"So one of the reasons we invented this entity Passengers, is to allow U2 to be somebody else besides U2, I suppose."
-- Brian Eno
Column: off the record..., vol. 14-633
August 24, 2014
For all those skeptics questioning if U2 really are releasing new material and hitting the road, we received more information suggesting that it could be happening soon. Terry Lawless recently posted on Twitter the following status update:
To dispel rumors: I am stepping away from my local gigs after August because I am heading back out with U2. NO PLANS FOR A NEW TOUR YET, but I have worked with the band for 14 years and there are many other things that I do for them. I am hoping we will be touring next year, but for now there are other things that pull me away from the Central Coast.
Lawless has been critical in U2’s Underworld while on tour, and has contributed to several of the band’s tracks. He was given some screen time on U2 360 At The Rose Bowl.
Triskaidekaphobia is one of my favorite words because it’s so fun to say. While I am not afraid of the number 13, this number has been swirling around in my mind for a while now as the next U2 studio album is the band’s 13th.
The symbolism of the number 13 may factor into much of this new release, and while we’re still waiting to hear the album, it should be noted that U2’s penchant for melding the trinity of political, spiritual and personal will most likely continue with the new material. Spiritually, the number 13 has been used to symbolize rebellion or betrayal in Christianity, as there were 13 in attendance at the Last Supper, and Revelation 13 deals with the antichrist. In Judaism, 13 is classified as a blessed number because spiritual adulthood for males starts at age 13; there are 13 articles of faith; and there were 13 original tribes of Israel. For those who seek advice from fortunetellers, death is card 13 in a tarot deck. If you’re into the Illuminati, they apparently claim 13 as a symbolic number as well.
The band has been very protective of this new album, taking time to ensure it is precisely what they want to release, with the advice of many within their inner creative circle. I am pretty certain Bono doesn’t want this album to be compared to a tarot card. Then again, Bono’s never stayed away from an antichrist or rebellion question. Nevertheless, should there be 13 tracks on the final release. I hope someone asks them about their thoughts on the number 13. Although I hope none of them say they’re taking a page out of Taylor Swift’s book.
I recently watched Beyonce’s Life Is But A Dream documentary on HBO in which she offered praise of God and devotion to her faith. I found this interesting because when Bono did this, he made headline news, with clips of his Gay Byrne interview going viral. My dad actually sent me a clip to acknowledge that he now liked Bono because of his declaration of faith. It’s not like this was new news or anything. U2’s career was shaped because of their spiritual journey from the earliest of days. I am still surprised that we haven’t seen similar headlines from other artists who have devoted themselves to their faith, other than Madonna with Kabbalah and just about any celebrity with Scientology.
It’s been 30 years since The Unforgettable Fire was released. Let’s hop in the time machine, shall we? The Unforgettable Fire saw U2 choosing different producers, feeling pressured about their music and finding relevance. Some things don’t change.
Old Grey Whistle Test interview
Bono interview around the release of The Unforgettable Fire where Bono says he wants to make music that is played all over the world on the radio.
And finally … my friend Allison sent this along and it’s too good not to share: Pained Faces Of Soloing Rockstars Make A Lot More Sense With Giant Slugs. Passengers, anyone?
Have a great week.