Paul McGuinness on MSN

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Paul McGuinness Chat from MSN on 9.22.97
Transcript by Adam

Welcome everyone!
Thanks for joining me live!

nate says:
paul: do you play any musical instrument and if so
have you ever been on a U2 album

No, I play no musicial instruments. I had an early and
unhappy experience with the piano when I was about 12 years
Since then my only contribution musically to a U2 album
was some hand clapping on one track on the War album.
I suppose the lesson from that is that I wasn't good
enough to be asked again.

Miss_Fly says:
Paul: hi. :) how did you find U2, and how were you
able to spot their potential so early in their career?

I met them in 1977, I think, at a concert in the
Project Arts Centre in Dublin. They wer elooking for a manager
and I was looking for a band to manage and we were introduced
by a Dublin music journalist named Bill Graham, who was
afriend of mine.
They had attracted him to one of their rehearsals and
he had told them that I should be their manager so I suppose
we owe it all to him.
As for spotting their potential, I would have to say
that I have no technique for that anymore now than I did then.

Since I've only ahd to be right once, I wouldn't claim
a technique. I just thought they were very, very good and I
suppose they were doing more or less as they are doing now,
except that then they were doing it quite badly and now
they're doing it rather well.

U2isABLE says:
Paul--are you pleased with the way Sarajevo's
turning out? And, are you concerned about the gig in Israel?

Sarajevo is turning out very well. As of today, we've
sold prettyclose to the capacity and we're flying in there
tomorrow omrning. As you know, we're doing a webcast of the
entire concert.
There's a lot of excitement around the world about this
ocncert. I've seen a story today on CNN and European
newspapers are paying a lot of attention to it.
It's an usual situation because Sarajevo is absolutely
still devastated by the war. On account of that we're charging
a very low ticket price.
We're paying Sarajevo the compliment that it is a
Eyuropean city, a center of cultrure.
It was always very clear that the people of Sarajevo
wanted us to do the whole show. They weren't interested in us
turning up doing a scratch concer or a benefit.
If we'd charged the same price as in other European
cities, the people of Sarajevo wouldn't be able to afford the
concert. So we've reduced the price to about $12.

U2isABLE says:
Paul--are you pleased with the way Sarajevo's
turning out? And, are you concerned about the gig in Israel?
(Ed. note: Tonster never said the correct Q. here. Make it up

Gosh, well, when people ask me who is the best manager
in history I suppose I would have to say Brian Epstein. He
really did a brilliant job. He was the first person on mys ide
of the quation who understood how big pop music could be.
I've always had enormous admiration for what he and the
Beatles did together.
I suppose they would have to be anyone's favorite
client. They had so much talent and they really invented the
musical world we all live in now.

Aingeal says:
Question: What do you do with yourself while the
show is going on?

I watch every show! I think it would be crazy to be the
manager of U2 and not have the pleasure of seeing the concert.

I'm a connoisseur of their live performances and I look
forward to the show every night and if I possibly can watch it
from start to finish.

salome269 says:
paul, which has been the most exciting date on the
tour so far?

I suppose Belfast. Belfast was pulled together at very
short notice as people will probably have heard, we had legal
difficulty playing Dublin.
Even as the two shows sold out, local residents
objected to the shows going ahead. We had acontingency plan to
move those shows to Belfast where the authorities were frankly
much more cooperative than in Dublin.
When the Dublin shows received permission to go ahead,
the people in belfast said why not come here and play as
Becasue the ceasefire was only a few weeks old, the
authorities were incredibly cooperative and we had a spare
date and we were able to fit it in.
We used to play there a lot in the early days but we
hadn't played there since 1987. The exdcitement of playing to
40,000 in Belfast made it the most exciting show to play to

kdaniels says:
Question -- There have been a few celebrities who
have said some negative things about U2 (i.e. George
Harrison). What are your feelings about their statements?

I was a bit surprised about that. George is alittle out
of touch. If he wanted to come see a U2 show he'd be most
welcome. I'm not sure he's in contact with the modern world at
this stage. Nonetheless he's got a fine bodyof work behind him
even if some of it turned out in court to be borrowed from
other authors.
Bono has regularly quoted from George Harrison's songs
since he did that interview. I think in recent times George
has been more concerned about his taxes and perhaps his

U2isABLE says:
Paul--what went through your mind when the Lemon did
not open in Oslo?

Utter panic. But also a feeling of immense relief that
it was not me inside. I was standing there as it opened. It
did open about a foot and I could see the 8 feet of my clients
but not the rest of them.
As I watched, they tried to close it first and open it
again and it was well and truly jammed. It then made a retreat
to its starting position and they had to climb out the back
and out to the B stage. I really felt for them. It was, of
course, the ultimate Spinal Tap moment.

