Saturday, April 5, 2014

U2.COM : 'Starting From Scratch'

North Side Story, the definitive account of the emergence of U2 in Dublin, is a limited edition publication which comes with aU2.com subscription.  Among the scores of revealing interviews is one with Paul McGuinness and in this extract he recalls his earliest days in the music business - and first meeting U2. 

'I first got involved in the music business managing Spud, who I suppose were a kind of a poor man’s Horslips. This was in the mid ‘70s. They didn’t write their own songs. They did bluegrass and a bit of trad, which was never going to be easy to sell internationally. Initially they didn’t have a drummer and that meant that they were only able to do cabaret gigs and pub gigs – so there was no future in that. And so when I started to manage them I encouraged them to get a drummer, which was pretty obvious really. But it meant that they could do concerts and it helped me to get them gigs outside Ireland.

One important thing I learned managing Spud was this. They were about the same age as I was. They were in their mid twenties and they had started to get married and have kids and so their attitude to touring was pretty limited and lacking in ambition. They didn’t want to spend too much time on the road. They needed to get home and be with their families. And so I realised that at 25 or 26 or whatever, they were too old to make it. It needed a level of commitment that they couldn’t give. One place where we did get a bit of traction with Spud was Sweden. That was a little bit to do with the exchange rates, so that you could actually go there and make a bit of money. And so for a while I became a sort of agent, booking tours in Sweden. I also managed the Thom Moore band, Midnight Well, but I knew they were never going to be a really big band internationally. So I was always looking for something else, ideally a baby band, with youth on their side, that you could start with from scratch and aim to take over the world with.

I always felt that the Horslips model was a good one. I knew the guys in the band and their manager Michael Deeney was a friend of mine. What they did in business terms was very significant. They based themselves in Ireland and had their own record label – and so they controlled the recordings and they licensed the records for release outside Ireland. So they showed that a band could be based in Ireland and run their operation from here, which was what we eventually did with U2. When the punk thing started to happen in the UK, The Boomtown Rats came along and they were very determined to get out of Ireland as quickly as they could. They were very aggressive in their approach to getting a deal. They were very good at generating publicity and at selling themselves, so there was a lot to be learnt from them. So I was observing the business and how it operates – and doing things like reading Billboard magazine. And all the time, I was on the lookout for a young band that
would have the potential to become internationally successful.

U2, of course, were very young when they started out. They formed at Mount Temple which was a very liberal school in terms of its music policy. The music teacher there Albert Bradshaw was a remarkable man and they actually encouraged bands to play. The most important thing, I would say, was that they allowed the band to rehearse there, which was of huge significance, because a place to rehearse is the hardest thing for a young band to find. They won that talent competition in Limerick – at which Jackie Hayden was one of the judges. And the prize included studio time to do a demo, which they recorded in Keystone Studios. So they had begun to make things happen.

Adam had been managing the band up to that point and he got Bill Graham of Hot Press along to one of their rehearsals, I’m not sure where. They played some songs, which Bill immediately spotted were Ramones songs, which was a bit embarrassing! But he was impressed all the same. It is well documented that it was Bill who subsequently introduced me to the band and told me that I was going to manage them. The first time I saw them was in the Project Arts Centre, in June of 1978, supporting a band called The Gamblers – who as it happens were managed by my 16 year old sister Katy. I didn’t like to say it to her, but U2 were clearly the better band.

What struck me most about U2 that night was that they had presence. They weren’t shy in the way a lot of Irish bands were shy. The Radiators From Space had come through a little bit earlier – they were sponsored to an extent by Eamon Carr of Horslips. But they were rather shy and quiet. U2 were very different in that respect. Bono was always at the front of the stage, trying to engage with the crowd, getting them to look into his eyes. And even if they were a bit unsophisticated at that point, they had an energy and a confidence about them. They looked like a proper band on stage. And when I spoke to them, I could see immediately that they were smart. They were ambitious. And they knew that you had to work hard if you were going to become successful. And they were prepared to do that, in a way that a lot of other bands weren’t.  

