With a new 'best of' bringing the band's story up to date U2's guitar man steps forward to riff on good times and bad, the private life of a public figure, discovering the secrets of the universe on mushrooms and why, after all these years, few things match the high of being a member of U2. Special hotpress.com members edition: "director's cut" featuring interview sections unavailable anywhere else.
In common with its occasional occupants, U2’s famous Hanover Quay studio on Dublin’s Docklands is still standing tall and sturdy in the midst of a whole lot of rock & rubble. As the nineties segued into the noughties, most of the buildings surrounding the innocuous-looking, warehouse-like structure were demolished to make way for an as-yet-unfinished public promenade, but as Sam, the highly affable studio manager, explains, “The corporation seem to have slowed up the project a bit, so it should be here for another couple of years yet.”
If cracking new single ‘Electrical Storm’ is anything to go on (and, of course, it is) then it’s probably safe to say that the same is true of U2. Barring death, divorce or disaster, Bono, Larry, Adam and Edge will undoubtedly be with us for another couple of years yet. Midway through their third decade together, and coming off the back of the enormous twin successes of their acclaimed All That You Can’t Leave Behind album and the subsequent Elevation tour, the band have never seemed so tight, potent, real and relevant. As the vast majority of their contemporaries fall by the wayside, fade into obscurity or survive by unashamedly rehashing their tired old formulas, U2 are one of the few acts who’ve been around since the 70’s who’re still risk-taking, still experimenting with sonic possibilities and pushing the rock & roll envelope out. No wonder they’ve just been put on a stamp!
Inside, through the heavy metal door and past the security cameras, Hanover Quay is bright, spacious and if not quite alive with activity, not quite dead either. The band haven’t arrived yet but have telephonically communicated that they’re on their way (with the exception of Bono, who’s lying low somewhere, recuperating from his latest trans-Atlantic jaunt).
Downstairs in the Green Room, Donal Scannel and Sebastian Clayton are busily setting up the equipment for an interview with Sebastian’s older - and slightly better known - sibling, to be broadcast on the band’s website U2.com. One floor above them, in a big, airy room with a full-sized paddle boat on the wall (presumably there in case Flood comes around), Sam offers your reporter culinary delights from a well-stocked buffet, while veteran band aide Principle Management’s Sheila Roche chats and reminisces about the last ten years of U2. In a nutshell, she says, it’s been madness - but memorable madness.
Certainly the last ten years represent a fairly wild and turbulent period in the group’s history - a decade that saw them maturing, but never mellowing. Their forthcoming The Best & The B-Sides of 1990 - 2000 showcase the hits and highs of a hugely experimental body of work crafted and grafted against all sorts of difficult deadlines and unforeseen odds - creative differences, sozzled bass players, dearly departed friends and massive malfunctioning mechanical lemons amongst them.
But no need to elaborate further, because the man millions know simply as The Edge has just walked up the stairs, politely apologising for the lateness of his arrival. Slim, trim and healthier-looking than your average rock guitarist, he looks great for a 41-year-old - so great, in fact, that he can somehow get away with dressing like a 14-year-old without looking ridiculous. Today, his trademark skullcap is a knitted black affair, his top is as white, bright and expensive as his gleaming teeth, and his widely flared denims are held together at the seams with enough safety pins to spark a full-scale airport security alert. Pretty nifty for a father of four.
Once comfortably seated in an adjoining room, we swiftly get down to business. A consummate professional, who takes the whole interview business more seriously than most, he listens to each question intently and measures his responses very carefully. His sentences come slowly, and in fits and starts . . . so that you’re never quite sure if he’s finished talking . . . or if there’s an addendum . . . and then another little observation at the end.
All told, he’s a highly articulate interviewee . . . but an absolute bitch to transcribe.
OLAF TYARANSEN: The band made a massive artistic leap from 1987’s The Joshua Tree to 1991’s Achtung Baby. How would you define the difference between 80’s U2 and 90’s U2?
THE EDGE: I think we made a play for artistic freedom at the beginning of the 90’s, partly out of a sense that we needed to move on and try something very different, and also out of a sense of just wanting to change the way the band were perceived. It got a bit stifling at the end of the 80’s because of the massive success of The Joshua Tree, and also I suppose our music at that point was so against the grain - you know, that was the period of ‘Material Girl’ and Reagan and Thatcher politics. And we were kind of coming in, sounding incredibly earnest in having a political conscience, and I think at the end of that tour we felt that we’d been robbed of any kind of . . . balance . . . to the way people perceived us.
So Achtung Baby, the first album of the 90’s, was a definite play to redress the balance and show other sides of what we were about as artists and, you know, just people really. So hence the interest in new lyric approaches, introducing some irony, writing from the third person, things that we hadn’t done before. And, from a musical point of view, still wanting to communicate in the way that we always do to a mass audience, but bringing into our sound a lot more extreme influences, a lot of industrial music, a lot of dance music - aesthetics that wouldn’t have been part of what we’d done in the 80’s.
You also began utilising a lot of studio technology . . .
We’d always seen the studio as a creative tool but I think in the 90’s’ work we pushed that a stage further. I suppose the sound of some of our early records is a band playing very simple ideas but making great use out of simple things. When it came to the 90’s’ work, we were being more experimental and we got more interested in the abuse of technology - seeing what happens when you push something to the point where it’s almost about to break. There’s a certain texture to the sound, particularly of Achtung Baby, which is very much about technology on the verge of breakdown.
It was about relationships on the verge of breakdown as well, wasn’t it? By all accounts, the band’s early sessions in Berlin’s Hansa Studios were fairly strained.
Yeah. Well, I think anytime you make a radical change to what you’ve been doing, it’s a case of everyone having to reassess, so there was a period at the beginning of the 90’s where there was so much up for grabs and everyone had to find their feet again in a new milieu. And that took a while.
Larry thought he was being phased out of the band at one point, didn’t he?
(Laughs) I think we all guard our corner of what it is to be in U2 quite jealously, and I think Larry might have felt a little threatened when we started using drum machines. But we never had it in our mind to go out on the road, or indeed into the studio, and not use Larry. It’s just as a songwriting tool, sometimes it gets inspiring to start a piece from some completely different point of view. And so loops on drum machines and a lot of the dance forms were great springboards for us as songwriters. But those periods of friction were I guess the kind of thing that might split up bands that had less of a sense of being a band. And it’s one of the things that makes what we do special - the fact that we are a real band, that there is a lot of commitment and loyalty and a deep friendship there. So it would take a hell of a lot to really threaten those relationships and that commitment to U2 - for all of us. So in that sense it might have been a bad period, but it didn’t last very long.
The band’s internal relationships weren’t the only ones under strain. You were in the process of getting divorced and Guggi’s long-term relationship had also just ended. How did you feel about Bono lyrically expressing what he imagined to be going on in your head?
Well . . .(pauses). I suppose there’s a certain kind of bleeding of ideas and, em . . . (long pause). I suppose there’s an emotional connection between the members of the band. So it felt like, although I recognised something that I was going through in a song, it just felt like he was writing in a general sense about what was happening amongst our group of friends.
You were all turning thirty around then, weren’t you?
Yeah. There was a lot of stuff going on (smiles wryly). Some not-so-great stuff, and a lot of great stuff. I suppose Bono was just picking up what was in the air and it came through in the lyrics. But, in a lot of cases, the music is the thing that inspires the lyric and the themes.
He writes a lot of his lyrics on the mic, doesn’t he?
Yeah. Often the lyric is the last thing. In fact, most of the time it’s the last thing. So we’ll end up with Bono trying to figure out what the music is saying and, I guess, therefore, since my end of it is the music, a lot of what I was going through was going into the music.
Tracks like ‘Love Is Blindness’?
Actually, that was one that Bono did write the lyric for first. It started out just on piano. But things like ‘Ultraviolet’, ‘You’re So Cruel’, songs like that. The sort of feeling was very strong. And with our material, we start out with a sense of a piece of music and where it might go, and we chip away and try different versions of it until it starts to become the best example of that, in terms of its arrangement. So it takes on a certain crystal form. And at that point then you get into the lyric phase - and you finish up the songs. So there’s a long process where the music is worked on.
But in Ireland it’s funny how lyrics are the . . . (pauses). I suppose because Ireland is a literary place, lyrics are what people pick up on. I think it’s the only country in the world, particularly related to Hot Press, where the music isn’t associated with the songwriting. In Hot Press, songwriting is always a Bono reference, not a U2 reference, which I find interesting.
Does that piss you off?
Well, it used to surprise me somewhat. At this point I just take it as one of the idiosyncrasies of this country. In some ways Ireland is very highly developed on a literary perspective, but I suppose very underdeveloped in a musical or visual way. It’s a unique perspective in Ireland, I think.
Speaking of visual perspectives, tell me how the idea for the ZOO TV tour came about.
I think it started with ‘The Fly’ video. Bono, given that he’s the focus, he’s the communicator when it comes to the shows, he’s standing in the middle of the stage putting over the lyrics and the songs - he suddenly found this other way to perform, through that video. That opened a certain door for him, and when we started putting the show together with our designer, Pete Williams, we got the idea of taking images, taking TV as an idea, and putting screens on stage. That started us down that road and, as a result of working with various different video artists, we ended up with ZOO TV.
You looked like you were having fun with it!
It was just an incredible playpen - especially for Bono. It was so inspiring a place to be. No-one had ever gone there in terms of live performance, so it was virgin territory and we were just having an absolute ball working with all these great people and pushing out the envelope of what rock & roll in a live context can be about. In some ways it was getting back to some of the very earliest shows that we’d done in McGonagles, where we were touching on more of a performance art mixed with rock & roll aspect of it. It was like coming back. And also I suppose some of the early [Virgin] Prunes’ shows that we had been part of. So those early ideas were finding a place in this new live idea.
Using television was certainly a very timely idea, given that the Gulf War was starting and TV news channels were suddenly required viewing.
Yeah. Once we’d figured out that it was going to be television, a lot of connections started to happen. It was a very dark time with the Gulf War. I think it was the period when cable TV - particularly CNN and Sky - started to have a major impact. Because it was like you were watching history unfolding live on TV. But what we were aware of was how editorialised that coverage was. It was having the opposite effect to what you might have imagined. Instead of it drawing people closer to the issues and making people more aware - and therefore more concerned - about what was actually happening, and more motivated, it was actually desensitising people to what was going on.
It became a form of entertainment. . .
Yeah, it was almost as if the news had become another entertainment form, and at the end of the news you just turned off and went back to your life. There seemed to be no sense that there was any need to respond in any way. And I think we’re seeing now that the net result of that is there’s a much greater appetite for ‘reality TV’, as they call it. I think that is completely as a result of this thirst people have developed for not fiction, but what’s actually happening, as a form of entertainment. And it smacks of the Roman Coliseum or whatever - people showing up to watch the latest tragedy unfolding. And I guess with the ZOO TV shows we were trying to draw some attention to what was going on.
How did the live link-ups with Sarajevo come about?
We first made contact with this guy Carter, who was an American. He’d gone to Sarajevo . . . (pauses). I think he’d had some traumatic experience, I think his girlfriend had dumped him or something had freaked him out. I dunno. Anyway, some people would go and get drunk, but he decided to go and move to Sarajevo. And he hung out there for a while - I think he’d studied film in college - and next thing he’s in the middle of hell. And he started to shoot some footage of what was going on and interviewing people. So he showed up in the early part of the outdoor tour, when we were playing in Italy, and he showed us some of his footage and was telling us what was going on in Sarajevo - about this underground music scene and how people, during the evening when the mortars were going off, would go underground to these death metal clubs, where they’d use the heaviest of music to drown out the noise. And he suggested that we might try and get there, that it would make a big difference. So we tried to smuggle ourselves onto a UN plane and go a week or so after he first contacted us, but in the end we couldn’t get permission. And we were in the middle of a tour and the insurance company were going crazy so we sort of gave up the idea, and basically said, ‘We’ll see you again, we’ll be back’.