Aingeal says:
Aingeal says: What made U2 decide to take a presence
on the net?

Well, it's a thriving area of cultural activity.
We'd had many approaches from people who wanted to work
us on producing a site but we felt that in order to do a truly
great site we would have to be with some people from "that
culture" rather than make it up for ourselves.
The Microsoft Network came to us on a creative basis
and said for the first time rather than make money on this,
let's get sponsors and we can alll make a fortune, the
approach from Microsoft was particularly attractive because it
was creatively led.
Microsoft wanted to do something that was
groundbreaking and state of the art. It was a creative
decision, if you like, and I'm very happy we made the

salome269 says:
paul...if you could change one thing from the
popmart tour, what would it be?

I suppose we would've put the tickets on sale later and
released the album earlier. I think the timing at the
beginning of the campaign was out of whack and we've been
catching up ever since.
Becauase we were late delivering the album, the two
more of less coincided and I regret that because it made the
campaign less organic. The early part of the campaign was a
bit too compressed.
But these were the consequenes of our own decisions and
our own delays. But we're adults and we take the

Ibon says:
Paul: Where you at Barcelona's concert? What is your
opinion about the happenings in the karaoke?

Oh it was a disaster. It was just a complete
misjudgement on our part. That song, the Macarena, is very
much identified with Spanish-speaking Spain. In Barcelona,
they really thought it was utterly gauche and I think we just
didn't do our research properly.
I hope the population of Barcelona will get over it by
the time we come back there.

U2Reverand says:
Question: do you think Bran Eno's gonna come back
for a future U2 album?

Oh yes, I'm sure we'll work with Brian again in some
way. We're actually meeting him tomorrow in Sarajevo.
We remain in closetouch with everyone we've ever worked
with! Steve Lillywhite, Daniel Lanois are all very much
friends of ours and people whose oopinions we take very

u2pride says:
Paul: what do you feel about boot legs

Well, I would distinguish between bootlegs and
counterfeits. Counterfeits I take avery dim view of because
they're taking money from my clients' pockets.
The bootleg phenomenon I'm very relaxed about, quite
honestly. I think everyone knows the difference between an
authorized recording we'd put out.
The fact that people circulate and swap recordings
they've made at our concerts I'm actually very relaxed about
even though the industry is formally opposed to it.
I do have a problem with the recordings produced in
Europe, particularly in Italy -- you can find a whole range of
things that look like official U2 recordings in full color
packaging -- they are extremely poor quality with a very high
price tag and I think there should be more legal protection
against things like that.
But in Italy the law is inadequate to deal with that.

salome269 says:
paul, do you have any say in what goes in and what
dosen't in a setlist?

I have an opinion -- I wouldn't call it a veto. One of
our rituals is that we have a post-mortem after every single
concert and discuss what worked, what didn't work.
Now it's not just the 4 members of the band and me, now
it's Howie B as well. He's much more musical than I am.
It's the old Chinese communist technique of ruthless
self-criticism. Because a day later you can't really remember
much of the show. I will certainly make suggestions about what
should and shouldn't be in the setlist.
At the beginning of this tour, neither Still Haven't
Found nor Pride were in the set and I really thought that
would be very bad. I still meet a lot of people who want
Sunday Bloody Sunday and Bad. Who knows, maybe they will turn
up in the set list before the end of the tour.

Ai says:
It is said that U2 will move on to smaller
venues/concerts after Popmart. Any truth to that?

We have no such plans at the moment. I wouldn't rule it
out. I get asked whether we'd like to play clubs and the
answer to that is no. We were pretty crap band in clubs. It
was really only when we got into the bigger places that the
scale seemed right.
At the same time we played two nights ago to 150,000
people at least. There's an obvious loss of contact and
intimacy even with a show like PopMart with that size -- but
it's still a very big crowd.
When I walked through the crowd, even way in the back,
I was amazed that people were still singing along.
It's really not planned at the moment. One of the
things about having developed the expertise of playing very
large shows is that you want to extend it and see how far the
art form of the stadium rock spectacular can be taken.
I'm very surprised there aren't more bands who want to
take it on. The only other people in modern times who do
anything on this scale are the Rolling Stones.
But there's a change in the culture at the moment and
it's becoming hip again to be big. I think that may lead other
rock and roll artists into performing on a large scale rather
than doing that veryboring thing of putting a stage up at the
end of a stadium.
You really have to embrace the scale of a stadium.

^BadCop^ says:
Paul : What is the secret of keeping a huge band
like U2 together for 20 years?

I don't know that there's a secret. I think it's about
getting the right people together in the first place.
They were a band before some of them before some of
them could play very well. The peole were more important than
the instruments. Over the 20 years we've been toegher we've
learned how to be together and how to keep out of each other's
way at times.
I think that's the secret to any friendship or any
business relationship.

sirkits says:
Paul: do you sing along at the shows?

