U2 photo auction for the African Well Fund

U2 fans get your wallets out. Win a real U2 photograph to decorate your wall and support the African Well Fund, all in one go.

{photos by Otto Kitsinger}

Nineteen U2 fans and photographers including our own Ruth Barohn have donated their best shots of the band (and one of their friend) to the 2nd photo auction in support of the African Well Fund‘s ‘Build a well for Bono’s birthday’ charity, organised by Phil Romans. Last year’s auction raised an amazing $11,000, so get bidding to top that number.

The photo auction starts April 14th, and will last for 7 days. The first auction starts at 12pm EST, and each auction will subsequently start at one minute increments.

Go check out the auctions on eBay.

R&R in Tokyo

I know many fans are curious to know what the band have been doing in Japan when not performing or doing media interviews. Larry Mullen spent some time shopping in Gwen Stefani’s favorite area of Tokyo, Harajuku. He shopped at Kiddy Land, a famous toy store, presumably for gifts for his children…Adam Clayton visited with Eric Clapton, who is also touring in Japan now and staying in the same hotel as U2…Bono enjoyed a traditional Japanese meal at Gonpachi with his friends Gavin and Guggi. Kanye West was also seen at the same restaurant. Rumour has it that Kanye will perform with U2 for the final show in Japan on Monday…Edge, the zen master, has been keeping a low profile, meditating and such.

All band members have been generously signing autographs and posing for photos with Japanese fans around the city. The band seem to be truly enjoying their visit to Japan.

Bono phones in to last ever Mystery Train

‘God bless you and the babies too!’

Bono paid tribute to radio DJ John Kelly on the last ever Mystery Train on RTE radio 1 on Thursday evening. Phoning in from France ‘under an orange moon, thinking of Enniskillen’, he talked to Kelly about the — wait for it — ‘extraordinary’ show, which has been prematurely axed in a recent RTE programming shake up, as well as congratulating him on the imminent birth of his twins.

Listen to Bono’s call. (mp3)

Later on during the show Bono rang in again (as did The Edge), off air, to request ‘Death is not the End’ by Dylan, or Gavin Friday, but Kelly didn’t have it on him. However, he had played the track earlier in the week in memory of Paschal Hanvey (Gavin’s father), who passed away a year ago this Wednesday.

We’re very sad to see a great, eclectic and unpredictable show like gentleman John’s go off air and wish him the best of luck, wherever the tracks may take him.

The good news is, John Kelly announced he will be back on air in October, on Lyric FM (1.30 – 2.30pm, Monday to Friday), with a different type of show. He encourages listeners to join him there.

Bono, Sting, Lou Reed sing like Pirates

It’s old news to faithful readers of U2log.com, but Billboard.com is finally reporting on the Johnny Depp inspired and Hal Willner produced sea song and chantey album ‘Rogue’s Gallery’ that Bono’s involved in.

Check out the article, which includes the full stunning all star cast and tracklist of the album:

Disc one:
“Cape Cod Girls,” Baby Gramps
“Mingulay Boat Song,” Richard Thompson
“My Son John,” John C. Reilly
“Fire Down Below,” Nick Cave
“Turkish Revelry,” Loudon Wainwright III
“Bully In The Alley,” Three Pruned Men (Dave-id, Guggi, Gavin Friday)
“The Cruel Ship’s Captain,” Bryan Ferry
“Dead Horse,” Robin Holcomb
“Spanish Ladies,” Bill Frisell
“High Barbary,” Joseph Arthur
“Haul Away Joe,” Mark Anthony Thompson
“Dan Dan,” David Thomas
“Blood Red Roses,” Sting
“Sally Brown,” Teddy Thompson
“Lowlands Away,” Rufus Wainwright & Kate McGarrigle
“Baltimore Whores,” Gavin Friday
“Rolling Sea,” Eliza Carthy
“The Mermaid,” Martin Carthy & the UK Group
“Haul On The Bowline,” Bob Neuwirth
“Dying Sailor to His Shipmates,” Bono
“Bonnie Portmore,” Lucinda Williams
“Shenandoah,” Richard Greene & Jack Sh*t
“The Cry Of Man,” Mary Margaret O’Hara

Disc two:
“Boney,” Jack Sh*t
“Good Ship Venus,” Loudon Wainwright III
“Long Time Ago,” White Magic
“Pinery Boy,” Nick Cave
“Lowlands Low,” Bryan Ferry with Antony
“One Spring Morning,” Akron/Family
“Hog Eye Man,” Martin Carthy & family
“The Fiddler/A Drop of Nelson’s Blood,” Ricky Jay & Richard Greene
“Caroline and Her Young Sailor Bold,” Andrea Corr
“Fathom The Bowl,” John C. Reilly
“Drunken Sailor,” David Thomas
“Farewell Nancy,” Ed Harcourt
“Hanging Johnny,” Stan Ridgway
“Old Man of The Sea,” Baby Gramps
“Greenland Whale Fisheries,” Van Dyke Parks
“Shallow Brown,” Sting
“The Grey Funnel Line,” Jolie Holland
“A Drop of Nelson’s Blood,” Jarvis Cocker
“Leave Her Johnny,” Lou Reed
“Little Boy Billy,” Ralph Steadman

‘Rogue’s Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs & Chanteys’ will be released on the Anti label on 22 August.

