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U2 Magazine - No. 11



Sorry for the delay on this issue, but I wanted to bring you the absolute latest news on how the new album is progressing. Everything is moving forward really smoothly and the band are getting on very well with Eno, who is producing. All the basic ideas are on tape, but they're continuing to experiment with different alternatives - one way to describe the sound may be that it combines the power of U2 with the ambient melodic phrasing favoured by Eno - but, well, just wait and see!

All the guys are very excited with the way the project is turning out. Bono says that they're surprising themselves with what's coming up, and that there is the same air of expectancy as when they were recording 'Boy' - so it is a new beginning, really. And yes, Larry's cane up with another killer drum sound.

The album release will be early autumn sometime, possibly September, and preceded by a single most likely. There'll be a U.K. tour to coincide, so all U.K. members please be sure you've sent in your stamped addressed envelope marked tour dates as requested so we can send off the advance details as soon as they are available. The tour will continue on a world-wide basis, but the exact sequence and order of dates is still to be sorted out, so we'll keep you informed.


U2 have always been rock romantics. For years they have drawn on their inner selves for the idealism and energy that fueled their outward expressions. They felt they had to stand firm against their modern environment's attempts to invade and compromise their emotional worlds, resisting and sometimes ignoring those influences.

But with 'War', their third album, U2 realised that they could no longer play the role of wide-eyed innocents effectively, especially when their homeland of Ireland was exploding around them. 'War' marks the point where U2 knew they had to start acknowledging their surroundings and begin reconciling them with their ideals. The results? Their polish has been roughed up. Their meat has been scraped to the bone. U2 rule books have beer thrown out the window. And electricity flies off a vibrant album by a band that has been reborn.

This new outward approach has brought with it a flurry of activity and success. 'New Year's Day' is U2's biggest single ever. 'War' on which they enlisted the aid of talents as diverse as Steve Lillywhite, Kid Creole's Coconuts and Ken Fradley, is enjoying across the board airplay while it zips up the charts. In Paris, a video of 'Two Hearts Beat As One' has just been completed, the same tune that master knob-twirler Francois Kervorkian is remixing for a 12" dance single. They played 36 dates in the U.K. and Europe in about as many days. There's talk in the European press that U2 is taking up where The Jam left off. And They're embarking on what promises to be a most rewarding tour of the U. S.

As people were lining up hours before U2 tickets would go on sale at the Orpheum box office (some had camped overnight), I was busy trying to track down U2's erstwhile vocalist, Bono. This task was made no easier when dates were continually being added to their tour of Europe. Nor by the fact that the band, understandably tired of being hounded by journalists, is now virtually off-limits to interviewers.

And though I'm sure that U2 and their families are equally as tired of being inundated by a growing legion of fans, my inquiries were met with nothing less than total courtesy by those whose lives I interrupted frequently - especially Bono's father. "U2 have, over the last few years, developed a party of people who maintain a vigilante-type watch on the band," commented Bono by phone from Dublin. "To me, to still be playing to the audience that bought our first record is an achievement, because even though the group has grown we haven't outgrown our audience, or vice versa. I've noticed that there are a lot more levels on which people are taken with the group now, and it's gone a little haywire." Backstage after their European shows, they'd meet an assortment of oddballs, professors, even people who were doing a thesis on the band and Edge's playing. "There's that extreme and then you have people that are into the band because they think Larry's fab or they like our denim jackets."

This difference of extremes in appeal is something that U2 has always wanted to achieve. But aren't they bothered by all the people tagging along now? "What meant more to me than the album going straight to number one were the faces on the front rows at our concerts - people who had been sleeping under ledges, in railway stations, people who had been travelling all over Europe to see us. But at the same time, to virtually be sharing hotel rooms with our audience really got in our hair. We'd arrive back from concerts and find people already in our rooms, sometimes already in our beds, and we'd have to ask them to leave. But ultimately our audience is not a 'pop' audience. The majority of them are not interested in what we had for breakfast."

Their recent successes have opened U2 up to more negative as well as positive reactions from fans and critics, but for U2 it's just another challenge. "Upward movement is essential for any artist. It provides the change and the challenge that keeps you from becoming stagnant. It also has a quickening effect on the adrenalin of the group and that has a productive effect on the music. I'm constantly thinking about possibilities for the next record. Nobody even wants to talk to us about making the next record, but I can't stop thinking or talking about it."

