Friday, January 31, 2014

'Invisible' will debut during the Super Bowl, and will help raise funds for the fight against AIDS.


U2 shoots a commercial for their song "Invisible" for (RED) to raise money for the fight against AIDS in Africa. The commercial will debut during the Super Bowl and the song will be downloadable for free for 24 hours following on iTunes. For every download, Bank of America will donate $1 to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.(Photo: Brantley Gutierrez)

"A bit of jiu jitsu" is how Bono characterizes the process of introducing a new U2 song during Sunday's Super Bowl broadcast.

A video featuring the band performing Invisible, the track in question, will be featured in a commercial launching a partnership between (RED) — the non-profit organization co-founded by Bono and Bobby Shriver to support the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria — and Bank of America.

The spot will end by directing fans to a free download on iTunes. From 6 p.m. ET Sunday to 11:59 p.m. on Monday, Bank of America will donate one dollar for each download, up to a total of $2 million, to the Global Fund. (The song will no longer be available on iTunes as of Tuesday.)

"We're taking all the energy around the Super Bowl and interest in what U2's doing and flipping it," Bono explains, "into the fight against HIV AIDS."

Invisible is not, U2's frontman notes, the first official single from the group's long-awaited new album, expected later this year. "We have another song we're excited about to kick off the album," he says. "This is just sort of a sneak preview — to remind people we exist."

The track was chosen because "it's the first one we finished," Bono says, chuckling. The band has "lots and lots of songs" compiled, he adds, but will continue to work on the album "for a couple of months. We want it to come out this summer, but you don't want to let anyone down."

Bono says that (RED) wanted to collaborate with Bank of America in part "to tell Americans how extraordinary they've been in the fight against AIDS." The ONE Campaign, (RED)'s parent organization, has determined that nearly seven million lives have been saved by the USA's donations to the Global Fund and the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), established under President George W. Bush.

"I'm not sure that American taxpayers know that, and it's worth for a moment noting how heroic the struggle has been. The seven million, they know, and they're very grateful. All over the continent of Africa, if you poll people, you'll find respect for the (USA) very high."

Anne Finucane, global strategy and marketing officer for Bank of America, says, "We saw in working with U2 the opportunity to engage and excite a consumer base with the band's music and with (RED)'s mission. Bono was very focused; he has applied the same rigor to this effort as I'm sure he does to his music."

The commercial went through several stages of development. "One plan was for us to go knocking on doors in the middle of America, thanking people for saving lives," says Bono. "But a couple of band members thought that might seem self-aggrandizing."

When his bandmates "agreed to give their song away," Bono was "amazed" — but not entirely shocked.

"They don't like to talk about it, but they gave $11 million of (U2)'s last tour to (RED)," he says. "They're big supporters. And I'm very proud of them for this."

Bono reaches back, looks ahead in music, philanthropy

BONO live 2
Bono of U2 performs onstage during the third-annual Help Haiti Home benefit at the Montage Beverly Hills on Jan. 11, 2014 in Beverly Hills, Calif.(Photo: Jonathan Leibson, Getty Images for J/P Haitian Relief Organization)

"It's a rainy Dublin day — what's new?" Bono jokes, calling from home. A moment later, though, sharing lyrics from a new U2 song called Invisible, the band's frontman turns reflective.

"It opens with, 'It's like the room just cleared of smoke/I didn't even want the heart you broke/It's yours to keep/You just might need one,'" he says. "Then it goes, 'I finally found my real name/I won't be me when you see me again/No, I won't be my father's son.'"

Bono pauses. "That's a heavy thing, I realize, as a father myself — to not take your family name, you know? I'm known as Bono. And I realize now that all the angst and rage I had at that time," during his youth, "must have really hurt (my father). I thought my family was the problem, but I was the problem. A typical thing."

The man born Paul David Hewson, who is now 53, and lost his dad 13 years ago, reached back a lot in working on U2's upcoming album — which, incidentally, still doesn't have a release date.

"We've been at it for a while now," Bono admits, his tone becoming lighter again, and self-effacing. "In this band, a song isn't finished until it's being sold online, or in the shops. And even then, Edge might try to remix it."