They were also interested in every aspect of the process. They were interested in photography. They were interested in design. And so they were good at finding people who could become collaborators. Steve Averill, who of course had given them their name,  was working with them. And though Bill Graham wasn’t a collaborator as such, he was a very big influence at that stage. So they were very intelligent and tuned in. They wanted to know how everything worked. I started to manage them that night – at least I told them that night that I would and we spent a few months skirting around one another trying to work out who was going to do what and whether we were on the same wavelength. And, it turned out, we were.'

Commissioned from the Hot Press team in Ireland, North Side Story  covers six formative years from 1978 to 1983, from the first single, 'U23', to the live album, Under A Blood Red Sky.  Running to 274 pages, this heavyweight bookof rare photos, original interviews, diaries, letters and profiles comes with 'North & South Of The River, Wandering In U2's Dublin', a poster-size map charting U2's Dublin.

Find out more and get your own copy of North Side Story.  (Current subscriber? Click here to renew.)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Edge Rock Cafe - 3 years old!!!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

U2 say new album out later this year

Recent media reports had suggested that the band had decided to push their long-awaited new record and world tour back to 2015. 

However, a spokesperson for the group yesterday reportedly confirmed that their 13th studio album is still on course for release later this year. 

The spokesperson told The Guardian: “U2’s album is planned for this year, is still on track, and touring plans haven’t been confirmed yet.” 

According to a report in Billboard last week, the Irish band had booked new sessions with producers Paul Epworth and Ryan Tedder that would push the new LP and planned supporting tour back to 2015. 

The reported release date of the record has been put back on several occasions since bassist Adam Clayton predicted a November 2013 release. 

In an interview with USA Today earlier this year, frontman Bono also hinted at possible future delays when he said: “We want [the new album] to come out this summer, but you don’t want to let anyone down.” 

In another interview with Rolling Stone magazine, guitarist The Edge said the four-piece had around 30 songs in various states of completion that the band were happy with. 

He said the record was inspired by the Dublin group’s original mid- and late-70s influences. 

He told the music magazine: “That’s a rich period, one we’ve visited many times in the past. But it’s a very Dublin-centric record lyrically.” 

The veteran guitarist also said that the group had a few titles in mind, but indicated that they had not set a release date. 

He said: “But we’re getting there. We’re not, as we say in Ireland, up your own arse. 

“But we do not want to let go of anything if we are not 100% happy with it.”


source : http://www.irishexaminer.com/

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

U2 still on track to issue album this year

U2 is still on track to issue a new album this year, despite claims that the band has pushed the project and subsequent tour back to 2015.
In December,  band members indicated to The Times that they were targeting a new album for an April release. However, last week, Billboard reported that the album the Irish quartet was crafting alongside producer Danger Mouse wouldn’t be ready until next year.
The band also reportedly booked additional recording sessions with hitmakers Ryan Tedder and Paul Epworth, though Danger Mouse remains the core producer of the project.
"It seems to be taking longer for them to finish an album as they get older, but the great thing about U2 is that the whole of a record is always better than the sum of its parts," Billboard quoted a source close to the project as saying. "That magic that the band always seems to capture ... they have yet to capture it."
However, a rep for U2 told The Times on Monday that contrary to Billboard’s recent article, the band still plans to release an album sometime this year. A source also told The Guardian that reports of delays were unfounded.
If an album is released this year, it would come in the wake of a mini-resurgence the iconic band is enjoying. Technically, this development doesn’t qualify as a postponement because a firm release date has never been announced by the group or its label, Interscope Records.
Since January, U2 has earned a Golden Globe (its Mandela biopic tune "Ordinary Love" won for original song), fronted a Super Bowl commercial that premiered a new single, anchored the premiere of “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and performed at the Academy Awards.
Ahead of this year’s Oscars -- “Ordinary Love” was up for original song, but lost to “Let It Go” from Disney’s “Frozen” -- the band’s frontman, Bono, spoke to The Times about the new album and said the group was looking to avoid the “esoteric” feel of its last effort, 2009’s “No Line of the Horizon.”
"There were a lot of subjects. Writing a song about infinity? It's great that a band like U2 can get away with that, but I remember enough of being a teenager,” Bono admitted. “The reason we joined U2 was to not go too far on the self-indulgent front. We had one foot in punk rock.
"There's a song that I think will be on this album that's called 'This Is Where You Can Reach Me,' and we as a band went in 1977 to see the Clash and it turned our life upside down. I went home that night, and part of me never came home. The Clash were this extraordinary sight, the most extraordinary sound. It was an audio-visual assault and we were 16, 17 years old.
"There's awful progressive rock lurking around, but I have enough of a memory of 1977 to not surrender to it. There were incredibly pure thoughts in music then. You knew what the song was about. You knew the melody. You knew the hook. We're going for a bit of that on the new album."
Times staff writers Randy Lewis and Todd Martens contributed to this report.  

