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"One of the central ideas of Zooropa is that it is of the moment, it's catching the stuff that's in the ether at that time." — Edge

Column: off the record..., vol. 13-586


off the record, from @U2

"We need all the help we can get."

That's what Bono said, verbatim, when David Letterman asked him if there was anything he could do to help U2 finish their new album.

Basically, all Bono did was confirm that they're nowhere close to being done with the project and went into his usual commentary about waiting for God to be in the room, yadda yadda, like Quincy Jones told him so many moons ago.

You can see the whole Late Show with David Letterman bit here, but it probably won't make you happy in terms of album or tour news.

As I stated in earlier columns, I really thought it was going to be a (U.S.) Thanksgiving release this year. The buzz was ramping up, the typical quotes were being spewed from band members during interviews and my friend Dan was coming home from deployment.

Dan has been a U.S. soldier for 20 years, and on each deployment he takes a U2 concert shirt with him -- usually from the tour he got to see most recently. As a fan, it reminds him of good times; as a soldier, it’s a warm reminder of home.

He took it as a good omen that he came home two days before the release of No Line On The Horizon and was hoping for the same pattern to follow when he returned home from his most recent deployment last month. Unfortunately, we were both wrong.

But I'm glad Dan is home safe, and I'd really rather not rush the band if they don’t think their current sounds are up to snuff. Perhaps they can craft a song about patience so next time the wait won't seem so brutal?

In time spent away from working on that new album, Bono perfected his comedy shtick, with a full-on impression of President Bill Clinton that quickly went viral on YouTube. 

You can view that performance here and President Clinton's (less accurate) Bono impression, created in response, here.

This whole exchange got me thinking just how far the band has come, both in humanitarian work and in maturity.

Back in 1992, I distinctly remember the U2 interview on Rockline where Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton (who was campaigning for president) called in to ask them questions. I remember how sarcastic Bono was on that show, and how cagey the band's behavior was during the whole exchange. 

Who would've ever thought they'd become such good friends over the years and join forces for worldwide humanitarian work? 

One member of the U2 family that never seems to stop working is Miss Sarajevo director Bill Carter

His life has led him to one adventure after another, but the most recent is his mission to educate the public about issues surrounding copper mines. His book on the topic, Boom, Bust, Boom: A Story About Copper, the Metal that Runs the World, which was published in Oct. 2012, is going to see a new printing in trade paperback format in the spring of 2014. 

Publisher Tim Schaffner of Shaffner Press, Inc. who is spearheading the re-issue of the book, had this to say when I contacted him earlier this week about the release:

Bill Carter's latest book, BOOM, BUST, BOOM: A Story About Copper, the Metal that Runs the World, proves once again as he demonstrated first in FOOLS RUSH IN, and then RED SUMMER, that he is the bravest sort of journalist one who will not only go the front lines to fully understand all sides of an issue, but who is also not afraid to show his readers the personal side to the controversy in this case the fact that the metal we all take so for granted yet use more than any other in our lives, brings with it grave potential consequences for our health, the environment, the economy, global stability and the soul of our planet. This book is a wake-up call for all who are concerned for the future and our children's future.

Included in the new edition will be a foreword by bestselling author Luis Alberto Urrea and an epilogue by Carter that brings all of the issues mentioned in the first edition up to date. 

Are there any Breaking Bad fans out there?

I'll confess to being a shameless addict (pun intended) who is anticipating tonight’s series finale with a mixture of adrenaline-fueled excitement and certain nausea. 

Without spoiling anything, the show, about a cancer-stricken high school chemistry teacher who starts cooking meth with one of his former students to earn money to leave to his family, has reached a ridiculous amount of notoriety in recent weeks. 

You can't read a news page or visit a social media site without something being mentioned about the show. But it's completely justified.

This last season has put the audience through such an emotional roller coaster that once an episode ends, viewers feel as if they have to turn to the Internet to commiserate in a makeshift pop culture group therapy session.

In the 2bitmonkey blog, the author compares this "event" phenomenon to the kind of hype that surrounds a successful U2 album in the post From U2 to Breaking Bad: How Event Albums Gave Way to Event Television.

2bitmonkey makes an excellent point.


© @U2/Kokkoris, 2013.