the real question being why has it taken them 26 years.
The answer lies partly in the fact that U2 just don’t need Glastonbury, or any other festival. They are one of the few bands who can pull mass crowds under their own steam on a regular basis anywhere in the world. And, certainly since they ascended to stadium status with The Joshua Tree in 1987, they have put a great deal of care and effort into creating their own unique and artfully integrated live environments. Whenever the issue of Glastonbury has arisen within the U2 camp, the same questions tend to arise, which, if I might paraphrase the succinct directness of their very pragmatic drummer, boil down to: “So, if I understand this correctly, we wouldn’t be playing to our fans, right? It’s not our sound system? It’s not our lighting rig? And we would be doing this for a fee that would be less than we would make on the gate at our own gig? And the point of this would be …?”
So what has changed? Well, Glastonbury itself, for one thing. It has become a kind of something-for-everyone entertainment smorgasbord. There may still be a quasi hippy ideal of the Pyramid stage headliner connecting to the audience in a mystical way as the sun goes down and the lights go up, but you can’t have Radiohead every year. It’s hard to see how having one of the world’s greatest rock bands at the top of the bill is any more unlikely to appeal to the mass of festival goers than other recent headliners, such as Jay Z or Sir Paul McCartney.
But the whole music business has changed, beset by technological challenges that have not just damaged recorded music sales but provided so much choice that it is becoming ever harder to achieve the kind of universal, crossover audience that U2 are used to. They may have a huge fan base, but for them to remain a truly effective force in the wider world of popular music, they need to find new ways to reach out to people who are not, perhaps, their natural listeners.
I imagine the band see Glastonbury as an opportunity to woo the sceptics, that increasingly shrill minority of mockers who loudly denigrate their every move. Bono has the instincts of a perennial suitor, a rock and roll travelling salesman who almost sees it as a matter of pride to be able to sell his wares to the most reluctant customer. The fact is the general public loves them, as their sell out live shows (this year alone, U2 have performed to over 3 million fans and grossed more than $300 million in ticket sales) and multi-million selling albums attest (although their latest ‘No Line On The Horizon’ has been widely perceived as a four million selling flop, low sales by U2’s standards, it is nonetheless amongst the best selling albums in the UK and the world this year). But somehow U2 have never belonged in the rock fraternity that seems to locate Glastonbury as its spiritual home. They have never actually been part of a British rock scene. In earlier days, U2 did play festivals. But never Glastonbury, probably because they were never invited. Coming from Ireland as post-punk rockers in the early 80s, they were critically aligned with the Liverpool new-psychedelic scene of Echo & The Bunnymen and Teardrop Explodes, but were viewed suspiciously by those bands as over-eager Irish interlopers, rivals rather than peers. And while they have certainly had their champions amongst critics (in the UK, The NME’s influential, polemical and cerebral critic Paul Morley was an unlikely early supporter) they have always had their vocal denigrators, who use them almost as short-hand for naffness: too sincere, to epic, too ambitious to ever be cool. U2 achieved success on their own terms, almost completely outside of the framework of the British music scene, and actually more on an Irish-US axis.
There is still something about playing Glastonbury that is a badge of honour amongst British bands, and I know that is something that appeals to Bono. There is a fraternity that exists in at least the perception of a shared experience, where the bands not only mingle back stage, striking up new friendships and alliances, but are perceived to share the trials of the often embattled festival goers themselves. Indeed, the regularly appalling weather of the worst Glastonbury festivals seems to be a positive bonus in this regard. Bonds are formed in the mud and rain. Bands wear those wellies with pride.
U2 live are a fairly irresistible force. They have passion, commitment, charisma, imagination and the kind of songs you can find yourself singing despite yourself, delivered with the showmanship and warrior skills of a gang who have been playing together all their lives. And with Bono at the helm, they are a band of seducers: put them in front of even the most sceptical crowd and they will do everything in their power to win them over. It may be a greater challenge to perform to an audience that is not, naturally, their own, but if they deliver at Glastonbury, the ripples could spread out into the wider musical community of both fans and artists. For all their success, U2 have been outsiders in the British rock scene. On some level, Glastonbury still represents a kind of inclusion. With these kind of stakes, I think U2 at Glastonbury could turn out to be legendary.
Sundance Channel will launch the second season of its critically acclaimed music/talk original series SPECTACLE: ELVIS COSTELLO WITH... on Wednesday, December 9, 2009 at 10:00pm et/pt with an episode featuring U2's Bono and The Edge. SPECTACLE combines the best elements of talk and music television and lets viewers in on intimate conversation and performances with host Costello and his guests, who range from legendary performers to promising new artists. The series, executive produced by Sir Elton John, includes one-on-one interviews, unprecedented pairings and group discussions, as well as extraordinary performances, from impromptu "illustrative" moments to full band (and even multi-band) productions. Among the confirmed guests for the seven-part season are: Bono, The Edge, Bruce Springsteen, Sheryl Crow, Lyle Lovett, John Prine, Ron Sexsmith, Neko Case, Jesse Winchester, Ray LaMontagne, Nick Lowe, Levon Helm, Richard Thompson and Allen Toussaint.
