June 2005 Archives

U2: How to dismantle a ticking time bomb

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By Edna Gundersen, USA Today

U2's starring role in Live 8 marks a confluence of anniversaries. It has been 20 years since the Irish band made a splash at Live Aid, the Africa-relief benefit that inspired the similar Live 8 concerts being staged Saturday. A quarter-century ago, U2 was celebrating its first single and recording its debut album, Boy. By some barometers, 2005 is also the 50th birthday of rock itself.

This could be a nostalgic weekend for the planet's most driven band - if it had a reverse gear.

"I wince a little at the term 'veteran band,' because we're releasing records as popular and as creatively alive as anything we've ever done," says bassist Adam Clayton, 45. "We still get videos played on MTV. Rolling Stone, which tends to put half-naked ladies on its cover, had a very successful issue with U2 on the cover.

"These things are not the industry norms. These things make people scratch their heads. It's humbling to be in that position."

And unique. The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney and other boomer warhorses subsist on tour receipts or catalog sales that emphasize past glories while new music gets tuned out. U2 is the only rock band to survive on top this long without converting into an oldies act. With no mentor or model to guide them, the foursome's next challenge will be sustaining that unprecedented stretch of critical and commercial success.

U2 Sues Ex-Stylist Over Auction Items

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DUBLIN, Ireland - Bono wants his hat back. And his earrings. His sweat shirt, too. Dublin-based rock band U2 went to court Tuesday to recover items from former stylist Lola Cashman, who has a range of memorabilia from her work on their 1987 Joshua Tree world tour.

In 2002, Cashman tried to sell some of the items - including a cowboy hat, sweat shirt, pants and earrings worn by Bono - at a London auction house. U2's lawyers stopped the sale by telling auctioneers the goods weren't Cashman's to sell.

On Tuesday, lawyer Paul Sreenan told Dublin Circuit Court Judge Matthew Deery that Bono and other members of U2 would testify that they hadn't given any of the items to Cashman, who was also accused of claiming inappropriate expenses during the tour.

Sreenan said the band hoped the judge would issue a judgment that Cashman should not continue to possess or try to sell any of the materials in dispute, including about 200 photos of the tour.

U2 completed a three-night concert stand Monday night in their hometown with an 80,000-seat sellout performance at the city's Croke Park stadium. They are to take part in the Live 8 concerts on Saturday, playing in the London event in Hyde Park.

Copyright © 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Pooh-Bahs of Poverty

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Three big shots, eight very big shows. Bob Geldof, Bono and Richard Curtis talk to Josh Tyrangiel about what on earth they're doing with LIVE 8

By Josh Tyrangiel

In 1985 Bob Geldof gave birth to live aid, the groundbreaking rock- concert series that raised $200 million for African famine relief. Bono of U2 and Richard Curtis (screenwriter of Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill) were there. That day inspired them to learn more about Africa and ultimately form their own antipoverty campaigns. Now the three friends are organizing Live 8, a series of free international concerts to be held on July 2 with unprecedented star power (Will Smith is host of a hip-hop-heavy show in Philadelphia; Pink Floyd will reunite in London on the same bill as U2, Coldplay, Madonna and Paul McCartney), all to pressure G-8 leaders to make debt forgiveness, fair trade and increased aid part of their Africa policies.

Time: Bob, for years you insisted you would never revive Live Aid. Why?

Bob Geldof: Not to be immodest, but the first one was perfect in almost every sense. Artistically, people seemed to up the ante, and the performances were pretty great across the board. Huge amounts of money were raised, not a penny lost, and politically it elevated the issue onto the global table. The whole thing just worked, unbelievably. So you f___ with that legacy at your peril. Then there's the personal thing. David Bowie was on a high afterward, and he said, "Let's do this every year." I said, "Go on, you f_______ do it then." It's so exhausting, and you get into terrible trouble at home because you're not there at all.

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by Ian O'Doherty, Belfast Telegraph

When U2 drag their massive tour around America and Europe, punters are guaranteed several things. They know, for instance, that they will be bombarded by corporate sponsorship at every turn. They know that they can expect to pay over the odds for food and drink. And they know that they can look forward to an evening of tub-thumping entertainment from a band who, even their critics accept, are an astonishing live act.

The high prices are hardly U2's fault, given the way the costs of running a tour have escalated so much in recent years. And Bono's hectoring exhortations to give more money to Africa and other worthy causes have the added benefit of giving concert-goers the sense that they were at more than just another concert, that they were somehow celebrants in a very 21st century Mass.

What they probably won't know is that U2 have also thrown their lot in with Clear Channel, the American media giant which is staging the band's tour. Clear Channel is "the 800-pound gorilla of American entertainment", according to Eric Boehlert, an American journalist who has been following the company's inexorable rise over the last few years.

Bono Doubles As Lobbyist for World's Poor

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By Donna Cassata, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - It was a long day's work for Bono, lead singer for the rock band U2 and dedicated lobbyist for the world's poor and AIDS-stricken.

In Boston's FleetCenter on a Tuesday night, Bono and his band - Larry Mullen, Adam Clayton and the Edge - performed for a sold-out crowd, part of their 10-month, multicity tour of Europe and North America. Bono then rushed to the airport, arrived in Washington at 2 a.m. and five hours later set off on a busy schedule, his ubiquitous wraparound shades firmly in place.

The musician joined Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for a State Department lunch and talks about the upcoming meeting of industrialized nations, aid to Africa and the prospects for the foreign operations spending bill.

Next stop was Capitol Hill where Bono pressed several lawmakers, including Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran, R-Miss., about increasing assistance for the poor. Bono was back in Boston for two more sold-out shows Thursday and Saturday.

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