"I distrust anything that's obvious, like someone saying, 'Let's be original.'"
W. Richland Man's Web Site on U2 Draws Fame, Fans
Web site creator Matt McGee headed to Cleveland as cohost for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame U2 exhibit
June 06, 2003
Matt McGee was 13 when he first heard the music of U2. "I was hooked from the start," said the 34-year-old West Richland man. "Their music has been the soundtrack of my life."
McGee isn't kidding.
In 1995, he created an unofficial Web site, www.atu2.com, dedicated to U2 music news and just about any other kind of information you'd want to know about the band. The site has earned big respect from U2 fans around the globe. So much so, that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum has asked McGee to cohost a special U2 exhibit that opens June 14 at the Cleveland, Ohio, museum.
"This Web site has grown into the most visible unofficial site for U2 information," McGee said. "It really blew me away when the Hall asked me to cohost this event. I'm totally flattered."
McGee travels to Cleveland next week for the celebration. It marks the opening of the newest section of the U2 exhibit, titled In The Name of Love: Two Decades of U2. The exhibit features U2 collectibles and merchandise and a video confessional booth where fans can tape visual messages to the band.
Festivities surrounding the event include a concert by the U2 tribute band Exit. Bono and his U2 mates won't be attending the celebration because the band is tied up in the studio recording a new album, said Jenny Williams, communications coordinator for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
"Matt's U2 site is very well respected all over the world because you can count on the information there to be fact-oriented," Williams said. "He doesn't print rumors. I know for a fact other media outlets go to him for information about U2. He's honest, a hard worker and a very good promoter. That's why we wanted him on board with us for this big celebration."
McGee used to spend 20 to 30 hours a week on the site, but these days he has about two dozen U2 fans in various parts of the world -- United States, Canada, London, Italy, Ireland -- who volunteer their time to help him out. The site averages about 125,000 visitors a month.
"I couldn't keep this site up and running as well as it does without all these great contributors," McGee said.
Besides being the webmaster of atu2.com, McGee, a former sports director at KEPR-TV, works full-time in Web consulting and development for One World Telecommunications.
He takes pride in developing a Web site that has amassed a global following, based on the music and lives of his favorite band. The site offers critiques of U2 as well as praise for its music and politics, along with tour dates, lyrics to songs, events coverage, biographies of the band members, photos and collectibles. There's even a guide to Dublin for those thinking about traveling to U2's homeland.
McGee is as committed to his Web site cause as Bono is devoted to bringing world awareness to the AIDS epidemic in Africa. "I'm a little more conservative than Bono," McGee confessed. "But the music of U2 speaks to people. They sing about troubles without the fluff. But their music isn't dark, either. There's always a ray of hope in their songs that makes you feel good."
And that's just what McGee hopes his Web site does for U2 fans.
© Tri-City Herald, 2003.