"We always see this planet as belonging to God -- I think it belongs to us. We probably stole it from God. But you can try and give bits of it back."
Bono Interviewed on Atlanta's 99X FM Radio
This is the text of a 99X FM radio on-air interview with Bono conducted May 8, 1998...
May 08, 1998
(This is the text of a 99X FM radio on-air interview with Bono conducted May 8, 1998. As explained early on, the interview is with and by Adora Mills, mother of R.E.M.'s Mike Mills.)
Thanks to Michelle Perez for transcribing the interview!
DJ: This is our Mother's Day show and every Mother's Day we have on Adora Mills, Mike Mills' mom. Hi Adora?
Adora: Good morning.
DJ: She is our favorite mom. She is our adopted Morning X mom. She is the mother of the Morning X collectively. Is the family listening -- is Mike listening this morning?
Adora: I sort of doubt it, its rather early in the morning. But, I want to tell you that it is such an honor to be mother representative of the rock and roll world.
DJ: We love that you listen to us, that makes us very happy.
Adora: Oh yes, I certainly do. It's great. I appreciate your thinking. You don't let people sit there and just unthink themselves. They have to think when they listed to 99X. That's for sure. They may not think good, but they are thinking. (Laughter)
DJ: Now tell us a story about what happened at a certain aftershow party and some certain people, and why you're here this morning.
Adora: We were so lucky to be able to hear Bono and U2 in concert when they came to Atlanta this past year and Michael Stipe, because they are all such good friends, had an aftershow party for them and we were lucky enough to be able to go, too. And, my 9-year-old grandson was there and he stood up that whole concert and never, never, never stopped listening, he had such a wonderful time. But, at the show Bono had heard that somehow I was gonna be on as the mother representative this morning and he said, "I'll tell you what," he said. "Wherever I am in this world, I will call you on Mother's Day" And, I just about flipped. Is that not the most wonderful thing you ever heard?
DJ: And, voila!!! Here is Bono!
Bono: That's show business! (Laughter)
DJ: Kept his word. Here he is -- the Mother's Day show. Hey Bono, how are you?
Adora: Ahhh, you are just super. You don't know how much I appreciate this. You know you're my adoptive son.
Bono: Well...umm...I've been...you know...I'm very very excited about the fact that you're my adoptive mother and today.
Adora: Awwww. Yes, definitely.
Bono: I haven't had one for a while and I'm really grateful. And, that you just should stand in the breach. Thank you, Adora. I'm not the only one that's in your fan club. But, I just thought it was very cool that you were to be on the radio on Mother's Day.
Adora: Well, and I have to tell you my dear son, how proud I am of you and some of the things I've heard about the tour this time. Could you tell me what went on with the disappearing mothers...I know you had a bunch of them on stage. How did you manage that?
Bono: Ummm...if you're talking...there was two...in South America you must be talking about ummmm --
Adora: -- the Mothers of the Disappeared children.
Bono: Yeah. In Chile or Argentina. There are separate sections of this organization of women whose sons and daughters who have disappeared over the last 20 years for -- I guess for being dissident. And -- but non-violent dissidence most of them. But the most dramatic thing I can tell you about was -- I don't know if you saw on the news that when President Pinochet, General Pinochet, was looking for a life seat in the Senate in Chile and the opposition party in Chile staged a protest where they brought in the pictures of the disappeared children and their names and staged this protest in the Parliament there because Pinochet, of course, is known to be responsible for this horrendous murders and all these women want is to know is where the bones of their children are buried. I suppose, if this is not to heavy for this early in the morning. And, anyway, we found out that this protest was inspired by our concert the night before where we brought on the mothers.
Adora: Oh my.
Bono: So, since then there has been a lot of changes in Chile and it was just nice to feel even a small part of that. I'm delighted the story even made it to the U.S. I had no idea. That's great.
Adora: Yes, yes it did and I know that sometimes its amazing how far reaching a very small action can be. That wasn't a small action, but still sometimes you just don't know when you say what, where it's gonna go.
Bono: Yeah, we found out because of the Chilean ambassador turned up in South Africa at our last show and he brought pictures of the protest and the Parliament building and said "Do you realize this is what your concert started?"
Adora: How about that.