Sarajevo was a pretty dangerous place to be heading. Is there a fearless aspect to the band?
I don’t think any more than anyone (shrugs). In some ways we’re very privileged because we do have a lot of back-up, and if we’re ever in a position where there’s real danger, we’re probably gonna be given some pretty good advice about how to handle ourselves. So it’s not like we’re like he was, walking completely blind into a situation. I don’t think we’re particularly courageous in that sense. We’re curious. I think that’s probably a stronger trait. We were very curious about what was going on and we wanted to see if there was anything that we could do that might have some impact, make some difference.
Basically we were up for being taken advantage of for the benefit of the people of Sarajevo, in whatever way that that might be good. So anyway, we couldn’t go to Sarajevo, but then this idea came up of utilising the ZOO TV broadcast equipment and actually beaming in interviews, which we could do live from Sarajevo and beam them into the shows in Europe. Which we did.
There was a fairly mixed reaction to that, wasn’t there?
Some would say it was so heavy and such a downer for the audience that it kind of ruined the shows. But although there were a couple of occasions where I think there was a major impact and you could feel the whole vibe disappearing, I think it’s probably the thing that the people who were at those shows will remember longer than anything else. Just that moment of seeing the un-editorialised view of what was going on. Just normal people explaining what was happening in Sarajevo, what their life was like. And it had a sort of power that no news report had. We really just gave up the stage for whatever length of time the interviews were - sometimes they were two minutes, sometimes ten minutes. And I’m sure there were people who didn’t want to watch, who didn’t wanna hear what was happening, who were just there for a quiet night out.
Or a loud night out!
Oh yeah, a loud night out - very loud! (laughs) But we just thought it was an opportunity to maybe try and get some attention back onto Sarajevo, because at that point it had completely dropped off the front pages of the newspapers - it was page 5 or 6, if you were lucky - but the siege was continuing and there were people being killed every day. So we just thought it was valid because, in the end, there’s always been a political aspect to the band and it’s part of what we do. And people coming to our shows might not have expected it but, if they knew what we were like as a band, they shouldn’t have been particularly surprised by it.
U2’s next record was 1993’s Zooropa, which was partly recorded while you were still on tour. But you were the main driving force behind it, weren’t you?
Because of my position as the kind of musical instigator, I spent a lot of time on my own going through a lot of tapes from previous albums, you know, some of the stuff we’d worked up while we were on the road and then some new ideas. So I got quite a lot of stuff together for what was supposed to be an EP, and I was playing everyone these things, laying it out - you know, ‘These are what we can start work on, what do you wanna work on?’ And we did I suppose a week or so, and then Bono came in one day and said, ‘Look, I know it might sound a bit mad but I think, with all the stuff you’ve got going here, we might have another album. What do you say we just push a bit further and a bit harder, bring in some producers - see what Brian’s [Eno} doing, see what Flood’s doing - and we’ll try and do a very quick record.’ And I just thought, well, there’s no downside to trying it, if it doesn’t happen we can still do an EP. But we really pushed very hard and got through a lot of ideas quickly.
But not quite quickly enough. . .
No. Unfortunately, we didn’t finish before the next leg of the tour started, so there was about a ten-day period at the end of the Zooropa sessions when we were flying back from concerts and doing mixes in Dublin. I’d be in the studio until 3 or 4 in the morning, and then going home, getting up the next day and getting on a plane at lunchtime, going off doing a show, coming back at 1am, staying up again till 4am. So it was pretty mind-numbing by the end. But it’s a record I really love, because it does have a certain spontaneity, a certain sense of ideas left in their raw form.
It’s probably one of U2’s least emotional records.
That’s true generally, but then there’s songs like ‘Stay’ and ‘The First Time’ that are incredibly resonant emotionally.
And there’s also ‘Numb’, which you sang . . .
Well, that’s the least emotional song (laughs).
Is that how you felt at the time? Numb?
I think it was definitely a comment on what we’ve just been talking about - the TV news as entertainment syndrome. Just that sense that you were getting bombarded with so much that you actually were finding yourself shutting down and unable to respond because there was so much imagery and information being thrown at you. So that was really where that lyric came from.
There was also a lot of U2 imagery and information flying around out there, particularly on that tour. As the band’s level of celebrity dramatically increased, did you ever feel that, like the song says, you were giving yourselves away?
At times when you’re on the road I think you probably feel that. You start to become so caught up in the shows, and you’re constantly travelling, you don’t really see your friends or your family, so you are in a sense cocooned. And that was in the middle of that tour so I suppose there is that side of it. But I think over the years we’ve figured out how to make sure that you don’t completely lose your connection with whatever your connection to reality happens to be. And I’m sure mine is very different to most people’s (laughs).
You’ve pretty much managed to keep your personal life out of the press - certainly a lot more than Adam and Bono. Is that a deliberate strategy?
It’s something you have to manage. I didn’t get into a rock & roll band to become a celebrity. I like the fact that I’m known for the music that we produce, because in the end that’s what I’m interested in. And in the end I think it’s the thing that we will be remembered for.
Do you enjoy any aspects of your celebrity?
I don’t particularly. I don’t particularly relish being in the press. I don’t particularly crave that sort of attention. Again, when it comes along because of the music or because of the shows or because of the albums, I like it because I think it reflects well on what we’re about as a band. But when it’s about you divorced from what you do, when it’s fame for being famous, I really can do without that. I know some people would talk about publicity - about getting a great piece of publicity - but I really don’t have any interest.
Tell me how U2’s next 90’s project - the Passengers’ album Original Soundtracks 1 - came about.
Well, we always start a project with an experiment. For example, before Achtung Baby, Bono and myself did the music for a stage production of A Clockwork Orange in London.
Actually, I was hoping that ‘Alex Descends Into Hell For A Bottle Of Milk’ would make the B-Sides of the ‘Best Of’.
Yeah, that track had something. But that work was done very quickly and really it wasn’t made as a record, because what we were doing was writing music that could be performed live. So there was never a record, as such, of that work.
Anthony Burgess [author of A Clockwork Orange] wasn’t overly impressed with it, was he?
No, he wasn’t, but I guess we weren’t 100% surprised by that. I think he saw himself as a great composer and a part-time writer (laughs).. But he also only ever really wrote one book that captured the imagination, even though he was extremely prolific. But anyway, the Passengers record was a project like that - an experimental project that we hatched the plan for with Eno. At first it was to be a soundtrack album, but as no appropriate film came up we just kept working and eventually decided to release the record as a pretend soundtrack. So all the sleeve-notes are related to non-existent movies. A lot of people really liked the record. Dance companies use it a lot, film documentary makers - it’s always been licensed to this use or that use. And it has one of my favourite U2 songs on it, which is ‘Miss Sarajevo’.
But isn’t that a Passengers’ song, rather than a proper U2 song?
Well, it’s on Passengers and it is credited as Passengers, but I suppose of the pieces it’s the one that Bono and myself probably put the most time into. And at the time both of us realised that it would be really important to have at least a couple of fully fledged songs on the record. So we put a lot of time into ‘Miss Sarajevo’ and ‘Your Blue Room’, just to complete the circle.
And then came the Pop album in ‘97, which didn’t get particularly great reviews. . .
We got some great reviews for that!
I know - I wrote one of them. But Adam has been quite disparaging about it in the past and Larry practically disowned it in Q magazine this month!
I like it. I think it could’ve been better. But maybe what you’ve gotta realise is that the things that would irritate us are things that a lot of people would never even notice. Things like the last few percent of the mixing. . .
You had to rush to get it finished in order to get out and tour it, didn’t you?
Yeah. We had to mix it in a real hurry and the last few weeks of that record were incredibly busy and full-on. It’s always like that with us, but there was a slight air of desperation that time because we knew that we just had to finish it and do it, because there was so much pressure on us to get over to start rehearsals for the tour. And Popmart was a major undertaking because it was outdoors from the get-go and it was a big production and all the rest. So unfortunately we felt a little bit cheated as we finished that record. We felt that we needed a few extra weeks, maybe even just to get a bit of objectivity and reconsider some of the mixes and make sure that they were the best ones, etc., etc. So that’s really what Larry was talking about. But I don’t think the songs themselves were gonna change that much. This is just the arrangements, the streamlining of the sound. So I have to say that I still stand over the record.
I notice that you’ve used new mixes of the two songs taken from Pop on the ‘Best Of’.
Yeah. We have a chance now with the new mixes on the ‘Best Of’ to revisit those songs and iron out those fine points that we didn’t get a chance to get to on the album itself. A lot of people are probably going to prefer the original mixes, but I think that this is closest to what we had intended at the time.
Gavin Friday once told me that the best way to approach Pop is to treat it almost like a vinyl double album - four very distinct sides of three songs each.
Yeah, it’s funny how songs can sometimes fall into those divisions. I mean, it’s not really the way we were thinking at the time but it often happens that there are movements within a record that you can spot afterwards. It starts to take on a sense of continuity that you hadn’t anticipated.
Why the decision to experiment with dance culture?
A certain amount of it was just reacting to the situation we were in, where Larry couldn’t play for a couple of months. He’d hurt his back and was told he couldn’t really play for a couple of months, so he was exercising and all of that. Anyway, we didn’t have Larry so we thought, well, let’s just start writing with loops and drum beats. I mean that’s how I generally start anyway. Dating back to the War album, you know, I always worked on my own with drum machines and four-track cassette machines and got something going.
The available technology has moved on quite a lot from 1983. . .
It has a bit, yeah (smiles). But, at this point, I suppose it was the first time we were using loops. And Howie B was coming in with stuff he’d prepared. And some of the best stuff that came out of those sessions were actually the live jams that we would set up, where I’d be on guitar, Howie would be on loops and Bono would be on voice. And Adam, I suppose, would be on bass sometimes as well. But there’s a kind of spontaneity which is incredible.
The thing is translating that into a U2 song. The songs took a lot of different turns. And at one point I remember during the mixing, we were getting our first few mixes back - a couple from Nellie Hooper, who was working in London, and we were working on our own in Dublin - and there was just something missing in the first rough mixes. And Flood at that point basically made it known that he really thought we were missing that band chemistry. That even though the conception of the record had been about dance aesthetics, in the end the unique thing that we had when we played together was one of the key ingredients of what made U2 what it is. And that was what was missing - whatever way we play when we’re playing together. So we did change two or three of the tunes, and we took out drum loops and got Larry playing. And we brought the record back from this position of being very trip-hop influenced, and brought it back to being closer to a U2 record. I think almost at that point we were setting ourselves up for All That You Can’t Leave Behind. Because by the end of the album we’d kind of taken the band as far in one direction as we could.
All That You Can’t Leave Behind was very obviously a back to basics album, bringing the band full circle. Which kind of begs the question, where to next for U2?
It’s very early days and I don’t know quite where it’s gonna go but, myself right now, I’m getting very excited about bands playing together in a room and what that sounds like. It sounds very fresh to me. So the albums I’m excited about are things like the Sonic Youth record or Mudhoney - things that are very visceral And dynamics and interaction of musicians is really a part of those records. You don’t really hear a lot in the way of production or manipulation of the sound. It is what it is. As pop music gets more and more produced, and hip-hop gets more and more sophisticated sonically, I think there’s a real power to a raw band sound. And I think people are reacting to it because it’s so different to everything else out there. That’s why I like it. It kind of reminds me of the feeling when we first formed. The band’s that we were listening to had that kind of life force, that vitality. And I think it’s time to revisit that.
What drives you to continue making music? I mean, you’ve been in U2 for more than half your life now and, at this stage, you’ve basically done and had it all - number one albums, sold-out world tours, loads of prestigious awards and accolades, more money then you could ever possibly spend . . .
I wish!!! (laughs).
Oh come on, Edge! You’re loaded!
Well, you know what? The great thing about that side of it is I don’t have to worry about it (grins).
Actually, I know this is a bit of a daft question, but do you have ‘The Edge’ as your name on your credit card?
I don’t - no (laughs).
Does Bono have ‘Bono’?