It has been nearly five years since Bono, The Edge and bandmates Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen, Jr. released their last studio album, 2009's No Line on the Horizon, and they know fans are getting itchy. A U2 song, Ordinary Love, was featured on the soundtrack to last year's biopic Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom; it won a Golden Globe Award for best original song earlier this month, and is up for an Oscar in the same category.

Bono says Love was inspired by late South African president Nelson Mandela's love letters to his former wife, Winnie. "They're really worth reading, with this very quaint, almost archaic language that's tender and beautiful." The activist-turned-political leader had Shakespeare's works smuggled to him while in prison, Bono notes.

The songs being readied for U2's new album draw inspiration from the more recent past. "We went back to the reason we wanted to be a band in the first place. We started listening to music from the late '70s, remembering our early trips to London," he says. "I remember being with Ali, my girlfriend at the time — now my wife — feeling incredibly uncool in the middle of this punk-rock explosion."

Not that the album will be a nostalgia trip. "There are some very different moods, and some extraordinary guitar stuff out of Edge," with modern-rock and R&B savant Danger Mouse producing "most of" the album — though the group "might experiment with some new people" in the final stages, Bono says.

Adam Clayton, Bono, The Edge and Larry Mullen, Jr. of U2 win the Golden Globe for best original song from a motion picture with their 'Ordinary Love' from the movie 'Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom' on Jan. 12, 2014.(Photo: Paul Drinkwater, NBC)

"As a band, we never think about the past," Bono says. "But going back to the '70s as a starting point brought up so much, just to return to that moment when you're formed. I started dating Ali the week I joined U2, I think — a good week."

That period marked a political coming of age for Bono as well. He cites Mandela and Bishop Desmond Tutu as key figures in his becoming an activist, "anti-apartheid and anti-poverty. These two men turned our lives upside down — or rightside up, more accurately. ... Mandela gave this beautiful speech in (London's) Trafalgar Square in 2005, where he said that poverty is not a natural condition. It is man-made; it can be overcome by the action of human beings."

That philosophy got Bono involved with the cause of international debt relief 15 years ago, and continues to propel his advocacy against extreme poverty. He has "made some unlikely bedfellows" in the process, courting conservative politicians whom many pop stars would shrink from, "but as uncomfortable as I've sometimes felt, I get over it quickly when I think about the lives we are trying to save and improve."

Occasionally, Bono says, U2's other members "will fret that I've 'gone native' — I think that's how they put it, when I get lost in the development of something. But I always come back, energized by it all."

Despite the band's reputation for cohesion, the musicians have had "big fights" in their more than 35 years together, Bono insists. "We've very Irish. It's a noisy, messy family business, but there's deep love and respect between us at the same time."

U2 will likely tour after its new album is released. The group emerged energized after a recent surprise performance at Beverly Hills' Montage Hotel, at the third-annual benefit for Help Haiti Home thrown by Bono's buddy Sean Penn.

"We played in this little ballroom — we hadn't played a ballroom in a long time," Bono notes. "I realized, there's something very fresh about just guitar, bass, drums and a voice. The way music is processed at the moment, when you hear that you go, 'Wow!' Though it's obviously been around for a while."

You'll likely be able to catch U2 at bigger venues, though not necessarily stadiums. "I'd like to play indoors again. Some of the best nights of my life have been at (New York's) Madison Square Garden. Venues that size are in a lot of cities. I think it might be nice."

Bono quips, "I always know that we're getting close to touring time when the missus asks me when we're going out again. I think, should I read something from this question? 'No, not at all — you're great at home.'"

And the globe-trotting rock star/philanthropist enjoys being there. "As they say in Dublin, we've a lot of weather. But it can be beautiful, the mornings here, and I'm just on the edge of the city, so I get to walk in the hills and down by the sea and all that kind of stuff. I'm away more than most, but I always look forward to coming home."

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Bono and Edge's Unnoticed Visit

U2 room 2
U2 exhibition at The Little Museum of Dublin

Apparently not everyone in Dublin recognises Bono and Edge. This is what happened at The Little Museum of Dublin: 

Rock stars usually arrive with a bang. But when Bono and The Edge decided to visit our new exhibition about the story of U2, they turned up unannounced – and we failed to recognize the stars!
Bono and The Edge – arguably the two most famous Dubliners alive today – made their way up to the third floor of the museum to visit a new exhibition that celebrates the success of the band over the last four decades. 
The exhibition has drawn record crowds to the Little Museum, and it’s thought that the stars may have been confused for particularly eager fans.

