- 20 Sep 06
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.
"The reality is that U2's business is 90% conducted around the world. 90% of our tickets and 98% of our records are sold outside of Ireland. It's where we live and where we work and where we employ a lot of people. But we pay taxes all over the world – of many different kinds. And like any other business, we are perfectly entitled to minimise the tax we pay."
He also argues that the band's critics in Ireland are missing the point. "Ireland," he points out, "has benefited economically enormously from attracting people to a low tax environment."
He also reveals that the band are currently in the studio working on a charity single with Green Day – the proceeds from which will go to the Music Rising foundation, which is raising money for musicians in New Orleans,affected by Hurricane Katrina.
In the interview with Hot Press journalist Olaf Tyaransen, the music mogul also talks about the ‘Curse of U2’. Tyaransen raises the issue that a number of people have died shortly after working with the band, including William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg... “The curse of U2!,” McGuinness says. ” And Roy Lichtenstein died shortly after working with us as well. We used his most famous image ‘Wham’ […]. He loved that.”
McGuinness goes on to speak to Hot Press about the current state of the music industry, and U2’s plans for the future. He is critical of Universal Records’ recent decision to give away free music downloads as “awful” as it puts “the money in the hands of the phone companies and the ISP’s.”
He also talks extensively about the band's new DVD, U2: Live From Sydney.
"It was world beating and spectacular," he says of the Zoo TV tour. "I remember the effect it had on audiences who just stoood there and gaped.
"I remember one of the things I liked hearing most at th tinme – and I heard over and over again – would be people saying to me, "it's too much to take in – there's far too much to absorb!" And that kind of overload was absolutely the intention behind the show, and I think the new DVD really captures it."
"The venue where we shot it is pretty well perfect for rock'n'roll," he adds.
In an enormously wide ranging, funny, in depth and revealing interview, McGuinness also talks about the way in which Bono uses his fame to promote humanitarian causes; the band's curious link with Ben Dunne; being a father; Louis Walsh, Michael McDowell and Eamon Dunphy.
Hot Press is in the shops from Thursday 21 September, but you can buy the issue online.