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U2 / The Definitive Biography: A Quotation Compendium”

This U2 biography came out a couple years ago, to surprisingly little notoriety, or acclaim. I even read The New Yorker with decent regularity, and I didn’t see any mention of it in there. Anyway, it’s made for a fairly enjoyable read, and it definitely dispels certain myths a lot of people would feel going into such an excursion (though I didn’t necessarily), such as that U2 wasn’t “punk,” or that they are simply egocentric dullards without regard for the world around them.

I didn’t include it, but I did see one interesting account of an Irish figure the band wanted as a manager, but who held Bono as guilty of only helping those halfway around the globe, on missions in Ethiopia and such, while ignoring social problems in their own Dublin, et. al. It sort of gets you thinking of the whole “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” phenomenon, and that maybe Bono and company were ascribing to the African peoples a certain fictitious nobleness, a charm by way of occlusive distance, the trips being the result of contempt through familiarity of the homefront. Still, John Jobling’s biography definitely paints a disillusioned, stone-tough portrait of Bono and his band, and is every bit the account of music born out of the rubble, and not some tastemaking hipster environment. That, alone, is plenty refreshing.

(2): “(The 1970’s) was an era when the Catholic Church still exercised powerful influence on government policy and the lives of everyday people, particularly in terms of anything that concerned sexual morality. Sex before marriage was a sin and a social evil. Contraceptives were banned. Homosexuality was a crime.”

“Irish music struggled to find its voice amid the soul-destroying oppression in the South and the fatal bomb blasts in the North. There were very few venues or professional recording studios for the rock bands brave (or stupid) enough to make a noise, and no music press or rock radio existed for much of the decade.”

(8): {Adam Clayton} “‘(In 1976) I… heard Bob Marley for the first time and was drawn to the freedom in his music.’”

(10): “From the age of fourteen, (David Howell Evans) started to take a more serious interest in the guitar, fueled by his discovery of the Horslips… Rory Gallagher… and Patti Smith’s proto-punk opus Horses.”

“Last to arrive at the audition was Paul Hewson, a charismatic fireball with a God-shaped hole.”

(15): “The confessional lyrics of Bob Dylan and John Lennon had already struck a chord with the tortured teenager, but it was the dramatic power chords and rage of The Who’s guitarist Pete Townshend that set (Paul Hewson’s) imagination on fire.”

(19): {Adam Clayton} “‘If you’re just another a**hole from the suburbs, I think it’s pretty understandable if one was offered a chance to take on the world and win, you’d go for it.’”

(23): “Paul eventually rejected the moniker (Steinhegvanhuysenolegbangbangbangbang) and instead nominated ‘Bono Vox of O’Connell Street,’ with Bono Vox being an alteration of ‘Bonavox,’ the Latin phrase for ‘good voice’ (although he denied knowledge of all of this) and the name of a hearing aid store just off the aforementioned street. He later shortened it to just ‘Bono.’”

(31): “In the words of another student, Chris de Burgh, the veteran pop balladeer, ‘Paul always used to draw these bizarre pictures of guys lying down with their tongues hanging out, and with nails through the tongues. Quite weird.’”

(35): “‘(U2 in 1978) were brilliant, but very coarse,’ McGuinness told Vanity Fair in 2004. ‘In a way, they were doing exactly what they do no. Only badly.’”

“Bono in particular was a good listener and an even better talker.”

(37): “Four tracks were committed to tape in all (at Keystone Studios), ‘Shadows and Tall Trees,’ ‘Street Mission,’ ‘The Fool,’ and ‘The Dream is Over.’”

“As Adam later confessed in Time magazine: ‘The first couple of years, we kind of hated each other. It was very competitive, and everyone was trying to come out on top.’”

(40): “On more than one occasion, U2 was forced to defend themselves against a barrage of heckles and the odd flying bottle courtesy of the Black Catholics, who referred to them as ‘dirty, stuck-up Proddies.’”

(41): “Edge and his new girlfriend… first locked tongues at a Buzzcocks gig.”

