Wednesday, November 5, 2008

U2 Honors Grainge at MITs

U2 was among the artists saluting Universal Music Group International chairman/CEO Lucian Grainge at the Music Industry Trust's Award ceremony at London's Grosvenor House Hotel.

Universal-signed pop acts Mika and Take That performed at the ceremony tonight (Nov. 3), along with jazz-pop singer Jamie Cullum and indie-rock band Razorlight, which released its new album Slipway Fires (Vertigo/Mercury) today. Artists among the 1,200 guests included Girls Aloud, Sugababes, The Fratellis, The Feeling, Snow Patrol, members of ABBA, Ray Davies, Lulu and James Morrison.

The MIT award was presented to the Universal boss by all four members of U2. UMG chairman/CEO Doug Morris was also present.

Bono joked about U2's failure to release a new album this year, commenting that Grainge provides "cuddles" for the band "when we get stressed out and we haven't got the hits and we missed Christmas."

Tributes on film were made by personalities from the world of business and musicians including Mariah Carey, the Pussycat Dolls, Michael Winner, Elton John, Bob Geldof, U2 manager Paul McGuinness and Girls Aloud.

In his acceptance speech Lucian Grainge said: "This recognition is an honor, and I'm delighted to be able to share it with the many artists, colleagues and friends who have been at the center of my professional and personal life for the past 30 years. I'm proud that music is the only industry I have ever worked in. Music has given me opportunity and fulfillment beyond measure, and I'm grateful for that."

Grainge also talked about his career in A&R at MCA Records in the 1980s, adding that "I was a talent scout then, and I'm a talent scout now."

Previous winners of the award include Sir George Martin, Harvey Goldsmith and the late Ahmet Ertegun, and artists and musicians including Sir Elton John and Bernie Taupin, Kylie Minogue and Peter Gabriel.

Grainge is marking his thirtieth anniversary in the music industry, having worked with artists including Eurythmics, U2, Sir Elton John, Take That, Metallica, Snow Patrol, Amy Winehouse, Mika and Duffy, the biggest U.K. debut artist this year.

Grainge has also been invited by culture secretary Andy Burnham to take part in the "Creative Britain" conference next October, acting as an ambassador for British talent.

Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy and the BRIT School, the two charities that are supported by the annual Music Industry Trusts' Award, received a record-breaking £568,593 ($897,577) from this year's event. It was sponsored by mobile manufacturer Nokia, London-based media investment firm Ingenious Media and U.K. collecting societies PPL and PRS.

Bono joins Starbucks to help AIDS victims

Andrea James

Rock singer Bono gave a surprise speech Wednesday at Starbucks' managers conference in New Orleans, bringing star power to the company's announcement of a partnership with (RED), a private organization that benefits AIDS programs in Africa.

Walking on stage, Bono joked, "I was going to jump out of a cranberry scone, but maybe not." His appearance was even kept secret from the rest of his U2 band members, he said.

Seattle-based Starbucks will donate 5 cents to the Global Fund for each holiday beverage it sells from Nov. 27 through Jan. 2. After that, Starbucks will designate certain products as (RED), which will benefit the Global Fund.

"Here we are, talking about the economy tanking. People are saying, 'Maybe the world doesn't need more coffehouses.' And what do you do? What does Starbucks do? You decide to give your money away," Bono said to thunderous applause from the thousands of store managers and others gathered at New Orleans Arena.

"This is not charity. This is commerce."

The Global Fund, created in 2002, provides money to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Bono and Bobby Shriver founded (RED) in 2006 to benefit the Global Fund. (RED) also joins with American Express in the United Kingdom, Apple, Converse, Gap, Emporio Armani, Hallmark, Dell and Microsoft.

Bono and Starbucks Chief Executive Howard Schultz presented the news to about 10,000 Starbucks employees and store managers. Starbucks' last leadership conference took place in 2005, in Seattle.

Partnership details

Each day in Africa, 4,100 people die because they can't get the medicine they need, said Jenifer Willig, director of partners and marketing at (RED).

"This is an emergency," Willig said. "That's why we're the color red."

Two life-extending anti-retroviral pills per day cost 43 cents.