The strengths that U2 have had to develop in order to survive over the last year and branch out with 'War' has made them a better, more resilient band. They claim, however, that most of the pressure to excel came from within the band. "We're pretty hard on ourselves, constantly examining. You might expect the pressure to come from record companies and management or media, but in fact we've learnt to cope with that quite well... It's the things you reject, not what you accept, that's important. You have to be your own editor... (On War) we had to keep throwing things out because we felt that we were in danger of parodying ourselves. There was this thing that had become 'U2's sound' and we felt that we must move on. I feel we did, and now we must consider far more radical steps. I'm very excited about 'War', it feels like our first record."

With the completion of 'War', U2 also feel that they've passed through one stage of their career. "With Boy, October and War, we feel that we've completed a three-album project, a trilogy of sorts. Everyone feels that a weight has been taken off our shoulders, that we've got something out of our system. It's like being in a new group again." As a writer, Bono has always been autobiographical, writing about the things that were going on inside his life. Feelings that others buried, he would try to draw out of himself. On 'Boy' he explored the relation of love and sex to growing up. On 'October' it was his Christian exhilaration that poured out. He revealed himself, he says, "despite the consequences of what would happen when people found out what was going on in my life."

"The sexual side of 'Boy' was, in its time, quite revelatory. People can talk about sex on a bland level, or about S&M, leather gear and impulsive sex. But that's actually very conservative, not at all radical. In 'Twilight', a boy was being confronted by a man who was a homosexual, and I was trying to explain in the song that this wasn't how it was written in the book.

My body grows and grows
It frightens me you know
A teacher told me why
I laugh when old men cry

Nobody realised that I was talking about menopause. It was a riddle. I can remember being told in school abut the change in life and how distressing it can be for old men when they stop functioning. I can remember my nervous laugh... So on that side of 'Boy' a lot of people didn't realize exactly how much of myself I was giving."

"On 'October' I became more aware of the third part of myself - the spiritual nature - and I could have chosen to lock it away, and some would have preferred it that way, but I allowed it out. 'Gloria' is about trying to express such things, an insight into the moment when a song is written.

I try to sing this song
I try to stand up but I can't find my feet
I try to speak up

It's about the failure of expressing yourself, which results in words that you can't find in English, so the Latin words came out." While some people were taken with the introspection of the first two U2 albums, others felt they were too impressionistic, even though Bono was trying to describe emotions that obviously don't translate well to rational terms. Some critics missed the point of the lyrics, but artists and writers were noticing and often praising than. Jackson Browne, of all people, cornered Bono last year to tell him how he related to the logic in the way the lyrics expressed inner emotions and the way the words were splashed on the canvas'. "A lot of our contemporaries were just throwing a lot of dark images together and pretending it was deep. But there was no real door open to the inside, to what was really happening."

Still, Bono felt the need for a change in his approach, realizing that he finally had to start looking outside himself... "I had to face issues that for a long me I was frightened of facing... for instance the troubles at home in Ireland. Only after being away from home could I objectively see what exactly is going on." U2 woke up to a world in tumult - the Falklands, Beirut, Poland, Cambodia and Central America - and they responded with songs like 'Sunday Bloody Sunday'(Ulster), 'Seconds'(the nuclear threat) and 'New 'Year's Day'(Solidarity). 'Sunday' became a nightmare for U2 because of the implications that the lyrics might have on their lives. They might, in reality face a 'brick through the window' and could be jeopardising the safety of their families.

"If I spoke out against the men of violence, that could have had an effect on my real life. There were lines in the lyrics that could have resulted in a lot of trouble for the group, and they were omitted, because I cannot come to terms with the man of violence. What has happened in Ireland is sad and unjust, and there's no way the country should be divided in two. There's no way that can be justified. But I still don't think you can justify changing that by violence, because you became as guilty as the people you're fighting against."