(42): “Twenty minutes into the conversation, Bono told (Hot Press), apropos of nothing, that there was ‘one other thing you should know about the Village–we’re all Christians. Although this did little to dampen Graham’s enthusiasm for either group, the journalist chose to leave Bono’s unprovoked confession out of his final draft when it hit newsagents’ stands in March.’”

(50): “Chris Westwood wrote (in 1979 for Record Mirror): ‘The thing that makes Bono and U-2 so believable is their awareness of vulnerability: both in themselves and in other individuals.’”

“Bono told Westwood: ‘ …I want to replace the bands in the charts now, because I think we’re better.’”

(51): “(Bono) told Dublin fanzine Imprint: ‘ …We want to be big. Independent labels are all very well, but mostly they preach to the converted. We don’t want to be a cult.’”

“McGuinness organized around a dozen showcase gigs in London for December, two of which were supporting Talking Heads at the Electric Ballroom.”

(53): “(McGuinness) explained that he planned to sign the and to a big record label, but in the meantime he’d like Robinson to him the favor of putting out a few of their songs as singles in the UK. (Dave) Robinson would have obliged him, if not for one small problem. ‘The songs were crap,’ he says.”

(53-54): {Stiff Records rep Dave Robinson} “‘In Ireland, blindly following the English and American pop charts, having very few gigs to play, and being able to get onto television at a very early age, bands didn’t progress very far. They didn’t have that deep examination. So it wasn’t like you had to be phenomenal to get to the top of the milk, you just had to be creamy.’”

(55): “‘Bono had lost his voice, which was a bit tricky,’ remembers de Whalley. ‘He was gargling with honey and lemon and got enough of his voice back to be able to sing and I suggested a couple of tricks, like the David Bowie trick of whispering the lead vocal as a sort of double-track to the sung one.’”

(55-56): {de Whalley} “‘I’ve got a hand-written note on the back of a flyer from Paul when he sent me the only copy I’ve got of the single. He says, “Things are so bad now that CBS and Ireland are charging me for these records so only one enclosed. They are also refusing to advertise it or pay for the bag… Best wishes to you, Paul & U2.”’”

(56-57): “(Annie) Roseberry hung out with U2 at their hotel afterward, after experiencing a somewhat intimidating car ride through the Belfast cityscape. ‘We were stopped by armed security on our way back as Adam was in the boot and there were rather too many of us in the car itself,’ she says. ‘The Europa Hotel was at the time surrounded by high security fencing and had the dubious reputation of being the most bombed hotel in the world.’”

(57): “‘(Nick) Stewart recalls: ‘I landed in Dublin airport on a cold, wet January night thinking, “God, what have I let myself in for here?” If there could have been a royal box for this gig, I was in it. The band came one and the first thing they played was “11 O’Clock Tick Tock,” which had that big powerful Edge guitar riff, and the stage was mobbed. I turned to Michael Deeny, the manager of Horlips, halfway through the gig and I said–rather unwisely, I suppose–“This bunch could be the next Led Zeppelin! They’re amazing!”’”

(58): “The son of Joseph Blackwell, an heir to the Crosse & Blackwell food family, and Blanche Lindo, a powerful landowner of Jamaican ancestry and Bond writer Ian Fleming’s muse, Chris Blackwell had inherited all the right ingredients to build Island Records into one of Britain’s most innovative and artist-friendly independent labels, with a roster that boasted acclaimed singer-songwriter Cat Stevens, blue-eyed soul singer Robert Palmer, and reggae artist Bob Marley, whom Blackwell had personally molded into a pop rebel white consumers could buy into.”

“Upon returning to Island HQ, Stewart called Blackwell at his home in Nassau and told him of his discovery. ‘I’ve found you a real live Island-type rock band,’ he said.”

(60): “(Nick) Stewart’s first order of business was to pair U2 with a producer who could figure out how to polish their sound without losing any of the energy of their live performances.”

(61): {Kevin Moloney} “‘We always suspected that (George) Martin was doing acid in the studio. He was completely off his tree and doing crazy stuff with the electronics which we’d never heard been done before. But it sounded great.’”

(61-62): “(Hannett) obsessed about everything. He even had this thing about the time. He’d say, ‘The mixing will be at three o’clock in the morning. Three o’clock is the most creative time.’”