Monday, November 23, 2009
MICHAEL EAVIS promised something special for Glastonbury's 40th birthday next year - and boy has he delivered.
U2 will headline on Friday night - the first time the Irish rockers have ever played the festival.
It will be a career highlight for both Glasto founder Michael and U2 frontman BONO, who have been circling each other making loving noises for quite a while now.
A source said: "Everyone is over the moon that the deal has been done.
"Michael really wanted a huge name for the 40th anniversary and the fact U2 have never played Glastonbury in their 32-year career only adds to the mystique.
"In fact Eavis has been asking them for a while now and really stepped up the effort this year. This could be an iconic moment."
U2 cunningly left a gap in their US tour schedule for the gig, which will take place on Friday, June 25.
Earlier this year Bono said of Glasto: "I know lots of people want us to play.
"It's something we're working up our whole life to do. We really, really want to do this."
With U2 in the bag and more big names to follow, this could end up being the best Glasto in an illustrious 40-year history.
Q Magazine´s next issue is called "Artists of the Century"; among lots of others the cover shows U2 Amy Winehouse, Noel Gallagher, Dave Grohl, Paul McCartney, Matt Bellamy, Kings of Leon, Joe Armstrong, Guy Garvey, Robert Plant, Gary Lightbody, Coldplay, Mika, Pink, Brandon Flowers, Dizzie Rascal, Nick Cave, Arctic Monkey, Murdoc, Tom Chaplin, Mark Roson.
There are 25 interviews to the above mentioned artists and 100 musicians, polititians and celibrities choose the 100 greatest album of the century.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
“As champions of justice, Bono and Wyclef have brought the national spotlight to human rights violations, empowered local activists, and transformed the lives of millions of people living in poverty from Port-Au-Prince to Darfur,” said Kerry Kennedy, founder of the RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights. “Their efforts evoke the spirit of my father and we are honored to recognize them.”
Those attending the ceremony included Harry Belafonte, Matthew Modine, Ana Ortiz, Aasif Mandvi, and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
What does the recognition mean to them?
“Actually, the honor is for the people, and we’re here for the representation of the people and the fact that we can be recognized sends that signal to the world that there are people that care,” Wyclef says. “Every time this happens, it definitely puts a boost on our back to know that the job is just getting started and we have a long way to go.”
Bono adds, “We represent a movement in our different spheres of people who got organized and got busy and put on their marching boots, and that’s the thing I’m excited about. For me, at the One campaign, two-and-a-half million Americans signed up for that. I’m here to represent them, really.”
Why is it important for celebs to raise awareness?
“I think it’s important for everybody,” Bono says. “Everybody has something to offer. I’m as jaded as anyone by famous faces and posing in photographs with vulnerable kids, but sometimes that’s what it takes.”
Hm, how are Wyclef’s charitable pals Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie doing?
“I don’t know, I’ve gotta call them,” he says. “I do miss them.”
The CD includes different artists U2, Dave Matthews Band, John Legend y Playing for Change. U2 plays "I Believe In Father Christmas".
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
The prestigious firm "Aguilar Amplification"thanks Adam Clayton for having used their products in the 360° Tour.
A tour of such grand scale demands gear that is rugged, powerful and sounds great with a wide variety of instruments including the 12 different basses that Adam rotates between every night. The tonal flexibility of the DB 751, “the only amp to ever one up the DB 750”, makes it the perfect match for the biggest tour of 2009/2010."
For the past 30 years, Adam Clayton has played every combination of gear as U2 enjoyed unprecedented commercial and critical success moving from promising new act to the world’s biggest rock band. With this much history, Adam can play through any bass rig that he wants. Everyone at Aguilar is excited that Adam chose our amplifiers and cabinets to help him sound great in sold-out stadiums around the globe.
For more information, click the image:
Monday, November 16, 2009
First we had to wait for an album almost 4 years , as from the last months of last year, we had the feeling that it was coming...and there it was a great album, moving, spiritual, yet funky and fun too.Yes I´m talking about NLOTH, what else? We had an album with celebration of life as it is, joyful, painful…death as part of the life cycle… about love and relations,music and joy, starting all over again and second chances, memories...and the future (Will it need a big kiss?)
Later followed by one of the most (if not THE) monumental tours ever! We ran from Dublin to Los Angeles, from Rome to Raleigh, from Berlin to New York...still waiting to go further south the globe!
U2 had time to be in celebrations, TV and radio programmes, newspapers and I presume in Baptisms and Bar Mitzvas... and there we were too!!! A pic, a vid, a signature, a touch , a glimpse... Jeez!!! We are going to rest for a while too!!
But silence is deafening and fan lag could be torturing...until next leg in ...May 2010????
