Monday, September 29, 2014

BONO: U2 will tour next year

U2 are planning an arena tour next year, frontman Bono has confirmed.
The Dublin rockers are excited about going out on the road to promote new album 'Songs of Innocence' but do not want to play vast outdoor spaces this time around.
Bono told Absolute Radio's Christian O'Connell: "We're gonna be touring. We're gonna start next year. We're gonna try and play the O2 and places like that, more indoors that outdoors this time, but we'll see where it takes us.
"It's exciting. We'll be coming your way and these songs are the songs that, I think... I think they will play themselves."
The 54-year-old rocker - who has daughters Jordan, 25, and Memphis, 23, and sons Elijah, 15, and John, 13, with wife Ali - admitted it takes a lot for the group to tour these days and they will only do so if they are truly proud of their new material.
He said: "Only if the songs are great can you bear leaving home. We all have families and mates and... so you know, you're looking for 11 great reasons to leave home and I think we've got them.
"You know what it's like now, it's like a whole city goes on the road with us. Our kids go out on the road, they get excited about it. It's like... yeah, it's kind of a whole... Dublin goes on the road."

Sunday, September 28, 2014

U2.COM : Cover Story

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

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

Glen Luchford's striking cover image of Larry Mullen Jr, protecting his 18year old son, resonates with the band's iconic 1980 debut album Boy - and the album War, three years later.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

U2.COM : 'This Is About Songs.'

On Sunday, RTE broadcast a 2 hour 'Songs of Innocence' special in which Bono had a lengthy conversation with Dave Fanning. 
Listen in on our Community pages.
Dave has a special place in U2 folklore - not only has he been playing their music since the late 1970's but every time a new album arrives, he gets to air the lead track first. So if you haven't got time to listen to the whole of Sunday's show, here's eight things we learned from Dave's chat with Bono.

The release of Songs of Innocence via iTunes was the technological equivalent of fly-posting the band’s lyrics all over Dublin back in the 1970s.
'Mrs Edge, our first roadie,' recalled Bono, 'Used to drive us in the VW Beetle in the middle of the night with rolls of wallpaper with the lyrics of our songs, and all sorts of things on, and we used to fly-post all over Dublin, aged 18 or 19. The whole point of being in a band, in the days of punk rock, was to be in your face. Even if you weren’t looking for us, we were there.'
With Songs of Innocence, he explains: 'People who would not normally be exposed to our music have got a chance to listen to it. Whether those songs will be important to them in a week’s time, we don’t know. But they’ve got a chance - and that’s got to be exciting for a band that’s been around for as long as we have.'

Songs Of Innocence is not an experimental album. It's about songs.
'Why is it not like Zoo Station? Why is it not like Zooropa? It is not an experimental album. It is easy for me to blow your mind sonically. We can play with the desk and set off fireworks - U2 can do that all day. But this is about songs, which is a much more difficult thing to pull off... The production is not what we were about here. We were about getting out of the way of the songs.'

‘Iris’, written about Bono’s mother, contains a name-check for Kraftwerk.
'My mother [died] just as I was discovering girls. One of the girls I was discovering was Ali... she arrived at Mount Temple in the same month. The first lover’s gift I gave Ali was a Kraftwerk album called Man Machine. So I referred to that.' ‘[It was you made me your man/Machine.’]

The new album was released, through sheer coincidence, 40 years to the day that Iris died.
'Sometimes the things that have the most powerful influence over you are from way back. You’re looking at the night sky and those beautiful stars - a lot of them are gone, even though you’re still in their light. The idea that [Songs of Innocence] went out the same day, 40 years after she left us, is kind of magic.'

'Invisible', released earlier this year to support the fight against AIDS, will feature on the physical album, coming in October.  
‘Invisible’ is about U2‘s first ever journey to London. In fact, the album is “all about first journeys. California’ is about first time in LA and all of that. ‘Song for Someone’ is about the awkwardness of falling in love and sex...'