U2 at the Little Museum
Bono and the Edge visited the museum over Christmas, but it was only last week that their autographs were discovered in our visitors book. The signatures were then authenticated by Professor Scott Calhoun, an expert on the band and one of the curators of our exhibition.
“Awesome!” is Bono’s verdict on the exhibition, which features never-seen photography, a Trabant designed by Maser, many rare recordings and a life-size statue of, eh, Bono.
According to our director Trevor White, “We’d like to say everyone was too cool to acknowledge the presence of Bono and the Edge. The truth is that we didn’t recognize them. They must have come the morning after our Christmas party.”
“It wasn’t the welcome we were hoping to give them,” says museum curator Simon O’Connor, “but at least they liked the exhibition.” U2: Made in Dublin remains on view at the Little Museum of Dublin.

If you visit Dublin, this is a must-see!!!

The museum is open 9.30-5pm seven days a week, with late opening until 8pm on Thursdays.
The Little Museum is on the first floor of 15 St Stephen’s Green, on the north side of the Green, near the corner of Dawson Street,  three minute walk from Trinity College.

Update video:

Monday, January 27, 2014

U2 to premiere new track during Super Bowl 2014

Group will reveal single Invisible in conjunction with Bank of America, who have agreed to donate up to a million pounds to the Global Fund to Fight Aids Tuberculosis and Malaria.

U2 have confirmed plans to premiere a new song during next weekend's Super Bowl. Invisible, from the group's as-yet-unannounced 13th studio album, will appear on a commercial as part of a team-up by Bank of America and Bono's Red campaign.

Once the commercial airs, fans will have 24 hours to pick up Invisible as a free download from the iTunes Store. During that period, Bank of America have agreed to donate up to $2m (£1.2m) to the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria - allotting $1 (£0.60) to the charity every time the song is downloaded.

However, Bank of America's $2m download promise is much smaller than what they are reportedly paying to air an ad during the Super Bowl. Fox Sports are allegedly charging advertisers around $4m (£2.4) for each 30-second commercial. But Bank of America have pledged to generate more than $10m (£6m) altogether, as well as soliciting donations from the public. For U2 and friends, the American football game's 120m viewers are an enormous pool of possible donors.

Comienza la cuenta atrĂ¡s para escuchar U2 Invisible

"[This is] the kind of game-changing influence that will not just deliver millions of dollars but raise consciousness and keep public pressure on putting an end to this devastating pandemic," Bono said in a statement. According to his press release, the Gates Foundation, SAP and South Africa's Motsepe mining clan have "matched" the Bank of America's financial commitment "for a total [donation] of $22m". "Incredible," the singer said.

Invisible will be the second new song to have been released by U2 in recent months. The first, Ordinary Love, appeared as part of the soundtrack to Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom. It is one of five Oscar nominees for best original song.

U2's new record, their first since 2009, is thought to have been produced by Danger Mouse.

 "I can't really discuss it so I can't really quote anything about it but it's still ongoing and that's all I can really say, to be honest," Danger Mouse said in a Rolling Stone interview published this week. According to Billboard, Interscope will be releasing the LP in the United States, with Island Records representing the band everywhere else.

More information at (RED)

Bono lays down challenge to world business leaders

Singer calls for businesses to raise ethical standards to help fight against world poverty.

Bono: “Some of the criminals around here are not wearing ski masks, they are wearing skis.” Photograph: Jean-Christophe Bott/EPA
Bono: “Some of the criminals around here are not wearing ski masks, they are wearing skis.” Photograph: Jean-Christophe Bott/EPA

Bono has challenged world business leaders assembled in Davos to boost the fight against world poverty by raising ethical standards in their respective sectors.
The Irish activist participated in a discussion with British prime minister David Cameron and others who have drafted a successor to the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDG), which end in 2015.
The MDG included targets for reducing poverty, hunger and child mortality and combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.

