U2 om HTDAAB - del 3
I den diskuterar bandet de nya låtarna, de olika producenterna och hur de har vuxit musikaliskt med How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb.
del 3 - om de nya låtarna och produktionen
About Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own. Is this about your father?
I sang the song Sometimes You Can’t Make it On Your Own at my father’s funeral. He was a very tough old boot of a guy, Irish, Dub, north side Dubliner, very cynical about the world and the people in it, but very charming and funny with it. His whole thing was, don’t dream. To dream is to be disappointed. That’s really who I think my father was, and that was his advice to me… he didn’t speak it in those words but that’s what he meant. And of course that’s really a recipe for megalomania, isn’t it? I was only ever interested in big ideas, and not actually so much dreaming, but putting dreams into action. Doing the things that you have in your head has become an important thing for me. Anyway, the song Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own is dedicated to him, it’s a portrait of him, and it also explains that he was a great singer, a great tenor. A working class Dublin guy who listened to the opera and conducted the stereo with my mother’s knitting needles - he just loved opera. We didn’t talk very much, so in the song I say to him, can you hear me when I sing, and I hit one of those big tenor notes that he would have loved so much.
About Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own.
Sometimes You Can’t Make it On Your Own is one of those songs that was very difficult to get right. It was so strong that we kept running into cliché as we put the arrangement together. It had this potential which we all understood, but we couldn’t find the way to play it, so that it didn’t sound like a lot of other classic songs. Eventually, with some help from our producers, and Danny Lanois who popped in for a couple of days to play with us, we unlocked the beginning of the song, and then once we got that, everything else we already had came together. But as a tune we always thought, if we got it right, it was going to be a big song, and now I think it could be a massive song, simply because it’s a complete song. There’s nothing but pure melody there, there’s no fat, nothing you’d lose. It’s just one of those great lyrics, those great ideas, that I think is going to connect with people. Everyone can relate to it. It’s got a universal aspect that will connect.
About Original Of The Species
Original Of The Species is a very special song for me, it’s a beautiful, melodic journey. Most songs go A B A B C D. Pop songs and rock and roll songs are very simple structures, but that melody keeps changing, A B C D, A B C D, I think is the way it goes, and it’s about seeing some people who are ashamed of their bodies, in particular teenagers with eating disorders, not feeling comfortable with themselves and their sexuality. I’m just saying to them, you are one of a kind, you are the first one of your kind, you’re an original of the species..."You feel like no one before, you steal right under my door, I kneel ‘cause I want you some more, I want the lot of what you’ve got, and I want nothing that you’re not, everywhere you go you shout it, you don’t have to be shy about it”. So it’s a "be who you are”, and I can’t wait to play it live. Edge plays some extraordinary piano which got the complexity to the verses, to balance that anthem.
About Love And Peace Or Else.
Love And Peace Or Else had a lot of difficulty getting its own identity when we were doing All That You Can’t Leave Behind. What we were really inspired by was Brian’s distorted bass keyboard at the beginning. Then Larry had this very 70s glitter band drum beat and we just thought, this has got to go somewhere, we’ve got to do something with this. We tried to finish it up for All That You Can’t Leave Behind, but it just never gelled, it never quite worked. Every time we listened to the out-takes it always stood out, so we came back to it on this record, and Edge came out with this killer guitar part and glued it together. Bono more or less had the melodies and the vocal mapped out, and I think the middle 8 was still mapped out, so it was really once Edge had put that guitar part down that the song was there.
Love and Peace Or Else started off a few years ago, and we could never quite crack it, it was just like the spirit in the sky, 60s psychedelic riff. Brian Eno was in the room, with that low bass sound, and it sounded like the end of the world, this subterranean bass and glam-rock, day-glo, gospel melody, "Lay down, lay down your guns, all your daughters of Zion, all ye Abraham sons”. A preacher-type character, cracked but making some sense. It’s like the Fly went to the seminary to become a priest, and ended up in this song… something like that. It’s got a real T-Rex groove to it and a Gary Glitter thing in there with that boom boom boom boom… and it’s got this nice picture in it which is "when enter this life, I pray you depart with a wrinkled face and a brand new heart”. This baby and this old person, an image which is nice. And then there’s a lovers’ row in the middle of it. So the middle of this stomping tune about where we are right now in the world, it does a Brian Wilson-like turn left, and you’re on a phone call with "Hi darling” and you’re having a row with your girlfriend and you say, "Look, don’t fight, we can figure this out, thing’s are going to be ok”, and in the background, as you’re talking, there’s a TV, and "the TV is turned on, but the sound is turned down, and the troops on the ground are about to dig in, and I’m wondering, where is the love, where is the love”. So you have the personal and the political come together in one little one scene, very cinematic.
