Joe Elliott on U2

With U2 bound for Dublin next week, it's time to dig up another U2 story. Def Leppard's Joe Elliott recalls his first meeting with Bono and explains why Songs Of Innocence is his favourite U2 record.

“We came to Ireland in February 1984, and one of the first things we did socially was visit the SFX. We went to see Simple Minds and ran into Bono backstage. Even though we hadn’t had huge success in Europe yet, Bono was aware of us because U2 had been over in the States at the same time. Anyway, he pulls out a pen and paper and writes down his home phone number. He says, ‘Listen, I know you’re new in town and don’t know anybody – if you need anything, call me'.

I remember thinking, ’Well this wouldn’t have happened in London!’ It was such a lovely thing to do. We used to hang around with Adam quite a lot. We’d eat at the Celtic Mews and get completely fucked up in the Pink Elephant or something [laughs]. I really appreciated the social acceptance from U2. Here’s us, a bunch of Brits: we come to Ireland and they say ‘Welcome'. It was beautiful.

“This is probably going to blow some people’s minds, but my favourite U2 album is Songs Of Innocence. It’s a fantastic return to form. It reminds me of October or Boy, especially on songs like ‘Raised By Wolves’, which could be from 1981. I saw them live in Boston in June and they were amazing. It’s cool that they’ve stayed on top for so long. It’s also kind of strange when you think that there’s so many people out there who want to kill Bono because of his political ventures and stuff, but the Italians, the Germans, the Swiss... they just don’t care about that [laughs].

“There’s as many people who want to kill him as kiss him in Ireland. I get that, but no matter what anyone thinks, they set the yardstick. It was borne out of all the right intentions too. These guys couldn’t even play when they first got together. They developed as a team and they don’t go in for oneupmanship.

“I fuckin’ love ‘em. Always have, always will.”

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