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"I write songs about high ideas and aspirations and I admire Martin Luther King and John Hume, peaceful people, but in myself I'm capable of aggression of a really brutal kind." — Bono

Bono Offers Thoughts on the Millennium Change

Rolling Stone
CULTURAL EVENT

Punk rock and hip-hop. Punk was ideas over expertise; anger as an energy; vision, style and content; not much craft. the roar of the Sex Pistols, the martial drumming of the Clash, the pure pop and power of the Buzzcocks. Sometimes it wasn't very musical, and it rarely had hits. In that sense, it's very white -- and, coming from Ireland, I was very white, too.

Hip-hop is the most important cultural event since the Beatles or Elvis. Hip-hop solved the problem of punk. With punk, you could pick up a guitar and you didn't have to play it very well. But with hip-hop, you didn't even have to play badly -- you just got a record of somebody who could play. So there were no limits to your imagination. Hip-hop was also lyric-based, so you had the first-person/third-person dilemma. You didn't know if it was storytelling or if the rapper really had an AK-14. Talk about fear of a black planet -- this was an extraordinary moment in pop music.

POLITICAL EVENT

The possibility of peace in Ireland. It's a real thing, and it will change my life and my kids' lives in profound ways. We live in the south, so it's not like it's a war zone, but our lives will change. That's my prayer.

BIGGEST INFLUENCES

I could mention some big names, and I could look at it philosophically, but fuck it: the Clash. Let's face it -- there was a lot of posing going on, but it actually was an extraordinary band: more pose than style, more style than art, more substance than abuse, more racket than groove, more groove than most. It was pop, soul, punk, gospel, jazz, and blues, all put in a blender. U2 don't sound a tiny bit like them; their influence was more in terms of fear -- fear of ever having to go on after them.

TIME CAPSULE

The gospel of John.

TWENTY-FIRST-CENTURY INVENTION

The non-polluting child -- the child that can change it's own nappy.

ADVICE FOR THE CLASS OF 2000

Just remember: Dinosaurs may have had small brains, but they were around for 150 million years.

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