(67): “As news of Boy’s forthcoming release spread across the Dublin scene, U2 found themselves being targeted by a gang of young skinheads. ‘There was an emerging skinhead subculture and one or two catcalls of ‘Protestant Band’ and that kind of thing,’ says a source. ‘But it wasn’t sectarian. They were just assholes, people growing up in a very unpleasant way.’”

(68): {Paolo Hewitt} “‘That fluid guitar sound Edge had, combined with Bono’s passionate voice and stage presence, just made you go, “Wow!” It cut through everything.’”

(69): “(Boy) peaked at a lowly fifty-two on the album chart, but did garner positive reviews and a small army of loyal fans.”

(70): “Meanwhile, back in Ireland, Declan Lynch of Hot Press wrote: ‘I find it almost impossible to react negatively to U-2’s music. It rushes your senses, it’s so sharp; every song seems like it’s been lying under the tree all year, and at Christmas it’s taken out of its box and shown to everybody, open-mouthed.’”

(80): {Barry Fey} “‘I said to (Jonathan King), “U2. They have the musical integrity of The Who.”’”

(82): “Bono expressed his hope that members of the Contemporary Christian music scene would stop preaching solely to the converted and join U2 in the mainstream where together they could ‘destroy the image that he has got through… which has (given) God almighty and Jesus Christ… an image of a weakling. A slightly effeminate image. A sort of Sunday image. A religious image.’”

(84): “A few weeks later, U2 gave their only Irish show of (1981), supporting the legendary Thin Lizzy at the annual open-air festival at Slane Castle.”

“‘They were dreadful,’ says an associate. ‘It was one of the most embarrassing things I can remember. They’d just released “Fire” and they had fireworks go off in the background. It was one of their big Spinal Tap moments.’”

(85): “(Bono, Edge and Larry) would be at the back of the tour bus reading the Bible and praying together while Adam sat at the front with McGuinness and everyone else, smoking dope and planning their next rock-and-roll escapade.”

(88): “One adjective seemed to pop up again and again when describing (October) over the next few months: ‘rushed.’”

(88-89): “In November (1981), around six hundred fans at Toad’s Place in New Haven Connecticut, caught a glimpse of big bad Bono for themselves when Larry came in too late on “11 O’Clock Tick Tock” because he was adjusting his drum kit. Bono thought the diminutive sticksman was hiding from the audience members and charged at him like a grizzly bear, kicked the kit onto its side, and hurled parts of it into the stunned crowed. Then he cornered Larry and almost throttled him, if not for Edge grabbing him by his hair and planting a perfectly aimed right hook on his chin. The gig ended early in riotous confusion, with the singer and guitarist engaged in a shoving match on stage and the drummer cowering in the dressing room backstage.”

(92): “Although the sweet taste of commercial triumph still eluded U2, (Edge) had been credited with creating a whole new ‘less is more’ approach to guitar playing in which rhythm and lead were no longer segregated and simple notes bled with emotion–one which compelled aspiring musicians to cram the classified sections of British and American music journals with ads seeking ‘Guitarist–U2 style.’”

– This is interesting that U2 was still unpopular at this point; I’d considered “I Will Follow”
a pretty big single.

(94): {Engineer Kevin Moloney} “‘I remember they were having so many difficulties financially, and it was around two grand a day to hire the studio, which was a hell of a lot of money for a band that had nothing. It was real backs-against-the-wall stuff.’”

(94-95): “‘There were people regurgitating “A Day without Me” for an entire LP… like flocks and flocks of stealers,’ Bono later told Creem magazine.”

(98-99): “(The War cover) reflected Bono’s own lack of faith in human nature. ‘The century we are living in is the most barbaric ever,’ he told NME. In the past, men committed atrocities without being fully aware of what they were doing. Now man has been educated, but the atrocities are still going on. But I still have my beliefs, not so much in people, but in what lies behind people. That comes across in the music.’”

(99): “Bono argued in Rolling Stone that he believed U2 to be ‘totally rebellious, because of our stance against what people accept as rebellion. The whole thing about rock stars driving cars into swimming pools–that’s not rebellion… Revolution starts at home, in your heart, in your refusal to compromise your beliefs and your values.’”

