One But Not The Same

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"BP Fallon is the only white black person I know apart from Bob Dylan" - Bono 1989

One But Not The Same
By BP Fallon


You've pressed the remote.

Zoo TV flashback.

Bono is at the wheel of his green Mark 2 '63 Jag and he's saying how the idea of Zoo TV came from when U2 played at The Point in Dublin in 1989 on New Year's Eve, when their concert was broadcast live on radio to some 500 million people across Europe and the Soviet states.

"Beaming across borders" Bono beams. "The concept behind broadcasting live from one point to a whole host of points... what we were doing there in audio we are now doing in and audio _and_ visual way with Zoo TV".

And now U2 are rehearsing at The Factory in Dublin and you've been watching them for five weeks, hanging with them at Windmill Studios where they're being filmed for the giant t.v. monitors that grace their Zoo TV tour, grooving on them at STS Studios as they record their song 'Salome', driving around with Adam one day, Edge the next, Bono another...reaching into the no-longer-guarded silent psyche of Larry.

One night up at your sister Patricia's house, you're having chinwag with Bono, talking about how love and sexuality is in a complete crisis in the 90's. And Bono, he says "But it's too much to make it all holy, too much to make it all trash..."

And one cold evening as Adam's walking with you through the misty sidestreets of Dublin, out of the blue he suddenly says "You know, the only people I know longer than my parents are U2".

And another night at STS when Larry is out of the room Bono says "You know, if it wasn't for him none of us would be here right now. U2 wouldn't ever exist".

One afternoon at Windmill, Edge is talking about this year's Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame ceremonies where he inducted the Yardbirds. There was a huge jam involving Steve Cropper, Keith Richards, Jimmy Page, John Fogerty, Neil Young, Johnny Cash, Little Richard, Carlos Santana, Noel Redding, Sam Moore, Bobby 'Blue' Bland, Phil Spector even, banging a tambourine... and Edge. "We were playing 'All Along The Watchtower' and I saw this young guy playing guitar. He was plugged into the amp I was sharing with Steve Cropper and I thought 'Who is this guy? He certainly isn't old enough to be inducted into The Hall of Fame.' Turns out he came with the amps adn the gear from the hire company and brought his own guitar and just plugged in and just went for the vibe. And then," Edge laughs at the wonderful madness of it all, "he blew the amp..!"

And back at rehearsals...listen, I'm no virgin to rehearsals, first watching the wounded Gene Vincent in 1963 having to call a halt to the wobbly proceeding because The Rialto Cinema in New York was letting in the little blue haired ladies so that these old dears could play bingo. Bingo? What about 'Be Bop A Lula', mister?

Rehearsals... The Beatles pissing around at The Adelphi Cinema in Dublin...this new group The Jimi Hendrix Experience figuring out 'Hey Joe' at 'Ready Steady Go!'...The Stones at Apple when I was working there, breaking in their new guitarist Mick Taylor for their Hyde Park concert...Janis at The Royal Albert Hall cussing out her band...Iggy and the Stooges at the Beach Boys complest in London, James Brown at The Venue, Muddy Waters at Dingwalls, Elvis Costello and Van Morrison together at the Royal Albert Dublin, Christy Moore and Sinead at The Olympia working on 'Irish Ways And Irish Laws' for 'Free Nelson Mandela'...and as media guru, watching my charges Marc Bolan and T. Rex, Led Zeppelin, Geldof and the Rats, The Waterboys, watching 'em rehearse all over the place...millions of folk, y'dig?

And U2? At The Factory rehearsals there's one major flash that endures...Larry, Adam, Edge and Bono have just played 'One' all the way through for the very first time. It's not a particularly great performance, not yet, but still something hits you, swells up inside and embraces your soul and you're about to yell and clap and shout and holler, just moved by the music, and you look around and there's Edge's guitar technician Dallas quietly tuning up in a corner, Des fiddling with a computer, Sam is leaning over to Larry, Fraser is getting another guitar for Bono, Stuart is finding a ciggie for Adam...and the words "One Love, One Life" are ringing in your mind and the melody is hugging you, hugging you tight and warm...and in the sudden stillness you're so stupidly self-conscious that you find yourself applauding silently in your heart.

U2 aren't saviours, they aren't deities, yet they shine a light and give us a silver lining when the clouds hang low. 'Achtung Baby' is a ferocious beauty tangled up in blue, demonstrating that the sanctity of stardom is a myth, the sanctuary of stardom is bullshit.