The new goals, known as the sustainable development goals, aim to eliminate extreme poverty by 2030 by renewing targets not achieved in the first round and adding new proposals, such as fighting corruption.
The U2 singer admitted yesterday the MDG was a “shite name” that put people off and that the proposed new name - “Sustainable Millenium Goals” - sounded like “a bad heavy metal band”.
Even his own band, though “really supportive” of his campaigning against poverty, had only to hear MDG and “you can see their eyes rolling”.
He suggested worldwide competitions to find a better title for the new programe.
“We want ownership from the wider population,” he said.
The Davos panel agreed that the success of the new goals, in particular the fight against corruption, would hinge on western leaders gathered in Davos acknowledging a need for greater transparency in how they do business.
“Some of the criminals around here are not wearing ski masks, they are wearing skis,” said Bono. “Capitalism can be a great creative force but it can be a destructive force. It is not immoral but it is ammoral, we need to give it some instructions.”
British prime minister David Cameron, who co-chaired the UN panel which drafted the new goals, agreed that fighting corruption in poor countries required rich countries to improve business transparency.
He said he was confident the new goals to tackle poverty were complementary and not contradictory to business and enterprise.
“The two things people want is a job and a voice,” said Mr Cameron.
Nigerian finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was also involved in drafting the new goals through a public consultation with the world’s poor.
She expressed optimism that the new goals would be embraced because they address universal issues.
“Gender rights are not just about people at bottom end of scale,” she said. “Corruption and governance may be more of a problem in countries of the south but accountability for it has a north and south end of it.”
Save the Children International CEO Jasmine Whitbread said she hoped the last 700 days of the existing MDG would see a redoubled push to complete goals not yet met, such as eliminating infant mortality
“It is always easier to do the first half and that is what we are facing now,” she said, “but with a redoubled effort we can manage it.”

Friday, January 24, 2014

Bono Talks at the Pat Kenny Show

Newstalk image

U2 frontman praises coalition for economic efforts

Bono's been paying tribute to the efforts of the Taoiseach and Finance Minister to promote Ireland at the World Economic Forum.

He's among 2 and a half thousand delegates including heads of state and business leaders gathered at Davos in Switzerland for the annual event.

The U2 frontman joined an event last night where the IDA had potential investors in their sights in the areas of pharmaceutical, technology and financial services.

Bono said this morning that Enda Kenny and Michael Noonan impressed those gathered at the dinner. He also talked about "Invisible" the new U2 song that will be available for free download for 24 hours only (1st Feb) and every time the track is downloaded a $1 donation  will be made to (RED) by Bank of America (All the funds will go to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. )

Bono also announced that this song will be part of the upcoming album.
You can listen to the podcast online here.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Invisible - Free For (RED)

The band have given a new track, 'Invisible', to (RED) for a free download on iTunes next week - for 24 hours only. 
The song, produced by Danger Mouse and mixed by Tom Elmhirst, launches a partnership with (RED) and Bank of America to fight AIDS

Every time the track is downloaded, anywhere in the world, a $1 donation will be made to (RED) by Bank of America - up to a total of $2m. All the funds will go to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

'Invisible' will be available on iTunes for 24hours from Feb 2nd - 'Super Bowl Sunday'. A commercial during the Super Bowl will feature the band performing the track, from a forthcoming video directed by Mark Romanek. 

Since Bono and Bobby Shriver founded (RED) in 2006, to engage business in the fight against AIDS, it's generated more than $240 million for the Global Fund. (RED) and its partners – from Bank of America, to Starbucks, Apple and others – are working to end mother-to-child transmission of the deadly HIV virus by 2015, in line with the UN Millennium Development Goals

Here's a transcript of Bono's words.


Monday, January 20, 2014

Billboard's 2014 Industry Icon: Paul McGuinness on 35 Years Guiding 'The Biggest Band in the World'

Billboard's 2014 Industry Icon: Paul McGuinness on 35 Years Guiding 'The Biggest Band in the World' (Q&A)

The following extended Q&A with U2's long-time manager Paul McGuinness is from the new issue of Billboard.

Few managers are so closely associated with one act as Paul McGuinness has been with U2, a group he took from a fledgling band of dubious musicianship playing Dublin bars to where it is widely considered the biggest group in the world.

News broke late last year that McGuinness would step back from day-to-day duties for U2 after more than 35 years, handing the reins to Madonna manager Guy Oseary, as the band’s management shifts from McGuinness’ Principle Management to the management division of Live Nation, with whom U2 signed a 12-year touring/merchandising/e-commerce pact in 2008.

