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"I feel that God would have more time for [atheists] than for most who are part of a religion, who seem so odd to me, or doped." — Bono

Rock and Rollins as Punk Nut Henry Takes a Swipe at Bono

U2 singer accused of ego-boost crusades
The People
Bono has been left fuming after one of the U.S.'s best-known punks branded him a fake -- and U2 among the worst bands in rock.

Henry Rollins, who used to front Black Flag -- America's answer to the Sex Pistols -- said U2's claim to be the greatest band in the world was nothing short of a joke.

The only reason their records were such big hits was due to the genius of producers and backroom boys such as ex-Roxy Music guitarist Brian Eno and Canadian Daniel Lanois, he claimed.

"They have the worst rhythm section in big rock," said Rollins.

"That is the most plodding, corny rhythm section ever to fill a stadium.

"If you look at some of those records, they're mediocre Brian Eno records with a bad band in the way.

"They need a producer like Eno or Daniel Lanois to kind of prop up this cabaret singer and his one-trick pony."

Rollins, 42, infuriated Bono earlier this year when he branded the Dubliner "boring" and questioned the sincerity of his campaigns.

"When I see Bono doing this, I think: 'Is this a crusade or really good promo for U2's Greatest Hits album?'" he said at the time.

"How can you go on tour and be 'Cause Guy' to the level he's purported to be?"

Now the muscle-bound star -- described as the father of American punk -- has stepped up the attack by accusing Bono of using political crusades to boost his own ego.

"I think it's nice the guy is putting a face on Third World debt and the AIDS crisis in Africa," Rollins told a U.S. interviewer.

"I just think when you campaign on both fronts, it turns into a little bit like grandstanding, to me.

"Some people are completely immersed in charities for 80 to 100 hours a week and he just kind of goes from one to the other.

"Is he on the road working for that? Or was it just for Newsweek?"

Muscle man Rollins, who now tours the world with his own one-man show, spoke out as world leaders were queuing up to shower praise on Bono, a Nobel Peace Prize nominee.

French President Jacques Chirac last week awarded him the French equivalent of a knighthood in Paris.

Bono was also given a special Humanitarian Award at this week's Meteor Music Awards in Dublin for his AIDS and Third World debt crusades.

The band won best group at the awards ceremony.

Rollins said while he "hated" Bono's music, U2 still had plenty of contenders when it came to his least favourite band.

"There is so much music around for people who don't have time to think," he said. "This country is in a hurry. It has fast food, fast culture and a quickly disposed-of culture.

"What we are seeing is the music and culture of consumers. You devour it and chuck it out."

Bono's supporters last night said Rollins' comments displayed an astonishing ignorance of Bono's achievements.

"When Bono speaks people sit up and listen," a pal said.

"He has the ear of some of the most powerful people in the world.

"He called for the U.S. to do more on the AIDS crisis recently and then President Bush announced one of the biggest relief packages in history.

If anybody is a one-trick pony it is Rollins. He can rant and rave, but that is about it."

© News Group Newspapers Ltd., 2003.