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Column: off the record..., vol. 14-625

@U2, June 30, 2014
By: Aaron Govern


off the record, from @U2

We are at the half-year, the World Cup is on, Wimbledon is on, Glastonbury is on, but still no sign of the new U2 album, though to be fair the band does seem to be recording on and off at Church Studios in London. I had the opportunity to be in London recently and managed to spend just over an hour outside Church Studios, but not much was happening; a few fans had been milling around, and while I didn’t see any U2 band members, I did briefly see Larry’s drum technician Sam O’Sullivan walk by into the building. Let’s hope this recent flurry of activity continues!

If like me you are a longtime fan of U2, you might recall that before the Internet, there was a bit of a furor concerning U2 being sampled by an American cult band, Negativland, who had used the riff of I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For in their 1991 EP release called U2. Despite Negativland being an almost unknown cult band, and without the advent of the Internet to publicize band activity, the sampling became famous due to the rather inept intervention of Island Records, which raised a “cease and desist” order against the members of Negativland. Why mention this now? Well, in recent weeks, the recording has come back into the public arena due to the death of legendary U.S.A. DJ Casey Kasem, whose voice was also used in the recording when introducing U2 as part of the chart countdown. Negativland has taken the opportunity to release the entire unmixed recordings from that period by way of tribute to Kasem. Check it out, as well as the entire escapade of Negativland and U2, which at the time appeared to be very controversial.

I can’t always say that I’m a great fan of dance remixes of U2 songs, but I recently came across a fantastic deep house mix of Ordinary Love by a German DJ called Pretty Pink. I have absolutely no idea whether this is or was meant to be an official release, but it really is one of the better mixes that have been made available in recent years. However, I really don’t think you can beat a good old-fashioned B-side song, can you? Oh, the memories of those, as you flipped over your 45! I’m sure some people reading this don’t have a clue what I’m referring to?!?

Undoubtedly it was not until the beginning of 1987 when the now-iconic Joshua tree became a world-famous species following the release of U2’s fifth magnum opus. The actual Joshua tree that was used in Anton Corbijn’s photographs sadly died at the beginning of the previous decade. It seems the species might be threatened ecologically: This report suggests that many of the trees are dying in their usual habitat. I had never seen such a beautiful plant, and it would be such a shame if these trees were to die out, even if it is just nature’s way. Ever since seeing them, a visit to Joshua Tree National Park has been on my bucket list – perhaps I’d better get a move on.

Finally, it is three years since the Achtung Baby weighted set by U2 at Glastonbury. What better way to reminisce than with the opening song and video by Damian Hirst of Even Better Than The Real Thing.

I hope you have a great week! 'Til next time ...

© @U2/Govern, 2014

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