In a statement, U2 said, in part, “Paul has saved us from ourselves many times over and we would not be U2 without him,” describing his ongoing role as “mentor in chief.”

The move represents a monumental change for McGuinness, who has devoted more than half of his life to guiding U2. While he has directed countless significant career moves along the way, perhaps the most visionary was realizing the potential of a band he recalls “weren’t very good at all” when he was first introduced to the group by influential Irish music writer Bill Graham -- though McGuinness adds that his own lack of musical sophistication didn’t make the band’s lack of chops an issue.

But McGuinness did have the vision to recognize U2’s onstage alchemy -- an intense connection between band and audience -- and unlimited potential. The fiery ambition and creativity of both band and manager led to a career unlike any in pop history.

In recognition of his lifelong achievements and vision in moving the music industry forward, McGuinness will be the recipient of the 2014 Billboard Industry Icon Award. The honor will be presented at MIDEM in Cannes on Feb. 2. The inaugural Industry Icon Award was presented in 2012 to Sire Records founder/CEO Seymour Stein and in 2013 the honor went to Beggars Group founder/chairman Martin Mills.

Born in post-war Germany in 1951, McGuinness’ father was an officer in the Royal Air Force from Liverpool and his mother a schoolteacher from County Kerry in Ireland. The global perspective of U2’s development came naturally to McGuinness, who grew up on RAF bases around the world in such places as Malta, Yemen and various parts of England, first coming to Ireland for boarding school in 1961.

Raised in a non-musical household, McGuinness still was drawn to a career in the arts. He directed plays and tried his hand at journalism at Dublin’s Trinity College. After a brief career in film production (including a notable stint in the cult classic “Zardoz” with Sean Connery), McGuinness shifted his focus to music, working with such obscure Irish bands as Spud before that fateful introduction to U2 in 1978.

In a revealing, wide-ranging interview, Billboard picks up the story there, at the beginning of a relationship that forever changed the history of music.

Billboard: What was your first impression of U2?

Paul McGuinness: They were pretty smart -- that was the first thing that was very clear. They were ambitious, they were interested in what was going on with other bands, and were very committed to performance. Bono particularly was down the front of the stage, looking for eye contact with the audience. Even at a young age, he was a very charismatic frontman.

What were some of your early wins in managing U2?

It was very hard to get a record deal. I thought they were so good, and it was so obvious that they would develop, that it surprised me greatly that pretty well every record company in London passed on them. We had some success getting A&R men to see them, but we had either bad luck, the shows weren’t very good or the A&R guys just didn’t see it. It took a surprisingly long time to get a deal, and in the end the deal we got from Island was the only one on offer.

We were actually very lucky to get signed by Island, because their culture suited us perfectly. There seemed to be a policy of letting the artist be in charge. I’m sure it wasn’t as simple as that, but there was respect for the artist. What I did not realize at the time was that it was very important to have [Island founder] Chris Blackwell’s involvement. He wasn’t very involved in the signing of the band. He became a big supporter later, but the people who really signed the band at Island Records were [Island A&R man] Nick Stewart, press officer Rob Partridge and [talent scout] Annie Rosebury.

Were such superlatives as “biggest band in the world” even in your head at that point?

The only reason I wanted to manage a band at all was because I wanted to manage a very big band. I certainly wasn’t doing it philanthropically.

U2’s first three albums were critically acclaimed but less than blockbusters, and during that time the band really developed its performance chops. Did you always consider the live thing as a critical part of a band’s career?

We always realized that there were two parallel careers: one live and one on record. We felt instinctively in the early days that it was important to be a great live band so that we were not dependent upon the success of the records. The first album ["Boy," 1980] was, as you say, critically well-received, but didn’t have any hits. The hits off that album came much later. The second album ["October," 1981] was recorded in a bit of a hurry and, looking back on it, quite weak. The third album ["War," 1983] was a No. 1 album in the U.K., and ’round about that time the live album we did at Red Rocks [in Colorado, "Under a Blood Red Sky"] and the accompanying film [“Live at Red Rocks”] really did a lot to break the band in all countries. "Unforgettable Fire" in 1985 went to No. 1 in most European countries and did respectably in the U.S.

It was then that we started to play in arenas in the U.S. We had built up a very strong live base in America. I believed that was very important, and in the early ’80s we would spend three months of every year in the U.S.