"If every single Starbucks customer bought one (RED) Holiday Exclusive (beverage) for a week, we would save 15,000 lives for a year in Africa," Starbucks Senior Vice President Michelle Gass said.

All Starbucks company-owned and licensed stores in the U.S. and Canada are participating. The partnership is part of Starbucks "Shared Planet" commitment, started this week. Shared Planet promises that Starbucks will do business in ways that are good to the earth and people.

The Starbucks beverages that help the fund are peppermint mocha twist, gingersnap latte and espresso truffle. (RED) products do not cost extra.

Starbucks and (RED) began talking earlier this year. About six months ago, Gass met up with Don MacKinnon, president of (RED) Content. They talked over lunch at Pike Place Market.

"Don and I have kept in touch. He used to work for Starbucks; he used to run our music business," Gass said. "Over lunch he started telling me about what (RED) was up to. It really struck an emotional chord with me."

Starbucks buys coffee from 10 African countries: Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. And Starbucks plans to open farmer-support centers in Ethiopia and Rwanda next year. (In 2007, Starbucks responded to pressure from Ethiopia and Oxfam America by signing a marketing deal regarding specialty coffee names that would boost coffee prices.)

Because of Starbucks' connection to Africa, a partnership with (RED) seemed like a "natural extension," Gass said.

Starbucks paid an undisclosed licensing fee to (RED) and will donate directly to the Global Fund. The partnership is a multiyear commitment and could help thousands, depending on sales.

Year of change

The New Orleans leadership conference comes toward the end of a tumultuous year at Starbucks. Starbucks decided to hold the elaborate event, despite layoffs and store closures, to energize employees, Schultz has said.

Starbucks has been suffering from declining sales, but Schultz told reporters Wednesday that Starbucks' sales declines have "bottomed out." Sales didn't decrease this month as fast as they had last quarter.

The company plans to release fourth-quarter results Nov. 10. Wall Street analysts are largely expecting profit and revenue to drop from the same period a year ago.

Moving forward amid the economic turmoil, Schultz said, "requires a very disciplined, thoughtful approach."

Schultz told employees at the end of Wednesday's session, "It's hard to sit through all this and not get emotional. We've been through a lot this year."

Some of the changes announced this week in New Orleans will be visible in stores, which are being outfitted with new ordering and labor scheduling systems. Desktops in each store's backroom will be replaced with Hewlett-Packard laptops. (The laptop announcement got a standing ovation.)

Baristas will wear red aprons.

Because Starbucks will give profit away to help Africans, Bono tried to address shareholder concerns by saying that customers will respond to the (RED) campaign.

"You can't measure the true success of a company on a spreadsheet," said Bono, who wore sunglasses on the indoor stage. "I can't believe I just said the word spreadsheet. ... Don't tell the fans."

Starbucks stock was up slightly in after-hours trading Wednesday

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

U2 Set Sale For a New Horizon

Exclusive: New Studio Album & Tracklist Revealed
It's the beautiful day millions of U2 fans around the globe have waited patiently to see for the past four years.

Now we can reveal details of the supergroup's long-awaited new album.

It is believed to be titled No Line On The Horizon and will be on sale in music stores on November 14.

The band's record company Universal has already registered the internet domain name -- prompting speculation this will be the new record.

And among the songs to be released on what many music insiders are calling the band's best work to date are "Moment of Surrender," "For Your Love," "Love Is All We Have Left" and "One Bird."

Others include "If I Could Live My Life Again," "The Cedars of Lebanon" and "No Line On The Horizon."

Earlier this week a 19-strong film crew headed to the Spanish city of Cadiz to shoot a video for the band's first single from the new album although the band were not believed to be present.

Last night an insider said the U2 machine is gearing up for the release of one of the most keenly-awaited albums in recent years.

"The album is more or less all in the bag except for a few minor details," the source revealed. A lot of people have been waiting a long time for this album as they do with every U2 album.

"But the word coming out is that the band is very, very happy with the end product and when U2 are happy it should be quite a piece of work. They're not easy to please."

Legendary producer Steve Lillywhite, who has worked with U2 for more than two decades, said the new album had blown him away.

It is the first original work since the band released the smash-hit How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb in November 2004. It sold an incredible 10 million copies and picked up eight Grammy Awards.