I think I have caught myself singing along once or
twice. But I don't think anyone would want to hear my harmony.

salome269 says:
paul, who has been your favorite bono character so
far? macphisto, the fly...etc...

I think MacPhisto. MacPhisto who came from lots of
different directions -- I don't know if you know the character
of Archie Rice in John Osborne's The Entertainer -- I think
MacPhisto derived a lot from him.
I thought MacPhisto was terrific and I definitely miss

salome269 says:
paul, does it surprise you when people ask you for
an autograph and/or a picture?

It does a little. I'm not as good as dealing with it as
the band are and I do sometimes feel they're only asking me
because they can't get an autograph from the band.
If I have time, I certainly will always sign somebody's

swagger says:
Paul...Do you spend a lot of the time in the studio
when U2 are recording?

As little as possible . The recording process
is definitely not a spectator's sport. I'm filled with
admiration but certainly no wish to be there!
I'm filled with admiration for the concentration that's
required to spend months in a studio producing a great album.
For a non-participant it's a bit like watching paint dry.

U2isABLE says:
Paul--how does your family handle these long tours
and what do you do in your precious spare time?

My family are old enough now to come out and visit the
tours, so I see them every couple of weeks. My son is 11, my
daughter is 12. I'm delighted that they think U2 are pretty
They go to school in Ireland and send me tapes of music
they're listening to and try to educate me what's cool.
This is obviously a difficult year in that we're away
from home.

U2isABLE says:
Paul...what is the most fulfilling aspect to your

Managing a great band like U2 is still enjoyable for me
because they still are getting better. They're doing their
best work now. I'm sure the work they do after this will be
even better.
i'm sure it's very hard managing a band who's lost its
creative spark. I'm sure if that ever happens with U2, they'll
hang up their instruments and stop. The fact that it hasn't
happened is exciting.

sirkits says:
Paul: what exactly did you grow up listening to?

Very much the Beatles and the Stones, Dylan . . . I was
never into Led Zeppelin until Adam turned me on in the early
80s. I also listened to opera, classical music. I have an
involvement in an ethnic label from Ireland called Celtic
Riverdance is one of our records. I would like to think
I have very broad tastes. I'm always a little disappointed
when people express their interest in a single genre.
This is ag reat failing in the record businss in that
they don't care to address the great variety of people's

Victum says:
Paul: who else do you manage?

Through Principle we manage PJ Harvey. We recently
starting managing Sinead O'Connor. And we manage another
artist called Lazlo Bane. He's just made his first record.
Those are our only management clients. We're also
involved in Celtic Heartbeat which is a business of mine.
With U2 I'm owner of a label called Mother Records,
which is a joint venture with PolyGram.

L`edGE says:
Who chooses what bands open for U2 ?

Like many other things that's a committee process based
on who we like and who's available. We rarely choose those
bands on the basis of selling tickets.
We do expect people to come to a U2 show without trying
to attract them with the opening act.
We tryto have bands that the audience will be into even
if they're unknown to them. We've had some good bands on this
tour -- Rage Against The Machine, Oasis, Fun Lovin' Criminals.

In some countries we try to choose bands from that
country -- in Italy we had a band called Casino Royale. In
France and Spain we had a band called Placebo. In Ireland we
had Ash. In Wembley we had Audioweb and Long Pings. We had a
band called Skunk Anansie.
It's a fairly organic process and I think U2 audiences
have learned if youcome early the opening act will be worth

Gibigiane says:
Paul - what are the plans for the POPMart stage
after the tour is over - can we bid on the inflatable olive or
slices of the lemon?

if anyone wants to buy the lemon, theyshould
get in touch with us! Adam has said it's the transport of the
The screen will probably be sold to a sports facility.
The other bits -- who knows. I'm not sure anyone will have
much use for the arch. I don't know. Maybe we could have an

U2isABLE says:
Paul...any truth to the rumours that Pearl Jam will
open in Seattle?

That's the first I've heard of it, so I suppose the
answer is no. But if they want to, that would be fine. They
know how to get in touch.

Victum says:
Paul: What are your thoughts as to the state of the
music industry today? Bono believes music is too boring. Do
you share this thought?

Boring music is too boring, but there's a lot of good
music around. I think what I was referring to before, the lack
of interest by the industry and the diversity of people.
Selling lots of one thing is not good for developing
acts, or baby acts, as we call them. I'm delighted by the
phenomenon of Oasis in that candidly admit they want to be a
big band.
Big is cool again whereas for a few years it was
decidedly unhip to be in a big band which is ridiculous.
People join bands in order to get onstage and sell lots of
records. That's the rock and roll instinct. I believe that's
why people join bands.
The grunge movement was very joyless and there's a lot
of joy being a rock and roll band on a roll.