Em . . . I couldn’t swear to it. I dunno. But I am ‘David Evans’ to customs officials, policemen and sales assistants!!
A lot of rock & roll bands break-up when they become really successful because they all have fuck-you money, and so can easily afford to walk if the going gets tough. Given that none of you are short of a few bob, what do you think keeps U2 together?
I think bands break-up a lot of times because they get successful and they forget how hard it is to be great. And they start to think it’s easy - and that everything they do is great, because they’re great. And I just think that’s what it is. A certain kind of madness breaks out and they lose the plot. I think one thing about us as a band is we’re not afraid of criticism. And if something is really not great, we wanna hear! (laughs) We’re not interested in having our feelings spared by a producer or an engineer or somebody, if it’s really not there. We’d like to find out before the record’s in the shops.
Looking back, is there any U2 release you feel was a mistake? I’m thinking October . . .
I think we had something great going on the first album, Boy, and then we released a single called ‘Fire’, and, in retrospect, that was not the next step up. When we got to the October album - you know, we were on the road, it was very hard, it was the famous ‘difficult second record’ . . . But I think, looking back, there’s a strength to that album. It’s subtle, but there’s a real strength. And even though it probably wasn’t the album we went out to make, I still really rate it. So I don’t have any problems with that. But ‘Fire’ wasn’t . . . (pauses). I was disappointed at the time with it, that we didn’t get something stronger to follow-up on the Boy album.
That was recorded way back in the early 80’s. What do you think of the changes that have happened in Ireland since then?
I think some of them are really good and some of them are not so great. I think that there’s an element of materialism that’s come into Irish culture, which I don’t ever remember before. And that’s kind of a negative. But I think there’s a great vitality and a sense that anything’s possible, which is a new idea. Because in the 70’s and 80’s when we were starting out, it was a very different story and there was a very evident sense that if you were from Ireland then really - particularly in music - your best option was just buying a Transit van and buying a PA and just do the ballrooms. That’s the way to set yourself up. The idea of making records or going on the road abroad was just . . . (shakes head). It only happened to a few bands and all of those bands seemed to run out of resolve or confidence in themselves at a certain point.
Which bands are you thinking of?
I seem to remember so many American tours that Thin Lizzy had that were about to break - or Rory Gallagher the same. They always seemed to be on the verge of breaking. And I’m sure they were in some respects. But I always thought there was this sense, which was probably beaten into them as kids, that they should not expect to succeed, they should not expect to really go all the way. And that is definitely gone now and I really think that’s great because any of those bands - Lizzy and Rory Gallagher particularly, but a lot of other groups as well - could’ve really gone all the way and, for whatever reason, didn’t.
What do you make of Ireland’s recently discovered talent for manufactured pop?
Well, great pop is interesting and I’ve always liked it. And there is a lot of great pop, but there’s also a lot of really discardable pop and I just have no interest to be honest. I wouldn’t be bothered to get upset about it, because it’s always been around. There’s always been throwaway music. I don’t think this period is any different except that loads of it seems to be made in Ireland these days (laughs). But that’s OK. Occasionally, some great new stuff comes out. There’s a lot of great new bands and there’s a lot of great energy, and that’s nice to see.
I think at this point also, the U2 thing is much less of an impediment to young Irish groups. Because for years it seemed that every record company in the world was just looking for the next U2 - and signing anything that they thought sounded like it could become the next U2. It must have been very soul destroying for other groups who were on a different path. But I don’t think that’s where it’s at now. There’s so many other kinds of music being recognised.
Do you regret your own attempt to nurture that recognition yourselves with U2’s now-defunct Mother label?
I don’t regret it because I think it gave a lot of groups a chance that they wouldn’t have had otherwise. And at the same time I don’t think it would have been appropriate to have done it with a more commercial mentality because that wouldn’t have done what we wanted to do - which was to give something back, as it were, to the Irish music business.
The truth is that it’s very hard for labels to exist in Ireland because really you’ve gotta exist where the biggest market is and you’ve gotta have access to the greatest number of new artists. Because it’s only maybe one or two a year that really break big. So to really have a chance of being commercially successful you’ve gotta be in America and you’ve gotta be, I suppose to some extent, in Britain. So it’s really hard. Unless you’re running a shoestring kind of operation and concentrating on very established styles and markets, you’re always gonna be struggling. But we really wanted to do something in Ireland, giving Irish artists the chance and featuring new bands. So I wouldn’t change anything. And I’m not sure we ever thought, ‘Hey, this is gonna be a big label!’ I always think, in the back of our minds, we just saw it more like an opportunity to give something back to the Irish scene.
Have you encountered much home-grown begrudgery?
Early on, yes, there was a lot of begrudgery, but not at this point. I think people are maybe. . . suspicious, and if we get too distant you can sense people getting cynical about the group. I think contact is important to people feeling they have a part of what we’re about. So when we’re doing shows and, I suppose, doing interviews. . .(pauses). But sometimes when we’re away a lot, you come back and you start to see a certain cynicism about the band coming back again. It goes in cycles. You can almost take the temperature and get a feel for what people are thinking about the band at any given time. Around the time of the Slane concerts there was a huge amount of affection for the band . . . but I don’t know what it is right now (laughs).
You’ve got a second home in the south of France. How much of the year do you spend there?
Not as much as sometimes I’d like, because the kids are at school. It probably averages out about four weeks a year.
How’s your francais?
Not very good! (laughs).
You don’t seem to overly involve yourself in any of Bono’s extra-curricular activities. . .
We’ve always been involved with the political stuff. He’s taken on a lot of it over the last few years himself, because he’s had the opportunity to do it and he’s very good at it. If all of us were up to it, there’d never be any records or anything made (laughs). But we fully support him in it and, whilst I’m not necessarily up to speed on everything that he’s up to, we talk a lot about it and I know all the people that are part of the team. And from time to time we talk to them about ideas and brainstorm. So I don’t think of it as just something that Bono’s doing over here, that’s completely separate to U2. I just see it as Bono’s found this very effective way of tapping into the political world and he’s just doing what he can to maximise that impact. And I think the results are stunning!
He’s not doing it on his own, he has some great people working with him. And he’s also, to some extent, pushing an open door, because there are a lot of administrations around the world who really do agree with the principles of debt cancellation and see the need to do something about the AIDS epidemic in Africa. But what he’s provided for a lot of these administrations is a way of focusing their electorate on the issues and turning it into a celebrated cause, as opposed to one that’s just been looked at by civil servants and lesser members of the government. This is now something that people are talking about. And whenever you get attention put on an issue like this and people start talking about it, politicians feel more comfortable in doing things, because what they really ultimately wanna know is that their people are behind it. So I think it’s been great. And the figures involved are staggering. You’re talking billions of dollars. And if it ultimately goes through to the extent that Bono and his friends are trying to push for, it’s an incredible change. It makes Live Aid look like a drop in the ocean. It’s like so many hundreds of times bigger in terms of its impact.
We were talking about the Gulf War earlier. What do you think of what’s happening at the moment?
Well, I never felt that there would be a unilateral action from America without some kind of support from the UN. I hope that turns out to be the case because I think it would be really hard to justify America going off on their own without the support of the UN. I would find that difficult to support. I think if the UN are behind action, I suppose I’ll just have to feel that it’s justified. There’s definitely a threat there. It’s not a nice feeling to think that there’s the potential for nuclear weapons to fall into the wrong hands. But I suppose in the end I would prefer to see a solution being put forward that does not involve invading Iraq. Because there’s so many negatives, not simply for the innocent people of Iraq, but in terms of its impact on stability around the world. So if there’s another way, I think it would be definitely preferable.
Do you pay close attention to Irish politics?
I would not consider myself fully up to speed but I try and keep abreast of what’s going on. And the same in the North, I would try and keep on top of what’s happening.
U2 have had some involvement there, haven’t they?
Yeah. I’ve done a couple of things with the SDLP, who I would still see as being the real heroes of the North, in terms of what they’ve contributed and the stance that they’ve maintained since their inception through the most difficult of times. Catching bullets from both sides and whatever. They are very courageous people - John Hume, in particular. And right now they don’t seem to be reaping the benefits of it, that I believe they deserve politically. But they still have a huge part to play in the North and it would be nice to see them going from strength to strength.
Do you meet many politicians generally?
I’m sure more than most rock & roll guitar players. But not nearly as many as Bono (laughs).
I see from the gossip columns that you’ve been having some planning permission problems recently. You don’t know any politicians who could help?
No. So I was thinking of trying to arrange a special charity concert in aid of rock stars having planning permission problems! (laughs)
Does it annoy you when the Irish press gloats over things like that?
Not really. I know the score. They’re just trying to sell newspapers and we’re relatively easy targets for that kind of thing.
Have you ever been hurt by something that’s been written?
Personally, no. But on other people’s behalf, I have. But they’re in the past and I don’t really wanna drag them up again. It’s not terribly complicated. Newspapers have to sell copies, it’s a completely commercial decision. I suppose it’s a shame that the tabloid mentality which has ruled the roost in Britain for so many years is now so well-established in the Irish media. I think of it as somewhat of a loss of innocence in a sense. It does seem that Irish newspapers are far more savvy in that respect than they used to be. And again getting back to the ZOO TV idea of the news as entertainment, I suppose it has always had that element but it seems to be becoming more and more of that as time goes on.
Yourself, Larry and Bono were all members of the Shalom Christian prayer group in the early days of U2. Are you still religious?
I still have a spiritual life, but I’m not really a fan of religion per se. You know, what I believe is very much what I ended up coming to. It’s not a doctrine that is connected to any church or any religious group. It’s very much my own personal thing. But I have to say that I think there’s a lot of great people in churches - very highly motivated people. Bono’s run into a lot of them working in Africa and they’re incredible. It’s very hard to say anything bad about where they’re coming from or what they believe. So I guess in some ways, I’m open to all that stuff. It just doesn’t work for me.
Are you raising your kids as Catholics?
Em . . . technically yes, but again I’m not in favour of presenting something that I think is ultimately very personal in any kind of fundamental way. I think it’s really up to everyone, when they reach a certain age, to figure it out for themselves. You know, they are Catholic in terms of their upbringing or whatever, but really they’ll decide themselves what they wanna believe, when they get older.
What ages are they?
My eldest is 18 and my youngest is three.
Bono and Larry both have young kids as well. Will that make touring more difficult in the immediate future?
Well, it’s never been easy leaving your family, and it certainly doesn’t get any easier when you’ve got kids. You just try and balance it out. I think we’ll probably do fewer of the very long tours because that’s what really takes its toll. But I mean we are really a live band. That’s where we started out and that’s one of the main things people think about when they think of U2, is our concerts, so I can’t see us stopping or seriously cutting back. But we probably won’t have the tours going on for quite so long.
Are you going to tour to promote the ‘Best Of’?
No. We’ll wait until we’ve done another studio record and then we’ll decide what we wanna do. We really had a great time on the last tour.
Was that because Elevation was far less cluttered with onstage gadgetry and special effects than ZOO TV and Popmart?
I think it was the songs. There was a lot of strong material on the album and it felt really good to be playing brand new songs and classic songs - and realising that the new songs fit in and were easily as good as anything we’d ever done. So that was a very good feeling. Also realising that playing together as a band was as inspiring as it’s ever been. We’re still surprising each other and still have it when we play with each other. So that was another good feeling. And I suppose the album, because it was arranged and conceived in that form of the primary colours of rock & roll - guitar, bass, drums and a frontman - it just made it a more fun tour. It was more interactive. So a lot of reasons. It was good for us to strip it back again to simple, essential elements and see that it really hangs together. Because in the end it’s about songs really.
What’s been the highest point of U2’s career for you personally?
Well, I think the last tour was a particular high-point because, as I said, we were doing maybe our best tour, and maybe our best album, after being together for more than 20 years. And I think we’re probably at this point able to appreciate the successes - and the benefits of those successes - more than we were when they first came along.
How do you mean?