But music commentators think the new record could be even bigger for Bono, the Edge, Larry and Adam.

U2 are also expected to announce details of a huge worldwide tour, which would almost certainly include a number of nights at the new O2 Arena in the Dublin Docklands -- formerly known as the Point Theatre.

In a flurry of activity, the group have just re-released their first three albums -- Boy, October and War -- in extended formats and with previously unreleased tracks.
It has led to that rare thing -- U2 making a mistake.

A quantity of the re-released War albums have been printed with incorrect track listings inside a booklet.

But ironically, it won't hit sales, as the botched items are likely to become collector's pieces.

Like a Song: Tomorrow

This is the 23rd in a series of personal essays by the @U2 staff about songs and/or albums that have had great meaning or impact in our lives.]

"Tomorrow" is one of those songs that is special to me. Not so much for its melody, composition, or lyrics. I don't like it in the same way I love the energy of "Elevation" or the moving story told in "One." But I recognize the simple, yet urgent question the song revolves around:

Won't you come back tomorrow?

A question to which the answer will always remain a stunning blow from reality.


March 1, 1986. It was an early spring evening, just after dinner. My mother put a tape in the video recorder for me and my biovular twin sister. In all likelihood it was an episode of Nils Holgersson, a Swedish cartoon we adored.

My father wasn't feeling great, so he decided to go to bed for a while to see if he would feel any better. None of us could have imagined it would be the last time we saw him alive. But that evening, he died in his sleep. Without any warning, with no known illness. Only 36 years of age, leaving behind his wife and two 4-year-old girls.

Losing a parent at such an early age was an experience with great impact. Four-year-olds are just beginning to explore the world and become aware of other people and their relationship to them. Three to four years old is also the age at which we start to actively remember
significant events. The sad thing is, I don't have that many memories of my father. There's a handful of them, and everything else I know about him is through stories told by other people. So essentially, I miss someone I never really knew.

Somebody's outside
Somebody's knocking at the door
There's a black car parked
At the side of the road
Don't go to the door
Don't go to the door

After I became a U2 fan, I started reading up on the band's past to grasp some of its history. When I read about Bono's mother dying when Bono was 14, and then Larry's mother when he was 17, it gave me a sense of personal connection. Here were my newfound heroes, and they weren't sheltered from grief or misfortune. The death of their parents resembled my own experience: sudden and unannounced.

October was one of the last albums I bought, so it took a while until I heard "Tomorrow." But by then I already knew what the song was about. There was a palpable despair and fear in the song, fear of the awful truth that is inevitably revealed when "the door is opened." From the first time I heard it, it made me feel uncomfortable, because it gave me such a haunting sense of sadness. Although there are many differences -- Bono and Larry both lost their mothers instead of their fathers, and they were teenagers instead of young children -- the essence of the song remains the same: the longing of a child for a deceased parent. To me the song said: "I know how you feel, it's OK to be sad."

I'm going out
I'm going outside mother
I'm going out there

"Tomorrow" also became a symbol for the bond between the band members, emphasizing the remarkable relationship they have, especially the friendship between Bono and Larry. In a talk show interview in the '80s, Larry once said it was his favourite song.

In the book Bono on Bono: Conversations with Michka Assayas, Bono admits that he can't remember his mother anymore, that he no longer knows what she looked like and what she was like. In a way, it must be even worse for him to not remember her, because he did know her for 14 years.

Who healed the wounds
Who heals the scars
Open the door
Open the door

For my mother, it was of course a great shock, suddenly being a widow, left behind with two little girls. She did her best to provide us with the security we needed, materially as well as mentally. The three of us developed a stronger bond, a bond that enabled us to mutually support one another while coping with such loss.

But as a child, I was quite serious about life and always less carefree than other kids my age. There was an awareness in the back of my mind that life wasn't just fun and that things could actually go wrong. There isn't always a safety net to save you when you lose your balance. Yet it also made me more independent, not expecting others to take care of things for me. I learned to think for myself and listen to my own intuition.

