- 04 Jul 17
Niall Stokes caught up with U2 before the launch of their debut release U23.
January 30, 1992
Reprinted in the 1992 issue, the interview took place before the launch of the band's debut release U23 and captured them at a stage when The Edge still answered to the name Dave, and their primary influences included Cromwell, Jonny Wadham and the common cold.
U2 are good because it comprises four members who are willing to work towards the form of fulfilment making rock'n'roll music entails. Hence, their music is informed with a depth of concern for things and people and ideas.
Speaking of the genesis of the band, Larry revealed, "Getting together in high school, none of us had been in bands before except Adam who was in the Max Quad Band."
"We were all terrible. We just couldn't play other people's material - that's how we started writing. We learnt to play by learning how to do our own songs," Dave recalled.
Recollecting the early days, Bono said, "Adam pretended he could pay and used words like "gig" and talked about things like "action" on the bass and we thought 'this is a guy who can play!'. He was a liar. He actually couldn't play a note. Dave was just playing away on the acoustic and people just kept on coming up and saying 'there's something wrong' and we couldn't figure out what it was until suddenly we thought - it's Adam! Adam can't play."
"The first song that we played was Stagalee-type funk rock. It was bloody good. I'll tell you how I wrote it, I was just playing the guitar, making the nice sounds of these chords and suddenly there was emotion! It was very definitely 'Ooh! this is nice' and then playing more and more and it came like that. And I reckon it still holds good today. We were thinking of offering it o Stagalee."
"I never write lyrics until the last minute because they're constantly building as we work out the song. They build subconsciously because I found that I can write exactly what I want to write subconsciously, better than anything sitting down and trying. When the song is complete - when the idea is right - I then assemble the lyrics."
"They all point to one thing - getting people to think for themselves. There's also a reaction against heavy advertising and television images and things like that. I remember seeing heroes on television - people like James Bond and so on - and thinking. 'I'm not very good looking - i'm not going to get things like that' and being unhappy about it. Also the constant pushing of perfection - beautiful boys and beautiful girls. Intelligence in school - everything that it seemed you were not - was pushed at you and I had a bit of a reaction against that, I personally had a very heavy adolescence - emotional turmoil, that sort of thing. We feel that we're qualified to comment on things like that because we are teenagers."
"There are two types of character being portrayed on stage: the child - or the Boy - and the Fool, the clown. These are the two sides of what we want to project. If we always come across as serious, then we're not succeeding."