"I want U2 to be a band that takes risks. I hate this idea of U2 as a nice safe band. . . . The rock rebel thing is very phony."
Column: off the record..., vol. 14-624
June 22, 2014
Like most other U2 fans, I look forward to what the band does next. But after watching them start and stop for months, and as my hopes for a new album were rising and falling like an ocean tide, I finally had to stop buying into comments made by band members and others about the release of new material and a potential ensuing tour. Then the question became … what now? This topic was covered in last week’s OTR and in our forum, where a lot of folks weighed in with interesting comments. It’s also our latest poll question (look for the "Voting Booth" box on the homepage).
My answer to that question is influenced by factors outside my control over the last 17 months. My father was diagnosed with an incurable cancer early in 2013 and recently passed away. During that time, my parents led our family on an incredible journey. A surprising part of that process for me has been recalling memories of how U2 came in and out of the life I shared with my father over the last few decades.
In 1988 I lived in New England and traveled home to Houston for a friend’s wedding. My dad’s response to his midlife crisis was to buy a hot little sports car with a T-top and the latest car audio technology. Not one to waste a golden opportunity to sing along to The Joshua Tree with my favorite band, I drove all over town for a few days in my dad’s new ride incessantly playing that CD. I jacked up the volume, especially for “Red Hill Mining Town.” Luckily, I didn’t blow the speakers, so my dad never knew just how much I tested the limits of the audio system, or the car.
Years later, in 2009, I gave my dad a copy of No Line On The Horizon. It was the first U2 album he owned and we had several conversations about the record, and his affinity to “White As Snow.” I decided to see the band at their Dublin shows that year, which sparked further conversations between my father and me about my passion for U2’s music and concerts. While he didn’t have the same passion for the band as me, he fully supported my love for U2.
I have been catching up on my U2 reading, specifically North Side Story: U2 In Dublin 1978-1983, which was delivered when my father was sick, and I wasn’t up to looking at it. I’ve delved into it in more detail and it’s fun to explore the map included with the book, especially since I did my own version of a U2 tour when I visited Ireland. I think the band delivers great gifts to subscribers and this book did not disappoint me.
On Saturday the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity gave Bono its inaugural Lionheart award for his work with RED. The award recognizes a person or organization "that, through innovative use of commercial brand power, has made a significant and positive difference to people or the planet."
Bono addressed the audience of marketing and branding professionals and asked for their help to develop more brand partnerships to boost the (RED) campaign. Video of Bono talking is now available on the organization’s YouTube channel.
In case you missed it:
I came across this Forbes article about “How to Present Like a Rock Star” named Bono. I work in the public relations industry and provide media and speaker training; the author provides some great pointers for the storyteller in all of us.
Finally, I’ll leave you with this haunting video of “Red Hill Mining Town.”
Have a great week!
© @U2/Myers, 2014