The Edge’s psycho-geographical adventure

The Edge is still buzzing from his trip to Morocco when he takes time to talk to Hot Press magazine’s Peter Murphy. They reflect on the past, remembering the late great Bill Graham and discuss U2’s collaboration with Eno and Lanois in Fez.

The interview with U2’s guitarist is for subscribers only, but we’re sure the good people at Hot Press won’t mind if we share a few choice quotes with you.

To what extent did you use Bill Graham as a sounding board?

“Bill was very important to us from the beginning. […] We’d meet him from time to time and play him some stuff, and in a very touching way he would mentor us, give us records to listen to that he felt were important for us to hear, stuff that maybe we hadn’t come across before. And I think he filled a certain kind of almost big brother role with the band, and we certainly appreciated all his advice and consideration.”

Is this your latest psycho-geographical adventure (in Morocco), trying to channel the atmosphere of a place into the music?

“I think it is. It was one of those ideas that wouldn’t go away. Bono suggested it a good while ago. He throws out ideas a lot, and a lot of them do not necessarily get met with the greatest enthusiasm. I would probably be the one most ready to go for it, Adam is fairly easygoing, Larry is hard to persuade a lot of times. In this case, to everyone’s amazement, Larry pretty early on went, “I think there’s something to this; it sounds like a good idea.””

Are these songwriting sessions for a U2 album or an extra-curricular endeavour?

“It’s a U2 project, and one of the luxuries we’ve afforded ourselves is not to have to think about exactly what it will be or how it’ll be finished or when it’ll be released.”

Read the full article at Hot Press (if you subscribe).

The Edge’s biggest solo gig?

As some of you may remember, The Edge visited Russia on behalf of Greenpeace back in March of 1989. This was chronicled by Bill Graham in Propaganda issue number 11. What that story didn’t reveal was the following happening that we recently found in our u2log vault.

“We come to the studio, with all these musicians, and we’re hustled into a little room, down the hall, and we’re all cramped in, and there’s wires knocking over coffee cups, and I think that the result of it all was the fact that it put everyone very much at ease.
“It was very informal, but very sincere. The production level was not what you would find in the States for example. We didn’t have cue cards. We didn’t overproduce. People didn’t get pancake makeup. We were just there.
“And they’re asking questions and having people sing songs, and the tea cups were flying all over the place, and out there somewhere were 150 million viewers watching this whole thing happen, with the wires flying and the microphones in the way and everything else, and there’s a sincerity in all that. It’s not overproduced.
“All of this is new for people in the Soviet Union and I think it’s like the cork coming off a bottle of champagne; there has been a big release. Sure, let’s do a television show with these musicians. Let’s all get them in a room. Hey, here’s a camera, you know. Let’s take their photos and put it up and see what happens. It’s great. It’s all very experimental.
“At one point the interviewer asked The Edge from U2 to sing a song from U2’s album, of course, just sitting here on a couch with a cup of coffee in front of him was just mind boggling. It was… it’d never been done before and could never be done in the west I don’t think. The result of that was that he actually sat for a minute, I think stunned a bit. And then he said ‘Well, do you know the song “It’s a long way to Tipperary“?’ And he actually, on television, in front of 150 million people started singing the song.”
– Peter Bahout, describing a live performance that will never see the light of day on a U2 album.

Download the audio

Rock promoter’s archives sold online

Wolfgang’s Vault is ‘the world’s most exceptional collection of poster art, vintage t-shirts, concert photos, concert tickets and other rock music memorabilia.’

The Vault contains the private collection of American rock promoter Bill Graham (born Wolfgang Grajonza), who died in a helicopter crash in 1991.

A Minneapolis entrepreneur named Bill Sagan bought the collection two and a half years ago, paying the then owners, Clear Channel, the sum of $5 million. Neither buyer nor seller were aware at the time that the archives contain rare rock recordings.

Graham counted U2 among his clients and his role in helping the band break America has been well documented. The collection features various posters, t-shirts and photographs of the band, which can be acquired through at elevated prices.

Uncut Legends #3: U2


Uncut Magazine released their third special ‘Legends’ issue this month, this time featuring U2. If you haven’t already picked up a copy from your newsagent, go do it now – it’s quite good value for money.

All U2’s albums are discussed and all members of the band have a chapter dedicated to them. A number of photographers pick their favourite U2 shots and journalists like Gavin Martin and Stuart Bailie chip in with features on ‘what makes U2 tick’.

Tons of pictures complement the words, and yes – there are even a couple you won’t have seen before. Gavin Friday earns the ‘bigmouth strikes again’ award for the best quote in the magazine: “I don’t think Bono decided to be ambitious, he just is. But if this country ever ran out of electricity, just shove a plug up his hole and it would run for a week.”

Unfortunately, the issue is not without its flaws. Irish journalist Bill Graham is mentioned a number of times in the magazine, but the pictures that go with the quotes are of of the American concert promotor of the same name.