When you’re 23 and you’re having a big tour or a big hit record, it’s so overwhelming that you don’t have the capacity to really relish it. You’re just trying to figure out how to swim in the tide of success. But now it’s like we’re really appreciating this most recent success and what it is to be a band and what it is to play with people you respect and love and who inspire you. All the things that the fans have probably known for years but we were too busy to really appreciate. So this is definitely my favourite phase of the band’s history. And it’s a different thrill to what you get when you first have a number one album or when you first get on Top Of The Pops or your first number one in America or the first time you sell-out a stadium tour, but I think what’s really great about this phase is that it’s thrown the emphasis back on the music more and more. I’m really excited about where we can go with our music. I really think it’s a great phase, a great period for us.
You’ve never been so popular really, have you? Both commercially and critically . . .
Yeah, we’re hip now suddenly. We were the band who always seemed to be swimming against the tide. Suddenly we’re turning around. Coldplay are talking about how big an influence we are, and so many young groups coming through are talking about our early work. We couldn’t be more in the moment in terms of music generally. So it’s just great. I hope we don’t fuck-up (laughs).
Are any new Irish bands floating your boat at the moment?
At the Hot Press Awards there were a couple of bands that I thought were really exciting. You’ll have to help me with the names. I’ve just got a bad memory for names. I haven’t heard any of them on record. One of them reminded me of the early punk days - Undertones, Reflex, Stiff Little Fingers, that sort of vibe. Real raw stuff, real vitality.
I wasn’t actually there this year, but I think you’re probably talking about The Revs.
Yeah! They were one of the bands. There was another one that was even more interesting though. I think they’re from the south. I’m sure Niall would know. I can’t remember what they were called but they had a real vibe, a real charisma about them [The band in question was The Frames - OT]. I think Kila have got something on a traditional front. I haven’t seen them live but I hear that’s quite an experience. I’ve got a couple of their records though.
What are your feelings on Napster?
Obviously musicians need to get paid or else there’s no chance of making more records - particularly if there’s no record companies out there willing to release them. I don’t think it’s got to that, but I guess I’m concerned enough if rock & roll stops being a viable business. That would bother me. But I’ve a feeling there are a lot of positives to music interacting with the world of the Internet and computers, because actually I think people playing music on their computers is good for music. Computers are the biggest investment, so if people can find a way to enable computer owners to find music and enjoy it in a convenient manner, and still get paid, I think that’d be an incredible thing. And I think people are working on that. So far from seeing the Internet as a threat - and there are aspects of it that have to be watched - I think in the end it’s a much bigger opportunity than it is a threat.
Adam aside, U2 never really had a reputation as wild party animals or serious hellraisers. Do you enjoy partying?
I certainly do. Always have. But you know, we were so focused on the band and everything else that we were doing that the partying was something that we really only did the odd time. I guess there’s a side to that that I would see as a celebration - like some kind of carnival - and I don’t see anything wrong with it. But you’ve gotta bear in mind that if you’re doing it every night - or every weekend, even - then after a while you start to lose the reason why you’re doing it. And in the end, if you do too much of any drug - whether it’s alcohol or whatever - it will eventually end up taking the piss out of you, and you’ll end up a victim. So you want to be pretty smart about how you party and what you do - and what you don’t do.
Did U2 ever go through a phase of experimentation with mind-expanding drugs a la The Beatles?
Not really . . .
Tricky once told me a funny story about taking mushrooms with Bono in Jamaica. . .
Well, there’s one story about me doing mushrooms, which was in the Bill Flanagan book, which was about how I discovered all the secrets of the universe in Adam’s house one time. I was on my own and very, very much in the middle of a psychedelic experience. And I found my Walkman - a little like this thing (picks up Hot Press’s Sony) - and spent about four hours recording all the insights I was getting, all these amazing pearls of wisdom. So the following evening I remembered that I had done this, so I ran up to the room, put the tape in and hit the play button. And all I could hear was, ‘MUMPPHH, MUMPPHHH’ (makes muffled sound). I’d spent three hours talking to the battery compartment! All of that wisdom gone forever (laughs). It was a shame. As far as I can could remember, I’d figured out most of the important issues.
Which U2 record would’ve been most influenced by that kind of experimentation?
I don’t think our work has ever been influenced by that, because I think we realised almost at the very beginning of the band . . . (pauses). We’d been told that all bands are out of it on stage and so we tried that once in about 1977. And it was such an unmitigated disaster that we vowed at that point that we’d never do it again. I don’t know whether it’s true that some bands perform out of it, but certainly that night showed us that we were not gonna be one of those bands (laughs). It just wasn’t gonna work. So we’ve never recorded or played live while we were out of it.
Not even during the making of Pop?
No. You’re just gonna end up losing sharpness, losing objectivity. And far from being a release I think it would actually dull the mind. I know a lot of people do it - especially writers. William Gibson is famously a drinker and would do a lot of his work tanked - you know, sitting at the typewriter with a bottle of vodka. But I don’t think it would work for us.
U2 have collaborated with some interesting writers over the years - Salman Rushdie, William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg . . .
Yeah, William Burroughs! It’s one of the great thrills of being in a band and having a certain profile, you get to hang out with people like that. And people in bands are the greatest liggers of all, in my experience.
Had you read much of his work before meeting him?
Yeah, I’d read Burroughs’ and I’d read Allen’s work. We actually did some work with Allen, and William was in our video for ‘Last Night On Earth’. That was a thrill. Working with Martin Scorcese was a thrill as well. The track ‘The Hands That Built America’ [from the new Scorcese movie Gangs Of New York] turned out well. It’s the William Orbit mix on the ‘Best Of’, which I think is a beautiful version, but we’ve done various different mixes for the movie itself. More orchestral versions, more in keeping with the period of the film. But he’s just such a great character with incredible energy and creative force.
If U2 ended tomorrow, what would you do? Work on soundtracks?
I don’t know. I’d probably continue working in rock & roll because, in the end, although I do quite enjoy working on soundtracks - and I can do it - it’s not as much fun. In the end it’s a director’s form - movies. And you’re trying to interpret what the director wants all the time. But rock & roll - contemporary music - is one of the most unique forms because, almost like being a visual artist like a painter, you can put something together and release it, and no-one else has to really end up having anything to do with it. If you’re working in movies or TV, somebody is going to have some say in what goes out there eventually. So I like the purity of rock & roll, in that sense.
Does it ever worry you looking at bands like the Rolling Stones, still touring forty years on, that U2 won’t know when to call it a day? When do you think you’ll call a halt?
Well, I think really when it’s no longer inspiring and no longer challenging. When it becomes too easy or people stop really giving a fuck about it. And I mean the band, you know? If it ever gets to that point . . . (pauses). But I can’t really see it getting to that point and us not realising ourselves and calling it a day.
But I think the Stones touring is great, because you can’t see the Beatles playing live any more, you can’t see Elvis, you can’t see so many of the great groups, but you can still see the Stones. So in that sense they’re in a unique position. It might not be the original line-up, but they’re still the Stones. I don’t see anything wrong with it. And they still might surprise everyone. If they really started to operate as a band, if they really decided to go for it, I’m sure they could still make a great record. I’d love to hear that personally.
Do you have any other form of artistic release? Do you paint or write poetry or whatever?
I find rock & roll takes up all my time. I used to paint and I used to take photographs. I haven’t for a good few years and maybe I’ll get back to it at some point. But this is what I love doing - making music. And not just any old music - U2 music.
You’re your own biggest fan!
(Laughs) Not even that, I just find it fascinating. It’s a never-ending challenge - to write the perfect song, to make the perfect album. We’re still determined to give it a go.
The follow-up to Songs of Innocence will be called Songs of ExperienceRead More
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As the iNNOCENCE and eXPERIENCE tour finally comes to Paris, it's sure to be an emotional night. We'll be updating throughout the evening as the City of Lights welcomes Dublin's finest to the first of 2 nights at the AccorHotels Arena. [photo by Eoin McLoughlin]Read More
One of them forgot the words to 'One', but it was still an amazing jam!Read More
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In the run up to their Irish sojourn, The Edge spoke to Hot Press in an exclusive interview, in which the U2 guitarist gave an extraordinary insight into the band's meticulous approach to their Irish shows, talks openly about the state of the music industry, the bad luck that seemed to stalk the band at the start of the tour cycle and the benefits of that Apple deal - as well as the rise of Donald Trump and repealing the 8th amendment.Read More
U2 Live at 3Arena in DublinRead More
Whoever was privy to U2's gig last night must have been in awe of the incredible show the band put on this time. The designer Willie Williams lifts the lid on conjuring up one of the most captivating shows of the band's career.Read More
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Following the tragic events in the French capital 10 days ago, the band were forced to cancel two shows on their iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE tour; now, they've announced the new dates for the gigsRead More
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A brilliant opening bow in SSE Arena.Read More
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In his now-traditional interview with Larry Gogan.Read More
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Olaf Tyaransen looks forward to the appearance of U2 at 3Arena in Dublin and SSE Arena in Belfast.Read More
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Two new films this November.Read More
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...But the U2 guitarist has shown the world his nasty bruise.Read More
With the performance "tight" and the production "stunning", the world's biggest band get off to a terrific start in Vancouver.Read More
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The U2 singer speaks out on the forthcoming same-sex marriage referendum.Read More
Larry Mullen Sr. was aged 92Read More
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What our team of critics made of the records in the running for Irish Album Of The Year 2014.Read More
A hacksaw was apparently taken to one of the tree's limbs.Read More
New video features footage from Irish filmmaker Aoife McArdle's short film of the same name, depicting a love story set in Northern Ireland during The TroublesRead More
Minister Jan O'Sullivan announces four new ventures to receive fundingRead More
Bill Clinton, Daniel Day Lewis, Neil Jordan and Gabriel Byrne are also involved with the Bono-inspired Sons+Fathers.Read More
As part of the Feedback Kitchen series...Read More
Choice cut from Songs of Innocence grabs top spot in our end-of-year poll The release of Songs of Innocence may have caused a storm at the time, but now that the dust has settled, the quality of U2’s newest LP is clear for all to see.Read More
New dates added in North America and Europe...but Irish fans left waitingRead More
And those U2 Films Of Innocence vids just keep on coming!Read More
The videos from U2's Films Of Innocence have been hitting the 'net, and fab looking they are too!Read More
Guitarist compares the singer's injuries to those following a car crash, but says "he's doing OK"Read More
Special Dublin shows are also being planned for the end of next year...Read More
Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Coldplay's Chris Martin and Kanye West were in the supporting cast in World AIDS Day celebration...Read More
Adam Clayton, The Edge and Larry Mullen Jr. will be joined by Bruce Springsteen and Coldplay’s Chris Martin at a special gig to celebrate World AIDS Day in Times Square in New York - live from 12.20 am Irish Time.Read More
“This year is a World AIDS Day like no other,” says Bono. But his injuries will prevent the singer from performing at U2’s planned celebration in New York, that will also star Chris Martin, as well as Kanye West and Carrie Underwood...Read More