About a year ago, Bono started getting interested in Ghandi, Martin Luther King and the idea of passive resistance. "I realised that you can't be a passive pacifist, you must be an aggressive pacifist. I had to make a strong statement about what was happening, and 'Sunday...' is that statement." 'War' is not all conflict and violence. Love is still a central thane. "'New Year's Day' is really schizophrenic. It was sparked of by Lech Walesa and Solidarity yet at the same time it's a love song. Love is always strongest when it's set against a struggle. And even in 'Sunday Bloody Sunday' there's a line 'Tonight we can be as one.' Rock 'n'roll can do in some practical ways what politicians can only do in theory. I really do believe that music has the power to break down

"But in America, music is completely sectionalised and compartmentalised - adult contemporary, AOR, disco, R&B - these are false divides. Music should break barriers. I was very excited, for instance, when I heard Joe Jackson was being played on black stations. We've got to achieve musical unity as well as political unity. There's a certain amount of justice to the success with 'War' because when we saw U2 clone bands achieving success in America, we were quite bemused. " So much energy want into trying to get 'I Will Follow' played that everytime a major station aired it, it was 'hallelujah' and break out the champagne. "Despite the lack of airplay, spending time in America over the last three years has given us a base and foundation that a lot of other groups, the sort of whimsical new music, haven't got. There's a certain stability to feeling you've not just painted your face a certain way to go out into the streets and be a successful tart."

On 'War', U2 still call on same of the same inward-looking elements of the music that built this US base for them, but now the material is double-edged. Now they have to relate their idealism to their new awareness of the stark realities of life. "'War' is about struggle on many different asuc;r; - emotional, physical, political, mental, even struggles in the home. Like the child's face on the cover. You must ask youself, 'is he the refugee?' And what is he a refugee from? A broken home? When we talk about refugees, we're not just talking about South East Asia. We're talking about where I live and everyday things."

"'War' is also about love, about rape, about suicide. But most of all it's about surrender. It's called 'War' but it's about the pain of surrender. Because the friction that we're talking about is basically the result of people's egos, and stepping on toes in order to succeed in all walks of life. The principle of surrender is stepping back, and I find that difficult being sort of an ambitious person and having an ego. But I never want people to think of me as someone on a soapbox. I'm wary of people telling me what to do, so I never say 'you do this' or 'they do that'. I try not to point the finger because I usually associate myself with the accused."

If people think that Bono sets himself up as some sort of spokesman, he refers them to 'Two Hearts Beat As Ore', a song where he also tries to explain the emotion of love. "It's explained in very straightforward terms:

I don't know how to say what's got to be said
I don't know if it's black or white
There's others see it red

I'm saying that nothing's black and white, most things are grey, and that everyone sees things differently."

With Bono being an avid filmgoer, movies and documentary footage provided the inspiration for much of 'War'. Two songs, 'Red Light' and 'Surrender' are based around New York experiences and some cityscapes from Martin Scorsese's 'Taxi Driver'. "These two songs are about a character who was steeped in herself, alone in the spotlight of her own tragedy, who eventually commits suicide. Some images from the start of 'Taxi Driver' were my inspiration, so I was quite pleased to hear(through a friend) that Scorsese has complimented the LP. We drew some of the images far 'War' out of the cinema and as a result, some of the songs, like 'Surrender', sound very cinematic."

This cinematic tone has always been, to some degree, a part of U2's music. They view themselves as primary colours, applied in strokes to evoke images and patterns of light, distance, tone, texture and extra dimension. But by the end of their last American tour U2 were leaning toward a rawer sound' for 'War'.

The contrast of this rawness set against U2's patented textures helps point out their desire for the best of both worlds - childhood and maturity. While the issues and emotions examined on 'War' are those of a young man, the music digs deeper into the primal stages of childhood. The drums sound like pots and pans that wire recorded from across the roan. The smoothness of Edge's electric echoes is overpowered by the insistence of bare acoustic guitars. And, like children, U2 are not in full control. Every little variation is something they're trying for the first time. But it's that excitement of discovery, that spanking new feel, that provides 'War's successes.

"'Seconds' is totally bare. We had this journalist in and he heard 'Seconds' being made and he said, 'That's going to be great when it's finished.' The four members of the band were physically jumping on the mixing desk while the management held Steve Lillywhite down. It meant throwing the rule book out the window, and I still don't think we did it enough. We're only beginning to break rules. It was especially important for the first few tracks that we got that starkness across. Some people heard the drums and said, 'Are you guys stark raving mad?' And we tried to be aggressive with the acoustic instruments as well. The rawness of 'Like A Song' works because of the contrast with 'Drowning Man' which follows. You breathe a sigh of relief when everything dies down. Aggression is only aggression only in contrast with sensitivity. I hope the next record is even more radical."

