It all started in 1987. As a fresh-faced 14-year-old at a private school where all the snooty, stuck-up kids just loved U2 and R.E.M., I decided I would hate both bands just on principle. But then The Joshua Tree and Document both came out in the same year, and I had to adjust my anti-herd-mentality thinking.
"With Or Without You" sucked me in to the U2verse. I recorded it off the radio onto my cassette player and nearly wore that tape out. Then came the purchase of the actual album -- actually, even though it dates me again as above, the cassette -- followed by an inevitable delving into the back catalogue. By the time Rattle And Hum was released, I was a full-blown addict.
And that was before the concerts started. My first live experience forever spoiled me: ZooTV at the old Omni in Atlanta in March 1992. Since then, as of this writing, 16 shows across six different tours have passed, including an unforgettable trip to Dublin in November 2015. That trip was also my first face-to-face meeting with several members of the atu2.com staff with whom I'd become virtual friends over the past few years. One thing led to another, and now this bio appears on the staff page! To coopt another band's signature line, what a long, strange trip it's been.
There are other details, of course. I got my Master's in Mass Communication from the University of Georgia in 1996, and lived in five different states before moving back to Athens in 2006. I am now married and have a 7-year-old son, and I have switched from a career as a sportswriter into real estate, where I've been working for a decade.
But the one constant through the last 30 years, when it comes right down to it, is U2. Though I've never been fortunate enough to do more than run across the lads in passing -- Bono at his brother's restaurant in Dublin in 1994, Adam outside the O3 Arena in 2015, Edge and Larry remain near misses after a PopMart show in 1997 -- I feel like they've served as older brothers to me.
They let me know what may be coming at me just a few years down the road. They still speak to me where I am now. And, regardless of the state of the rest of my life, they have an open dialogue with me (even if it's one-sided) that lets me know it's my world, and I can change it.