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Column: off the record..., vol. 14-616

@U2, April 27, 2014
By: Aaron Govern


off the record, from @U2

As we move closer to another new month, we continue to wait with bated breath for any news of the next U2 album -- and the news is, there is no news! The band members have been very quiet over the last few weeks, with a handful of appearances in London, which might indicate that they are focusing on recording at The Church Studios in London, as reported by Matt McGee just over a month ago. It does seem that over the last few weeks most of the band members have been in London, and various online forums suggest frequent sightings of the band arriving at the studio.

The Church Studios were formerly owned by Dave Stewart, and have in recent times been sold to Paul Epworth, who has spent an incredible amount of money in the last few months renovating an already modern studio, and who has recently invested over £200,000 in vintage studio equipment and has tweeted pictures of the console that U2 were using in the studio. For those interested in the technical aspects of studio recording, it appears that U2 are using a rare EMI Neve console. It’s as vintage as you can get, and according to this report, seems to have been newly installed. I assume that U2 are the first Church Studios client to use this fabulous piece of equipment. I mean, we are talking analog recordings! Do you remember those? I can imagine that once Edge knew this was available, it was a no-brainer. I can see him now with a screwdriver in his hand going through all those wires!

This week will feature the U.K. premiere of A Thousand Times Good Night starring Juliette Binoche, and including Larry Mullen in his second major film role, following his debut in Man On The Train in 2011. It would appear that his role this time around is much less prominent, but the film will likely be seen by more of the general public than Man On The Train, which had a limited cinema release, and was released straight to DVD in most territories. A Thousand Times Good Night had its debut in Norway last year, and is expected to get its North America theater release before the end of 2014.

A few weeks ago it was reported that Roy Orbison’s Mystery Girl album was being re-released, and we now have another past release from 1995, Emmylou Harris’ classic album Wrecking Ball, which is being released as a deluxe edition. The album includes several collaborations with songwriters and artists such as Neil Young, and features Larry Mullen Jr., who played drums and percussion on eight of the 12 tracks. This new expanded edition includes a DVD of the making of the album, with some brief appearances from Larry. Original album producer and U2 associate Daniel Lanois is touring the re-release with Harris as part of her backing band, having just finished a short tour of North America before moving to Europe in May. If you haven’t heard Wrecking Ball before, I would thoroughly recommend it -- it really is a classic album, and another example of the studio magic that Lanois can pull off with established artists. See Bob Dylan’s Oh Mercy! for further evidence.

Finally, I was delighted to see U2 honor Mike Peters of Welsh band The Alarm. It brought me back to the early 1980s when I was 15/16 years old, and had seen U2 a few times live, when there were a number of bands similar to U2 in style and fame -- Simple Minds, Big Country, Echo & The Bunnymen, The Alarm and The Waterboys. This period was a great time for me, as I had just completed my ‘O’ level exams, and was moving on to high school. These bands were the sonic landscape during that time of my life. I went to so many concerts in the years 1983 to 1986 and nearly all of them revolved around the bands I have just mentioned -- all because of their connection to U2. In fact, next week I am seeing Echo & The Bunnymen (now consisting of only two original members) for the first time since 1984, when they played the Birmingham Odeon in support of their great Ocean Rain album. Their lead singer Ian McCulloch had a friendly rivalry with Bono in their early days, but over the years this has become a bit one-sided, with McCulloch often bad-mouthing Bono. In this interview from a few years ago, he’s on a bit of a downer.

Have a great week. See you next time!

(c) @U2/Govern, 2014


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