Of course, one gets used to the situation, so having only one parent is not something I think about every day. But sometimes, when relatives tell stories about my father, or when friends have funny accounts of things their fathers do, it makes me angry that my dad had to die so young and that I never had a chance to get to know him. It's a sense of frustration, which once again I can feel in the song, when Bono sings near the end:

I want you to be back tomorrow

I want it, I need it, yet it is impossible.

"Tomorrow" is a reminder that, however unwelcome, however unfair it may seem, death is a part of life. It eloquently expresses the emotions surrounding the death of a loved one in a harrowing piece of music and lyrics. That's why it will always be precious to me, like a gem: beautiful, but also hard.

Negotiations put U2 Tower in jeopardy

Gavin Daly

The future of the planned U2 Tower in Dublin is uncertain, with negotiations ongoing between the backers of the €200 million project and the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA).

Geranger, a consortium made up of U2, Ballymore Properties, property developer Paddy McKillen, and architect Norman Foster, was named preferred bidder for the project last October. Paul Maloney, chief executive of the DDDA, said last month that he expected an agreement by the end of July, but no deal has yet been reached on the 130-metre tower.

"Given current market conditions, the DDDA and Geranger Ltd have agreed to extend the negotiation period to allow for further analysis and for design issues relating to the Dodder bridge," a spokeswoman for the DDDA said last Friday.

The DDDA has refused to comment on the timescale for the negotiations, which focus on financial, legal and technical aspects of the project.

The property market has suffered a dramatic slump since Geranger submitted its proposal for the tower, which would be topped with a pod-shaped recording studio for U2. In its annual report, published last month, the DDDA said the U2 Tower was due to be completed in 2011.

The Watchtower, the 120-metre tower that is part of Harry Crosbie's Point Village development, is under construction, although architectural sources said that its design had been changed to allocate more floor space to offices rather than apartments.

U2 warn of 'fake' concert tickets

Irish rock band U2 have warned fans that concert tickets currently being advertised for sale are not real, as they have not confirmed any live shows.

The group said reports claiming they are performing soon were "mistaken."

"There are no tour dates for the band at the moment, so please don't buy tickets for U2 shows you see advertised," they said in a statement.

The group added that any future concert announcements will be made first on their official website.

Last year they denied reports that claimed they were planning a series of concerts at the O2 arena in London.

The band have been working on new material since 2006, with producers including Rick Rubin, Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno.

A new album is expected later this year, and many online agencies are advising fans to pre-register for a predicted world tour in 2009.

Bono remembers U2's "Boy"


This could be the greatest comment on ever: U2’s Bono was reading David Fricke’s review of the new reissue of Boy, and was moved to respond. Unfortunately, he maxed out our word limit in the comments section, so we’re just going to post his text in full here. We’re not going to attempt to boil it down, except to say that he does mention that the band is presently attempting to finish their most “complete and radical album yet.” Without further ado:

Entering the blogosphere, a review of BOY from the singer who was one at the time of recording… We the members of said post punk combo are very complimented by DAVID FRICKES 4.5 star review of our debut, an album we always believed in. I remember now a generous JON PARELES review from the VILLAGE VOICE in 1980, a line something along the lines of “this is peter pan, I hope they break up before they grow up”. Anyway, as my band mates and I attempt to finish our most complete and radical album yet, here’s my why and what i think is right and wrong about BOY having listened to it for the first time in over twenty years if you start from the pseudo british accent and the little reported fact that the singer sounds like a girl, things don’t look too promising …the annoying gene is present in self consciousness and self immolation… you do want to give the singer a slap for lots of reasons but let’s start with the pretentiousness….the singer has obviously been listening to SIOUXIE AND THE BANSHEES, JOY DIVISION and a few others whose combined archness and artfulness was just too much for the freckled face teenager from northside of DUBLIN…. neither fully protestant or catholic, IRELAND had left the boy with a face like a baked bean and in search of a nonregional identity…a theme that continues to the present.