Thanks to Neil at Island we have some of the now rare Dutch singles of 'I Will Follow' recorded live (not from Blood Red Sky) and backed with 'Gloria'. All you have to do is to identify the song from which the following lines are taken, and send your answers in to the London address by the end of July. They're not very difficult, so good luck!

1. If he stops to think he starts to cry
2. And she won't tell me her name
3. I try to spit it out I try to explain
4. And what in the world am I to say
5. Puts my back up against the wall.

Don't forget to include your name and address.

If you're in a band, have made a demo tape, and would like to bring it to the attention of other U2 fans, send a copy in and we'll mention here, and if it's very worthy we could pass it on for you. One such tape that has just been pressed up as a single is 'In Between' by State Of Play - if anyone would like a copy we have some at 1.50 plus 30p P&P from the usual address.

To contact other friends and fans of U2, send in your name and address and we'll include it here. You can also include U2 items that you're offering to swop if you wish, like the early deleted singles, etc, but please keep the listing fairly brief.

1. Christopher Nicholas, 9 Jamaica Read, Malvern, Link, Worcs.WR14 ITU.
2. Christine Holland, 3730 W. Cavalier Drive, Phoenix, AZ 85019, USA.
3. Miss Fiona Jack, c/o Downside, Largkedge, Lambourn, Barks.
4. Tina Morris, 5 E lmfield, Bradford-on-Avon, Wilts. BA15 1RH.
5. Alison Price, 21 Lothians Road, Tettenhall. Wolverhampton, W Midlands 4N6 9PN.
6. Mark Seaton, 'Kildonan', 80 North Street, Annan, Dumfriesshire, Scotland.
7. Ed Mackie, 90 Prince Edward Rued, South Shields, Tyre 6 War NE34 7PJ. Would like to swop live tapes.
8. Isabel Sanson, Av.La Salle,Res. Monaco, Apto.21, Colina de loa Csobos, Camas 1050, Venezuela.
9. Michael Whittaker, 22 Harradon Road, Aintree, Liverpool L9 OHF. Wants to swop live tapes, also wants to buy copy of Phoenix Park Festival programme.
lO. Pete Rumney, 13 Rendleaham Avenue, Radlett Herts. Would like pen-pals in the U.S.
11. William Mavers, 4 Burn Haven, North Barr, Erskine, Renfrewahire PA8 6D6.
12. Lisa Nottage, 3 Carinya Place, Moorebank 2170, New South Wales, Australia.
13. Ralph Eriksen, 34 Rutland Ave, Halewood, Liverpool L26 OTP. Would like posters, early demo tapes, tapes of Oslo-Norway 1983.
14. Gary Williams, 55 Fell Street, Treharris, Mid-Glam, CF46 SHN. Has tapes of Phoenix Park and Werchter Festival to swap.
15. Miriam Houtzager, Dennenlaan 16, 1702 KN Heerhugoward, Holland.
16. Miss Nina Badrock, 2A Dickinson Square, Croxley Green, Rickmarssworth, Herts WD3 3EZ.
17. Bobo Kugel, Hein-Hoyerstr. 57, 2000 Hamburg 4 West Germany. Wants penpals, also War picdisc.
18. Leena Souli, Katajaharjuntie 19 B 15, 00200 Helsinki 20, Finland. Wants photos & the early singles.
19. Cathi Snape, 144 Gewsworth Road, Macclesfield, Cheshire 9071 BUQ. Live tapes to swop.
20. Naomi Miki, 5-24 Kitakokubu 1 chome, Ichikawa-shi Chiba, 272 Japan.
21. Jane Hetherington, 118 Oaklaxds Park, Huckfastleigh, South Devon, England.
22. Bryan Meade, U69/1 Herdsmen Pde, Wembley 6014, Western Australia, Australia.
23. Monika Roth, Wilhelm-Dienst-Str 53, 6093 Floersheim, W Germany. Swop live tapes, wants Irish singles.
24. Stephen Campion, 29 Weir Hall Road, Tottenham, London N.17, England.
25. Judith Candy, Graffham', Hardwicke, Aylesbury, Bucks. Offers for sale U2-3 E.P. 12", U2-3 E.P 7" and 'Another Day/Twilight' 7" all on Irish CBS.
26. Cathy Burr, 131 Highfield Way, Rickmansworth, Herts WD3 2PL, England.
27. Ian Lambert, 2 Adisham House, Penbury Road, Hackney E5 8LH, London, England. Also looking for live tapes.
28. David Delaney, Longfield Close, South Shields, Tyre & Wear NE34 OYJ, England.
29. Andi Begbie, 753 Ferry Road, Ediburgh EH4 2UB Scotland.
30. Jackie Hollings, 23 Edwards Road, Sprowston, Norwich NR7 8QW, England. Wants Irish penpals.
31. Darrell Matthew, 46 Highfields Road, Chasetown Staffs, England. Wants all early singles.
32. Sharon Hale, 9 New Works Lane, Wellington, Telford, Shropshire TF6 5BS, England.
33. Mark Hunter, 50 Ravenswood Park, Braniel BT5 7PT N. Ireland. Will swap 'U2 Three' E.P.(Irish orig. 7") for either 'Celebration' single, live tapes or other rare U2 material.
34. Kerry Jane Probert, 5 Poplar Crescent, Mt. Barker, S.A. 5251 Australia.
35. Dave Dooley, 6 Winters Way, Holmer Green, High Wycombe, Bucks HP15 6YB, England. Has many rare live tapes to swop.
36. Nishitani Keiko, 4-3-83 Uriwari-Higashi, Hirano-ku, Osaka, Japan.

