When I head out on the highway I usually bring along my own mix of music. Depending on a particular radio station to play my favorite tunes is an exercise in futility. I didn’t always feel this way. Never worried about taking my eyes off the road to glare at the radio, hoping that I’d find one station that played the songs I liked best. It worked out much of the time. That’s how I first discovered U2’s I Will Follow. I really liked their Boy album and went scouting for anything else they released. Soon found U2-3, a 12-inch import EP. When October was released, I had the record company send over a copy. Then the band came to the states to promote it and I made sure I got an interview.
U2’s publicist directed me to the hotel where the band was staying. Larry Mullen, Jr., Adam Clayton, and the Edge were there. Bono was not. I considered myself lucky, anyway. I’m waiting for one of them, or all three, to sit down and tell me things. Clayton and the Edge are deciding who will sign for room service. Then they talk. The interview first appeared in Relix Magazine and then was changed around for several other publications.
I’m looking at the Relix piece and remember the buzz. There was a string of press people scheduled to meet the band that day. We patiently wait in the hotel lobby ’til we were tapped to meet the band. It was like meeting royalty. They were a few years away from major rock stardom, but were on the way. Constant touring and rounds of press interviews were simply part of the plan. Mullen said, “We play five dates in a row that are 200 miles away from each other, so we don’t see much of anything.”
U2 shrugged off any attempts to label them as a certain type of band. The Edge explained, “I would never want to label the band. We’re a three-piece band with a vocalist. We use bass, drums, and guitar. The three primary colors. We approach it in that type of way because each instrument is individual.”
The press did label U2 with a psychedelic tag and grouped them alongside Echo and the Bunnymen and the Teardrop Explodes. Mullen continued, “We tried, right from the beginning of the band, to avoid any boxes. I think we succeeded.
The hotel room is getting crowded and noisy. A publicist stops by to check on things. I worry if I’ll hear the interview when I play back the tape and how I can get the band to provide quotes that will impress my editors. Clayton offered, “We grow and we’re going to change. The reason that some people like Boy and not October is because it’s a different album. For others, maybe some of the reasons they didn’t like Boy changed for October and they could relate to it better.”
Everything stopped for the briefest moment when Bono walked in. He smiled and headed right back out. I sure would have loved to have a sit down with him. At least I’m able to exploit that moment now and title this U2, a hotel room, and me!
Copyright © October 01, 2007