Long before the advent of Zimmerman and Dr. Winston O'Boogie I flashed that rock 'n' roll could be more than Moon and June and blue suede shoes and "I want you, I need you, take off your clothes immediately". Not that that isn't all cool of course. There's always been a message of "I love you, what's your name?". Vulgarity is a slice of life and praise God rock 'n' roll has fed us well.

No, my own breakfast epiphany came as a kid when I heard Eddie Cochran raving through 'Summertime Blues', intoning "I called my Congressman and he said, quote, 'I'd like to help you son, but you're too young to vote'..."

U2 are part of that lineage, smashing down the walls of ignorance and apathy, caressing the hurt, taking us higher. And it ain't all pure, baby. It's sexy too.

U2 aren't simply riding the mystery train, they're helping us drive it, and this time round in the year of Our Lord 1992 they're carrying us home. The Impressions, they told it like it is, singing "People get ready, there's a train a-coming, y'don't need no baggage, y'just get on board...


BP Fallon sat down with Larry, Adam, Edge and Bono individually, asking them the same series of questions without them knowing how the others had responded.



Larry: Buttons for opening my gate (empties pockets) Lipsil, wallet, packet of Silk Cut cigarettes-nurses cigarettes! - homeopathic gear for sore throats, lighter, penknife.

Bono: I have no pockets.

Adam: A load of phone numbers. Whose? Nah, I'm not telling.

Edge: I don't have any in my trousers. In my coat (pulls everything out) there's my Gitanes, my Zippo, my keys and an awful lot of guitar picks. I pick them up everytime I leave rehearsal. I never put them back so on a given day it could be anything from ten to about fifty 'cos they just build up. I sometimes think they breed in there.


Larry: T Rex and Slade and when I saw those guys playing and saw drummers I said I wanna be able to do that.

Adam: Yeah, it was seeing Stiff Little Fingers in The Laurence Hotel in about '78 when I was about 18. I loved the energy, the excitement and the noise.

Edge: My first guitar, my first records from David Bowie records to Taste records. The Beatles obviously were huge.

Bono: There was a few incidents - seeing Elvis, seeing Tom Jones -yeah! -- and realising I fancied Marc Bolan and he wasn't a girl and I thought this rock 'n' roll was quite a potion if it can do that to me 'cos I'm very heterosexual.


Larry: The re-released version of 'Space Oddity' by David Bowie.

Bono: John Lennon's 'Happy Christmas (War Is Over)'.

Adam: I was given a lot of Beatles records and then probably the first record that I could afford to buy, which is when I was about twelve, was 'Jesus Christ Superstar'.

Edge: 'Mama We're All Crazee Now' by Slade.


Bono: There was a cabaret band that played our primary school, the Ink Bottle in Glasnevin. I was 8, and I never quite got over the sound of the drums. When we made our first album I would have dreams about the bass drum. Drums got me into rock 'n' roll. I mean, it was Larry who put together U2, he was the only one who could play and it was enough just to listen to his drums.

Adam: Rory Gallagher in The Carlton. I was into the 'Tattoo' album, I liked that and 'Irish Tour 1974'. I went to a gig in 1974, I was fourteen.

Larry: A blues concert in Trinity College.

Edge: Horslips in Skerries in '75 or '76. Then I saw Thin Lizzy in Dalymount Park, The Jam and The Clash in theatres around town, it was a great time for concerts really. Stiff Little Fingers, just great artists, Elvis Costello, The Ramones...


Edge: I hope Jimi Hendrix. I don't play anything like Jimi Hendrix but to be able to express something emotionally through your instrument, he really did it, more than any other guitar player he had the ability.

Larry: I'd have to say John Bonham followed closely by Jimi Hendrix moving swiftly onto Brian Jones. I'd be happy enough being John Bonham's roadie. Basically he was the force behind Led Zeppelin. And Jimi Hendrix - I'd be happy doing a session with Jimi. Brian Jones - I never felt that he was given the credit that he deserved, I just always thought he was the underdog and a real rock 'n' roll casualty. How can rock 'n' roll do that to people?

Adam: I'd like to meet Jimi Hendrix 'cos I wouldn't say he's boring.

Bono: Predictable... but it would have to be Elvis. Y'see what most excites me about America is this collision of two cultures, African and European, and that's what gives the heat to America, its sex appeal. You get these two cultures jammed together - sometimes very painfully jammed together. But those two cultures melt together in this one man's almost-spastic dance... Elvis Presley as a dancer means as much to me as he did as a singer.


Adam: My willie!

BP: Is it your body on the album cover?