Kieran Dineen, from Cloyne, Co Cork, has sent in details of the listeners top 50
as played by DJ Dave Fanning on RTE Radio 2 over the Christmas period - whilst a
couple of bands had 2 songs included, U2 had no less than eight, and the top few
ran: 1. 11 O'Clock Tick Tock, 4. Sunday Bloody Sunday, 7. New Year's Day, 14. A
Celebration. Quite an achievement!

For a U2 only poll, please send in a list of your personal top 10 favourite U2 songs, listed in order, to the London address and the results will be featured in the next issue, so please get them in by the end of July. I'm sure it'll prove very interesting!

BONO'S TOP 10 OF 1983
While on the subject of top tens, Rolling Stone asked Bono for his Top 10 Favourites of 1983. His list ran as follows: 'Waterfront' by Simple Minds, 'December' by The Waterboys, 'Under My Skin' by The The, 'Proof Through The Night' by T-Bone Burnett, 'The Stand' by The Alarm, 'Murmur' by R.E.M., 'Benefactor' by Romeo Void, 'Summit' by In Tua Nua, 'Don't Turn Around' by Big Self, and 'The Lights Go Out' by Blue In Heaven.

Nice of him to mention In Tua Nua and Blue In Heaven, who are both from Dublin - the latter recently signed with Island, so should have a first release out sometime soon. As for The Waterboys, if you haven't caught up with them yet, then I suggest you investigate further. They are firm favourites of all of U2 and if you listen to Mike Scott's songs it's not hard to see why. They've just put out a new album called 'A Pagan Place'.

Compiled and edited by Geoff Parkyn.
U2 MAGAZINE published by U2 INFO SERVICE, P.O.Box 48, London N6 5RU, England, and U2 INFO SERVICE, P.O.Box 156, Princeton Junction, New Jersey 08550, United States.
Please remember to include return postage for personal replies to any correspondence. Special thanks to Paul McGuinness, Anne Louise Kelly, Neil and all at Island Records, Nick Stewart and Blue Mountain Music. Cover photo Hans Arne Nakrmi/Hilde Jakobsen. Other photography Hans Arne Nakrem/Hilde Jakobsen, Paul Slattery, Toni Simmons, Henri Sneyers, Midori Tsukagoshi, Youichi Saitoh, Colm Henry, Peter Mazel, Robin Kaplan. Thanks to Tristram Inzaw and to Terry King, Woburn, Mass.

And thanks to U2 - and you too! All the best,


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