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X-clusive: 'Two Crap Albums and You're Out'

XFM Online, October 05, 2004


On the eve of the release of their new single "Vertigo" U2 have been speaking to XFM about playing live next year, Bono being an "embarrassor" for Ireland and making a "not crap" deal with their audience.

Speaking at yesterday's Q Awards, where the band picked up the prestigious Icon Award, U2 frontman Bono explained that he takes his musical responsibilities (and the responsibilities that come with the rewards of massive success) very seriously indeed.

"There's a real deal. A real deal, between us and our audience," he explained, "Which is we don't have to worry about where our kids are going to school, paying a hospital bill, paying the mortgage, in return we don't make a crap album. Two crap albums and you're out. That's our deal with our audience.

"Whether it's Catholic guilt or whatever it is, it's not on to have this life that we've been given -- this amazing life -- and be crap...And have a fish farm in Wales. It's unacceptable."

As previously reported on XFM, U2 are expected to play a world tour to promote their new album How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. However Bono explained that new songs are the only reason that they decided to commit to such a huge undertaking.

"The live thing is really where this band lives. For the first time we've made an album that we like," Bono laughed, "Which could mean the end of our band. 'Cos normally we find the songs -- when we go out and play them -- that you step inside them. And you want to find some really good reasons to leave home. We've all got some nice houses and family and friends and it's hard to leave. We had to find some really good reasons to leave home and I think we've found eleven."

Not surprisingly following Bono's recent appearance at the Labour Party Conference, the singer was happy to talk about political matters, but was quick to make light of his role as an Irish Ambassador and put his campaigning work in perspective.

"An ambassador? I'm a great embarrassor for Ireland," Bono joked, "As for the politics and the music, there's no difference. When Elvis walked on stage -- a white man singing with a black man's voice, moving his hips in a dangerous way -- that was politics. The Clash. They were completely political. Mick Jones [who was awarded the Best Producer Award] to have him on the stage and still sane and sound of mind, with a sense of humour and a certain clarity that he has. The Clash were the absolute greatest band for us. They were the inspiration.

"But politics y'know? It's important. Very, very important, but it starts with hardness of heart, which is the core of a lot of the world's problems, that can be changed by music."

U2 release How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb on November 22, preceded by new single "Vertigo" on November 8.

© Capital Radio plc, 2004.

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