(101): “Upon returning returning from London to perform War’s new single ‘New Year’s Day’ on Top of the Pops in January 1983, the band immediately caught a taxi back to their bungalow to work on new material. ‘They’ve always been like that–very driven in the pursuit of their goals, says a source.’”

– The influential trinity of British music weeklies was NME, Melody Maker and Sounds.

(104): “However, U2 soon discovered that playing the big game came at an equally big price. They had always prided themselves on the close relationship they had with their fans. It was intimate and passionate, yet respectful and unobtrusive, and genuine bond that had develop;ed over time and was largely absent of the mindless adulation and star fucking rock-and-roll careers are typically built upon. But as the War Tour clocked up more miles and the shows got bigger, the opportunity to meet and interact with each other became more scarce and enviable.”

(107): “Organized by Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak, the (Memorial Day) festivals (in Southern California)… would forever serve as a cautionary tale to rock promoters, hands bloodied by over 180 arrests and two reported deaths, not to mention $20 million in lost revenue.”

“Although three studio albums in, U2 was considered first and foremost a powerful live act, and McGuinness was adamant that they exploit this by putting together a live concert video and mini LP.”

(110): “In 2004, Rolling Stone featured (the U2 Red Rocks concert in the rain) on its list of ’50 Moments That Changed the History of Rock and Roll.’”

“Rolling Stone concluded that ‘the sight of Bono singing the antiviolence anthem “Sunday Bloody Sunday” while waving a white flag through crimson mist… became the defining image of U2’s warrior-rock spirit and–shown in heavy rotation on MTV–broke the band nationwide.’”

(110-111): “Yet perhaps the most inspired promotional move of all came from none other than Stiff Records founder Dave Robinson, who was installed as the new president of Island Records after going into business with Blackwell. ‘We marketed (Under a Blood Red Sky) and (U2’s) back catalog on TV at a cheap price,’ recalls Robinson, who loaned Blackwell 1 million pounds to fund the 50 percent share purchase in Stiff and keep Island afloat. ‘It was that marketing that actually cracked them from being an interesting cult band into a major player. Island up until that point had only pretended to market people. Blackwell had an attitude not to spend too much money on marketing; he thought a group on the road was as much marketing as you needed. It was a slightly old-fashioned attitude. They had a poster that they used to send to people saying, “If you don’t promote, something happens,” and then at the bottom “nothing.” And when I got there that’s pretty much what they were doing for their acts’… Consequently, the low-cost mini LP Under a Blood Red Sky, which ultimately featured only two tracks from Red Rocks, with the other six taken from what U2 adjudged to be superior performances in Boston and West Germany, was released in November, reaching number twenty-eight in the United States and number two in the UK, where it outsold War to become the best-selling live album in British chart history up until that point.”

(111-112): “It all came to a head at the Los Angeles Sports Arena on June 17 when the singer found himself trading blows with a fan in front of a crowd of twelve thousand. ‘It was disgraceful,’ (Bono) recalled in Hot Press. ‘I went into the audience with the white flag and it was a manic audience that ripped me and the flag apart. I ended up attacking this guy, flooring this guy in the audience’… Post-gig, Bono sat in a corner of the dressing room, his clothes torn to shreds and scratch marks on his chest. He cut a dejected figure. The band told him that he had gone too far, that he had put himself and the audience at risk, that he had ‘undermined the dignity and nobility of the music.’ They would have to find new ways to connect with the crowd. Bono agreed. ‘We don’t need to use a battering ram,’ he said. ‘It has to be down to the music.’”

(112): “Grossing around $2 million, the (War) tour marked the first time the band had ever turned a profit on the road.”

“‘We’re not naive enough to think we’re there yet,’ Edge said (after the War tour). ‘But I think what we have is a passion and belief in the thing we’re trying to do and where we’re actually going and that determination that we’re not going to fall by the wayside… to this business which can easily chew up all the best intentions, all the best principles and just spit them out. There’s a lot of bands that would speak about the music business like some sort of piranha fish. We’re not scared. We’re not worried about it. We’re just determined that our ideals and principles will not go under, will not be compromised for convenience sake.’”