One of the most important connections we ever made was with [agents] Frank Barsalona and Barbara Skydel at Premier Talent, [who] really believed in the band. They could see that it was a great live act. I learned an awful lot just from talking with Frank. I used to sit in his office until late at night when everyone else had gone home, and Barbara was our responsible agent. They were both major forces in the success of the band.

In Europe and other territories outside North America we had an equally brilliant agent in Ian Flooks and his company Wasted Talent -- the hot agency in Europe when we started out. They picked up on U2 right at the beginning, and we did every date we ever did in Europe for either them or an agent in Ireland called Dave Kavanagh. And we worked with promoters like Leon Ramakers and Thomas Johanssen in Europe since day one, as well as Michael Coppel in Australia.

Working with agents was fundamental to the early success of U2. The band wanted to be good live, and they were prepared to put a lot of time and effort into touring, and so was I. We were not prepared to be the kind of routine visiting English punk band. I attended pretty well every show they ever did.

Which shows stand out?

Many of our great shows have been at Madison Square Garden. It’s a very special place for us, and New York was always a very important market for us because it was such a great live market. We used to play multiple nights at the Ritz [now Webster Hall], and the money we made off those dates would subsidize the rest of the tour.
New York had very weak radio in the early ’80s. There were [rock stations] WNEW and WPLJ, and neither of those stations played U2. We were supported by a station in Long Island called WLIR. Really, we broke New York through performance.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

"Ordinary Love" Nominated for Oscar Awards

Oscars Best Original Song

Oscar nominees for Best Original Song were announced on Thursday (Jan. 16) morning. Nominees include "Alone Yet Not Alone" ("Alone Yet Not Alone"), "Happy" ("Despicable Me 2"), "Ordinary Love" ("Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom"), "Let It Go" ("Frozen") and "The Moon Song" ("Her").

U2 and Danger Mouse return with their Golden Globe winning tune, "Ordinary Love" from "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom," which beat out the likes of Coldplay's "Atlas" from "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" and Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez's "Let It Go" from "Frozen" at this past weekend's awards ceremony.
The Academy Awards will be hosted by Ellen DeGeneres on March 2. The ceremony airs on ABC.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Bono Says New U2 Should Come in June, New Single Soon

The new U2 album should come in June. So says Bono, to me, at the Weinstein Company party following the Golden Globes. Bono and U2 won the Globe for their song “Ordinary Love” from the movie “Mandela.” The group held court on a platform of couches, entertaining friends including Usher on Sunday night before taking off to an after party said to be at 1Oak on Sunset Boulevard.

The group had just played at Sean Penn’s Haiti fundraiser on Saturday night with a young Haitian singer named Anaelle Jean-Pierre. I sat with Bono at the Weinstein party and praised him for his passion about politics, Mandela, Africa, etc.

“We’re persistent, I’ll say that,” he replied with a rueful chuckle. “I don’t think we’re the only ones who care. I think lots of people do. They just don’t have the opportunity.”

Bono told me the group was busy finishing the new album. “We’re still working some things out,” he said. In the meantime, they will release a new single in the next few weeks. It’s called– and this is exclusive– “Invisible.” “It’s not what you expect,” Bono told me. “It’s not your typical love song.”

The guys were joined by Guy Oseary, their new day to day manager, who seems like he’s doing a bang up job. Oseary is almost as tireless and tenacious as Bono, Edge, Larry and Adam. They’re a good match.

Also at the hot hot hot Weinstein party: Christoph Waltz, Bruce Dern, Laura Dern, Idris Elba, Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Rashida Jones, Taylor Swift, Bradley Cooper and the newly engaged Robin Wright (ex Penn) and Ben Foster. Robin showed me her engagement ring– tasteful, elegant– and her much deserved Golden Globe for “House of Cards.” “Will you hold onto it for me, it’s heavy,” Robin asked me. Ben said he was so happy for his fiancee “my heart is jumping out of me.” He thumped his chest.


U2 Wins Best Original Song at The Golden Globe Awards

At the 71st Golden Globe Awards in Los Angeles , the band took home the award for 'Best Original Song' for 'Ordinary Love'.

All four band members accepted the award, for the song they wrote for Mandela:Long Walk to Freedom.