Meanwhile we can fool around in the net with Bono, Edge, Adam and Larry...
Sunday, November 15, 2009
EXT. BRANDENBURG GATE
BERLIN, NOVEMBER 2009 — NIGHT
The camera cranes over a crowd of thousands gathered in Pariser Platz.
An Irish band plays its song “One” in the city where it was written nearly 20 years earlier. The band is here for an MTV broadcast celebrating the anniversary of the wall’s falling. A helicopter shot glides like a ghost through the architecture of this most modern of cities: the avant-garde Chancellery, the glass dome at the top of the Reichstag, the refurbished Brandenburg Gate. Images of East and West Berlin dancing to the music are projected on the gate, turning this monument to peace into a graffiti wall of the same....
We close in on the band. We can feel its sense of occasion. This is nothing new. One suspects THE SINGER approaches a trip to the bathroom with the same degree of vainglory. (To wit, is he not writing about himself now in the third person? He is.) On stage, he is emotional in the way we’ve come to expect. In this case it’s because a song written to help stop his band from falling apart has somehow become an unsentimental ode to unity — in this instance a bittersweet song for a bittersweet history.
Further abusing the contrivance of a screenplay, we cut to
INT. AN OLD MANSION, EAST BERLIN
OCTOBER 1990 — MID-MORNING
It has the feel of a house previously used to host visiting dignitaries from the Soviet Union (because it is). Camera pans a not-so-stately bed in which Leonid Brezhnev once slept — soundly, we presume — when he controlled the second-largest nuclear arsenal on the planet. Did the red button sit beside the ashtray on the nightstand?
In the bed is not the burly Brezhnev but a more feral and less justifiable megalomaniac: a very much younger version of The Singer we met in the first scene. The weapons he has in mind are weapons of mass devotion, like the perfect pop song. He is dangerous, but only to himself. In fact, he is very hung over after a night out with his bandmates celebrating the reunification of Germany, an occasion that suits his sense of self-importance and gives him the excuse to abuse himself “for the sake of history.”
Having arrived on the last flight into divided Berlin, he and his bandmates had set out to enjoy the carnival atmosphere of a city testing its new freedom. Instead they joined a crowd of glum faces in gray coats funeral-marching to the sound of no music. “These Germans really know how to throw a party,” one of the band said under his breath.
In fact, the band had gone to the wrong side of Potsdamer Platz (and of history) and took part in a march against the fall of the wall. It was like a bad Irish joke. The bandmates found it darkly funny to imagine the papers back home carrying a photo of them protesting Mikhail Gorbachev’s great drawing back of the Iron Curtain.
The camera takes in the details of the room, which the winter sun shows to be a symphony in brown: brown carpet, brown furniture, even, improbably, a brown stereo, which The Singer, in his underwear, now passes in the living room on a desperate search for a glass of water. His head feels like a smoldering cigar that needs to be doused.
In the hall of this rented villa, he is startled to find a German family: an OLDER MAN and his wife, plus a woman in her 30s and some grandchildren. The Singer rubs his red eyes in disbelief. Conscious of his state of undress, he keeps half of his body hidden.
BONO (THE SINGER) Er, can I help you...?
OLDER MAN (in heavily accented English) Nein. Can I help you? This is my house!
BONO Sorry, there must be some kind of misunderstanding. This is not your house; this is my house.
OLDER MAN You work here?
BONO (still half-naked) No, man, I live here.
OLDER MAN Who is the master of the house?
BONO No one — I mean, I’m in a band. Oh, look, let’s say it’s me. I am the master of the house ... and I need you to leave now.
OLDER MAN Leave! You will leave! This is my house and the house of my father! I will never leave again.
BONO (getting it) Oh. (pause) I get it. (pause) O.K., you can have your house back, but can you come back later? There’s a rock band you don’t want to wake up and I feel ill....
INT. HANSA STUDIOS, BY THE BERLIN WALL
A MONTH LATER
We scan inside the cool cathedral of Hansa, a recording studio made famous by David Bowie, Iggy Pop and Nick Cave. In earlier times, it was a ballroom popular with the Nazis. The members of the Irish band hold a prayer meeting to exorcise the demons. (Seriously.) But it is their own personal demons that are present this day.
About to leave their 20s, the bandmates are bumping into one another’s adult-sized egos. Men, they discover, when they become lords of their own domain, can lose the supple nature that a band requires. For these Irish musicians, the love it takes to sublimate one’s ego for the meta-ego of the band is more and more being reserved for families.
BRIAN ENO, a producer, is only half-joking when he tells the band that “possessions are a way of turning money into problems.” The band has had a taste of success and, even worse, a taste of taste, poison to the pursuit of rock ’n’ roll.
The dreamspace in which songs emerge has been filled by nice houses needing not-nice art. ADAM CLAYTON dreams of Jean-Michel Basquiat; Bono of Louis le Brocquy; EDGE of designing furniture; LARRY MULLEN of not being in Berlin.