Adam: It is, yeah. It's something that we'd always sort of talked about doing -- some sort of nude shoot with Anton, just over the years, and either one or other of us always kind of went off the idea. But this time round because we had no clear direction for an album cover we said "Well, let's take the photograph anyway and see what happens...".

Bono: My family and my friends.

Larry: An engagement ring from my mother to my father.

Edge: I am starting to get attached to guitars, which I'm very worried about because I went through ten or twelve years of really seeing my guitar as the enemy, a thing I had to somehow fight against to find something new in there, so I never really got attached to my guitars but I'm starting to develop real attachment to my Gibson Explorer in particular. Yeah, my guitars. I like some of my cars as well. I got two great Mercedes, one's a 280SE3.5 which is 1967 or '68, it's a real beaut. I've got a convertible version of that which is '65 which is really great as well. I've got these great stereos in there, it's like a mobile disco, like being at a rave you know, it's cool. Yeah, that's really my most treasured things.

BP: And why do you say it worries you that you're getting attached to your guitars, what's fearful about that?

Edge: It's a new zone mentally, you know. I much prefer the kind of mentality where you just turn up with whatever guitar you find to hand, pick it up and get something out of it. It must mean I'm getting professional or something, which scares me.


Adam: Yeah, quite often actually. Well, I once slept on a roundabout in London in Camden, no sorry not as glamorous as Camden, it was Catford. I'd been to see Thin Lizzy play the Wembley Arena in their 'Live and Dangerous tour' so it would have been about '76. This time I'd been in the West End in a few clubs and didn't have any money to get home so I started walking. And I just walked as far as I could go before I fell asleep and I chose a roundabout and woke up at rush hour. It was a bit disorienting because I couldn't find my glasses so all I knew was I was on this patch of green and there were cars driving round me, so it was a bit of a strange way to wake up.

Edge: When I was a kid camping I'd occasionally sleep outside the tent but not since I was about fifteen or sixteen.

Larry: A couple of times I went to some bike weekends and pitched an old tent and when I was younger I used to go camping with my girlfriend. I was at a bike weekend last summer in Waterford, the Freewheelers Festival. A weekend of debauchery basically. Anyone can go down, you don't have to have a bike and it's just looking at bikes and hanging out and just basically having a blast for a weekend.

BP: And is bikes your main vibe apart from music?

Larry: Well bikes in a real cliche, every pop star every movie star has a motorcycle, it's basically like an accessory to fame and fortune. Having said that, it's something I can see myself doing for a long time. I hate the fact that people think if you're a pop star and ride a bike that it's some sort of macho accessory. I don't consider myself macho, motorcycles is about freedom.

Bono: Yes. More than a few times. When I was sixteen, myself and the Village which was Gavin, Guggi, all those, it was like a street gang, I talked them all into going over to this old seaside town in Wales to try and meet my summer love from the year before whose name was Mandy. The only problem was it was November so when we got over to this place Criccieth in North Wales, absolutely beautiful seaside town, great place to fall in love, we pitched the tent on the seaside on the strand. They had record gale force winds that year and the tent was taken away in a tornado and thrown about a mile down the beach and I remember curling up in a puddle and trying to get the puddle warm! It was then I discovered the great invention that a women's toilet is when they have those air heaters, to dry your hands vibe. We slept in a lady's toilet, taking turns keeping on the dryer to keep warm.


Edge: God.

Bono: Very ordinary people are heros to me, people who face up to the facts and get on with it.

Larry: Jesus was a cool guy.

Adam: Robert Mapplethorpe. He did some great photographs of male nudes that really make men proud of their bodies. At the same time I don't like the Bruce Weber boys. I just think the male body is something that shouldn't be covered up.


Edge: Well I really should say God again, because I don't think She's/He's man or woman. Who's my heroine? Pattie Smith.

Bono: Ali. She's so sane although she chooses to live with me.

Larry: None.

Adam: Angelica Houston. She's a very good natural woman and she's a great actress and she's a great person.


Larry: A signed picture of the Irish Football Team taken in Italy which there are only two of, and I got one of them and that's a real treasured possession.

Bono: The first autograph I ever got was Eugene Lambert who had this children's puppet theatre.

Edge: I never really got into autographs. I have one from BB King and that's a real treasure.

Adam: Mohammad Ali. My grandfather was building Dublin Airport, and Ali was coming through, and my grandfather thought "Oh I'll get that for Adam", and I was about like seven at the time and it didn't really mean very much to me but now just the fact that he did it means a lot to me 'cos I know how hard it is to ask someone for an autograph. He was a great figure for black American imagination, people really identified with him. I got Johnny Cash's, he gave me a book 'The Man in Black' and autographed it.