The band needed a woman’s touch on this album.
It arrived courtesy of Swedish singer-songwriter Lykke Li, who provides the hypnotic vocal to the chorus of ‘The Troubles’ (described as 'an uncomfortable song about domestic violence').  'She puts us all under a spell with her music. We needed a feminine spirit; she was the right one.'

Expect a companion album, Songs of Experience, to arrive a little sooner than this one.
'I think Songs of Experience will come a lot quicker,' says Bono. 'But to explain the wait: we wanted to keep pushing up the level. We wanted songs that would stand up if you played them on an acoustic guitar or piano... eternal songs, the ones that people hold onto ... these songs are rare, they’re like miracles, and they’re almost impossible. If you hear ‘Every Breaking Wave’ played on a piano, you just fall over. And if it doesn’t move you, you’re either deaf or dead, or you should be.'

Bono challenged Steve Jobs to transform iTunes.  A visually captivating digital format is in development.
'Five years ago I began a conversation with Steve Jobs. I said to him, ‘For a person who cares about how things look and feel more than anyone else in the world, how is it that iTunes looks like a spreadsheet? Why can’t we dip into artwork like we used to before with the gatefold sleeve? Why can’t I disappear into a world created by artists? So he made a promise to me that we would work on this together, and we have ... It’s not ready yet for Songs of Innocence; it will be ready for Songs of Experience.  It’s a new format. I’m very excited about that.'

U2.COM : Kickstarter

'When the Ramones recorded their debut album in 1976, it heralded the true birth of punk rock. Fast and frenetic in their leather jackets and torn jeans, the Ramones gave voice to the disaffected youth of the seventies and eighties, influenced countless bands, and inspired the counterculture for decades to come....' 

Since the release of Songs Of Innocence, the band have been talking about the influence of The Ramones on their early development, reflected nowhere more powerfully than in 'The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)'. 

Joey's brother Mickey Leigh, quoted in our earlier story, has written a compelling memoir about growing up with a brother who became a rock star. And as Bono says on the cover of I Slept With A Rock Star,  'Joey Ramone kick-started my career as a singer...' 

Read an excerpt, watch Mickey Leigh and Legs McNeill discussing the book or get hold of a copy yourself. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Slash defends U2's deal with Apple

The band was criticised by some in the music industry for giving away their LP Songs of Innocence to 500 million Apple iTunes customers.
And negative social media reaction also forced Apple to release a tool to remove the free album from its customers' accounts, with a dedicated webpage providing step-by-step instructions.
But Slash, former lead guitarist with Guns 'N' Roses, insists it was a clever marketing tactic, adding that it was a deal that only a band as big as U2 would have been able to cut.
He said: "There's a lot less opportunities in the record business to get a deal and get a record out there, and there's not a lot of radio play for it.
"The music business is like the wild, wild west right now and it was one of those kind of tactics that only U2 could really get away with doing."
In an interview with Ultimate Classic Rock magazine, the 49-year-old rocker added: "I'm sure it was a very viable move for them and if you have that luxury of making sure it's on everybody's iTunes, that's great.
"But I don't think that particular model is available for everybody."
His comments follow a radio interview with Bono in which the unapologetic Dublin singer hit back at critics over the band's relationship with Apple and likened them to graffiti artists in public toilets.
He said: "There's been some real deliberate misunderstanding of this relationship with Apple. This is a company which has, more than any other technological company, sought to get musicians paid.
"There's lots of other technology companies who've become very rich on musicians not getting paid. So it's a perfect relationship to work with them."
It's also emerged that the union between U2 and Apple is set to continue, with the partners now embarking on a "secret project" to create a new digital music format, which will compensate musicians for their efforts, and aims to revive the dying art of listening to a complete album.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Bono reveals U2 will play smaller venues like the O2 for their next tour

U2 in concert - Dublin

U2 yesterday revealed they aren’t planning to rock Croke Park on their next tour but want to play a series of smaller gigs.
Frontman Bono said the band would prefer to perform at venues such as the O2 when they go out on the road.
But it would mean they would have to put on 17 nights in the much-smaller venue in Dublin if they want to play to as many people as their usual three nights at Croker.
Yesterday, the 53-year-old said: “We’d like to play indoors. Those big outdoor shows, grand operas – some of the best nights of our lives have been there playing those. No roof over your head.
“But for these tunes, we’re certainly going to start indoors. We’d like to play the O2, those kind of places.
“They’re nice little clubs. It’s nice to play intimate things like that.”