With your filmmaking background, did you ever find
yourself sitting on your hands during Rattle & Hum?

I was the exectuve producer of that and I was deeply
involved in that! I never sat on my hands. I thought it was a
good film but a band campaign. I've said before that we
underestimated the impact of a full-blown 1400 screen movie
I think movie marketing operates in a very different
way from record marketing in that you get hit over the head
with it all at once. It's an inappropriate way of marketing
formusic and I think our audience were turned off by that.
Underlying it was a very good film and a very good record.
The movie had one of the most unusual openign weekends
of all time. It had a huge Friday night, Saturday it
tailedoff, and no one turned up on Sunday. Gave Paramount a
bit of a shock, but exciting to U2 fans.

teafan says:
Will there ever be a U2 "box" set ?

I wouldn't rule it out and in fact we need to do it at
some time. There's an enormous quantity of records made -- B
sides that have never been compiled properly, remixes . . .
We're wary of it to the extent that the release of a
boxed set signals the end of somebody's career and we're
certainly not at the end or anything like it of U2's career.

^BadCop^ says:
Paul : What makes you really angry?

In the context of our business overzealous security
people, ticket scalping, people taking advantage of our
audience, those sort of things.
People doing things in U2's name without our approval.
It's not so much that we're control freaks, we just want to
ensure if you buy something U2, it should be worth the money.

salome269 says:
paul, do you ever get frustrated with the americans'
taste in music? bands like the spice girls are topping the
charts while bands like u2 are not doing as well?

I rather like the Spice Girls, actually. It's in a long
tradition of pop-of-the-moment and I think they do what they
do rather amusingly.
I can see why people are drawn to it. They're all very

What kind of conclusions have you drawn on online U2
fans? How do we differ from other fans? Are they positive or
negative differences?

There's been a lot of U2 web activity over the years
and the people who go online are slightly more studious.
Sometimes on individual pages you can see a sort of
party atmosphere generating. I don't think the people who tune
into the PopMart site on MSN are different from U2's other
We seem to have intelligent fans wherever we go.

U2isABLE says:
Paul...why is U2 choosing to perform at awards

Like the MTV Awards? MTV hhas an enormous reach. The
VMA's had a verysignificant rating. It's a way of reaching the
audience. Showing people who might not otherwise see U2
perform live how good they are.

Vini-Brazil says:
years FOR THIS !!!!!!!!!!

We've been putting together the last details of the
South American tour. We're very excited about going to South
America and indeed we're overdue.
I'm sure the concerts in Sao Paolo and Rio, Buenes
Aires and Santiago will be absolutely wild.
We've had recent experience of the Latin audience in
Spain and Portugal and no doubt about it, the further south
you go, the more exciting it is.

Victum says:
Paul: can you describe, as briefly as possible, your
various tasks and responsibilities in a typical day of

An awful lto of it is to do with staying in touch with
the record company in all the countries in the world where we
sell records.
This album went to #1 in 29 countries. Stay in touch
with the production -- our command structure is quite military
adn the people who run the stage show are briefed to put up
the show physically in an identical way in each city.
I'm responsible to the band to produce a working
environment. Watching out for trouble. I'm basically in charge
of worrying.

^BadCop^ says:
Paul : Why is the Red Hill Mining Town video still
locked up in a vault? A lot of fans would love to see it.

The real answer is that it's not very good. We thought
that song was a hit and went straight into making a video
before the song was played on the radio.
The moment it was played on the radio it was the 11th
most popular track in 1987 so clearly it wasn't the hit single
we imagined it to be.
We threw ourselves into amking that video withNeil
Jordan without checking to see whether the audience liked the
The other part is that the video was really terrible
and embarassing. That's the reason it's been deep sixed.

U2isABLE says:
Paul..who's idea was it for the band to walk through
the crowd during Pop Muzik?

I think it was Bono's idea. Then we were in Vegas and
Oscar de la Hoya -- we wanted to copy an authentic boxer's
robe and I think he suggested the traditional Las Vegas
boxer's entry.
Like most good ideas it came from the ether -- good
ideas have many claimants. Success has many parents and
failure is an orphan.

Zye says:
Is U2 really doing that Simpson 200th episode. Any
cameos from you :)?

That is true. I can indeed confirm that U2 will perform
in the Simpsons episode. I do not have a role myself.
Keep logging on and let us know what you think of the
site at

Thanks to all of you for coming!
Paul has left the v-building. :)

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This page contains a single entry by Jonathan published on September 22, 1997 9:43 PM.

Bono Says Sarajevo Concert "Belongs To The Future" was the previous entry in this blog.

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