It owes a lot to Brian Eno’s incredible synthesiser sound which opens the song. Then Larry and Danny Lanois, Danny on shaker and Larry on drums, playing this incredible groove, and we held on to it since that first version, because we knew there was something great about it and we just needed a song to set it off. After various re-writes and different approaches, Love And Peace Or Else eventually came through as a song on this record. It’s like something you’ve not heard before, and I always love on an album a thing that’s just so original and different to everything else. It’s one of my favourite things on this record for that reason.
About One Step Closer. Where did this song come from?
One Step Closer started out as just a chord sequence that I had. When we’re jamming, sometimes I’ll throw in something that I’ve worked up, and see what happens to it. In this case, we were on one of our jam sessions and started playing the chords, and Bono came up with this amazing melody. Everyone jumped in and we had this great song, but it wasn’t until we started deconstructing it with Jacknife Lee that it started to show what it really could be. He was great, he worked on it with us and mixed it, and the song is a lot more now than it was when we first played it. It was actually almost Velvet Underground, a sort of traditional song at first, but now it’s got this far more complex feeling about it, and I think lyrically it’s very personal to Bono. The idea for the song lyrically, the "one step closer to knowing" line, came out of a conversation he was having with Noel Gallagher about his father’s illness, which at that point he’d found out was terminal. They were talking about how weird it was to know that your father’s dying, and Bono was saying, I’m not sure he has a faith, whether he knows where he’s going, and Noel says "Well, he’s one step closer to knowing, isn’t he!” and Bono went "Yeah”. It must have just registered, ok, that’s a song, and two years later it came back when we were working on that tune and it came together really fast.
About Yahweh. Where did this song come from?
It was one of those songs that had an emotional weight to it. Bono’s first vocal to it was this incredible thing, and I think most of the melodies that ended up on the final version were written in a matter of minutes when he first heard the piece of music. Quite quickly after that, he came up with this idea of calling it Yahweh, which is the name for the most high, which Jewish people do not utter, it’s written but not spoken. I don’t know the exact translation, but it’s a sacred name for God, and in this song it’s a prayer. I can’t really explain it beyond that, it’s one of those songs that had to be written, and again we just got out of the way.
About the different producers on the record.
There were a lot of contributors to the production. We had Steve, who I suppose did most of the second half of the record. We had Chris Thomas who did most of the first half of the record, and then in between we had Danny Lanois come in and do some work. We also used some tracks that Danny and Brian Eno had originally started on for the last record. We used Jacknife Lee, who was a real find on this record, he produced the Snow Patrol record and is an artist in his own right. Also, Flood came back in and did a bit of work with us, so yes, a big cross section of people.
We had quite a few different producers working with us on this record, and to their credit it doesn’t sound like we did. First we had Chris Thomas, then Steve Lillywhite coming in for the second half of the process, Garret Lee, Jacknife Lee as he’s also known, and Flood, who we’ve worked with before, has done some great work on this record. Even Daniel Lanois came in for a week. Nellee Hooper also did some incredible mixes on a couple of the songs. But I think the songs had such a strength of identity that they took care of themselves, we didn’t really have to worry too much about the identity of the record getting lost due to the influence of so many different producers. In fact I think we were very clear what it should sound like from early on, and everybody found a way to contribute and bring it into focus.
About U2. Is the band playing well?
I think through the album sessions things developed and changed. At the very beginning we were playing well, but probably not as well as we have done, but then we hit this period at the end where everyone was playing so well. It was incredible, and it was unexpected because you get used to a certain thing. You’re not necessarily complaining about it but you feel everyone’s doing their best, and that’s what we’re working on here, then suddenly everyone starts playing out of their league, and we re-recorded a lot of these songs as a result. The difference is huge even though it’s very subtle, and you couldn’t necessarily explain why. When everyone’s hitting it you can hear it. You can feel it. I’m sure it’s to do with things like commitment to the song, confidence with what’s going down that day. A band, when they’re really hitting it and they’re actually on top of their game, there’s nothing like it, it’s a completely different thing to a singer/songwriter or a guy playing with session musicians. The chemistry of a band is what it’s all about for me.
I don’t remember the band being in such good form since perhaps The Joshua Tree. I remember when we finished The Joshua Tree, we thought it wasn’t great but we knew it was special, we just weren’t sure if it was great, but we were in this mood we’re in now. People feel very good about it. If the record disappears down the toilet, never registers on the charts and people say U2 have had their time, they can fuck off now, we still know we’ve made a great record and we’re feeling very good about each other, because we’re rough on each other, we kick the shit out of each other, pushing each other to be great, because in the end you can’t live like we live. We’re living it large, we’ve got great places, houses, we don’t have the worries a lot of people have. The one part of the deal we can’t blow is being crap, and I think we’ve kept our end of the deal.
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