(113-115): “U2 had more reason to celebrate at the beginning of 1984 with the arrival of the annual music awards: they were victorious in almost every category they were eligible for in the Hot Press readers’ poll, including Best Polling Act, Group, Live Band, Irish-based Act, Album (War), Male Vocalist (Bono), and Instrumentalist (Edge); readers of NME defied the magazine’s anti-U2 stance to award Edge Best Guitarist; and in the Rip it Up poll in New Zealand they walked away with Best Group of ’83, Best Album (War), and Best Vocalist (Bono) despite having yet to tour there.”

(114): “Thus, ignoring the seductive siren calls of big-city music centers like London and New York, Edge and Aislinn, who had tied the knot in a low-key ceremony in July ’83, bought their first home together in Monkstown, south Dublin… And Bono and Ali moved into a small Martello tower–similar to the one James Joyce had stayed at in Sandycove in 1904 and used as the setting for the opening chapter of his novel Ulysses–overlooking the seafront promenade in Bray, County Wicklow.”

(117): “Chris Blackwell and the vast majority of others at Island argued that (working with Brian Eno) was tantamount to commercial suicide. ‘There was a feeling that Eno was this sort of twiddly-diddly bloke, and what the hell were U2 going to be doing with a twiddly-diddly bloke?’” remembers Neil Storey, who, along with Rob Partridge, was one of the few in favor of the move.”

(119-120): “Edge particularly flourished under the tutelage of Eno. Looking to reinvent his sound, Eno ran much of Edge’s guitar through an AMS harmonizer, a Lexicon Prime Time, and a reverb chamber, to the point that even (engineer Daniel) Lanois confused the parts for keyboard overdubs when listening to the playback.”

(124): “‘(The Unforgettable Fire) was very tough,’ Adam said. ‘It’s a lot of hard work and obviously musical rows occur. And we’ve just said at the end of it, “Okay. It’s a great record, but we know each other well enough and respect each other well enough that we never actually want to make a record again and strain the relationships to that extent.” It should never be that important that the friendship gets pushed to the background. That is the most important thing. U2’s humanity is the most important thing.’”

(125): “U2 named the album The Unforgettable Fire, after an exhibition of the same name featuring paintings by survivors of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.”

“Bono realized that this image of “the unforgettable fire” was applicable not only to nuclear holocaust but also an all-consuming force like heroin, or, in Pentecostal theology, the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.”

(126): “According to sources, neither Adam nor Larry wanted to even release a forty-five from The Unforgettable Fire, citing the throwaway nature of the single format and the importance of the LP being viewed as a whole.”

“Edge acknowledged that some fans would ultimately be disappointed with the new U2, but subscribed to the belief that artists should make music for themselves first and foremost. ‘I think when you start catering for others first you lose a certain hook to what you’re doing, a certain vision for it and an understanding for what you’re doing,’ he said.”

(127-128): “‘Wire’ was, according to Bono, ‘the hypodermic needle’ of The Unforgettable Fire, an attempt to express the hopelessness of the heroin epidemic in a Dublin City already marked by poverty, multigenerational unemployment, and high population density. It was against this backdrop that U2 also recorded ‘Bad,’ in which they aimed to provide a glimpse into the mind of a heroin addict without taking a moral stance.”

(128): “‘Bad’ was Bono’s first attempt at writing in the first person from someone else’s point of view, although the addict’s true identity would remain a mystery for the simple reason that the front man often revised it in the ensuing years to suit the situation.”

– This qualification of the situation in the form of them mentioning the subject’s
anonymity shows the incredible scrutiny Bono’s lyrics came under, and the voracious thirst on the part of the public, or the authorities, to understand and/or approve of the singer.

(128-129): “Meanwhile, the largely unintelligible ‘Elvis Presley and America’ saw Daniel Lanois acting as a conduit for randomness to occur. He was mixing ‘A Sort of Homecoming’ at real speed and repeatedly hitting a wall when he decided to slow down the tape from thirty inches per second to twenty-two. At that precise moment Bono walked into the room and failed to recognize the song. He asked for a mic and started ad-libbing about the genius of Elvis Presley in response to Albert Goldman’s infamous 1981 biography that portrayed the rock-and-roll idol as, in the words of The New York Times, ‘an illiterate bumpkin who, propelled to fame by an unscrupulous manager, spent the bulk of his life indulging in drugs and sexual fetishes.’”

