"[T]he lyrics aren't literature; they are only part of the story."
Column: off the record ..., vol. 16-733
July 24, 2016
“Love the higher law”
What’s going on in the world? Something in the air is really wrong. We’re living in hard times, which makes me think about songs like “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and “Raised By Wolves.” In Rattle And Hum, Bono said the band wasn’t sure about including SBS in the film because people wouldn’t understand the way they feel on the stage. Indeed, when I was young I couldn’t quite understand. But I studied and read books, and now I know that these songs are important because they do not let people forget what happened.
My country (Brazil) has many problems, but I was fortunate to grow up in a place and time surrounded by people of different religions, which wasn’t an issue. Like most children who just want to play with a neighbor, I was not interested in different religious ideas. For me, it was a blessing to be in touch with and learn about other cultures. Nelson Mandela, who would have been 98 years old on July 18, said that “no one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
Some people disagree. Usually I wouldn’t go further with this discussion, but I can’t avoid talking about it after I saw some nasty words full of hate and intolerance in my timeline and on U2’s social media. It makes me sad. Obviously, we don’t need to agree with everything the band does; everyone can have different opinions. U2’s message has always been about love and respect. Just look at their history and songs, and you’ll see that’s true. “Don’t become a monster in order to defeat a monster,” Bono said a couple of times during the Innocence + Experience tour last year. I wouldn’t expect anything else from U2; it’s a good reflection.
France is like U2’s second home, a place where they spend vacation every year with family and friends. Band members were in Paris when the attacks occurred in November, and again in Nice on Bastille Day. Bono was at a restaurant on the nearby Promenade des Anglais, which was covered widely by the press. The truth, as far as we know, is that being rescued was a normal safety procedure, applied to everyone in the area.
Last Saturday, Bono paid tribute to the victims, laying down flowers and providing an emotional message: “There is no end to grief. That’s how I know there is no end to love. With respect for lives lost here on 14/7/16.” In a recent interview with Billboard, The Edge said U2 want to stay connected to fans at shows, and if one day they had to rethink that, they’d feel very sorry.
One of the things I loved most about the U2 I+E: Live in Paris DVD was seeing what is not usually public: the underworld. One of these moments takes place during “The Fly.” It was a lovely surprise to see what the band members do backstage: Edge stretching, Adam changing clothes, Larry hydrating, Bono getting his sweat wiped away. Honestly, the job of my dreams! I know the staff work hard and I think it was very nice to show some of them on the DVD. Being on tour is not easy; it demands sacrifices and the band needs a structured team, so all my respect to U2’s crew.
Another person who did amazing work is Hamish Hamilton, the person responsible for the DVD. The director told Olaf Tyaransen, in the latest issue of Hot Press, that it was a scary job. “It challenged everything I knew on so many levels,” he said. “What blew my mind were the multiple narrative arcs combined with the number of emotional arcs you are taken on as you journey through the show. There are a lot of good shows out there -- but very few great ones.”
Like I said before, U2’s position has always been to support nonviolence and peaceful activists, even when the band members were young and hadn’t reached fame yet. Because they’re Irish, they experienced a lot of the same things we’re facing now in parts of the world. For that reason, they’ve chosen the path of love over fear.
I’d like to finish this column by looking back at an interview Bono gave to The New York Times in December 2015. Some people say it’s easy to defend love when you’re rich and famous like U2. But I have a completely different lifestyle from the band yet share their values.
Here is a quote from Bono that I think explains his view about trying to make a better world based on the principles of life, not death:
“We’re a life cult. Rock ’n’ roll is a life force, and it’s joy as an act of defiance. That’s what U2 is. That’s at the very heart of our band … I was never a hippie — I’m punk rock, really. I was never into: ‘Let’s hold hands, and peace will come just because we’ll dream it into the world.’ No. Peace is the opposite of dreaming. It’s built slowly and surely through brutal compromises and tiny victories that you don’t even see. It’s a messy business, bringing peace into the world. But it can be done, I’m sure of that.”
Spread the LOVE. Let’s COEXIST!
Any opinions expressed in this column are those of the individual author and do not necessarily represent the views of @U2 as a whole.
(c) @U2, 2016.