More on the ANTI records blog on MySpace.

Bono’s sea song ‘dark and intense’

U2log.com editor Caroline van Oosten de Boer talks to Gavin Friday about the Chanteys and Sea Songs tribute album and its all star line-up.

(update: more info added April 5, 06)

Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Antony and the Johnsons, Bono and yourselves… that’s quite an impressive roll call.

‘It’s very ‘who’s in town’, very impromptu. Hal (Willner) has been doing workshops in different cities, Seattle and London and New York. No time to rehearse, just go in and learn your part and sing it.’

Fresh from Willner’s Dublin two-day workshop, Gavin Friday rattles off details of the sessions in Westland Studios. He serves up the lyrics of one of his songs with gusto, characterising the sessions as very ‘rum, sodomy and the lash’.

‘I did a song called “The Baltimore Whores” (lyrics), probably the dirtiest of them all. It goes: “Roly poly, tickle my holey, smell of my slimey flue, then drag your nuts across my guts…”

He laughs:

‘And that’s probably the most commercial of them all!’

Gavin also recorded a lament called “Tommy’s gone to Hilo” (lyrics) with Andrea Corr. It is the odd couple’s second duet since 2003’s “Time Enough For Tears” from the In America soundtrack.

‘It’s not really a duet, though. They’re all chanteys, which are call and response songs. Except Andrea’s “Caroline and her young sailor bold” (lyrics) and Bono’s song, which are both sea songs or seamen’s songs.’

Bono was only able to get involved because of the postponement of U2’s antipodean tour. To prepare for recording, the musicians listened to old old recordings and looked at words and sheet music…

‘…just for a ‘kick start’. Once we started playing we didnt refer to anything other than the gut and Hal’s instinct.’

How did the singers pick their songs?

‘Hal played us a varied choice but left it up to each singer to make their own choice. Hal knows myself and Bono fairly well so he had a good idea of the ones we’d go for. Bono did “The dying sailor to his shipmates”, quite a dark song and very intense it is. The lyrics are sad and heroic and Bono sang a very intense and emotional vocal…’

And indeed one version of the lyrics of this tune as found online suggest a heavy mood: ‘Oh wrap me in my country’s flag and lay me in the cold blue sea, and let the roaring of the waves my solemn requiem be.’

‘But the heaviest of them all would probably be the song I did with Guggi and Dave-id, “Bully in the alley” (lyrics).’

The song reunites the three ex-Virgin Prunes vocalists for the first time since the mid-Eighties.

‘It was Dave-id as head pirate on lead vocals, and myself and Guggi as his shipmates on backing vocals. Hal said it was probably closest to what pirates really would have sounded like.’

Musicians at the Dublin session include Maurice Seezer on piano and accordion, Zoë Conway on fiddle, violin and backing vocals, Tony Molloy on bass, Robbie Casserly on drums, Anto Drennan on guitar and Andrea Corr on tin whistle. But it took a Hollywood star to get this crazy project on the road.

‘It’s all on the back of Pirates of the Caribbean, really, I think Johnny Depp was interested and he’s executive producing the thing and Hal was contacted to do it. It’s the first tribute album’s he’s done since the Charles Mingus one.’

Willner is often credited as the inventor of the modern tribute album, his 1981 Nino Rota tribute is a sought after collectible and he is probably best known for the 1985 Kurt Weill tribute ‘Lost in the Stars’. What are his strengths as a producer?

‘My Metal Guru… he sees feels talks walks and thinks like a singer/musician/painter. Hal is music like Fellini is movies, a godsend. The last of a dying breed, so pure it hurts… I love him.’

With only two days to record, how did the musicians get to know the material and figure out arrangements?

‘It was all done on the fly. All by feel and all live takes, hardly any overdubs. Musically it’s rooted in Irish and Northern English folk music. It sounds… accoustic,’ Friday adds hesitantly, ‘I dunno, it hasn’t even been mixed yet!’

With contributions recorded in other cities by Nick Cave, Bryan Ferry, Antony and the Johnsons, Tom Waits, Richard and Linda Thompson and Loudon Wainwright, there should be plenty material for a double album. Its release on Epitaph records is pencilled in for July 2006.

Bono guests on Hal Willner ‘sea songs’ album

Gavin Friday, Maurice Seezer, Dave-id, Guggi, Bono and Andrea Corr, have been working with producer Hal Willner in a Dublin studio this past week. The impromptu ensemble was put together to record songs for a tribute album of ‘chanteys and seamen’s work songs’. Six songs have been recorded during the Dublin sessions so far.

(Not an April Fool’s gag.)

Bono to introduce Geldof at Meteor Awards

U2log.com has learnt that Bono is likely to speak at the Meteor Awards at The Point in Dublin, on Thursday 2nd February 2006. The singer won’t be present physically, but he has recorded a speech introducing Bob Geldof.

The band have been nominated in several categories themselves. They are up against The Corrs, Hal and Bell X1 in the best band category. Geldof has not been shortlisted. The Pogues will receive the lifetime achievement award.

Other presenters include Gavin Friday, Stephen Rea, Liam Cunningham, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Keith Duffy and Kerry Katona. RTE will televise the event, hosted by comedian Patrick Kielty, on RTÉ Two at 9pm on Sunday, February 5.