"This really is personal for us," said Bono. "This man turned our life upside down, right-side up, a man who refused to hate, not because he didn't have rage or anger or these things, but that he thought love would do a better job.
"We wrote a love song because it kind of is what is extraordinary about the film — it is kind of a dysfunctional love story. That's why you should see this film. You know about the global statesman, you don't know about the man, that's why you should see this film. We're good at the dysfunctional love stories."

Also nominated for Best Original Song were Coldplay's 'Atlas' for The Hunger Games, Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez's 'Let It Go' from Frozen,  Ed Rush, George Cromarty, T Bone Burnett, Justin Timberlake, Joel Coen and Ethan Coen's 'Please Mr. Kennedy' from Inside Llewyn Davis and Taylor Swift and Jack Antonoff's 'Sweeter Than Fiction' from One Chance.

Here's the band backstage after the show, with Bono talking about the song - and the honour of winning. 

More pics here.


There's been some online buzz this week about what the band have been up to in LA. 

Here's the scoop.

It's all about a new song called 'Invisible', a track the band will be releasing as part of an initiative with (RED), to support the fight against AIDS.

Everybody's really excited about the song and the band have been shooting the video in LA.



U2 Play Surprise Show for Haiti Benefit

By Miriam Coleman for RS

U2 performed together live for the first time in years on Saturday night when they appeared together at a benefit for Haiti in Beverly Hills, Billboard reports. The band took the event's 300 guests by surprise with their three-song set at Sean Penn's third annual Help Haiti benefit at the Montage Hotel.

"It's been a while since we played a hotel lounge," frontman Bono said to the audience as the band took the stage, according to The Hollywood Reporter. "I think the last time was a bar mitzvah."

Starting around 10:30, the band played early hits "I Will Follow" and "Desire" as well as "Vertigo" from their 2004 album, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. Earlier in the evening, Bono and guitarist The Edge also performed with Haitian singer Anaelle Jean-Pierre.

The charity gala, attended by stars including Gwyneth Paltrow, Julia Roberts, Chris Martin and Michael Douglas, raised $6 million for the J/P Haitian Relief Organization.

U2 spent much of the past year working on a new album, which is rumored for release in April. "I think it's a bit of a return to U2 of old, but with the maturity, if you like, of the U2 of the last 10 years," bassist Adam Clayton told an Irish radio station in October. "It's a combination of those two things and it's a really interesting hybrid." The band also recently contributed the new song "Ordinary Love" to the film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.

 More pics here.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Oscars: U2 Writes One From The Heart For Nelson Mandela; Interview With Bono And The Edge

Bono and Edge were interviewed by Pete Hammond  for Deadline. 

Although there was plenty of star wattage at the 25th Palm Springs International Film Festival CN8A9095 there was even more electricity than usual because some genuine rock royalty was in attendance. U2′s Bono and The Edge were on hand to accept the Sonny Bono Visionary Award, which acknowledged their major humanitarian work as well as their iconic musical contributions to the world.  The award was well-timed as, like the rest of the honorees, they also have a song that is making waves this awards season. And it’s a very personal one. The band, and particularly Bono, had a long friendship with Nelson Mandela — who died December 5 — and their work in the anti-apartheid movement goes back to their beginnings as a band in the 1970s. And now they have written a song, “Ordinary Love”  for the film of his life story,Mandela: Long Walk To FreedomThe Weinstein Company is hoping it will get the Oscar recognition that has eluded U2 before. They currently have a Golden Globe nomination for it, their sixth, with one win for 2002′s “The Hands That Built America” from Gangs Of New York. 


Deadline: You’ve written for many movies before, but what made this one so special — particularly with the pressure of writing about someone like Nelson Mandela?
Bono: You don’t want to let him down. Our first thought when they asked us was, “Can we do it?” We had some time, but it meant putting our album back a bit, and there was some worry with the management about that. But it’s one of those things you can’t turn down, actually. And although there were some butterflies and a little bit of nausea, we just felt we had to do it, but not to blow it.  We thought they would probably want a big anthem or one of those political songs. That just felt too obvious for us. But we were so surprised to discover that the film, as well as being a big historical drama that it has to be, is made much more interesting by being a love story — a very complicated love story, but a love story.