Edge, the Zen Presbyterian, no longer a study in restraint, is heartbroken, in the middle of splitting up with his wife; he now sees the same fate for his band. He is trying to write an eight-bar lift section for a song called “The Fly.” He writes two, but when he and The Singer put them together a different song emerges ... and fresh words and a new melody come out of The Singer’s mouth .... the words fall out.
BONO (sort of singing) We’re one, but we’re not the same ... we get to carry each other...
LARRY (charming but hard-nosed, sitting behind his drum kit) Sounds sentimental.
BONO It doesn’t have to be. I can give the verses enough bile to balance the hook. It’s no big kiss, it’s a shrug of resigned optimism. Really, it’s the polar opposite of the kind of hippie nonsense you would expect with a title like “One.”
LARRY So why do you call it “One,” then? You think that’ll help get it to No. 1?
ADAM (one eyebrow permanently raised, thinking they should get on with it as it’s the first good thing the band has done all month) Isn’t “One” a Bob Marley song?
EDGE (deadpan) That’s “One Love.” Completely different.
ADAM I don’t care — as long as I believe you when you sing it.
DANIEL LANOIS (also a producer) I don’t care, as long as there are lyrics. What’s it about?
BONO I don’t know yet .... Er, having to live together rather than wanting to. It could mean a lot of things to a lot of people.
BRIAN ENO For God’s sake, don’t make it a love song, or I’ll retch.
BONO It’s a song about love, not a love song.
EXT. HEILIGENDAMM, GERMANY
JUNE 2007 — DAY
An aerial shot of a grand old hotel on the Baltic Sea ... and the security operation surrounding the hotel — tanks poking through bushes, etc. The leaders of the world’s eight largest economies wander the courtyard like students on a campus.
Camera takes in George W. Bush, Vladimir Putin, Tony Blair and Nicolas Sarkozy, then sweeps through a window into a downstairs lounge. There, ANGELA MERKEL, Germany’s chancellor, is meeting a small group of activists to discuss whether Germany will honor the Group of 8’s pledge, two years old now, to commit more resources to help the billion people who live on less than a dollar a day.
The atmosphere is tense. The activists are not getting what they want. The leaders are not getting what they want, either, which is to be left alone by the activists, including the Senegalese singer Youssou N’Dour, Bono and another grizzled Irish rocker, BOB GELDOF, and their policy team from ONE. The organization took its name from the song — over the protests of the songwriter, who felt that if history eventually repeats itself as farce, then irony, the next time around, sounds annoyingly earnest.
BOB (whose humor and intellect more than excuse the percussive expletives that pepper even the most formal meetings) Chancellor, what Germany has done is awe-inspiring. You’ve spent most of the last 20 years spending something like 4 percent of your G.D.P. on reunification ... and yet you’re still willing to commit 0.7 percent of G.D.P. to global economic development. The lives of people you will never know or meet will be owed to this decision.... The 2008 budget backs that up, but the rest of the world will need to see ’09 to know you’re serious.
BONO (interrupting) Trajectory is everything. If the ’09 is like ’08, Germany will show the rest of the G-8 that they have to put money on the table as well as words.
MERKEL (who has met these men before and appeared to enjoy the encounters, but today is running out of patience with anyone who threatens to rain on her G-8 parade) I’m not prepared to commit beyond 2008. We will of course do our best.
BONO (at his least appealing) Let me just say, Madam Chancellor, that, like Bob, I’m intoxicated by the new Germany. Fifty thousand turned up today to stand in solidarity with the world’s poor. You yourself are so committed...the government...the coalition. And we absolutely take you at your word, but if the others don’t come through ... well, you know nothing creates cynics faster than when leaders accept applause for commitments they then fail to meet. It’s one thing to break a promise to yourself or to your own electorate, but to break a promise to the most vulnerable people on the planet is profane.
MERKEL (in a quiet, calm voice) My father taught me a very important lesson when I was a girl growing up in East Germany. He said, “Always be more than you appear and never appear to be more than you are.”
Camera closes in on The Singer’s eyes. The black has devoured the blue. He is a flyweight in the ring with Muhammad Ali. He didn’t even see it coming. She has just summed up his entire life in the reverse of her personal proverb.
Mercifully, we cut to
INT. A BERLIN RESTAURANT
NOVEMBER 2009 — NIGHT
Twenty years after stumbling into the wrong parade (and not for the last time), The Singer is back in Berlin for that concert at the Brandenburg Gate. After the show, he is at dinner with WIM WENDERS, the German film director, and his wife, DONATA WENDERS, a photographer. They trade impressions of a Germany that is without its wall but still divided economically and ideologically as well as over the role it should play in the world. Unification has not equaled oneness.
Bono is enthusing that Merkel, having underpromised, has now overdelivered on her aid commitment, and has spoken strongly about how the global recession should not excuse the West’s failure to offer humanitarian assistance and investment that can lift so many lives out of extreme poverty.