As for the non lyrics that Wunderkind STEVE LILYWHITE had begged him to no avail to write… well….the excuse is that in the manner of another POP idol, IGGY, they were for the most written live on the microphone ..this was noble in its search for authenticity but a very flawed idea that almost gauges the eyes out of the albums open face but alas, the strengths way out weigh the weaknesses…maybe because it was an album about vulnerability.. BOY eschews the usual subject matter of rock and roll’s hurry to deface its own innocence through knowingness, sex, drugs etc in favour of a refusal to grow up …think GUNTER GRASS’s Tin Drum VOLKER SCHLONDORFs film of the novel released the same year as BOY…

if ninetynine percent of rock and roll is about sex this one percenter is about virginity and not wanting to lose it…malene├┐ss is more elusive here and I can see now why the album had such a connection in the gay community with songs like TWILIGHT and STORIES FOR BOYS.

Then there is the galling religious audacity of writing a song about agape love at eighteen years old….that alone deserves some gold stars as well as the custard pies.. I WILL FOLLOW is still a rush and a marker for innovation (the percussion in the drop was a bicycle spinning, wheels upside down and played like a harp with a kitchen fork…)

ADAM CLAYTONs bass is a revelation to me on this listen, and up there with JOHN ENTWISLE and PETER HOOK in its inventiveness… LARRY MULLEN too is jumping through hoops to create a circus of tom tom parts and spectral spectre like snaring…. giddying up and clearing the fence every time…. I agree with DAVID FRICKE that they are not yet a rhythm section in the traditional sense but maybe something more interesting … the ‘weight’ of U2….Steve LILYWHITES production deserves a lot of credit here for its sonic prowess, big music in little hands..

But the star of the show is THE EDGE some guitar credit must be shared with the groups that helped shape us,
people like PINK FLOYD, PIL and TELEVISION… guitar players like STUART ADAMSON VINNIE REILLY etc but there is something happening here that is truly special…EDGEs genuine genius developing on the blank and bleached
photographic paper…. avoiding all the obvious blues scales that blind every other guitar player that ever heard LED ZEPPELIN …THE EDGE finds some new colours for the spectrum of rock. Colours he now owns … owning a colour, wow .. imagine owning the colour yellow like VAN GOGH… EDGE owns, well im not exactly sure what colours they are… indigo or violet or crimson?… but you sense an emotional colour temperature that is unique to him… its his palette we’re painting from. he’s following the jazzmen’s maxim to “own your own tone and you will become contagious ” and as a result you can hear him show up in lots of rooms hes not in, isn’t that right…?

Surely this is the most influential guitarist since the great composers JIMMY PAGE, PETE TOWNSEND,NEIL YOUNG but remember he doesn’t have the history of the blues to plumb, these are unchartered waters…was to the English psychedelic revival we were also inspired by and plundering .. THE TEARDROP EXPLODES and ECHO AND THE BUNNYMEN…they were better than us no doubt about it…with ECHOs CROCODILES a better debut on pretty much
every level… that and their next album HEAVEN UP HERE having the same effect on their moment as RADIOHEADS BENDS AND OK COMPUTER. It was all there… songwriting, playing and standing in front of the mirror type coolness but of course the pursuit of coolness is rarely the same thing as the pursuit of art. This was obvious to a lot of our contempories too BUT maybe not not not talking about Teardrops or the Bunnyrabbits or Wah Heat! but for many of our peers, the most important bit was lifestyle and the fashion piece which we clearly were not very good at. And it is very very important…An almost essential companion to greatness… From ELVIS to THE BEATLES THE WHO to THE STONES THE CLASH to PRINCE, STYLE has been part of rocks revolution and evolution…. our only addition is comedic failure to fit into the grey or vivid clothes of rebellion and the crime of thinking no veneer was the utterly radical way to look and sound…and then there’s the other thing, the lifestyle….of course the life of the artist is always more compelling than being an artist. To live in the garret with a knife in your hand and a bleeding ear is more romantic than the fragility that leaves open the wound … Bohemia is more attractive than suburbia but maybe you don’t live there, maybe you live on a street which is like any other street where the opera that goes on behind parted curtains is more than enough…..It was briefly for U2.

you can have everything the songs, the production, the face, the attitude but still not have “IT”…U2 had nothing really, nothing but ‘IT’… For us music was a sacrament …an even more demanding and sometimes more demeaning thing than music as ART, we wanted to make a music to take you in and out of your body, out of your comfort zone, out of your self, as well as your bedroom, a music that finds you looking under your bed for God to protect your innocence…

…i’m proud of this little Polaroid of a life I cant fully recall. As well as the ability to make embarrassing mistakes, the demands of a great debut might be fresh ideas, fresh paint and sometimes for its canvas, a fresh face.