Bono performing in front of huge crowd
The Beautiful Day singer revealed the change came after they played a ballroom at a charity gig for Sean Penn.
But Bono revealed their new album Invisible is yet to be finished and the band are getting sick of not having enough women around them.
He added: “It’s not done, and we’re here in some dank basement. There were mice spotted earlier.
“We call it the oil rig. Why is it that we always end up hanging out with men in overalls?
“You start a band when you’re 17 and then you get a crew if you’re lucky and they’re all in overalls.
“And then you go to the studio and there’s more people in overalls. Not enough girls. Please, girls out there, start twiddling those knobs.
“We’ll finish in a couple of months. People are feeling very upbeat about things. But that can change. It’s finished when it’s finished.”
And the Dubliner revealed U2 nearly didn’t go back in the studio as they thought for a while there was no need for another album.
He said: “We were trying to figure out why would anyone want another U2 album? And then we said, ‘Well, why would we want one?’ And there was some unfinished business.
“We went back to why we wanted to be in a band in the first place.
“We listened to all this extraordinary music in the late 70s which formed our musical tastes, because we’ve been around a while.
“Punk rock and electronic music was when it started for us. We were listening to the Ramones and Kraftwerk and you can hear both of those things on Invisible.
“And we started to think about those times and the things that made us who we were. It opened up a whole valve for me writing. It was a dam burst of sorts.”
Now Bono finds “the question of whether we are relevant” keeps coming up for them and reckons it’s healthy that other bands try and beat U2 at their own game.
He added: “We felt like we were on the verge of irrelevance a lot in our lives and that’s how you get through.
“First of all you have to make stuff that’s relevant to you and you have to make an honest note or account of what you’re going through. I poured what I’m going through now back through the eye of the experience I had when I first started being in a band and that’s what opened me up.
“And if that is relevant to other people, then great. But we don’t know. And Invisible is out there, it’s a sneak preview of our album.
“I don’t know how accessible it is but
I think it’s a great song. And that’s it, so we’ll find out if we’re irrelevant.
“I’m prepared for people to try and blow us off the stage. It’s the right instinct. We’re just not going to make it easy.”
But Bono warned that while the album is expected to be out in April, The Edge is still working on getting everything finished. He said: “Until it’s on the radio or online, it’s not real. With U2, our album isn’t finished until it’s in the stores. The Edge is mixing it now.
“It’s tricky getting us across the line. But we are very thrilled with Invisible. It feels good. I’m just delighted that there are still people that are interested”
On Super Bowl Sunday, U2 released their new track Invisible for free with $1 – 73c – going to help fight Aids.
Yesterday it emerged the band raised more than €2.5million, after signing a deal with Bank of America to stump up the cash to Red – an organisation which fights HIV and Aids in third-world countries.
But speaking to BBC Radio 1, Bono revealed Invisible came from his experience of leaving Ireland for London.
He said: “I was writing about leaving home with just enough rage to see it through and this feeling of arriving in London, sleeping in the station and coming out into the punk rock explosion. There were really wild, extraordinary people in the late 70s and then you feel deeply not extraordinary.
“You’re screaming to be seen and you feel invisible – and you’ve got your band and this is your whole life.
“We played the clubs there and it’s that feeling of getting out of town.”
The singer said it felt great there was huge interest in getting hold of the song – especially with a fear no one would download it. He added: “That was a nice feeling. We’re at nearly two-and-a-half million downloads and there were one million downloads in one hour on Sunday.
“You never really know. And of course, with all singers, insecurity is your best security. That’s why we’re such loud people and why we walk all funny.
“You think, ‘Are people interested?’
“But I think our band has something and they know that we don’t just put albums out. We do think about it.”