Monday, March 10, 2014

U2 album still 'planned for this year'

‘Larry Mullen Jr, Bono, The Edge and Adam Clayton: get off that skyscraper and do some work.’ Photograph: Vera Anderson/WireImage
Despite fresh claims that U2 have pushed their new record and world tour back to 2015, a spokesperson for the band has confirmed that their 13th album is still on course for this year.
The band, who are nearing completion of a record that was expected this summer, had been rumoured to halt plans on the new release and instead book studio sessions with Adele writer/producers Paul Epworth and Ryan Tedder. While the switch in producer from long-term collaborator Steve Lillywhite is yet to be addressed, a spokesperson for the band has dispelled claims that the album will be delayed until 2015: “U2’s album is planned for this year, is still on track and touring plans haven’t been confirmed yet,” they told the Guardian.
According to recent interviews with the band, Danger Mouse remains the album’s central producer, however Billboard reported that Bono and company have scheduled additional recording sessions with hit-makers Tedder and Epworth. Epworth, an architect of Adele’s sound and co-producer of records like Paul McCartney’s New and Plan B’s The Defamation Of Strickland Banks, has previously worked on a couple of U2 remixes. Tedder, however, is new to the U2 camp: the OneRepublic frontman is best known for pop and pop-rock smashes like BeyoncĂ©’s Halo and Leona Lewis’s Bleeding Love.
In a recent interview with the frontman, Bono suggested that the band were questioning their relevancy before recording the follow up to No Line on the Horizon. “We were trying to figure out, ‘Why would anyone want another U2 album?’” he told BBC Radio 1’s Zane Lowe last month. Releasing Invisible seems to have been a way to test the waters. “I think Invisible is a great song, but I don’t know how accessible it is,” Bono said. “We’ll find out if we’re irrelevant.” Though it was downloaded by three million people in a charity deal with Bank of America, the single peaked at No 65 on the UK singles list and didn’t even crack America’s Billboard Hot 100.
“The album won’t be ready till it’s ready,” Bono told the Hollywood Reporter in mid-February. Ironically, U2’s long-delayed 13th studio album initially seemed like it would be the group’s swiftest to complete: the same week that No Line On The Horizon came out, Bono promised a “meditative” and “processional” companion LP before the end of 2009.

U2 album still 'planned for this year'

Despite fresh claims that U2 have pushed their new record and world tour back to 2015, a spokesperson for the band has confirmed that their 13th album is still on course for this year.
The band, who are nearing completion of a record that was expected this summer, had been rumoured to halt plans on the new release and instead book studio sessions with Adele writer/producers Paul Epworth and Ryan Tedder. While the switch in producer from long-term collaborator Steve Lillywhite is yet to be addressed, a spokesperson for the band has dispelled claims that the album will be delayed until 2015: “U2’s album is planned for this year, is still on track and touring plans haven’t been confirmed yet,” they told the Guardian.
According to recent interviews with the band, Danger Mouse remains the album’s central producer, however Billboard reported that Bono and company have scheduled additional recording sessions with hit-makers Tedder and Epworth. Epworth, an architect of Adele’s sound and co-producer of records like Paul McCartney’s New and Plan B’s The Defamation Of Strickland Banks, has previously worked on a couple of U2 remixes. Tedder, however, is new to the U2 camp: the OneRepublic frontman is best known for pop and pop-rock smashes like BeyoncĂ©’s Halo and Leona Lewis’s Bleeding Love.
In a recent interview with the frontman, Bono suggested that the band were questioning their relevancy before recording the follow up to No Line on the Horizon. “We were trying to figure out, ‘Why would anyone want another U2 album?’” he told BBC Radio 1’s Zane Lowe last month. Releasing Invisible seems to have been a way to test the waters. “I think Invisible is a great song, but I don’t know how accessible it is,” Bono said. “We’ll find out if we’re irrelevant.” Though it was downloaded by three million people in a charity deal with Bank of America, the single peaked at No 65 on the UK singles list and didn’t even crack America’s Billboard Hot 100.
“The album won’t be ready till it’s ready,” Bono told the Hollywood Reporter in mid-February. Ironically, U2’s long-delayed 13th studio album initially seemed like it would be the group’s swiftest to complete: the same week that No Line On The Horizon came out, Bono promised a “meditative” and “processional” companion LP before the end of 2009.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Irish people not troika bailed out State, claims Bono