Artists have been commissioned to create 11 films inspired by Songs Of Innocence.Read More
The Roots accompany talkshow host on 'Desire'Read More
U2's Tonight Show appearances have been cancelled.Read More
U2 frontman narrowly avoids fatal accident on private jet...Read More
When U2 released their latest album Songs of Innocence free on iTunes, it sparked a furious and often heated debate. But after 30 million downloads and close to 100 million listens, the attention is finally shifting to the music. On the way to a TV show in Germany, Hot Press caught up with Adam, Bono, Edge and Larry...Read More
Anti-corruption legislation, that forces oil companies to declare how much was paid for mining rights, required Irish government support to get through...Read More
Adam Clayton's former PA Carol Hawkins has seen her appeal against the severity of her prison sentence rejected by the Court of Criminal Appeal this morning.Read More
U2 are to join house band The Roots for a week of The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon appearances, kicking off on Monday November 17.Read More
Our trip down memory lane continues, we find our current cover stars revitalised at the turn of the century.Read More
The U2 singer says he is unfazed by the controversy over Songs of Innocence.Read More
When U2 released their latest album Songs of Innocence, it was the subject of heated controversy. While the arguments aren't over yet, the attention is gradually turning to the music...Read More
We go back in time to 1981 and find our current cover stars ready to storm America.Read More
Bono, Larry, Adam and The Edge open up from a private jet, and that's just the start...Read More
When Songs of Innocence – and its unorthodox release – became the biggest story in music, it served as reminder that U2 remain the biggest band on planet rock.Read More
“The idea that we trousered 100 million is ridiculous,” the guitarist tells Olaf TyaransenRead More
High entries for Slipknot and Ben Howard, but they haven't outsold the Irish.Read More
If you weren’t glued to your telly screen last night, here’s U2 tearing it up on Later… With Jools Holland.Read More
The Irish band got top billing tonight, in a stellar cast that also included Sam Smith and Interpol.Read More
Following their comprehensive nailing of ‘The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)’ and ‘Song For Someone’ last weekend on the Graham Norton Show, U2 join Interpol, Zola Jesus, Dave & Phil Alvin and Sam Smith tonight at 11.35am on Later… With Jools Holland.Read More
It's a colourfully saturated, retro, VHS-style offering from the Irish rock icons.Read More
The U2 frontman admits to "a drop of megalomania" in giving away Songs Of Innocence to every iTunes user.Read More
To celebrate the physical release today in Ireland of U2's Songs Of Innocence, we're giving away four copies of the extremely sexy looking 2 x 12" white vinyl limited-edition that we unwrapped this morning on hotpress.com...Read More
Apple have revealed that in addition to it automatically appearing in libraries, 26 million iTunes users have actively downloaded Songs Of Innocence with 81 million ‘experiencing’ the album through iTunes, iTunes Radio and Beats Music.Read More
Hot Press' Stuart Clark unwraps the stunning vinyl album of 'Songs of Innocence' by U2.Read More
U2 are being lined-up for the October 21 and 24 editions of Later… With Jools Holland.Read More
Collaboration with Lykke Li soundtracks teaser for Season 5Read More
Songs of Experience is already nearing completionRead More
Bono confirms the band will be scaling back for their live dates next year.Read More
Well known Dublin band are back with a crash, bang and wallop...Read More
The U2 frontman says that the blogosphere is enough to put you off democracy, in an exclusive interview with the renowned RTE presenter.Read More
Likely to be a new digital music format.Read More
"Joey would have been honoured," drummer Marky Ramone says of lead single 'The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)'.Read More
The two Irish superstars have been throwing around ideas for some years now.Read More
iTunes users now have the option to delete Songs Of Innocence from their accounts.Read More
U2 manager Gus Oseary has spoken to American trade magazine Billboard about their $100 million deal with Apple.Read More
There’s been an avalanche of reaction to U2 taking us all unawares, with the release of their Songs Of Innocence album.Read More
Former U2 manager Paul McGuinness has spoken to Irish national radio station Newstalk about the surprise unleashing yesterday of Songs Of Innocence.Read More
There may have been rumours, but U2 still took the world by surprise with what is one of rock’s biggest ever coups...Read More
Rumours of music video shoots in Dublin that were really iPhone commercials have been dispelled.Read More
There is also speculation that the band will participate in the iTunes music festival in London.Read More
Times aren’t too hard for U2 with the Sunday Times Rich List suggesting that the chaps are collectively worth £428 million.Read More
U2 have officially denied reports that they’ve pushed back the release of their new album to 2015 and claims that surfaced in certain tabloids that they’re on the verge of splitting.Read More
The one you were waiting for.Read More
Top of the Rock, the band were on hand to welcome Jimmy Fallon to The Tonight Show.Read More
Full video released onlineRead More
U2’s ‘Invisible’ managed to notch up over three million downloads during the 24-hour period it was available for free, which the Bank of America matched by donating over $3 million to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.Read More
The U2 frontman on Ramones and Kraftwerk influences on their new album, working with Danger Mouse and how he fears his band are "on the verge of irrelevance".Read More
You have up until 5am on Tuesday to get yourself a free iTunes download copy of U2’s ‘Invisible’, which was teaser trailered during this morning’s Superbowl half-time ad break.Read More
We'll get our first taste of 'Invisible' during an ad break, after which free iTunes downloads of the single will raise money for charity.Read More
There was excitement – then much head scratching last night among the U2 community when Dave Fanning announced on his 2fm show “I’m going to give you something now, a brand new, first time play which is from U2. This song here, will it be on the album? Just a blast! Brand new, ‘Invisible.’”Read More
'Ordinary Love' leads the pack in this year's Oscars race...Read More
Last night turned out to be an extremely good one for U2 with the chaps picking up a Best Original Song Golden Globe with ‘Ordinary Love’.Read More
The Hot Press Yearbook has also landed...Read More
Here the Grammy-winning producer's take on 'Ordinary Love'.Read More
'Original Love', penned for Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, is up for Best Original Song.Read More
The four members of U2 have signed a statement which formalises the beginning of their new deal with Live NationRead More
With the country understandably gripped by sick rugby-related parotdom, we thought we’d try and cheer you up with the world’s finest karaoke ensemble – Chic plus BonoRead More
The song is taken from the band’s recent sessions with Danger Mouse and will feature in the upcoming film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.Read More
Team Hot Press is proud to announce North Side Story, a limited-edition book we’ve produced for the good folk at U2.com...Read More
We are loving Jenny & Tyler’s gorgeous cover of U2’s ‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’, which also features Sara Gloves.Read More
'Ordinary Love' has been penned for a new biopic on the inspiring South African statesman.Read More
Check out a hint of 'Ordinary Love'...Read More
Amnesty International has announced the early November release of a 2-CD, 6-DVD box-set celebrating 25-years of their Human Rights Now benefit gigs.Read More
U2 bassist marries in low-key fashion...Read More
The Irish stars join Amnesty International in calling for the two jailed members to be released...Read More
Bono and Co. will perform Aslan's 'This Is' for audiences worldwide on Friday June 21Read More
It’s in aid of the agit8 campaign, which is calling on western leaders to help end extreme poverty by 2030.Read More
Toronto Globe & Mail music journalist Brad Wheeler has been tweeting about the interview he’s just conducted with Daniel Lanois.Read More
You can also catch David Gray, Gabriella Cilmi and The Magic Numbers going acoustic for Africa.Read More
The Department of Education are to start helping fund the Music Generation project, which U2 and The Ireland Funds have bankrolled to the tune of €7 million since 2007.Read More
It will feature extensive snaps of the Dublin band.Read More
Carol Hawkins, the former personal assistant to Adam Clayton of U2, has been found guilty of stealing almost €3 million from him.Read More
Running until the autumn...Read More
A stripped down 'Original Of The Species' appears on thew new Every Mother Counts 2012 compilation.Read More
The Dublin band is the focus of I'm A Fan.Read More
The tracklisting for the U2360° CD was picked by the fans.Read More
They’ll be recreating the infamous Achtung Baby cover design with sixteen winning entries…Read More
The sound of four men chopping down the joshua tree - over then discs!Read More
It's part of a 20th Anniversary Achtung Baby tribute compilation.Read More
From The Sky Down will be shown on BBC One this Sunday, October 9.Read More
Check out a sneak peak of From The Sky documentary which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival last week.Read More
According to a statement made to The Mirror Bono is in good health, despite recent press stories to the contrary.Read More
Contrary to reports in the Irish Independent this morning Bono says he did not suffer a heart scare while in the South of France.Read More
The investment vehicle involving Bono has seen the value of their Facebook stake increase dramatically.Read More
Plus your chance to finally see the world through Bono's eyes.Read More
A further big screen outing for Bono and the boys is in store.Read More
The alien-like works of art are set to live on!Read More
Broadway musical triumphs over adversityRead More
Meanwhile, there's the small matter of tonight's Glasto headliner!Read More
Louth, Mayo and Sligo set to receive up to €1.6 million in funding over three years from U2 and Ireland Funds supported ventureRead More
The record was beaten last night in Brazil.Read More
As they hit the road on a major stateside tour, U2 had left the memories of those first rehearsals in Larry Mullen’s kitchen far behind. Here we present an intoxicating trip down memory lane. By Bill Graham, April 5, 1981Read More
They're playing the Pyramid Stage on the Friday night.Read More
Over 98,000 people watched their gig last night in the FNB Stadium.Read More
The U2360° Tour has cleaned up in Vegas.Read More
U2 brought their high octane show to Brussels for two nights to make amends for skipping them the last time aroundRead More
According to Paul McGuinness, it's likely to land in early 2011.Read More
The Gnarls Barkley man has produced the new U2 albumRead More
Bono and the boys rocked the foundations of the famous city and our man was there to catch the best bitsRead More
The band went on to play a blinder in the Luzhniki stadium.Read More
Paul McGuinness talks to Hot Press after U2’s triumphant Turin show.Read More
That new album mightn't be too far away!Read More
Hot Press talks to Paul McGuinness minutes after their Turin show.Read More
Hopefully it'll be second time lucky for the band.Read More
Injured backs aside, it's been a pretty good year for the boys!Read More
The Claw comes out of mothballs on August 6 in Turin.Read More
The penultimate gig from the groundbreaking tour last year saw U2 making history on a number of frontsRead More
U2 have however been forced to cancel their Glastonbury headliner & postpone 16 US dates.Read More
Only one of them will be happening before June!Read More
U2360°At The Rose Bowl is due in June and features a host of extras.Read More
Bono has also contributed to an Afrobeat version of 'Move On Up'.Read More
Through ten years of extraordinary turbulence, other contenders have squared up to U2 – but the Irish four-piece have seen them all off to retain their crown as the biggest, and millions would agree the best, band in the world.Read More
The band's trans-Atlantic exploits earned them $108 million in 2009.Read More
The band have issued not one, but two denials.Read More
There are also gongs for their crew.Read More
‘Stranded (Haiti Mon Amour)’ will be available soon for iTunes download.Read More
U2, Jay-Z & Rihanna are collaborating on a tie-in single.Read More
It Might Get Loud, the movie featuring Edge, Jimmy Page and Jack White, got its first Irish airing last night at the IFC in Dublin – to a hugely positive reaction.Read More
U2 have yet again claimed first place in Fanning’s Fab 50 on RTÉ 2fm, with the extraordinary 'One' – which first appeared on the Achtung Baby album, and has since gone on to become U2's most popular and enduring song.Read More
No Line On The Horizon and ‘I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight’ are both up for awards!Read More
With the crowd having waited patiently through snow, rain and wind on a bitterly cold Berlin night, U2’s arrival on stage was greeted with joy and jubilation.Read More
U2 will headline the Pyramid Stage on Friday night (June 25) at Glastonbury 2010.Read More
U2 played an electrifying mini-set to an audience of 10,000 at Brandenburger Tor (Brandenburg Gate) this evening, to mark the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.Read More
U2 will perform a free show at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin to mark the 20th anniversary of the tearing down of the Berlin Wall in 1989.Read More