Larry: Larry Mullen Jr. and David Bowie.

Adam: Yeah, I've got a picture of me and Pete Townsend, of him kissing me. Were were inducting The Who into the Hall of Fame in New York a couple of years ago and gave him an award. I've known him on and off over the years and he's been a good friend.

Edge: I've got one with me and Bono and Keith (Richards) which is really like, it's kind of right there next to my desk.

Bono: There's a shot that Anton took of myself and my father, my father I think has a cowboy hat on and a plaid shirt and he's sitting in a caravan, backstage at one of our gigs. He looks more like a rock 'n' roll star than I do and he's holding a guitar, he looks like some kind of country 'n' western singer. That's my favourite shot. I also have a shot of myself and Bob Dylan which stopped me from being busted once. I was pulled over in LA and had no identification, I was running through my bag and the cop asked me "What was that?" and I said "I don't have any identification, I just have a photograph of me with Bob Dylan" and he said that would do.


Bono: With U2, you can't give second best or the whole thing falls apart.

Adam: Meeting all these people whose names you've forgotten. It's meeting people who you recognise and you know you should remember their names but for the life of you you can't.

Larry: When the Gigs go wrong, that is the ultimate sort of depression.

Edge: Apart from having to leave behind all the people you love the worst thing about touring is coming home and spending two months of cold turkey trying to pick up the threads of your life that you had before you left, that's hard 'cos you spend a long time finding normal life very weird and the first few mornings you wake up and reach for the telephone to order room service breakfast and you realise you are in your house and you wonder why there is no CNN on the television and shit like that and people ask you weird questions like pass the salt and round 7.00 o clock you start getting very fidgety, you realise there is no show. Strange things happen like certain pieces of music you've used as intro tapes... you're at home and somebody puts that on the record player and you suddenly start crawling up the walls, the adrenalin starts going, it's like this Pavlov's Dog reaction. There's a song called '4th of July' that we used to use all the time and I still can't hear it without thinking we're about to do a show.


Edge: All the time. At times, _anyone_ else. I just thought that life would be a lot better if I was somebody else. Well, things have been looking up within the last few years but no honestly for a while I suppose I hadn't learned to like myself so I felt like I didn't really enjoy being me, that was the real why, but I think I have learned to enjoy being me over the last few years and that's good. I'm actually more fun to be around and a better person and probably a better song writer and musician than before. It's a real drag if you don't like yourself 'cos you do spend a lot of time with yourself.

Larry: Only when I get into a very embarrassing situation. Then I wish that they could 'beam me up Scottie'.

Adam: No.

Bono: Yes. But the person I want to be most is myself, whoever that is. I mean, I wake up as a different person every day. I think it was Edge who once described me as "A nice bunch of guys".


Edge: There's very few bad things about being in U2. The pressure to continue, not to let it just fizzle out. I think sometimes actually, straight up I think we're very lazy.

BP:Do you?

Edge: Yeah, because we have too much fun, we don't actually really get the thing by the scruff of the neck and go for it. We wait until the last minute. It's true on this record. We left for ten days with 5 weeks to go for the deadline. We came back with 3 weeks left and we did most of the vocals, a lot of overdubs and did the mixing in 3 weeks. As procrastinators we're very talented.

Adam: We're very bad at making decisions. Not that we make bad decisions, it just takes us a long time.

Larry: The bond, because responsibilities run so deep and the commitment to the people is so deep that there's no escape. But in the end, it's what we need and what we want.

Bono: I remember saying to my brother or my father "You know, if people come around and ask you about us, like people from the press, do ask us before you talk or give an interview about the band." I think it was my brother who said "Well, ok, but will you ask us?".


Edge: I'd like to be a lumberjack.

Adam: I suppose Bob Marley and The Wailers. I think there's some great bass parts on those records, very classic melody bass parts and there's a great weight and heaviness to the sound. I love the sound and the actual parts. They'd be great things to play.

Bono: The only band that I never want to walk on after, past or present, was The Clash. And I'm not even a fan of all their music and some of it felt phony to me but, from terms of survival instinct, that's the only band I would'nt have wanted to go on after.

Larry: I dont know if I would be in a band if it wasn't for U2


Larry: Sometimes I wish I was as gifted as Edge on his guitar or Bono on his lyrics or Adam is on other things.

BP: Does that suggest you think you are less gifted?

Larry: No. I just wish I had part of that gift.

