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"There are still some wild, unorthodox, unpredictable, furry animals to go in this zoo." — Edge, on the Zoo TV tour

Week In Review: September 11, 2020

Week In Review Header

Week In Review: September 11, 2020

Once again, @U2 brings you the latest in U2 The Edge news.


The Edge Shares His Thoughts About Marc Bolan

The big U2 news this week is of course the soon-to-be-released 20th anniversary reissue of All That You Can’t Leave Behind, which will be packed with rarities, remixes and a book of photos by Anton Corbijn. In case you missed it, you can read all about it right here.

Meanwhile, The Edge has spoken with The Guardian’s Alexis Petridis about U2’s contribution to Angelheaded Hipster, the Hal Willner-produced tribute to Marc Bolan and his band, T Rex. As part of the record’s multi-generational cast of contributors, U2 teamed up with Elton John to cover T Rex’s best-known song, “Bang A Gong (Get It On).”

The Edge describes watching T Rex perform on “Top of the Pops in 1971, at age 9: “It was kind of challenging... Marc Bolan was magical, but also sexually heightened and androgynous, with this glitter and makeup. […] I’d never seen anything like it: ‘What the hell is this? Real lads are not into this kind of stuff—this is clearly music for girls.’ But when I picked up a guitar a year later, ‘Hot Love’ was the first song I learned to play.”

The Edge recalls Bolan’s persona as “transgressional” and “ambiguous.” “I’ve no doubt every aspect of how he presented himself was just an outpouring of his understanding that things could be magical, things could be heightened. Out in the ordinary world, he managed to cast a spell over all of us.”

While punk rockers of the late 70s disdained some of the older, more self-indulgent rock bands, they considered Marc Bolan an influence. As a representative of those young punks, The Edge says, “There was incredible discipline in T Rex’s work. [T Rex never lost sight] of making great, accessible songs that have hooks and ideas and groove. They were an amazing band from that point of view, and that’s the thing that I think a lot of rock lost sight of, progressive rock and whatever—whatever it was, it was not sexy music. I think the T Rex discipline is what gave [punk] the chance to survive.”


Jo Whiley Interviews The Edge On BBC Radio 2

On September 10, The Edge spoke with BBC Radio 2’s Jo Whiley about the pandemic, Zoom and all that he can’t leave behind.

Just prior to lockdown, The Edge says, “I was actually working on some new songs with Bono, and suddenly the news started to get a little bleak about what was happening in Europe and America, and I had a decision: am I gonna go to Dublin, or am I gonna head to California where my wife was?”

The Edge opted for California and sneaked in just under the wire, before flights into the US were halted. He then returned to Dublin in early May. “I had some really great weather, and I had a bit of a garden to get out into, so I felt very fortunate. I was really feeling it for everyone who’s in an apartment somewhere in Italy or Spain or Ireland or the U.K. That would’ve been tough. […] It was hard not to be able to see friends and family, but overall I have to say I felt like one of the really lucky ones.”

Were there Zoom calls with the rest of the band? “Yeah, a lot of Zoom calls. I’m known as sort of the technology genius, but basically that’s ‘cause I know how to fix the printer.” The Edge goes on to gently disparage the technological savvy of the rest of the band.

Of the upcoming ATYCLB reissue, The Edge says, “It’s an album that... we really loved and believed in, and in retrospect... I really think it’s up there with our best albums. So as we were thinking about how to commemorate the twentieth anniversary... we were looking at outtakes and different versions of songs we recorded at the time, and some of the more obscure and rare and maybe unreleased things. […] It appealed to my trainspotting side of my nature to find some of these things. There’s a great acoustic version of ‘Stuck In A Moment That You Can’t Get Out Of’ that hasn’t seen the light of day, and so that’s a thrill that we can release that.”

Asked about a bag with a laptop full of All That You Can't Leave Behind lyrics that was taken from Bono’s car outside the Clarence Hotel in Dublin, The Edge says, “It may have been helpful. […] The whole album was somewhat inspired by this concept of luggage: what you’re gonna bring, and when you are faced with this decision, you can’t bring 'heavy.' You’ve gotta just bring the essential things with you. So All That You Can’t Leave Behind is exactly that. What’s essential? What can you not live without? […] I think in a weird way we’re almost at that time again with COVID-19. It’s like, what can we safely let go of, what do we fight to hold on to? I think it’s not an unhealthy set of questions to ask yourself, whether you’re in a rock ’n’ roll band or not.”

What can’t The Edge leave behind? “The obvious, I suppose: family, friends. And one thing I’ve been thinking a lot about is being a good ancestor and being somebody who actually does think about long-term things, so you’re passing on a world that you would be happy to live in to the next generation. And I suppose it’s a time to be reflective. You’ve got this opportunity to leave the frantic pace of life that we live in to actually take a bit of a moment to just think about things. I’m sure it’s different for everybody, but we’ve all got things we can let go of. I think that's okay. I think that’s the lesson: We are going to be okay. We will get through this. If we just look out for each other, that’s what it’s all about.”


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