It's taking place in the early hours of Monday morning.Read More
They've also announced more European tour dates.Read More
The economy may be swirling down the plughole, but Ireland has a rich history of entrepreneurship. We need to build on this.Read More
US university to host a conference on 'U2:The Hype and The Feedback'Read More
They're also hoping to find post-360 Tour homes for The Claw.Read More
It Might Get Loud also stars Jack White and Jimmy Page.Read More
They've grossed over $40 million from five shows.Read More
In rock terms, that's what U2 are, having successfully defended their crown against all-comers since The Joshua Tree crashed to No.1 in the US in 1987.Read More
They came from the four corners to see U2 at Croke Park. Our reviewer caught the opening night of the 360º tour’s Irish leg.Read More
U2 pitch up to Croke Park for the final night of their Dublin jaunt with a little help from fellow locals The Script and Bell X1Read More
Bono and the lads are back in Croke Park for the second night of their 360 Tour visit to DublinRead More
Bono and co play the first of three nights on the banks of the Royal Canal...Read More
Some of the many faces that travelled from all corners of the globe to see U2 play a triumphant hometown gigRead More
They came, they saw, they comprehensively rocked the gaff!Read More
The chaps are on at 8.45pm.Read More
The party's taking place in New York in October.Read More
Online postcards from The Edge!Read More
Millions are to be spent on nurturing young talent.Read More
The current issue of Hot Press includes an exclusive interview with The Edge in which he talks about meeting Michael Jackson, the singer's death, criticism of U2 in Ireland, blogging and the controversy over U2’s carbon footprint. He also gives a unique insider’s view of how U2’s 360º Tour works.Read More
The opening night of a U2 tour can be fraught with peril. But in the Camp Nou in Barcelona tonight they exorcised the demons of previous tours and started on a winning note. Report: Olaf TyaransenRead More
The band turned up last night in London.Read More
They have just been confirmed to play on Kenny's last showRead More
It's available exclusively to U2.com members.Read More
Already all over the Irish airwaves, U2's 'Magnificent' track will be the second single from their recent No.1 album.Read More
Bell X1 and The Script have both got the Croker call.Read More
As predicted by Hot Press, U2 have confirmed a third date in Croke Park this July.Read More
The band sold 650,000 tickets in under seven hours.Read More
They're also going back to Fez.Read More
As U2 gear up for the release of No Line On The Horizon, they meet HP to talk about the creation of their latest masterwork, meeting world leaders, the way they’re perceived in Ireland, the current state of the music business and their future plans.Read More
Part two of our U2 interview...Read More
...so says School of Seven Bells frontman Benjamin Curtis, as he recounts how he was given a sneak listen to the No Line On The Horizon by his mates Edge and Bono.Read More
As their album reaches the No.1 spot in the UK and Ireland, U2 have announced details of their 360° Tour, which is being sponsored by Blackberry.Read More
Kiss The Future is on its way!Read More
They're outselling the rest of the top 20 combined.Read More
Paul McGuinness has been talking to Hot Press about the imminent announcement of U2’s world tour, which is likely to include three Croke Park stop-offs in July.Read More
RTÉ 2FM's Larry Gogan will play his recent interview with U2 drummer Larry Mullen this Sunday.Read More
The first batch of dates will be announced on March 9Read More
It's a taxing life being a rock star – as The Edge talks to Hot Press about the controversy over U2's tax situation.Read More
Keep on Moroccan in the free worldRead More
HMV's social networking site getcloser.com are asking U2 fans to vote online for what they think is the band's best song.Read More
Hot Press was granted unique access to U2, interviewing all four members as they rehearsed for their recent Brit Awards appearance. They talk about No Line On The Horizon, how they're viewed in Ireland, the current state of the music business and more...Read More
Fans will be able to get hold of No Line On The Horizon within minutes of its Irish release.Read More
The boys are playing a five-night residency on the Letterman show.Read More
The No Line On The Horizon title-track gets its world premiere on the rock station on Thursday.Read More
The video for U2’s new single, 'Get On Your Boots', will be premiered today on U2.com, with a television premiere on RTÉ’s Six One News.Read More
U2's new single 'Get On Your Boots' has shot straight to No.1 in the Irish airplay charts.Read More
U2 have confirmed the cover artwork & track-listing of their No Line On The Horizon album.Read More
The Garda Fraud Squad investigate online ticket scamRead More
There's plenty of exciting Irish releases to look forward to in the coming months, including new records from U2, The Answer, Laura Izibor and more...Read More
The new U2 album is to be called No Line On The Horizon, and is due for release next March.Read More
U2, The Clash and Elbow have joined War Child's Heroes project to raise money for children living in the world's most dangerous war zones.Read More
Hot Press is delighted to bring you this peek at U2 applying the finishing touches to their new album in London.Read More
The group took part in the effort to raise £500,000 on Monday at a fundraiser in London for Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy and the BRIT School.Read More
U2 are to receive 1.56 million shares worth around $18.5 million in American concert promoters Live Nation Inc.Read More
U2’s tour manager Dennis Sheehan has been selected for this year's prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award by the Parnelli Awards Board of Directors.Read More
Following on from Bono's comments that 2009 will be their year, it's confirmed: there will definitely be no new U2 album this year.Read More
Bono has been talking up the new U2 album, which appears to have been pushed back to early 2009.Read More
Hot Press understands that there’s absolutely no concern in the U2 camp over four tracks from the band’s new album which leaked onto YouTube over the weekend.Read More
U2's Live At Red Rocks DVD and the Under A Blood Red Sky album will now get the re-release treatment on September 26.Read More
The U2 reissue onslaught continues with a digitally overhauled version of their 1983 live album, Under A Blood Red Sky, out here on September 20.Read More
Coldplay's Viva La Vida is likely to see the end of its current reign at the top of the Irish charts as U2 release re-mastered versions of their classic albums Boy, October and War.Read More
U2 fans are going to have to do some serious shelling out over the next few weeks if they want to keep their collections up to date.Read More
U2 manager Paul McGuinness has been dropping hints about the release of the new U2 album, which is provisionally planned for October.Read More
U2 have announced details of the bonus tracks gracing the Deluxe format version of their Boy, October and War album, which is out in July.Read More
U2 soundman Joe O’Herlihy has revealed that following a stint in Dublin’s Windmill Lane Studios, the band are set to do some warm weather recording overseas.Read More
U2 will re-release three albums in deluxe sets this summer.Read More
U2 sign long term deal with American company.Read More
U2 producer Daniel Lanois has been talking about the recording of the band's new album, which resumes this week in Dublin’s Windmill Lane studio.Read More
Well, some of the time! U2 3D has just hit the screens and it takes our appreciation of Bono and the boys into another dimension.Read More
U2 manager Paul McGuinness has expressed interest in the band playing in London's O2 Arena this autumn.Read More
1,200 people packed into Park City, Utah’s Eccles Theater last night for the world premiere of 'U23D'.Read More
Get out your calendars and mark these dates, as we give you the run-down of the key albums due to hit shelves in 2008.Read More
3D-equipped cinemas are to show the new U2 concert film 'U2 3D' beginning on February 22.Read More
U2 have set a date for the release of their 3D concert film 'U2 3D'.Read More
Paul McGuinness has revealed that there are more U2 remasters in the pipeline.Read More
U2's manager Paul McGuinness is to be interviewed on Dublin's Phantom 105.2 this Sunday as part of a special programme looking back at the band's Joshua Tree album.Read More
U2 have quashed rumours of a residency in London's O2 Arena next year.Read More
For many people it is U2's greatest album. Twenty years on, to mark it's re-release, Colm O'Hare talks to Daniel Lanois and reflects on the extraordinary background to a monumental album.Read More
Previously unreleased U2 track 'Wave Of Sorrow,' which will be included in the new re-issue of The Joshua Tree, is now available online through iLike.comRead More
U2 have discussed the details of never-before heard tracks to be included on the forthcoming deluxe edition re-release of their 'Joshua Tree' album.Read More
U2's classic album 'The Joshua Tree' is set for a re-release to mark its 20th anniversary.Read More
Legendary producer and musician Daniel Lanois has revealed that big strides are being taken in the recording of U2's new album.Read More
U2 are set to feature prominently in Here Is What Is, a new fly-on-the-studio-wall documentary that’s been put together by their long-time confidante Daniel Lanois.Read More
According to well-placed sources the world’s highest-paid supermodel, Gisele Bundchen, has agreed to star in the video for the next U2 single – whenever and whatever that is.Read More
There are plans to release U2’s Mexico PopMart concert from 1997 on DVD later this year.Read More
When fans were asked to choose a theme song for Hilary Clinton's Presidential campaign, it seems U2 didn't quite cut it.Read More
In time for our birthday issue, The Edge talks exclusively to Peter Murphy about 30 years of Ireland's premier music mag, and reveals that they're working on a "project" rather than a new album.Read More
U2 are back in Dublin following a songwriting sojourn in the medieval Moroccan city of Fez.Read More
Fans and festival folk heading to see the world premiere of U2 3D at Cannes Film Fest got more than expected when the world's most famous Irishmen played an impromptu set on the red carpet.Read More
Iconic memorabilia belonging to Bono and The Edge helped to raise €1.8 million in an auction to benefit musicians left with nothing after Hurricane Katrina.Read More
U2 stars Bono and The Edge are in negotiations to write the score for a new musical on Spiderman.Read More
Turning 30 has made Hot Press feel a bit geriatric, but we’re mere kids compared to Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, which celebrates its 40th birthday this year.Read More
Fans can get a close-up look at The Edge’s 1975 Gibson Les Paul from April 3 to 6 when it goes on display in Dublin’s Clarence Hotel.Read More
The much-anticipated results of the HOTPRESS Readers’ Poll are announced in the new issue published Thursday, January 25.Read More
A speech by Bono at a 2005 White House conference on extreme poverty and AIDS in Africa is to be published in book form.Read More
The world's biggest band finished their tour with a little help from their friends.Read More
U2, Paul McCartney and Robbie Williams and other notables have called for a change to extend the length that copyright laws apply.Read More
Niall Stokes draws on his best-selling book Into The Heart: The Stories Behind The Songs Of U2 to offer a unique insight into the way in which some of the greatest songs in the history of popular music came into being.Read More
Have a look at all the pictures sent in by U2 fans worldwide!Read More
U2 have won their legal battle against their former stylist, Lola Cashman.Read More
'The Saints Are Coming', the new single by U2 and Green Day, has debuted at No.1 in Ireland.Read More
The next issue of Hot Press, out on Thursday November 16, finds Ireland’s most fortnightly magazine celebrating the release of U2 18 Singles.Read More
Demons for new technology that they are, U2 are planning to release a 3-D Vertigo concert film, which will premiere next year.Read More
With the publication of U2 By U2, the band have finally got to tell the story of their success from their own perspective. It’s got some great pictures too.Read More
U2 have announced that after 26 years they're to part with Island Records, though they're now moving to another subsidiary of Universal.Read More
U2 manager Paul McGuinness has broken the band's silence about the decision to move their financial operations to the Netherlands. The decision inspired considerable criticism in Ireland, notably from the Labour spokesman on Finance, Joan Burton TD. In an interview that will appear in the new edition of Hot Press, McGuinness defends the band's position in a strongly worded statement of the underlying logic.Read More
U2 are set to follow in the Rolling Stones’ steps by transferring the music publishing wing of their operation to the Netherlands.Read More
Bono has revealed that U2 are planning to start work on a new album.Read More
America’s ESPN cable sports network has enlisted U2’s help to promote its live World Cup coverage.Read More
They've accomplished more than many other bands but until now there was still one field not yet tackled by U2- the western theme song.Read More
Those left disappointed with the postponment of the band's last dates for the Vertigo tour will be glad to know that they're busy rescheduling the concerts.Read More
U2 have been forced to pull out of the last shows of their Veritgo world tour.Read More