(129): “Bono later told Star Hits: ‘Elvis was a genius; he didn’t have to say it, he expressed it in his lips and in the way he held a microphone. I despise Goldman, this book, and anyone who thinks that Elvis was an idiot.’”

(133): “U2 found NME’s criticism (of boringness) hard to take because the Unforgettable Fire project was created in part as a response to the earlier charges of bombast and blatant rockism brought against them by the British music press.”

– One can’t help but wonder what the mag would mean here by “blatant rockism.”

(133-134): “‘I think it stinks,’ Adam said of NME and company’s brand of music journalism in BAM. ‘I wish somebody reviewed those papers every week… You get sick of all that negative reaction to bands and stuff and just think “Why bother?” Unfortunately, you’re an asshole if you’re still into music, according to those papers.’”

(134): “As much as they longed for critical acceptance in the London press, U2 was gradually becoming more distrustful of the media in general, and sanctioned fewer interviews (after the Unforgettable Fire tour).”

“Dave Dickson of the heavy metal magazine Herrang… hailed them as ‘the single most important new rock band to emerge since, probably, The Clash, and in terms of actual musical influence, since Led Zeppelin.’”

– So in parsing what Dickson is saying here, the reader will observe that The Clash don
some non-influence-related appeal, amounting perhaps to more of a musical FINALITY — a condition which cannot be improved upon such as maybe The Beatles or Nirvana would too.

(137): {Russell Smith of The Dallas Morning News} “‘At one point, (Bono) brought a young woman–stunned to the point of tears–onto the stage, and gave her a long embrace that, in another show, would have seemed sexual. But Bono’s embrace called up another sort of image–more like a faith healer administering to a cripple… It’s the only band that’s ever moved me to question the Rolling Stones’ seemingly definitive statement, “It’s only rock ‘n’ roll.”’”

(138): “U2 found the fanaticism that they encountered offstage somewhat harder to deal with. The band members flippantly referred to it as ‘Beatle-mania,’ which was arriving in towns to find hundreds of young fans camped outside the airport and hotel, often trying to dodge past security guards in the hope of catching more than a quick glimpse.”

(139): “In March (of 1985), Rolling Stone put U2 on the cover under the healine: ‘Our Choice: Band of the ‘80s,’ stating that ‘for a growing number of rock-and-roll fans, U2 have become the band that matters most, maybe even the only band that matters.’”

“‘Their music means a lot to world peace,’ a male fan in Chicago was quoted as saying at the time. ‘I think it can really help change the world.’”

(140): “In an interview with The Christian Science Monitor, Adam… (said) that ultimately he would like to write music that ‘doesn’t go to the brain. It goes straight into the ear and to the heart.’”

(148): “(Bono) and Ali went to work at an orphanage of three hundred children in a feeding camp in Adjibar, in southern Wollo province, where they helped staff to teach the children about health and hygiene through a series of songs and drama programs.”

(148-149): “Bono later claimed that he experienced a ‘culture shock’ when he and Ali flew back home to Dublin. ‘I saw this big, fat, spoiled child of the West,’ he said in 1987. ‘And I started to see our cities as deserts and wastelands.’ Bono became fascinated with desert symbolism, the idea of an unforgiving environment that stands between man and his dreams as well as being a source of divine presence in Judeo-Christian tradition, and he tapped into this when penning the lyrics for U2’s next studio album The Joshua Tree.”

(151): “(Bono) was also drawn to the New Journalism movement of the ‘60s and ‘70s, as well as the Dirty Realism movement pioneered by writers like Charles Bukowski, Raymond Carver, and Tobias Wolff. ‘The new American writers, particularly the Southern ones, tend to write in a very direct way,’ Bono told NME in 1987. ‘They also use a lot of biblical imagery and, as someone who has read the Bible, I can see a lot of power in that elemental imagery. Everyone can relate to those simple, powerful images. They are helpful when you want to convey just what a wasteland year it was politically, especially in America.’”