BONO She may turn out to be the game changer.... Maybe it’s her background growing up in East Germany ... she’s such an unusual combination of science and old-school morality. I think her dad was a pastor. She uses this precise, unemotional language, but then a deep sense of fairness and I guess empathy comes through. I was such a jerk. ...
WIM That’s your job. She knew that and she also knew the closer Germany is to Europe and the rest of the world the less our internal differences should matter .... Anyway, before the wall came down and way before the Internet was ubiquitous, it was movies and music, it was the MTV generation that ignored it. Politics can never be separated from culture. A large part of what songs, movies, poems or books are doing is creating memory and preserving it — what was, and what might be if we are honest about ourselves.
BONO (getting to vino vérité) I think honesty is the hardest thing for a performer.
WIM And for a politician.
DONATA (wearily, but with hope) For all of us. But you know, whatever divides we’ve still got here, at least now we can see what’s over the wall, and behind the curtain.
Friday, November 13, 2009
Performance at the Rose Bowl, Los Angeles.
As well as several million people watching on YouTube, the band were joined by a Global Chorus of voices on a special night. 'Los Angeles... you know your name, so punch it in.'
But for Larry the white t-shirt is a statement of a "non statement".
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Over two nights at New York’s Madison Square Garden last month, rock history was made again and again: Bono, Mick Jagger, Bruce Springsteen and more legends united on one stage to celebrate the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 25th anniversary with a pair of concerts featuring some of the biggest talents of the past six decades. Metallica rocked with Lou Reed. Stevie Wonder sang with Smokey Robinson. The Black Eyed Peas’ Fergie and Will.i.am joined U2 and Jagger for “Gimme Shelter.” Rolling Stone has the story behind these epic concerts, and an unprecedented look behind the scenes of one of the greatest rock events ever in our new issue.
Inspirational!!! This campaign has been done in several countries and the ideas is to show them around the world before the International Conference for Climate Change which will take place in
Copenhague from 7 to 18 December. U2 allow the organization to use their song "Magnificent"
to dance for the climate.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
The African Well Fund's 2009 Got Water? online auction is currently underway on eBay. The auction, which raises money to fund AWF projects, runs from Nov. 9-16.
The 2009 auction features more that 50 items, including U2 memorabilia, autographed items and crafts from Africa. Included in the auction are a copy of "On the Move" signed by Bono and Adam Clayton; a Music Rising auction catalog signed by The Edge; copies of "Killing Bono" and "U2 by U2" signed by author Neil McCormick; a drum head, T-shirt and CD/poster set signed by the members of Anti-Flag; a CD signed by the members of The Swell Season; a copy of "Shootin' the Sh*t with Kevin Smith" signed by the author; a painting of women carrying water jugs by an artist in Ghana; and a pair of hand-carved African figures.
To check out the complete list of items in the Got Water? auction, or to make a bid, click here. AWF will be posting updates on the auction to its Facebook and Twitter pages, and appreciates supporters spreading the word about the auction to family and friends online.
"Eno is a postman's son," sums up friend and frequent collaborator Daniel Lanois. "He grew up essentially in a peasant environment, but he had a brilliant mind and was able to get to his mountaintop."
"Brian Eno is someone that you don't want to sound stupid in front of, and everything he said, I was just like, 'Wow'," noted (um) Natalie Imbruglia, who recently collaborated with Eno (and Coldplay's Chris Martin) for parts of her comeback album, on the BBC.
Any way you look at it, Brian Eno is one of the preeminent producers and thinkers of our time. Hell, an extemporaneous conversation between him and scholar Richard Dawkins recently packed the house in Oxford, and Eno's as well known these days for his politics, theories, and criticism as he is for his music. Indeed, the once prolific Eno's own output has slowed considerably since the 1970s and '80s, in part due to these extracurriculars and of course thanks to his ongoing work with U2 and Coldplay, something Eno addressed -- in addition to ABBA and Phil Collins -- when he opened some of his packed schedule for a brief conversation.
Pitchfork: Before U2, you were best known for working with more eccentric acts like Talking Heads as well as your own experimental output. Is that why you initially thought Daniel Lanois would be a better fit for the band when they approached you to produce The Unforgettable Fire?
Brian Eno: I had never worked with that kind of music before, and I was not completely convinced that I would be the right person for it. I thought, well, I can handle the ideas side of it all right, but can I handle the actual traditional production side all right? I knew Dan was very good at that side of things, and very good at working with bands, getting the best out of the players and so on, so I said why not have both of us? We'll sort of overlap in some parts, but we actually sort of serve different functions as well. That was how that working relationship started. We had never actually produced anything of anybody else's before, though we had worked together quite a lot. We knew each other well, and we had some respect for each other's different talents. That seemed to me like the ideal situation. We could just do the bits we were sort of comfortable doing.
Pitchfork: The music you were known for at that time was about as far from U2's as possible. What do you think attracted the band to you?