Bono: But, it was a great feeling to stand on stage in the same stadium as so many, you know, so many young people were brutally tortured and murdered and to be able to address General Pinochet from the stage on live television in Chile and say give the dead back to the living. Please, General Pinochet, tell these women where the bones of their sons and daughters are. That was an extraordinary moment...certainly in my life and U2's.
Adora: Oh yes. And, what a tribute to mothers for a wonderful Mother's Day thing to say this morning.
Bono: These are happening women, by the way.
DJ: Where are you Bono?
Bono: I'm at home in Dublin, Ireland and I'm looking out on a kinda mixed up bit of a day. Umm, it was bright about five minutes ago and I think its about to snow now. Uhh, its an Irish summer.
DJ: Its about 3:00 there in Ireland, right?
Bono: Yep. Its 2:00.
DJ: Bono, jumping out of bed bright and early at 2:00. It's an early morning for you. (Laughter)
Bono: Well, it...I...tried to get up early you know. I've got kids. Ummm, but last night I...I...I...I...(cough) I was working late. (Laughter)
Adora: We understand that for sure. I have a message for you from Mike -- my son, Mike. Ummm, he went up to New York this week for the opening of Michael's photography exhibit and also the book release for the photographs he took of Patti Smith's tour.
Adora: And, ran into Larry up there. Larry Mullen.
Adora: Yeah and so he said to be sure and tell you hello for him and he hopes you're doing fine.
Bono: (Laughter) Well, it is kinda odd. Ummm...that Larry should be seen out anywhere really. (Laughter)
DJ: Why, does he hibernate?
Bono: Yeah, well he...Larry...he strikes me as a little bit like Bill Berry was in R.E.M., he keeps himself to himself and ummm...you know...just hangs with cops and stuff.
Adora: Yeah, but you know when you get to talking to him he's got a lot to say. Cause I talked to him at the party and he is sooo neat.
Bono: Oh yeah, he is very cool and he does have the gift of eternal youth. Which is always worth talking to someone with that shit.
DJ: Doesn't he ride a Harley?
Bono: You know, it's very hard...this business of riding a Harley, because it's become such a cliche. But, he is actually, I think so proud of the bike and he's so proud that he has covered all of the U.S. and he's done a lot of miles on his bike. But, he doesn't wear it on his sleeve or wear it on a saddle these days as much. He doesn't like to talk about. He says there are two kinds of bikers: ones that ride and ones that talk about it. He wants to be in the former camp.
DJ: Does he pack it up on the semi and bring it city to city and go riding around?
Bono: Actually he did.
DJ: I can't believe management is real crazy about him riding around on a Harley, cross country, during a tour.
Bono: Yeah, no they are not.
DJ: One spill --
Bono: The Edge's fire eating is a much bigger problem. (Laughter)
DJ: The Edge's fire eating? Now, are you joking?
Bono: What you do think? (Laughter)
DJ: (Laughter) Well...I don't know, I mean. Who knows what kind of private life he has...he might dabble in some kind of weird areas.
Bono: They do -- these rock stars.
DJ: Bono, this is great that you called us this morning to talk to Adora Mills and she's got more questions for you.
Adora: I do. I have some more questions for you, but the first one I want to ask you right quick is how old are your children?
Bono: Uhhh, well I share a birthday with my eldest daughter. She's 8 at the moment and she's gonna be 9 on Sunday.
Adora: Ohhhh. How nice...is your birthday this Sunday?
Adora: On Mother's Day...how special.
DJ: You'll be, uh, 26, right Bono?
Bono: That's it. (Laughter) But, there is a painting of me somewhere. If you know that old Oscar Wilde story. The second girl, her name is Eve and she is 6 and in fact she is running around the house right know because she has a sore throat and she didn't go to school. She was banging me on the head to wake me up this morning. (Laughter)
Adora: Well, that is absolutely wonderful. I am sooo glad that you have children to keep you sane.
Bono: Oh well, I don't know about that. I don't know who is looking after who here. Uhhh...no they are very cool. We took them out of school for the U.S. tour and their mother, Ali, and we have a friend -- [name could not be deciphered] taught them school as they were travelling around the U.S. You know, that was a real experience for them and they went on every date of the tour. They lived in New York for a while and they went down to Washington and did loads of things. They met the President. Jordan read out a poem to them in the Oval Office, which was really cool. It was about peace in Northern Ireland. They are kinda hip kids. They are great. But, I have to say it is their mother that has to take the credit for this. I love Ali and I adore my kids and I want to be there for them. But, I probably don't have the ummm..the actual mental capacity...ummmm...to look after them as well as their mother. She kinda runs the show around here and I am just, you know, kinda tidied up occasionally and thrown out to work. They have parties here when I go on tour. You know...(laughter)
DJ: I'm sure they do.