The Irish people not the troika bailed out the State, U2 singer Bono told members of theEuropean People’s Party in Dublin today.
Bono addressed the centre-right leaders - including German chancellor Angela Merkel - at today’s summit in Dublin of Fine Gael’s European affiliate.
“I want to give an enormous, enormous shout out. The biggest shout out I have in my heart, to the Irish people for coming through. I’d love to say it was the Troika but I think it was despite the Troika. The Irish people bailed the Irish people out,” he said.
Bono attended the event on foot of an invitation from Taoiseach Enda Kenny and his engagement with EPP leaders is non-partisan politically and part of his ongoing dialogue with global leaders.
“For all this progress, for all these achievements, nearly 60 years after the Treaty of Rome, Europe is an economic entity that still needs to become a social entity,” he said. “Europe is a thought that needs to become a feeling.”
Bono attended as a representative of the One campaign against extreme poverty, a group which argues that it is crucial for European leaders to introduce measures to make it more difficult to move money secretly around the world.
The One campaign believes money secretly moved from sub-Saharan Africa through the financial system amounts to some €38.6bn per year, greater than the €29.8 billion the region receives in developmental aid from wealthy western countries.
He called at the EPP meeting for action in European law to introduce public registers of the ownership of “phantom firms” and off-shore companies and trusts.
“Right now, your ministers . . . and your members of the European Parliament are working on another law that could help transform the lives for the poor, and the rest of us, too,” he said.
“It’s a law to inject daylight into the financial system to stop corrupt monies vanishing to ‘safe’ havens and combat money laundering,” he said.

No U2 Album, Tour Until 2015 (Exclusive)

Fresh off the Oscars, the band quietly delays its fall tour and album, while inviting Ryan Tedder and Paul Epworth into the studio

The media blitz U2 has enjoyed during the first two months of 2014 has been virtually unrivaled - unless you're maybe Pharrell Williams and his Vivienne Westwood hat. Since mid-January, the band has performed at the Golden Globes, the premiere of "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" and the March 2 Academy Awards; appeared on the cover of The Hollywood Reporter; andstarred in a Super Bowl commercial funded by Bank of America and (RED) thatdebuted the track "Invisible."

U2.COM : 'As If It Was Yesterday...'

'I arrived at Island Records in August 1979 where my first signing as an A&R manager was a Manchester band called The Distractions. U2 were my second.'

In North Side Story, the exclusive book commissioned from Hot Press for our 2014 subscribers, Nick Stewart describes how he signed U2 to their first major deal. Now running his own music consultancy, we asked Nick to come up with the 15 tracks he'd always want to keep on his U2 Playlist - hit 'Play' and hear them all as you read.(Then add your comments below.)


1. 11 O'Clock Tick Tock 
It was a pretty wild and woolly night in Dublin, when I first saw U2 on their home turf in January 1980. The National Stadium, used for boxing in the normal course of things, was packed; when the band came out, the stage was stormed and Bono was briefly submerged  under a crowd of frenzied fans. Order was restored. The Edge kicked hard into the opening chords of 11 O’Clock Tick Tock. I can see it and hear it 34 years later, as if it was yesterday. I wasn’t sure what I was watching or just how big it could be, but I sensed it was destined to become significant. It certainly thrilled me. The song was then recorded by Martin Hannett (Joy Division, A Certain Ratio & The Durutti Column) at Strawberry Studios in Manchester  and became the bands’ first single on Island. 


