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"But the real reason why it's unlikely that I will take to the front for any length of time, is that Bono can't drum." — Larry

Column: off the record..., vol. 13-556


off the record, from @U2

Whew. I'm super relieved to learn today that I don't need to call Live Nation to sort out my U2.com paid membership.

I've just logged in and my account continues to show an expiration date of March 2, 2014. That's what it should say, but for some reason U2.com started emailing me a week or two ago with an alert that my account was expiring on March 2, 2013 ... a full year early. We posted about it on Twitter (with a screen shot comparing the email to the account info page), and a handful of people responded saying they were also getting incorrect email alerts.

I've never called Live Nation (or Fanfire when it was known by that name) for any help related to my account, and after hearing years of horror stories, I'm not really in the mood to start calling them now.

So ... whew. Glad that hassle was avoided.

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of chatting on the phone with Brian O'Neal, a guy who handled publicity and marketing for U2 during the 1990s. I was hoping Brian would want to join us in some capacity at the U2 Conference in April, and that he'd be a good guest -- either to be part of a panel discussion with others, or maybe to be an interview subject in his own right.

We hit it off on the phone call, and after learning more about Brian and hearing some of his stories -- the one where Edge sat at the conference table staring at Brian's eyes to see his expressions the first time U2 played Achtung Baby for anyone outside the band was a good one -- it was pretty obvious that he'd be a great interview subject. And, best of all, he did want to join us at the conference.

As we announced last week, he's been added to the mainstream track for a session at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, April 26. We'll have to make some changes to our session plans to fit him in, but it'll be plenty worth it.

We also recently announced that Unforgettable Fire, the super-popular tribute band from New York City, will be joining us in a double capacity: During the conference, they'll be the guests during the U2's Sound Explained for Non-Musicians session, and when the conference is over, they'll be performing at the official post-conference party.

The session is gonna be great fun -- and educational, too! The band will bring their gear in the session room and be ready to talk and play about how U2 songs come together, how each band member has developed and/or changed styles over the years, and so much more.

Take a look at this lineup on the mainstream side:

  • Friday, April 26 @ 8:45 am: Jim Henke interview

  • Friday, April 26 @ 10:30 am: Brian O'Neal interview

  • Saturday, April 27 @ 8:45 am: U2's Sound Explained for Non-Musicians with Unforgettable Fire

  • Saturday, April 27 @ 10:30 am: John Gorman interview

That alone sounds fantastic to me, and then you add in all the academic sessions and other events ... wow. Gonna be a great few days. As always, you can learn more at U2Conference.com.

We were asked recently on Twitter about this YouTube video advertised as audio of "7 new songs possibly from [U2's] next album." Our crack staff (primarily Aaron J. Sams!) figured out that the first five audio clips are ear-monitor recordings from the U2 360 tour. The last two, which start at about the 2:50 mark of the video, are a bit more mysterious, but were previously posted over on this blog. Your guess is as good as ours if anything would ever become of those demos. Still: interesting.

I have a confession: I can't stand most Internet memes, and avoid them like the plague. For example, I've never heard that "Gangnam Style" song in its entirety. And I've never seen nor heard any of the current "Harlem Shake" videos. Ignorance is bliss, as the saying goes.

So, I'm always on alert when someone sends me a link and tells me to click on it. On Saturday, our friend and longtime reader Roman G. emailed me a YouTube link with no explanation other than this:

It was only a matter of time before someone made it, right?

I wrote back:

I haven't clicked yet, but if this is Harlem Shake or Gangnam Style or anything like that, I ain't watching!!! :-)

Moments later, I clicked and as soon as I saw the title of the video, I shut down my browser.

I explain all of this mainly to give you fair warning for what's next, because I haven't pre-screened it ... and I ain't planning to post-screen it, either. :-)

And finally ... it was only a matter of time before someone made it, right?


(c) @U2, 2013.