Brian Eno: I think they were very keen on the Talking Heads stuff that I had done. I think they also, dare I say it, liked some of my music! [laughs] The main thing, actually, was that they wanted to go somewhere else. I had this phone call with Bono -- Bono is the greatest salesman of all time, you have to bear that in mind -- where I said to him, "Look, what I'm worried about is that I might change things rather unrecognizably. People might not particularly like the new you that comes out of this."
And he said, "Well, actually we want to be changed unrecognizably. We don't want to just keep repeating what we've done before." He said if we wanted to, we're on track for being a band that just does the kind of records we've done so far. He said we want to do something different from that. He said we wanted to be more -- I forget the word he used, but "cutting edge" was the meaning. I thought, okay, as long as you appreciate that there's a risk involved in that.
After that conversation was when I came up with a plan. I thought, well, I knew that Danny was a great producer, and even if nothing about the working relationship between me and the band worked out, they would still have a really good producer in him. In fact, it worked out very well.
Pitchfork: It's a much easier task to make something recognizable than it is to make something unrecognizable.
Brian Eno: Yes, well, I think very often producers are really trying to repeat things. When they hear something in the new songs that they recognize as being a bit like something that was a success on a previous record, they're inclined to encourage that. Whereas I'm always inclined to encourage things when I haven't heard anything like them before. So when I hear something -- even if it sounds quite clumsy or a little bit unformed -- that makes my ears prick up, and I go "Oh, that's new, I don't know if there's anything like that around," that's what I put my weight behind. I figure the whole of the rest of the world is putting its weight behind the other stuff, the repetition side, the recognizable side. So I sort of want to speak up for the newer stuff.
Pitchfork: Even now, U2 do not always get a lot of credit for recognizing when they need to change tack.
Brian Eno: They have made some significant turnings at various points in their career. They're actually a very experimental band, but because of the form of their music people don't recognize it. If they were some rather obscure indie band, people would probably think, "God, they're amazing, they keep coming out with completely new things!" But because they sell millions of albums, that's how it gets overlooked!
Pitchfork: There's always a catch.
Brian Eno: [laughs] Yes.
Pitchfork: In some ways, making something that's both interesting and popular is the ultimate experiment.
Brian Eno: It's surprisingly unrecognized. I find the same thing in all forms of art, things that are very popular. I think everyone's inherently snobbish. Things that are very popular are not taken seriously, because the snobbish side of one says, "Well, if everyone likes it it can't be that good." Whereas if only I and a couple of other people like it, then it must be really something special.
One of the things I love about U2 -- and it's one of the things that we're constantly arguing about, the balance of this -- is that they want to take everyone with them for the ride! [laughs] They don't want to let anyone go at any point! I'm always saying, "Look, if you're going to do something new, you're going to lose a few supporters along the way." And they really fight against that. They don't want to do that. I honestly don't think it's greed. It's not lust for money or lust for power. It's the feeling that everybody's got to be at the party: we're not going to make it unapproachable to anybody. I'm sure a big part of Bono's drive comes from the times he visits nightclubs -- he does, occasionally -- and sees 18-year-old girls dancing to records that aren't U2! [laughs] And I think that really bugs him! [laughs] I'm not quoting him here, but this what I imagine he's thinking: There's a whole audience here that we're not connecting with! Why aren't we connecting with these people?! So he's quite driven, in that sense, to conquer the world, actually. [laughs]
Pitchfork: And where does he get the reputation for ego and arrogance?
Brian Eno: Well, he has an enormous ego, but so do most of the people I like. [laughs] And also a big ego isn't necessarily a bad thing. A big ego means that you have some confidence in your abilities, really, and that you're prepared to take the risk of trying them out. I really don't think he's arrogant. That's a different thing. In fact, he's absolutely, to me, the opposite of arrogant. He's very, very able, more able than almost anybody I know, to take criticism and do something with it. He just doesn't get upset. He doesn't take it as an attack on him if you say, oh, this doesn't work at all, it's really pathetic, actually. So it's possible to be very frank with him and know there's not some cowering insecurity inside him that is going to mean his feelings get hurt. His ego allows him to be humble, if you see what I mean. People who are very confident in themselves aren't hurt by criticism. They make use of it. I think he's very good at that.
As you can tell, I admire him a lot. He's attacked as a result of another kind of snobbery. We have a particular type of snobbery in England I don't think you have so much in America. Our version: Who does he think he is? The biggest crime in England is to rise above your station. It's fine to be a pop star. Oh, it's great, lots of fun, aren't they sweet, these pop stars! But to think you have anything to say about how the world should work? What arrogance! There's such a resistance to that. Recently he spoke at the Labour Party conference and at the Tory Party conference; I don't think he was there in person. To me, that's completely consistent with his mission. He's driven about his work in Africa, and wants both parties to know that there's an agenda that they should be paying attention to. It's completely consistent. It's not him being power hungry, it's him saying whoever's the next government should be taking this problem seriously.