Irish rockers U2 cleaned up at the Grammys in Los Angeles last night, winning gongs in all five of the categories for which they were nominated.Read More
The Meteor Awards took place in Dublin last night and U2 were the clear winners, winning in all three categories they were nominated in.Read More
Bono was on hand today as a new initiative to fight HIV and AIDS was announced at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland.Read More
The Brazilian contingent of U2's global following were left disgruntled after the allocation of tickets for their Sao Paolo show descended into chaos.Read More
The nominations for the 2006 Brit Awards have been announced, and it's no surprise that U2 are waving the Irish flag.Read More
The US's Billboard magazine have charted U2's as the highest grossing tour of 2005.Read More
U2 have been honoured with an accolade from campaign group Amnesty International.Read More
Monday night saw Bono paying tribute to Mo Mowlam at a remembrance event for the former Northern Ireland Secretary in London’s Drury Lane Theatre.Read More
Irish rock gods U2 have confirmed their first dates for next year's Vertigo 2006, now that Vertigo 2005 has nearly run its course.Read More
The Edge is spearheading an initiative to supply instruments to Gulf Coast musicians displaced by Hurricane Katrina.Read More
It's official: their Vertigo tour was the best.Read More
Bono has given his blessing to a Mary J. Blige cover of ‘One’.Read More
Hot Press is delighted to bring you this sneak preview of the Vertigo 2005 – U2 Live From Chicago cover artwork.Read More
U2 have hit out at former first lady Hilary Clinton after it was revealed that she is using their Washington concert as an opportunity to fundraise for the Democrat Party.Read More
As if they didn't have enough achievements under their belt already, U2 are to be the first muscial guests to 'take over' the prestigious Late Show With Conan O'Brien in the US.Read More
U2 have confirmed ‘All Because Of You’ as the fourth single to be lifted from their Vertigo album.Read More
In one of the starriest line-ups we've seen since Live 8, celebs and artists led by U2 are rallying together to raise money for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. A special telethon will be aired on all six US networks as well as Sky One tonight.Read More
U2 are to be honoured by the Portugeuse government this weekend when the Vertigo tour stops off in Lisbon.Read More
Glastonbury organiser Michael Eavis has described U2 as “blighters” after the band rejected an offer to play at the 2005 festival.Read More
Costs have been awarded against U2’s former stylist Lola Cashman in a hearing at the Dublin Circuit Civil Court today.Read More
In what is almost certainly an all-time record, U2 currently have no less than eleven albums in the Irish Top 75, as compiled by IRMA.Read More
U2 have won their court battle with former stylist Lola Cashman over tour memorbilia and clothing they claim she stole while employed by the band during their Joshua Tree world tour in 1987. The verdict was announced this morning (Tuesday July 5) to a packed Dublin Circuit Civil Court by Mr Justice Matthew Deery. Neither Ms Cashman nor members of U2 were present to hear the verdict.Read More
"Tonight it’s impossible to resist the tune’s Spielbergian scale.House lights full on, Mr Hewson looks like he’s being borne up by 80,000 voices."Read More
The stage times for the three Dublin shows have been announcedRead More
Steve Lillywhite, who produced U2's first three albums – and has featured on the production team of almost all of their records – looks back over the band's career and recalls the highs... and the lowsRead More
There could be no better illustration of how U2 have become global icons. Kick-starting the European leg of their Vertigo tour in Brussels’ King Baudouin Stadium on June 10, the old anti-sectarian favourite ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ electrified the crowd like no other. Here, however, it had been transformed from its original intent as a plea to end bloodshed in Northern Ireland into a hymn for religious harmony among the ‘sons of Abraham’ – Christians, Jews and Muslims.Read More
Tickets for U2's concerts in London and Manchester are now available onlineRead More
U2 have been talking about revisiting their album Pop, which Bono says is "not what it was intended to be"Read More
U2 have confirmed that they will not be playing a fourth date in DublinRead More
Chicago fans took a double-take recently when U2 played 'Vertigo' twice during their setRead More
‘City Of Blinding Lights’ is the next cab off the Vertigo rankRead More
U2 have added a third Dublin date to their Vertigo world tourRead More
Backcombed bouffants, mullets and white boy Afros. No, we’re not talking about The A – Z Of Really Bad Haircuts, but the new Anton Corbijn photo-book, U2 & I, which serves up a pictorial history of the band from February 1982 (New Orleans) to April 2004 (Portugal). Pictures supplied courtesy of Anton Corblin/ U2 & I published by Schirmmer/MoselRead More
Dateline San Diego, March 28th: with seven songs from their world-beating Vertigo album in the set, on the opening night of their world tour, it quickly became clear that – the occasional glitch notwithstanding – U2 have re-imagined their live set with remarkable success. Tara McCarthy asks: how do they do it?Read More
With band currently involved in rehearsals in Canada, U2 manager Paul McGuinness (and an eavesdropping fan with super hearing) has revealed some details of what's in store...Read More
HarperCollins have unveiled a microsite to prime U2 fans for their new book, U2 By U2Read More
U2 was inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in a memorable ceremony held in New YorkRead More
As U2 get ready to launch their Vertigo World Tour in San Diego, a whole gaggle – or should that be whoop? – of Irish artists have covered their songs on the Today FM supported Even Better Than The Real Thing.Read More
A Bono aid says that the singer has no intention of taking over from James Wolfensohn as the leader of the World Bank.Read More
Next month sees U2 inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in New YorkRead More
U2 got their fair share of limelight at last night's Grammy Awards ceremony in Los AngelesRead More
Today FM listeners have voted U2's 'One' as the Best Irish Song From The Past 25 YearsRead More
Anton Corbijn's long-awaited photography book U2&I is now available for fans to purchaseRead More
U2.com has posted "An Open Letter From Larry Mullen" in which the drummer addresses both "long-time U2 fans" and "so-called U2 fans"...Read More
When presale tickets for the U2 tour went on sale, the demand far exceeded the supply – and the technology wasn’t up to it!Read More
hotpress.com looks at how U2's Vertigo tour has been selling so far, and confirms details of their two Irish dates, which go on sale FridayRead More
Tickets for U2's dates in the UK went on sale this morning and was, predictably, met with huge demandRead More
Having been forced to postpone the first batch of dates due to a family illness, U2 have confirmed that their 2005 Vertigo World Tour will kick off in San Diego on March 28.Read More
U2 have confirmed some details of their Vertigo world tour, including the much coveted support slotRead More
Uncertainty still surrounds U2's plans for their world tour, which had been due to kick off in March 2005.Read More
U2 manager Paul McGuinness has confirmed that details of their 2005 world tour have yet to be finalised.Read More
With How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb dominating the Christmas sales rush, U2 have firmly re-established their place at the top of the rock tree. Now comes further evidence of the expanding ambitions of Ireland's biggest ever showbiz export.Read More
There was much celebrating in the U2 camp this week as How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb sold its millionth copy in the UK.Read More
Not content with picking up two Grammy nominations for 'Vertigo', Bono will be a geust presenter in the forthcoming Christmas Today series on BBC RadioRead More
How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb has finished up a week of global sales with results that are nothing short of phenomenalRead More
U2 are about to unleash their new album How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb. The world’s media are descending on Dublin. And Bono is back at the punch-bag, getting into fighting shape before the shit storm really explodes. The gloves are off. He’s got work to do. And he’s going to do it. Words Stuart Clark, additional reporting by Niall Stokes.Read More
hotpress.com reveals the tracklisting of the complete U2 digital download which, since going on sale last week, has been exceeding predicted sales figuresRead More
Look what's just come through OUR door - the special edition of U2's new album...Read More
Last night began a momentous chapter for the world’s biggest band. For U2, it was the first live airing and radio/internet broadcast of material from their eleventh studio album, How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb. For those in attendance, it was an opportunity as rare as they come. The location: Dublin, Ireland. More specifically, at the album’s birthplace, in their Hanover Quay studios. Hot Press editor Niall Stokes was in attendance to feel the impact and capture the aftershock. [photos by John Dardis, courtesy of U2]Read More
With their album release only days away, U2 have been speaking to Hot Press about their upcoming world tour and the likely candidates for the prestigious support slotRead More
Exclusive! Our crime correspondent gets to the bottom of Bono’s briefcase.Read More
Atomic Bomb is positively Spector-esque in its ambition, although curiously enough, it’s not a showy record, the playing being mostly subservient to the songs.Read More
In what could prove to be one of the year's biggest marketing coups, Apple Computer Inc. have inked a deal with U2 which sees the band putting their name to a customised iPod. [pics courtesy of Apple]Read More
Glastonbury organisers have confirmed that U2 will not be headlining next year's festivalRead More
For many it’s the most eagerly awaited song of the year, and ‘Vertigo’ doesn’t disappoint.Read More
Inside the Terenure lair of the resident grand wizard of live sound engineering on Planet Earth.Read More
Paul McGuinness has spoken out against websites selling tickets for unconfirmed U2 dates in the UK and IrelandRead More
With first single 'Vertigo' now spinning high on radio playlists, U2 have announced details of their Dublin tour datesRead More
Irish audiences will hear U2's first single ahead of its worldwide releaseRead More
U2 fans can finally revel in some official news: the title and release date of the new albumRead More
As first revealed by hotpress.com "Vertigo" has been confirmed as the first single to be taken from the band's as yet untitled 11th studio album. Due to hit the racks on November 5th, 'Vertigo' is an epic U2 track laced with big guitars and soaring vocals.Read More
Top musicians Bono and Larry Mullen appear in film to celebrate Oscar Wildes 150th birthday.Read More
Anton Corbijn's collection of photographs has been given the U2 seal of approvalRead More
... And it's not called Vertigo! The man otherwise known as "Bono's doppelganger", Neil McCormick, talks sounds, songwriting and stadium-sized pressure in the most revealing U2 album preview yet.Read More
The new U2 photobook, U2 Show: The Art Of Touring, is being published by Riverhead on October 21.Read More
Bono was among the stars and prominent politicians paying tribute to Senator Ted Kennedy on Wednesday in Boston's Symphony Hall.Read More
French police have been alerted after a CD of new U2 songs went missing during a band photo shoot in Nice.Read More
Unless 2 Unlimited are thinking of reuniting, it would seem that Bono and co. are Glastonbury-bound next year...Read More
This year it's Silicon Valley, next year it's quite possibly Glastonbury and apparently we can expect a new single soon enoughRead More
U2 took everyone – including their Portuguese record company – unawares this week when they arrived in Lisbon to do a photo-shoot with official band snapper Anton CorbijnRead More
While 2004 has not been an especially spectacular year to date, there is good reason to believe that rocks big guns are likely to deliver the kind of records that will revive spirits in the industry. Chris Donovan previews some of the albums that are likely to top the sales – and the critical – charts before 2004 is out...Read More
While 2004 has not been an especially spectacular year to date, there is good reason to believe that rocks big guns are likely to deliver the kind of records that will revive spirits in the industry. Chris Donovan previews some of the albums that are likely to top the sales – and the critical – charts before 2004 is out...Read More
Garrett "Jacknife" Lee is the latest person to assist U2 with the recording of their somewhat overdue new albumRead More
Steve Lilywhite is “an additional producer not a replacement” on U2's new albumRead More
The CDs and DVD from the Nelson Mandela AIDS awareness show will be heavily Irish in their content; Plus more news from the U2 camp with a photo retrospective tipped for publicationRead More
Paul McGuinness has confirmed that it's full steam ahead, not back to the drawing board, for the next U2 recordRead More
Former producer Steve Lillywhite is in the studio with U2 but cannot reveal the expected finish date for the albumRead More
Bono’s plan to highlight the AIDs epidemic in Africa at this year’s Superbowl has sadly been scuppered.Read More
Russian cosmonauts, mexican desperadoes and cranky italian elephants – it’s all in a day’s work for solo too supremo Ned O’Hanlon, the man entrusted with documenting the multi-media extravaganza that is the U2 live experience.Read More