2. I Will Follow 
I always thought this had to be a hit in 1980 when it first came out. It had a lot of the early U2 trademarks – soaring vocal, powerful guitar, pounding rhythm section and  bags of energy. While it received some radio play and press support, it failed to enter the charts, but remains a favourite at concerts. 


3. The Unforgettable Fire 
The choice of Brian Eno as producer for this album had raised a few eyebrows in Island Records, but an extraordinary and groundbreaking album emerged and took U2 to a new level. Overlaid with a new aural landscape of  mystery and imagination,  Eno combined with the band to produce a new sophistication of writing and playing matched by the drama and power of Bono’s vocals. The gamechanger. 


4. Pride (In The Name of Love) 
For my money, not only one of U2's greatest singles, but one of the great vocal performances on a single of all time. After this, nothing seemed to be the same again. Bono had joined the ranks of Cocker, Stewart, Daltrey and Plant as a pre-eminent rock vocalist. 


5. Where the Streets Have No Name 
The opening track of The Joshua Tree begins with a mood synth, slowly building over the first forty-five seconds, as The Edge's pounding rhythm guitar starts to creep in. At 1'10", Adam's bass line propels the track to a new level alongside The Edge’s driving guitar work. At 1'47" – most singles are more than halfway through at this point – Bono bursts in with "I want to run, I want to hide" and we’re off on the whirlwind journey that was to be the enormous success of The Joshua Tree. One of the greatest opening tracks to any album, ever. 


6. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For 
With The Joshua Tree, U2 became the first act to sell 1 million CD’s and with this track, and  of course, the rest of the album, they conquered the world. The album was brim full of great tunes, fabulous ideas and swept all before them. The Joshua Tree rightly stands as one of the great rock albums of all time. 


7. When Love Comes To Town 
I’ve always admired the way the band forge alliances with great artists. There’s nothing remarkable about this track, but I just love the interplay of the vocals from Bono and BB King and then the guitar playing of BB King and The Edge. 

8. Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses 
Achtung Baby was famously described as the sound of four men chopping down The Joshua Tree; this was the sound of the crash as it fell to the ground. The Berlin location - the record was made as the wall was coming down - unleashed some fiery  'wild horses'  all over this timeless album. See 'From The Sky Down',  the documentary made for the reissue of Achtung Baby  in September 2011, for a fascinating peek behind the making of the album. 


9. One 
If there was ever such a thing as a grungy ballad, this would qualify as a prime example. It’s not what one expects, which makes it all the more mysterious. Destined to become a timeless classic and a staple of Valentine-themed CD’s. 


10. Love Is Blindness 
A sepulchral organ begins the final track on Achtung Baby and all is despair and darkness. The Edge’s guitar, jags and quivers its way through the track, in a way unheard before or since. One of the great gems of their catalogue.


11. The Wanderer (With Johnny Cash) 
Bono said it had to be Johnny Cash singing this song. He was right as J C's haunting delivery gave it terrific resonance. As a result  it remains one of the great works in U2’s canon, because everything about it is perfect and is one of my favourite U2 tracks of all time, as Cash is a particular hero of mine. 


12. Miss Sarajevo (Featuring Luciano Pavarotti) 
The Passengers album remains the great unrecognised album from U2 as it contains so many extraordinary, largely unheard moments. This magisterial track, however,  was heard  all over the world. Bono’s gentle soft vocals give no real clue of the drama to come. When LP makes his entrance the sound  is liable to make strong men weep and is, along with The Wanderer, another  exceptional collaboration. 


13. Beautiful Day 
Gorgeous song, gorgeous production, gorgeous record along with "Pride" their greatest single. Rightly, this stops traffic and gets radio's turned up.


14. Kite 
I've always believed this song to be about Bono losing his father and it's one of the most heart-wrenching songs the band ever recorded. It would certainly be my U2 Desert Island Disc and the one track I always refer people to, to prove the power and the magic of the bands songwriting and playing. 


15. City Of Blinding Lights
'Atomic Bomb' is a much underrated U2 album and I love the atmospheric and all-embracing sound of this track. It's the stand out track on an album I play as often as any other.