He received so much criticism here in England, as if he is a political traitor, talking to both parties. And anyway, what right did he have, he's only a pop star! Well, I have no time for that, and I think it all comes out of some kind of awful British envy. Envy is one of the biggest motivators here. It's really heartbreaking to see it stop so much from happening.
Pitchfork: In some way you bore the brunt of similar suspicion and ire when you agreed to work with Coldplay. It even forced people to miss that you made a good record together.
Brian Eno: Well, again, there are ways of playing it safe, and for me playing it safe would be to -- since I don't really need the money -- to work with only sort of critically respectable, obscure, experimental indie bands. Everyone would say, oh, that's fine. I would be that kind of producer who does that kind of thing. But when I met Coldplay and got to know them, I so much liked those people and I so think that they really want to do something. Again, it's like U2 were. They are hungry to do something else. And they will. I'm sure they'll turn out to be a great band.
I'm old enough to remember exactly what happened to ABBA. When ABBA were around, to admit that you liked them would have condemned you to absolute coventry. No one would talk to you because you liked ABBA, because they were considered to be hopelessly pointless pop. Now, of course, everyone likes ABBA. Everyone realizes that they made some great music, and you're allowed to like them now. Kitsch is a way that posh people admit to themselves that they like things that ordinary people like. In my opinion.
Pitchfork: Curiously, ABBA was not nearly as popular in America as they were throughout Europe.
Brian Eno: That's funny. That's interesting. Well, in England and in Europe in general, they were completely popular with the people and totally unpopular with...artists. [laughs] People who were culturally aware. I can remember it very clearly, because I was part of the snobbery! I can remember really liking ABBA songs, and kind of resenting that I did! [laughs]
Pitchfork: It may just be a coincidence, but I noticed that right after you started to work with U2, your own recorded output -- at least what you released -- slowed considerably.
Brian Eno: Certainly working with other people sponges up your time enormously. It's very, very time consuming, and it's kind of idea consuming as well. What often happens is that the ideas you're thinking about anyway end up going on their records. [laughs] Then they don't seem so surprising to you anymore, so you're not that interested in doing them again. So that did happen, I think.
Pitchfork: Do you find contributing to and working with others as rewarding creatively as working on your own music, or is it something different?
Brian Eno: It's different. I often say to people that producing is the best paid form of cowardice. When you produce things you almost always get credit, if it's a good record, but you hardly ever get the blame if it's not! You don't really take responsibility for your work. It's the band who takes responsibility for the work, and taking responsibility for what you do is a very important part of what you do. Living with what you've done, and living with the consequences, is a big part of the deal, I think. Otherwise, why release something? I think when you release something and you put your reputation behind it, you actually finish the work. That's when it's finished. It's finished when it no longer belongs to you. You see it out there with everything else, and you see how it stands, and how it lasts, how people make fun of it or how they adore it. And of course, if it isn't your record, at least if it isn't your name on it in the same way as it would be on your own work, you don't get the benefit of that end of the process.
Pitchfork: Obviously the music you've made has been very influential, but it's tough to name people who are clearly "Brian Eno influenced."
Brian Eno: I don't know. A lot of people tell me they are, but they might be making it up! [laughs] I think if there is an influence, it's not in terms of style so much but in terms of approach to working. For instance, some quite odd people have said, either in interviews or directly to me, that they were influenced by me. Prince, for example, said Another Green World was a very important record for him, apparently, in an interview. I've never met him, so I don't have this from his own mouth, but it was in an interview. Now, that's rather surprising! Hank Shocklee, from Public Enemy, said that their whole thing really started with My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. So that's a very surprising connection, I think. Another very surprising one is Phil Collins! He worked with me in the 70s, and he said it was then that he understood that he could make records himself. He'd always been in a band before, but I always went into a studio with nothing, really, and just kind of made something up there and then. He said he'd never seen anyone work that way, and it really started his solo career. He always thanks me for that.
Pitchfork: That's almost a backhanded complement. "If he can do that, anyone can do that!"
Brian Eno: [laughs] I suppose what it is is that some people have paid attention to the way in which I've worked, or the approach to using the studio, if you like, or the approach to using musical materials that are around. I prefer that kind of influence, really. I don't particularly want loads of copies of me around.
Pitchfork: When you have a band like U2 or Coldplay, in theory they can do whatever they want. They're popular, they're wealthy, that should afford one complete freedom. But there are imposed limitations of stardom.
Brian Eno: Yes, though funnily enough enough that doesn't produce such a strong effect as you would think in the studio. What I think produces a strong effect is the feeling of not wanting to disappoint people. Because one thing you are aware of when you're very popular is how much stock people put in your work. You know that there are 11-year-olds who are saving up to buy your record. [laughs] Though that's probably not true anymore.
Pitchfork: They're probably saving up for a new computer.