I miss my boyhood.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

U2 Hits the Studio in Dublin

U2 Hits the Studio in Dublin
Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

U2 has hit the studio in Dublin to continue work on its next album with longtime collaborators Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois. "We're going to try and break new sonic ground and deliver a masterpiece," Lanois tells "The sleeves are rolled up. Bono is all charged up with a lyrical angle."

As previously reported, U2, Eno and Lanois have spent time working on new material on three prior occasions in France and Morocco, and Lanois confirms the results are prolific.

"There's so much material," he says, referring to speculation that the sessions could yield two new albums. "When you get Eno and I and those guys in the room, before lunch there's like eight things."

"We've had some exciting beginnings via jam sessions," he continues. "Now we will pick our favorite beginnings and say, 'OK, that's a lovely springboard. Now what are we trying to say?' The springboards are sometimes melodic, sometimes riff-based, but I can assure you they are exciting."

There's no date yet for the project, which will be the follow-up to 2004's "How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb."

In other U2 news, the group has contributed to a new charity single, "The Ballad of Ronnie Drew," proceeds from which will benefit the cancer-stricken Irish artist of the same name. The track will be available in Ireland only as a download beginning Friday (Feb. 22) and week later on CD.

In addition to U2, "The Ballad of Ronnie Drew" features appearances by the Pogues' Shane MacGowan, the Frames' Glen Hansard, Sinead O'Connor, Andrea Corr, Damien Dempsey, Ronan Keating, Chris de Burgh, Gavin Friday and members of the Dubliners.

10 Things You Probably Didn't Know About U2

By Aidin Vaziri

“We’re not Irish,” The Edge once announced on national television. “Honestly, we’re not. We’re from Duluth, but we saw this Irish Spring commercial one day and we just went, ‘That’s it, we’ll be Irish.’” Naturally, the guitarist’s faux confession was for a comedy bit called “U2 Secrets” on Late Night with Conan O’Brien. Since forming in 1976, U2 have been mostly drama-free, with their original lineup still cranking out the massive hits over 30 years later. But that doesn’t mean you know everything about them.

1. That’s Sir Bono to you. Even though he’s not technically qualified for the royal title, in 2007 the Irish-born U2 frontman received an Honorary Knighthood from the Queen of England. At the ceremony, the singer, born Paul Hewson, joked that his son, “thought I was becoming a Jedi.”

2. The same year, U2 ranked No. 22 on Forbes’ Celebrity 100 list. The band’s robust bank account may have had to do with manager Paul McGuinness encouraging the band to move their songwriting catalog from Ireland to a tax shelter in Amsterdam.

3. Bono is the only person who has been nominated for an Oscar, Grammy, Golden Globe, and a Nobel Prize. He was nominated three times for the latter. Time named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world twice, and made him Person of the Year in 2005 along with Bill and Melinda Gates. “He was every bit the geek that we are,” Gates Foundation chief Patty Stonesifer told the magazine. “He just happens to be a geek who is a fantastic musician.”

4. Before deciding on the name U2, the band tried out the Larry Mullen Band, Feedback, and the Hype. They settled on U2 after browsing a list of suggestions from a family friend, punk musician Steve Averill. It was the name they hated the least.

5. Even though it is now universally reviled as a half-formed collection of songs and blight on U2’s otherwise pristine discography, the group’s techno-heavy ninth studio album Pop debuted in the No. 1 position in 32 countries when it was originally released in March 1997. Rolling Stone issued it four stars out of five, declaring they’ve “made some of the greatest music of their lives.”

6. Following in the footsteps of the Beatles, the Band, and the Who, U2 were the fourth rock band ever to be featured on the cover of Time magazine. The April 29, 1987 cover featured the band’s name in flames with the headline, “Rock’s Hottest Ticket.”