After 18 years with Principle, Managing Director Sheila Roche has decided to leave the U2 campRead More
Colm O’Gorman explains how U2 helped the abuse victims’ organisation one in four to surviveRead More
U2 have put out big money to secure the future of the Dublin-based sexual abuse support centreRead More
Reports that U2 are suing Nancy Sinatra are completely unfoundedRead More
U2 will take on the world for the release of their upcoming album, but not before a stop-over in Nashville...Read More
Get excited people - we bring you the track-listing of the U2 Go Home: Live From Slane Castle DVDRead More
Fans can relive U2's 2001 Slane spectacular with the release of the DVD in NovemberRead More
Extra, extra special: we're delighted to bring you a sneak peek at seminal new U2 graphic-design-retrospective collectors' book, Stealing Hearts At A Traveling Show: The Graphic Design Of U2Read More
U2 designers Four5One and label boss deny that leaked posters for the band's new album are officialRead More
Paul McGuinness spills the beans on U2's new albumRead More
Edge reports that the new U2 album is coming along swimmingly - and that it will be accompanied by a tour in 2004Read More
U2 have denied reports that they are to play a BBC Music Live gigRead More
U2 to be given a special tribute by a stellar cast of musicians at the 45th Annual Grammy Awards later this monthRead More
U2 scoop Golden Globe for Best Song From A Motion Picture with 'The Hands That Built America'. Next stop: the OscarsRead More
At the end of an exciting, painful and earthshaking year, Bono reflects on the political and the personal – from drop the debt, September 11, Afghanistan and Genoa to the death of his father Bob, the birth of his son John and the enduring friendship which underpins U2’s music and career. Interview: Niall Stokes [this interview originally appeared in the spectacular Hot Press Annual 2002 - used in the pictures below - a very limited number of this unique collectors item will shortly be on sale - email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a copy]Read More
U2 frontman speaks about "the biggest pandemic since the bubonic plague" and urges middle America to use their nation's huge financial power and get involved. "Our age will be remembered," he says, "for three things: the war against terror, the Internet, and how we let an entire continent burst into flames and stood around with water in cans"Read More
With a new ‘Best Of’ bringing the band’s story up to date, U2’s guitar man steps forward to riff on good times and bad, the private life of a public figure, discovering the secrets of the universe on mushrooms, and why, after all these years, few things match the high of being a member of U2Read More
At its best, Zooropa is sky-funk, music from a band who, permanently or temporarily, have renounced the old folkways for the new airwaysRead More
Bill Graham reviews a new book by Boston D.J. Carter Alan, which sheds considerable light on U2's American breakthroughRead More
U2 announce details of the construction of a penthouse studio to be built at Britain QuayRead More
U2 are still determined to be better than the best in his class, and to produce music that is genuinely transcendentRead More
Edge waxes lyrical on the power of a "raw band sound"Read More
With the launch of a commemorative series of Irish postage stamps celebrating four of the nation's most important rock legends, we revisit some of the seminal moments in the careers of Phil Lynott, Rory Gallagher, Van Morrison and - first - U2Read More
hotpress.com is offering YOU the chance to snare a copy of the now-out-of-print The U2 File signed by each member of the bandRead More
The insomniacs at HMV Grafton St do another midnight-opener - on Sunday, November 3rd - for the release of U2's Best Of 1990-2000Read More
U2's Slane concert film receives its Irish premiereRead More
Edge talks about the new album, Bono scoops 'MusiCares' award and guests on Elvis tribute TV showRead More
Get a headful of this: a sneak preview of U2's Best Of 1990-2000 album artwork, featuring extra ram (guffaw)Read More
The planet's most famous lead singer continues his humanitarian campaign, contributes to fundraising book project and appears on Oprah. Oh, and a Frank Sinatra cover and landmark U2 memorabilia exhibition are also en routeRead More
U2 Live: A Concert Documentary - possibly the definitive book on U2's history as a live band - to be given an update and re-release following the tragic death of its compilerRead More
Well, look what we've got here: exclusive peeks at both the U2 single's sleeve artwork and the piccie from the new Samantha Mumba 45 as well. Don't thank us, we're just doing our jobRead More
Imminent new single 'Electrical Storm' can only mean one thing: the U2 Best Of 1990-2000 CD/DVD is here - and boy is it ever chocca with cool extras. Read on for detailsRead More
U2 to release new single 'Electrical Storm' in October - the leader track from this autumn's Greatest Hits 1990-2000Read More
U2 deny reports of an outdoor New York show with, eh, Bon JoviRead More
Hot Press readers worldwide want to know about Bono for president, Larry for lead singer, that mysterious tattoo, the greatest book, and more. Bono and Larry smoulder on the coals of the hp mixed grillRead More
In answer to a fan's question in the Hot Press Mixed Grill (see current edition of HP), Bono dismisses rumours that he will run for the Irish presidencyRead More
Put your questions to U2 in the Hot Press Mixed GrillRead More
Workaholics to a man and clearly unable to grasp the concept of time off, U2 already have much of their next album (due out in '03) in the bag - and apparently it's poppier and "more immediate" than All That You Can't Leave BehindRead More
What's Bono doing on the cover of international news magazine Time? Talking politics ("the art of the possible"), that's whatRead More
...quoth Drew Carey, master of ceremonies, when the glitterati gathered in Los Angeles last week to pay tribute to the many humanitarian endeavours of Bono, lead singer of popular Irish beat combo U2Read More
U2 and Oasis: together at last... The ultimate double-header stadium tour confirmed (but with no UK or Irish dates, mind)Read More
Hotpress.com investigate the rumours of U2 & The Phoenix Park ... (they just don't go away you know)...Read More
Will U2's studio homebase be demolished to make way for the neighbourhood's redevelopment (or more specifically, for a "two-million-Euro leisure complex")? The public hearing began this week...Read More
Via a petition that has gained signatures from round the world, U2 fans rally to save band headquarters Hanover Studios from mandatory demolition by the Dublin Docklands Authority: "What if Memphis tore down Sun Studios?"Read More
U2 - without even releasing an album last year - have walked away with the 2001 Hot Press Readers' Poll. Here's the scoop...Read More
U2 release new US-only rarities and B-sides collection. Yank one if you canRead More
U2 in talks with DDDA about possible alternative locations for studio headquartersRead More
U2’s studio headquarters may face demolition by compulsory public order from the Docklands authorityRead More
With eight nominations in the bag, U2 are set to steal the show at this year's Grammys... againRead More
Bono has talked exclusively to Hot Press about September 11th, Fatherhood, and the US's actions in Afghanistan.Read More
(Well, the Golden ones anyway)Read More
Although under constant review, the word from the U2 camp is that they are still planning to go ahead with the return visit of the Elevation tour to North America.Read More
The second Slane show was such a spirited and spiritual affair you couldn’t fail to be as uplifted (or should that be elevated?) by itRead More
U2, Slane August 24th 2001Read More
One from the heartRead More
STUART BAILIE recalls some of the social and political movements that have occupied U2's hearts and minds down through the years... not least, the Springfield Garbage Dump campaignRead More
It's plastic Adam dolls, Zooropa wallpaper and bootleg CDs a-go-go: STUART CLARK knows there's a little U2 cyber-nerd inside all of usRead More
On 25 August 2001 - twenty years after first appearing there in support to Thin Lizzy - U2 play Slane Castle. NIALL STOKES reflects on the extraordinary journey that has led up to this historic, and beautiful, dayRead More
Opening our U2 special, DERMOD MOORE catches up with ADAM CLAYTON during the UK leg of the Elevation tour, and delves deep into the physics of music celebrity, politics and, er, penisesRead More
They may sport one of the most original sounds in rock’n’roll – but along the way they’ve been influenced by some of the greats. STUART BAILIE identifies the ten (plus!) key influences on the music of U2Read More
With their biggest dates ever in Ireland looming, LIAM MACKEY dips into voluminous hotpress archives and selects a small sample of what the paper said about U2 over the yearsRead More
A Peter Frampton cover version, a flautist and female backing vocalists were all elements of FEEDBACK’s first ever live concert performance, yet this was th eoutfit that would eventually become U2. COLM O'HARE recalls the eventRead More
You get a continual sense from the entire band that they have rediscovered their love affair with live musicRead More
‘Beautiful Day’ is second out of the bag and the band’s, or specifically Bono’s, energy is palpable.Read More
The heart is a bloom, but you knew that already. Bono's lead line on 'Beautiful Day' effectively sets the tone for this new scheme. Great things can be nurtured, he tells us. Scepticism is out and old-fashioned hope is the greatest buzz around. So it's entirely fitting that the stage for the band's Elevation Tour should be framed by a massive, pulsating heart.Read More
When we last left U2, at the conclusion of 1997’s Pop, they were marooned on a spaghetti Golgotha, shouting, “Wake up dead man!” at a god who had apparently reneged on his promise to live forever. Well pilgrims, here’s the resurrection shuffle.Read More
U2 : “Melon, Remixes for Propaganda” (Island)Read More
Are Bono and the boys just a really good rock band or have they succeeded where the priests and politicians have failed and unlocked the neuroses of our colonial past? Joe Jackson indulges in a spot of cultural sparring with John Waters and finds the author of Race of Angels: Ireland and the Genesis of U2 well able to maintain his guard.Read More
U2: “Stay (Faraway, So Close)” (Island)Read More
U2: "Lemon" (Island)Read More
IN THE FIRST PART OF A WORLD EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW IN THE LAST ISSUE OF HOT PRESS, BONO UNVEILED THE NEW U2 ALBUM, SPOKE ABOUT ITS GENESIS IN CYBERPUNK LITERATURE AND THE BAND'S HUNGER TO PUSH ROCK'N'ROLL TO ITS LIMITS. HERE HE ELABORATES ON HOW U2 GO ABOUT WRITING THEIR SONGS AGAINST THE BACKGROUND OF GLOBAL CHAOS, HIS ARTISTIC REFERENCE POINTS OUTSIDE MUSIC, THE SUBVERSIVE POWER OF HUMOUR, AND HOW HE ADMIRES THOSE WHO 'PARTICULARLY AGGRESSIVELY' DON'T BELIEVE IN GOD. AND THEN THERE'S THE STORY ABOUT JOHNNY CASH AND THE EMU. CAN THIS MAN BE FOR SURREAL? INTERVIEW:JOE JACKSON.Read More
...IS COMING TO TAKE YOU AWAY! WHEN JOE JACKSON WENT TO INTERVIEW BONO AT U2'S SECRET DUBLIN RECORDING BASE, HE HAD NO IDEA WHAT TO EXPECT. WHAT HE GOT WAS A CRAZY ROLLERCOASTER RIDE THROUGH THE EXTRAORDINARY WORK-IN-PROGRESS WHICH WILL BECOME U2'S FOLLOW-UP TO THE ACCLAIMED "ACHTUNG BABY!", WITH BONO AT THE WHEEL AND AN UNSEEN PRESENCE WORKING THE ACCELERATOR LIKE A DEMON. "RECORDS SHOULD BE MORE OF A TRIP," SAYS THE MAN IN THE WRAPAROUND SHADES. FASTEN YOUR SEAT BELTS THEN. THIS WILL BE NO ORDINARY RECORD. AND THIS IS NO ORDINARY INTERVIEW.Read More
There is no question about it. He may look as if he's been dipped in a bottle of red ink but it is Adam who stands there bollock naked before the camera and the world on the back sleeve of the latest, long playing opus from the band whose name begins with U and ends with 2. And is that Eve who hovers topless behind Bono on the front?Read More
When Adam Clayton was arrested in Dublin in August of 1989 and charged with possession of 19 grammes of cannabis with intent to supply, it placed U2's immediate future as a live band in jeopardy. Trial report: Liam Fay.Read More
Sprawling across four restless, angry and sometimes contradictory sides, "Rattle And Hum" is nothing less than U2's most ambitious album yet. Review by Bill GrahamRead More
As "With Or Without You" hits No. 1 in the US singles charts, Liam Mackey joins U2 on their biggest - and most successful - American tour to date.Read More
"The Joshua Tree" clarifies how U2's vocation has become the revival and renewal of rock and the recovery of its most romantic values. It also highlights the group's new commitment to the song. Review by Bill GrahamRead More
Amid rumours and press reports that his career could be at an end, Larry Mullen reveals the truth about the extent of an injury to his hand that is becoming a common problem for rock drummers. Interview: Niall StokesRead More
Carnival time at Croke Park with U2Read More
The inside story on the early years by Jackie Hayden.Read More
Niall Stokes sees U2 light up Madison Square Garden in New York.Read More
U2's decision to choose Brian Eno as producer for their new album was a bold move.Read More
Light a Big Fire Liam Mackey reviews "The Unforgettable Fire"Read More
Bill Graham reviews "Under A Blood Red Sky"Read More
Blood on the Tracks Liam Mackey reviews "War"Read More
This was more than a gig, but it wasn't a party. It was the mutual celebration of an audience and a group.Read More
Bill Graham joins the band on their 1981 American tour. [pics Adrian Boot]Read More
"U2 make me think", it's been said. That criterion is used a lot these days, because as rock'n'roll gets older, its priorities and values change. It spreads itself out and becomes more adjustable, like a toy.Read More
A U2 miscellany from the pages of Hot Press 1978-85.Read More