Brian Eno: [laughs] But it means that if you want to do something indulgent, just to please yourself, you risk really disappointing someone. I think often that's a big part of how people think. They're thinking there are people to whom these decisions really matter. We shouldn't take them lightly.
Pitchfork: Over the years you've expressed your fondness for African music, and in particular northern African and Arabic music, yet those are elements that rarely explicitly manifest themselves in the music you work on, and especially not in bands like U2 or Coldplay.
Brian Eno: You know what? It's very funny, because on the last U2 album we spent time in North Africa, recording.
Pitchfork: In Morocco, right?
Brian Eno: In Morocco. And the reason none of that really appeared on the record, even though we did quite a lot of stuff there, was because it sounded kind of synthetic. It sounded kind of like "world music" add-on. I'm sure it would have got a few people saying, oh, how interesting, they've broken out into North African music, but actually it just didn't sound convincing. We were very impressed by the music while we were there, but there was no realistic or emotionally satisfying way of marrying it using the music that we were doing, so in the end not very much of it at all showed through. But influences aren't always in terms of sound. As I was saying earlier, they're in terms of how you approach music and what you use it for. I think that was picked up, and it was absorbed.
© Pitchfork Media Inc., 2009
Monday, November 9, 2009
Saturday, November 7, 2009
The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights today announced that Bono and Wyclef Jean will receive the organization's 2009 Ripple of Hope Award. The award, which will be presented at the Center's annual dinner on November 18th, recognizes the bold leadership demonstrated by the two honorees on humanitarian issues.
"As champions of justice, Bono and Wyclef have brought the national spotlight to human rights violations, empowered local activists, and transformed the lives of millions of people living in poverty from Port-Au-Prince to Darfur," said Kerry Kennedy, founder of the RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights. "Their efforts evoke the spirit of my father and we are honored to recognize them."
The award will honor Bono, lead singer of U2 and co-founder of the advocacy organization ONE and (Product) RED, for his efforts in the fight against extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa (www.one.org, www.joinred.com). The organization will recognize Wyclef Jean for his work to strengthen and inspire change in his native country of Haiti through his Yéle Haiti organization (www.yele.org).
To learn more about the RFK Center, please visit www.rfkcenter.org.
Friday, November 6, 2009
Drenching the famous monument in emerald green light, the band delivered a rousing Sunday Bloody Sunday , as a fan's Tricolour fluttered in the night air.
The anthem to the lost lives of 1972 hit an emotional chord with Berliners on a spot where, just two decades ago, a shoot-to-kill policy was in operation.
As the city kicks off five days of celebrations to mark the fall of the wall here in 1989, the former no man's land was transformed into one man's land: that man being Bono.
U2 – by special request of Berlin's mayor – took to the stage in the city and launched into One. On what was once a cold war divide, Bono sang that "only love can heal such a scar".
They marched through Magnificent , from their new album, before Sunday Bloody Sunday was greeted with roaring approval, and ample support from rapper Jay-Z.
3. Sunday Bloody Sunday + Get Up Stand Up (with Jay-Z
4. Beautiful Day + Blackbird (snippets)
6. Moment Of Surrender
Thursday, November 5, 2009
One (first written and recorded in this very city), Magnificent, Sunday Bloody Sunday and Moment of Surrender were all soundchecked ahead of tonight's show.
There was also a guest appearance on Sunday Bloody Sunday... but nobody knows who...
"Just when you thought you'd closed the book on that relationship, a rockstar comes and stirs is all up...."
Directed by Ross Whitaker. Produced by Amanda Spencer.
BONO & My-EX was produced as part of the Irish Film Board Virtual Cinema Scheme co-ordinated by Stephen McCormack and Helen O'Reilly at Wildwave Media.
First: Rumours...the rumours go that U2 will be playing in South America in November 2010...
“Estadao”, a newspaper from Sao Paulo has published that piece of news that makes the south have hopes to see their favourite artists in 2010....No Line on the Horizon is one the blockbusters of the year in Argentina. Maybe that´s why Rolling Stone Argentina´s cover has the guys anticipating their visit. Fingers crossed!
Second: Rumours...again.Rolling Stone magazine's Brian Hiatt posted on Twitter last night after a phone interview with Edge. On the bright side, Hiatt posted that Edge says "Kingdom Of Your Love" -- the U2 360 tour intro song -- is a "potential Songs of Ascent track." On the not-so-bright side, Hiatt also posted that "Songs of Ascent remains an idea more than an actual album at this point, a subject of debate within the band. No release plans yet."
Third: Truth. Music Icons auction will have U2 items.Benefits of the auction go to MusiCares and the Musicians Assistance Program (MAP).
U2 SIGNED GIBSON EXPLORER GUITAR, U2 SIGNED COMPACT DISC
Fourth: It Might Get Loud,the documentary starred by The Edge, Jimmy Page and Jack White will be released in iTunes , DVD - Blu-ray just for Christmas.