7. Many fans believe 1987’s The Joshua Tree was originally intended to be a double album, a theory backed by the fact that singles such as “With Or Without You” and “Where the Streets Have No Name” came with a bounty of quality b-sides that would put most other bands’ main output to shame. Bono further fanned the flames when he admitted, “The album is almost incomplete. ‘With or Without You’ doesn't really make sense without ‘Walk to the Water’ or ‘Luminous Times.’ And ‘Trip Through Your Wires’ doesn’t make that much sense without ‘Sweetest Thing.’”

8. The band’s fourth album, 1984’s The Unforgettable Fire, was named after a series of paintings created by survivors of the atomic bomb attacks in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Because of the band’s strong Christian roots, many people believe it has to do with Bono’s strong affinity for the Bible. But 1981’s October remains the only album with overtly religious lyrics.

9. The sunglasses aren’t just there to make Bono look like a rock star. The U2 singer says he has an allergy to salicyclates: “That means I lose my voice or I fall asleep in the strangest places, like once on the lighting board for Sonic Youth, one of the loudest concerts in the world. And I get red eyes, which is one of the reasons I wear glasses.”

10. Larry Mullen Jr. gets regular injections of bull’s blood. Bill Flanagan’s book, U2 at the End of the World, claims the drummer uses the holistic treatment for dealing with a bad back: “Bono says Larry tried different doctors without success until he went to a German who brought in a holistic healer who started giving Larry shots of bull’s blood. That did the trick! Larry’s Irish doctor refuses to accept it―he looks at X rays of Larry’s crooked spine and says it’s impossible, but Larry feels fine. He flies to Germany for shots of bull’s blood regularly.”

Monday, May 12, 2008

Bono Praised for Charity Efforts

Rocker Bono and artist Damien Hirst were praised last night at a Valentine's Day charity auction for raising more than $40 million for AIDS relief. Now that's impressive!

The U2 star teamed up with Hirst to head "The (Red) Auction" event at the Gagosian Gallery in New York City, which sold off contemporary art to the highest bidders.

Jasper Johns, Chuck Close, Jeff Koons, Ed Ruscha, Matthew Barney, Banksy, Richard Prince and Antony Gormley were among the 100 artists who donated masterpieces.

Auctioneers Sotheby's have hailed the $42.6 million that was raised as one of the biggest single charity events in history. Organizers were originally hoping to raise around $29 million. All proceeds from the fundraiser will be donated to the United Nations' HIV relief initiative in Africa.

Kudos to celebrities like Bono that actually use their celebrity status for a good cause!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

U2 tower now ready for Elevation

After years of planning, wrangling and rowing, it finally looks like the landmark U2 tower is finally set to get off the ground. Plans for the Liffey highrise remain on course even though a formal agreement with the developers has still not been struck.

The Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) said negotiations between it and the preferred bidders -- a consortium including U2 members -- "are due to be completed shortly."

The DDDA expects "construction of the tower to begin by the end of this year or early next year," a spokesman said.

Geranger Ltd. was chosen by the DDDA as the preferred bidder for the €200m project on Britain Quay in October, beating off competition from Sean Dunne's Mountbrook Homes.

Geranger, a consortium consisting of Ballymore Properties, developer Paddy McKillen and the members of U2, plans to build a skyscraper soaring 60m higher than the Spire.


The scheme contains a design for an egg-shaped recording studio suspended beneath a battery of vertical wind turbines and a huge solar panel at the top. This "energy centre" will raise the overall height from 130 metres to 180 metres.

The Geranger project, a tilted triangular tower designed by Foster & Partners, will include a public viewing platform offering panoramic views over the city and Dublin Bay.

This will be located just below U2's "pod" studio, which will be separated from the structure for acoustic reasons.

Norman Foster's practice is best known for the Swiss Re or "Gherkin" tower in the city of London.

DDDA director of architecture John McLaughlin said that the Foster scheme "had the edge because its public spaces were really well handled" and it provided a gateway to a bridge over the Dodder where it joins the Liffey.

In addition to the tower, which will largely comprise luxury apartments, the scheme includes a five-star hotel in a flanking building, and a block of 34 social and affordable apartments.

Monday, May 5, 2008

U2 attend U23D premiere in Dublin

The band arriving at Cineworld in Dublin for the premiere of U23D. Shakily captured by 'U2Neat'.


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