Monday, October 31, 2011

U2.COM : 'Real Gone Kid'

'I don’t really remember how it happened.'

In the second part of our conversation with Maria McKee to mark the release of the twentieth anniversary edition of Achtung Baby, she strains  her memory to recall the songs she recorded with U2 at the time, discusses a  film she's made with her husband... and remembers a walk-on part by her pet rabbit.

(Read part one of the interview.) What do you remember about the two songs you recorded with U2, around the time of Achtung Baby?

Er, there was a tiny studio... But I don’t really remember how it happened. I wish I could!  Lone Justice used to play Fortunate Son, so I think that gave U2 the idea to record that with me. And then I said I’d love to record that soul song by Percy Sledge, ‘Everybody Loves a Winner’ - is that the one we’re talking about? Yes!
I think I’d done a version of that too, and I taught it to Bono. I just don’t remember. I can’t believe it: I’ve recorded with U2 and I don’t remember how it happened. That’s very nonchalant
No! It’s just that stuff like that used to happen back then. It was very spontaneous, and they were my pals. A recording session with them was like going to a friend’s house and having lamb stew. Can you remember how ‘Everybody Loves A Winner’ sounded?
I never heard it. I’d love to hear it. Fortunate Son came out well, didn’t it? That was a lovely track...
Yeah? I need to hear it. But it was the b-side to Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses!
Was it? Oh, OK. Cool! You’ve listened to Achtung Baby, right?
It’s one of my favourite albums!
I remember being at Bono and Ali’s house just after it was released. Everyone gathered to wait for a call from Paul McGuinness, to say whether the record had kicked Michael Jackson off the number one spot.
At that time, I had a pet rabbit and took it everywhere. So I had it there, in Bono’s kitchen. It was running around, and there was a horrible smell because it had pee-ed down all the radiators.
U2 were waiting for the call, and waiting, and waiting. But nothing happened. They were listening to the radio, and saying, “Why isn’t he calling? What’s wrong?” In the end, someone picked up the phone, and the line was dead. The rabbit had chewed through the wires. Is it true that Ricky Ross wrote Real Gone Kid for you?
Yeah. He was at one of my gigs in Glasgow, and I was a bit over the top that night. I was giving it loads, as they say in Dublin. I don’t know if the song is really about me, but I think the title was inspired by the show. Aside from flamenco, is there any music in the pipeline?
It was time to make another album, and I sat down with my husband (who produced all my recent albums) and we thought, Do we want to make another one?
My husband had this idea for a film - he is a visionary - so we decided to do that, instead. He wrote it and shot it and directed it; I act in it, and sing in it, and we scored it together. And we’ve just completed it!
So there is an album, but it’s the score for a film. It’s kind of avant-jazz with some neo-classical pieces and a few rock and roll pieces. What’s the film called?
After the Triumph of Your Birth is the working title. It’s a philosophical road movie. I am incredibly proud of my husband and I believe the kid’s got a future. Meanwhile, I’m acting, which is what I always wanted to do. That’s how I started out, before I could say boo to a rock band. Looking back, how glad are you that your path converged with U2?
Oh God. I owe them much. I owe them much. Where do I begin? The opportunity to play places I would never have imagined playing: stadiums in Rome and London and the Madison Square Gardens... But that’s the least of it.
All roads lead to where you’re meant to be, and the thing I constantly return to - in my gratitude for having U2 as friends and colleagues and mentors - is my life in Ireland. It’s everything to me.  It’s heaven.

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