(152-153): “Bono wanted to new album to be more focused and disciplined in its songwriting than The Unforgettable Fire. He spoke of writing songs that adhered to traditional song structures and could be played on mainstream radio around the world, ‘songs,’ he said, ‘that would also appeal to an ordinary working man and woman… capture a people’s imagination.’”

(154): “In 1983, Bono had served on Irish prime minister Garret FitzGerald’s Select Government Action Committee on Unemployment.”

(156): “U2 came crashing back down to earth on July 3 when Greg Carroll, Bono’s twenty-six-year-old personal assistant and roadie, smashed the singer’s Harley-Davidson motorbike into a car on Dublin’s Morehampton Road. He died instantly.”

“A visibly shaken Bono, Ali, Larry, Ann, and Katy McGuinness (Carroll’s girlfriend and sister of Paul), as well as other members of the U2 entourage, brought his body back to New Zealand for his tangi (a traditional Maori funeral rite that lasts three days) at Kai-iwi Marae, near his hometown of Wanganui. During the main service, Bono, who was ringed by two plainclothes detectives and eight Maori wardens for much of his stay, read a poem to the two hundred mourners, and said that Carroll ‘believed in New Zealand, believed in his Maori background… we all believed in him.’ At the ‘last supper,’ which is treated as a time of celebration, he sang ‘Let it Be’ and ‘Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door’ with The Ponsonby DC’s Gavin Buxton accompanying him on violin. The whole experience inspired Bono to write the poignant ‘One Tree Hill,’ named after a 182-meter volcanic peak and memorial spot for the Maori people that Carroll took Bono to on his first night in Auckland in late 1984. U2 would also dedicate the Joshua Tree album to Carroll.”

(160): “U2 was in such prolific songwriting form that by October (before The Joshua Tree) there was enough material for a double album. Bono proposed the idea to the others, but he was ultimately persuaded to pare it down to eleven tracks.”

“In the end, U2 opted to sacrifice sonic cohesiveness (in preparation of The Joshua Tree) ‘to present what we felt was the strongest material.’”

“‘We used to call it cinematic music,’ Edge told VH1’s Classic Albums. ‘Music that actually brought you somewhere physical as opposed to an emotional place’… More often than not that place was the American Southwest.”

“Bono wrote the lyrics to ‘Where the Streets Have No Name’ because the idea of going ‘somewhere where the values of the city and the values of society don’t hold you down’ appealed to him, he told Propaganda.

(160-161): “Bono cited Ethiopia as a major influence, but also German director Wim Wenders’s 1984 road movie Paris, Texas, which used the image of a man wandering insane with grief in the desert as a metaphor for an American culture that had, to quote a character in another Wenders picture, Kings of the Road, ‘colonized our subconscious’: and therefore Paris, Texas and ‘Streets’ were both inspired by the inconsistencies of the mythic American Dream, as seen through European eyes.”

(161): “Another song, ‘In God’s Country,’ depicted the Statue of Liberty as a temptress whose dress was ‘torn in ribbons and bows.’ ‘(Has) this woman come to rescue you from drowning or whatever,’ Bono pondered, ‘or is she the siren that’s actually drawing you onto the rocks?’”

“‘The Irish fascination with America goes back to the famine, when large numbers fled to the new world on a mission of hope,’ Adam explained. ‘There’s something about the great expanse of America that resonates in the soul of the Irish, whose grandiose ambitions are held in check by the physical limitations of their country.’”

(162): “The elegiac ‘Running to Stand Still’ was about a junkie couple in Dublin that Bono had read about in a newspaper.”

“Under the working title of ‘The Weather Girls,’ ‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’ was considered the bastard child of Patti Smith’s ‘Redondo Beach’ until a spot of studio surgery by Eno and Lanois steered it in the direction of contemporary gospel, providing an uplifting counterpoint to Bono’s lyrics about spiritual doubt.”

“Eno explained to Classic albums that he lobbied for songs that were ‘self-consciously spiritual to the point of being uncool. And I thought uncool was a very important idea then, because people were being very, very cool. And coolness is a certain kind of detachment from yourself, a certain defensiveness actually, and not exposing something because it’s too easy to be shot down… And of course everybody was in the process of shooting U2 down. Critically they were not favored… they were thought to be rather “heart on their sleeves.”’”