The Edge: And that’s the emotional part that we picked up as we saw the film. We realized that while politics were, and are , so important and couldn’t be more relevant it was that human part of the story where the film went. So we followed it and it made perfect sense from an emotional point of view to follow their relationship.

Deadline:  You’ve said the title “Ordinary Love” works on a couple of levels.
Bono: Even when he started out his own political life as an armed insurrection it was never his first choice,deb9f9efc56ef2a940bdf0d58ccaad5c_XL and when he saw it up close, the ugliness of it and when he saw what it did to the people who committed the violence, he fought against his own party, against the ANC, against his best friends, to make peace. He didn’t want to become a monster to defeat a monster, and so “Ordinary Love” is also an appeal to South Africa. So it works in the personal and it works in the political. That’s why we took it in the central image of the song. The rest of the lyrics were inspired by the letters of Nelson to Winnie Mandela. Anant Singh , the producer, sent them to me. And reading them the language is so beautifully archaic. He’s such a gentlemen. He talks about kissing her photograph in the prison cell. He talks in a very tender way to her. Very old school. And clearly words meant a lot to him. And indeed in my own conversations with him over the years he would always talk about writers. He loved the Irish writers, George Bernard Shaw; he loved the Anglo-Irish literary renaissance. He had the complete works of William Shakespeare smuggled to him in his prison cell in a Koran. They were only allowed religious books. The idea of Shakespeare coming in like a drug deal (laughs). … This film is about two transformations: his from a badass to this global statesman  and Winnie’s from this very sweet girl to a bit of a monster. And Winnie came to the premiere in South Africa and stood by Naomie Harris’ portrayal of her because it was truthful. I think she’s an extraordinary woman. But it’s two transformations that are the inverse of each other.
The Edge: And obviously the other take away for me from the movie is this supernatural ability to forgive that hetdsdc5-6dfxpodn6e1wb63hmry_originalhad and the wisdom to know that the only possible way forward for South Africa  was truth and reconciliation, not vengeance. There’s  that great quote of his: “I want vengeance too, but I want a country that my children can live in more.” That’s the important thing here. That level of insight and wisdom came to him during those years in prison and by reading extensively and pondering the situation and doing it in a very cool headed way.
DeadlineDo you like writing for film?
Bono: It’s a holiday from the first-person for me. We really like writing for other people for the same reason. I remember writing for Willie Nelson and Roy Orbison. It’s so wonderful to get out of your own head.
The Edge: To take a love song is easier as well. Suddenly you’ve got an inspiration that is fresh. We always approach it the same way, to take the emotional core and fleshing it out from there.
Bono: And to try and make it a love song to the South African landscape as well. It really is the most extraordinarily beautiful place on earth. (Recites)  “The sea wants to kiss the golden shore/The sunlight warms your skin/All the beauty that’s been lost before/Wants to find us again/I can’t fight you anymore/It’s you I’m fighting For/The sea throws rock together/But time leaves us polished stones/We can’t reach any higher/If we can’t deal with ordinary love.
DeadlineHarvey Weinstein was once your promoter. How persuasive was he in making this all happen?
Bono: He is a very hard man to turn down. And it was family time in our house. We have very strict rules mandelaabout having family time and I was sneaking out on my family to work on the song. And then Harvey actually arrives while we were on holiday in France. He says, “So where’s the song?” He arrives in the house! And I said to him, “We need a few more weeks; this is one we can’t blow.” And to be fair to Harvey, he said, ‘OK, I will tell them they just have to wait.” So he broke all the rules for us. … We just wanted to make it a very emotional moment to bring people back to the heart of the film, which is a human heart. That’s more complicated than any political situation.
DeadlineHow difficult has it been to promote the song since his death came just as the movie had opened?
Bono:  It’s No. 1 in about 15 countries without any promotion. We can’t really go out and launch it, though. It’s interesting because you want to go out and shout from the rooftops if you’ve got one of these tunes. They don’t come all the time. But we can’t.
The Edge: To me it’s just so amazing how things worked out. It’s almost to me that Madiba stage managed this entire thing. You think about this film that is coming out on his life. He was so aware of the delicacy of what’s  going on in South Africa. You couldn’t tee up a better way to spotlight his politics and his legacy and focus the world’s attention  on what he’s achieved politically in South Africa. That is the best way to pave a way for the  future.
Bono: It was almost like  perfect timing in a way.