Thursday, September 18, 2014

U2.COM : 'The new U2'

'The New U2'
'Songwriters aren’t touring people,' says Bono. 'Cole Porter wouldn’t have sold T-shirts. Cole Porter wasn’t coming to a stadium near you.'

The band are on the cover of the international edition of Time Magazine and telling Catherine Mayer 'about another new album in the works—and its secret Apple project that might just save the music industry.' 

Preview here.
Time have also posted a video of the band discussing news stories that shaped them when they were young - from Neil Armstrong landing on the moon to the death of Elvis. Watch the clip

U2.COM : 'When The Miracle Occurred...'

'When the miracle occurred...'
'I woke up at the moment when the miracle occurred/
Heard a song that made some sense out of the world/
Everything I ever lost now has been returned/
The most beautiful sound I ever heard....'

'The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)' opens 'Songs of Innocence' and in the sleeve notes, Bono recalls how the fledgling U2 first saw the band that inspired the song.

'I couldn’t sing with any of the jagged edges of the great rock or punk rock singers,' he writes. 'I sang like a girl....that felt uncomfortable until the Ramones happened to me as they must happen to everyone.' 

In 1977 Larry, 14, Edge, 15, Adam and Bono, both 16, went to see the Ramones play in the state cinema  in Dublin.  'We had no tickets and no money... My best friend Guggi had a ticket and he snuck us through a side exit he pried open. The world stopped long enough for us to get on it. Even though we only saw half the show, it became one of the great nights of our life....'

'After the Ramones,' writes Bono,  'I could try and be myself as a singer. I just needed to find out who that was...'

Now Gil Kaufman for MTV News, has spoken to friends and family of Joey Ramone to get their response - here's some highlights.

Mickey Leigh, Joey's Brother:  'I’m not sure grateful is the right word, but awestruck is a better description... 
'’s so beautiful. I loved it. It’s Bono’s interpretation and his spirit, but it also captures Joey’s spirit. He described my brother’s spirit well. I think he got just what Joey would have wanted out of it.'

Marky Ramone, Longtime Ramones Drummer: 'I’m very grateful U2 wrote a song about my former friend and bandmate Joey Ramone. Joey would have been honored. It is well-deserved.'

Jesse Malin, Friend of Joey: 'The thing I respect about U2 beyond this song is how they’re giving a shout-out to Joey as their inspiration. They’re not on a bandwagon of ‘now we’ll be into the Ramones because they’re dead.’ He [Joey] got to feel the love and respect from them and this song is coming from truly the right place and I totally back it after seeing how they were with him.'

John Holmstrom, founding editor of Punk Magazine: 'It’s wonderful that the song is getting so much attention. I watched football on Sunday and I saw U2 (in the Apple spot) and I see all these images of punk rockers all over the commercial. I think it’s great because this stuff was never on the radio and any attention it gets is good.'

Read the interviews in full at MTV News

See also Bono's Eulogy in Time Magazine, following Joey Ramone's death in 2001. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

U2.COM : 'In The First Place...'

'In the first place...'
'It’s us trying to figure out why we wanted to be in a band in the first place.' Bono and Edge have been speaking to Brian Boyd of The Irish Times about seeking inspiration in 1970's Dublin for the songs on the new album.

Below some highlights - read the whole interview here. 

Bono: 'It’s us trying to figure out why we wanted to be in a band in the first place, the relationships around the band and our first journeys – geographically, spiritually and sexually. It was tough and it took years. Put it this way: a lot of sh*t got dragged up.'

Edge: 'As a band we were always either power or noise. But now U2 have so many grey areas. It’s no longer power, which is good, or noise, which is bad. You’ve got to know when it’s not happening with us, and the most destructive thing here is to almost get it right.'

Bono: '... I sang like a girl. I was never going to make it as a punk-rock singer or a rock-music singer with my girl’s voice... but I found my voice through Joey Ramone, hearing his singing at a gig in Dublin. Joey has a sort of girl’s voice as well when he sang – and that was my way in.'