(163): “Interestingly, Bono addressed sexual temptation on ‘Trip Through Your Wires,’ a drunken, blues harp-filled romp that evoked the rough-and-tumble spirit of Bob Dylan’s The Basement Tapes. Production-wise, it was the epitome of the organic, band-in-a-room sound U2 was striving for.”

(164): “Bono said (‘With or Without You’) ‘whispers its way into the world,’ and much of that must also be attributed to the studio wizardry of Eno.”

(165-166): “Larry later told Neil Perry of Sounds: ‘If you look at the cover of The Joshua Tree there you see four very unhappy men. Now, you may ask, why? A lot of people will say they’re feeling guilty, they’ve got the weight of the world on their shoulders. They’ve been involved in the Save the Whale campaign and they’re very unhappy about it. What nobody realizes is that it was twenty below out there! We were freezing. Put any bastard out there and see if he’s happy.’”

– It’s interesting that throughout this segment, there doesn’t seem to be a single simple
connection of Eno’s point about the industry and the actual visual inspiration for the album cover — that is, as symbolic of the “desert”-like climate in the music world regarding level of creativity or attached poignancy.

(170): “Bill Graham of Hot Press wrote that ‘The Joshua Tree rescues rock from its decay, bravely and unashamedly basing itself in the mainstream before very cleverly lifting off into several higher dimensions.’”

“Writing in the Los Angeles Times, Robert Hilburn said that ‘in a time when the rock ‘n’ roll world feasts on the banality of such acts such as Bon Jovi, The Joshua Tree is asking more of mainstream audiences than any pop-rock album since Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska.’”

(171): {Pop historian Paul Gambaccini} “‘Of course, Eno had such a wonderful contribution (to The Joshua Tree). One is always hesitant to credit a producer too much, but on the other hand in some arrangements you cannot discuss the album without discussing the producer–I refer of course to George Martin and The Beatles, and Gus Dudgeon and the early Elton John period from 1970-1976. And the combination of Eno’s soundscapes, as Paul Simon called them, and U2’s material was perfect.’”

(177): “(Bob Dylan) wrote in his 2004 memoir Chronicles, Volume One: ‘Spending time with Bono was like eating dinner on a train–feels like you’re moving, going somewhere. Bono’s got the soul of an ancient poet and you have to be careful around him. He can roar ‘til the earth shakes.’”

(179): “Bono confided to (stylist Lola) Cashman that he was ‘absolutely petrified’ about what people would think if they knew they were making lots of money, and encouraged her to perpetuate the myth that U2 was the people’s band.”

(197): “But in the end, the negative reviews appeared to have little, if any, impact on the commercial performance of Rattle and Hum.”

(199): “(Bono) later claimed that a gun-toting racist offended by U2’s public support of the Mecham Watchdog Committee at the beginning of the Joshua Tree Tour had threatened to shoot him if the band refused to drop ‘Pride’ from their set list when they returned to Arizona in December 1987. ‘Some people want to kill the singer,’ he recalled at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005. ‘Some people are taken very seriously by the FBI, and they tell the singer he shouldn’t play the gig, because tonight his life is at risk, and he must not go on stage. The singer laughs. You know, of course we’re playing the gig, of course we go on stage. And I’m standing there, singing ‘Pride (In the Name of Love),’ and I’ve got to the third verse, and I close my eyes, and I know I’m excited about meeting my maker, but maybe not tonight–I don’t really want to meet my maker tonight. I close my eyes, and when I look up, I see Adam Clayton standing in front of me, holding his bass like only Adam Clayton can hold his bass… Adam Clayton would’ve taken a bullet for me–and I guess that’s what it’s like to be in a truly great rock-and-roll band.’”

(217): “Grunge music exploded out of its native Seattle and onto the global stage in September 1991, turning rock and roll on its head.”

(217-218): “Stephen Dalton of Uncut later noted that ‘The Fly’ was the first step in ‘a bold trash-funk rebirth, with Bono’s Kafka-esque metamorphosis explicitly mocking his pious public image’ and that it symbolized ‘both a confession and a celebration of fame’s Faustian pact with sin and excess.’”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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