Adora: I think that's a father's job. My daughter-in-law and I were talking yesterday about how fathers just seem to appear when they are needed and are not there any other times and that seems to be the way that fathers do and that's okay, too. As long as you're there when you are needed and that's what's important.
Bono: No, I am there. I am there.
Adora: We know that.
Bono: I am definitely there. And they know that and I think they find it kind of amusing having their father be a grown up and do a children's job.
DJ: Bono after being on tour for sooooo long how do you decompress? How do you relax now?
Bono: I'm not sure I have decompressed or particularly want to. I mean for me...in the end...it's not a job. You know, I...this is an amazing thing, you know, to be able to make a living out of a gift and it's not like something I can think, "Whoa, that was really hard work, now I better take some months off to recover." It's all part of the one thing for -- and I love being at home in Dublin at the moment. To answer your question -- in this town, this city and its complete disregard for success is certainly a good way. Cause if I don't get my head down here, I just generally get it knocked off. They have a very healthy attitude about people like myself. They just ignore me.
DJ: Do you resent like negative press that you get from your own country. Does that bother you?
Bono: You know, it can...sometimes...you know it's hard for us to get a hometown gig here for peculiar reasons. But, you know rock and roll bands need a bit of a kicking. They do. And, we are just having a great time and I think it's okay if your -- hold on, I'm actually being interrupted. Would you come over here Evie? Do you want to say something?
DJ: Lets talk to Eve.
Bono: She doesn't talk much. I'm not sure she will do this. Would you just explain to the people what I have to do?
DJ: How old is she, Bono?
Bono: Eve is 6.
DJ: Eve 6
Eve: (Softly...gravelly...small) Happy Mother's Day...
Adora: Ohhh!!!! Thank you soooo much, Evie. I hope your throat gets better.
Bono: Did you get that?
Adora: Yes, we got it...thank you.
Bono: (Laughter) That's about as much as Eve would say over a whole day. I think it was a sort of Friday the 13th, spooky, "Happy Moooother's Daaayyyy."
DJ: It's a lot for a 6-year-old.
Adora: We hope that her sore throat gets much better and she feels much better.
Adora: I want to tell you too Bono, how impressed I am with and how proud I am of the way that my children use their minds and think. Ya'll come out with some of the most amazing things that are just...well, not only off the wall...but, thought provoking and brave and courageous.
Adora: Very scary to a mom I can tell you that.
Bono: Well listen, you know -- I'm gonna run now, but I love talking to you Adora. You know how I feel about Atlanta and actually just Georgia. I'd love to be there right now if I wasn't here right now and all the blessings to you and to Mike and the band and everyone at 99X. It's a great station and you're great folks. Thanks for treating us well when we were in town.
Adora: Thank you so much and I close with a typical southern thing, which is, Come see us honey! (Laughter)
Bono: Alright, and I'll do that.
DJ: We really appreciate you calling.
Bono: That's no problem. I'll be honest. Some drink had been taken when we decided to go for this (laughter). But it still felt good the next morning. Unlike a lot of the other things I'm sure.
DJ: That's how we all ended up here. We have one last 15-second thing that I think you can excel at big time. It's called our Fish Quiz and every celebrity on takes it. Only 15 seconds to name as many fish as you can.
Bono: FISH? (Laughter)
DJ: That's it. Anything under water.
Bono: How about Three Cods and the Trout? Swordfish...shark...uhhh...uhhh...mackerel...they are really good...ummmm...uhhhh...cod...uhhh...smoked cod (laughter)...fresh cod...(laughter)...what else?
DJ: Somewhere between 5 and 7.
Bono: How did I do there?
DJ: You got about 5...6...or 7.
DJ: You got 4 actually. The champion is John Popper from Blues Traveler. He got 14.
Bono: Well next time I'll be ready and speedier. It's early in the morning for the Fish Quiz.
DJ: Thank you, Bono. Bye bye.
DJ: Bono...from Dublin.