Edge: Sometimes being Larry would be great, but I suppose if I was I'd probably have a bank of fucking echo machines, playing drums through them, so I don't think anything would be different.

Adam: Sometimes I wish I was Larry, yeah. Why? I'd like his dog JJ, who's a labrador.

Bono: The bass is the hippest instrument in rock 'n' roll, the drums are the most exciting. I want to play the guitar very badly and I do play the guitar very badly.


Edge: People, family and friends, because I think that being around them is what it's about really. I think loneliness is probably the most difficult thing to get over and it's too awfully common at the moment.

Bono: A word I've always liked more than happiness is joy. Happiness is a mood that comes and goes, whereas joy is just there.

Adam: Travelling, just being in a different environment and having to surviving on your own. I went to New York a couple of years ago and took an apartment just for a month and it was the time when the band weren't doing anything and I just set up home there and there was nobody around to show me the ropes or anything. I got the hang of the subway and just generally kind of hung out. And I've always had a paranoia of New York. I hated it before but I really enjoyed it this time. I lived in the Village, West Village. Normally if we're travelling as a group we're always going through places but never getting to know them so I thought "Well I'll go to New York and I'll find out about it" because we were preparing for this record and I wanted to be somewhere that was stimulating culturally, musically, artistically, and I just wanted to feel sharp.

Larry: Happiness is a warm gun.


Bono: My nose.

Adam: The way I might like at you.

Larry: My dog.

Edge: I don't snore.


Bono: My nose.

Larry: I'm black and white.

Edge: I'm so single-minded on some things that I find it hard to keep other things together. When I'm really concentrating on an album or tour or something, a lot of other things in my life get shelved.

Adam: I'm very bad in the mornings, grumpy. I don't say very much.

BP: And how long does it take you to come to?

Adam: About a litre of coffee and two hours.


Adam: A giraffe. Why? 'Cos then you'd meet other giraffes.

Edge: One of the big cats, so I could just s-t-r-e-t-c-h out in the sun, a panther or a cheetah.

Bono: A wildebeest. You'd have to have a sense of humour with a name like that.

Larry: Aaah! A fly. Because Bono wrote about a fly and what's good enough for Bono is good enough for me.


Adam: Naomi Campbell.

Edge: A clone. A clone with good timing so I could send him off to do the things I can't do.

Larry: I would like to play guitar.

Bono: Feet. My legs just seem to end.


Adam: Yeah, I think I'd be a much better woman than I am a man. I think my talents are more in that direction. I don't mind dressing up, I don't think it makes much difference, not really. I'd love to wear women's underwear if the sizes were right but they don't really support you, you just tend to flop one way or the other.

Larry: I never even thought about it to be honest with you.

Edge: I wondered what it would be like, more than wished I was. I'm still fascinated by what it would be like, yeah, and just their minds, the way they think, ooh. There's a few people I'd love to get inside their heads you know, Pontious Pilot, Judas Iscariot, Charles Manson, you know just people that you cannot fathom. And _all_ women.

Bono: When we did the drag shoot, Edge looked like Winnie The Witch, Adam looked like the Duchess Of York, Larry looked like an extra from some skin flick and I looked like...Barbara Bush.


Bono: Everything I say is a lie.

Larry: Yeah. Somebody rang on the phone yesterday and I asked a friend to say I wasn't there. I fib, but I don't lie.

Adam: Yeah, all the time.

Edge: Oh yes. The biggest one is "Yes I can play" when I got my first playing gig, playing with The Drifting Cowboys. They were a country band who played in the heartland of Ireland, doing songs by people I hated at the time, people like George Jones and Hank Williams who since I've grown to love. Larry and myself played a few gigs with them, and my brother Dik too. Larry fell asleep one New Year's Eve at 3 a.m. playing the drums and nobody noticed.


Edge: Oh yeah, lots of secrets, you know a secret is something you only tell one other person. Wow, I have to tell you one? I used to have a Led Zeppelin album. Actually it was my brother's but I did listen to it a few times. Led Zeppelin IV. That's the one isn't it really? In the latter years I got into the early albums just to catch the vibe. Other secrets? No I can't ...

Adam: Yeah, lots of them. BP: What? Adam: I can't remember.

Larry: Yes, lots. BP: Will you tell me one? Larry: No.

Bono: Yes. A secret is something you tell one other person and I'm not telling you, child (laughing).


Adam: Probably during the album because it was a very confusing time but emotionally I always get very fucked up after a tour. When you come back you have to settle in to normal life again, it's just very very frustrating to have had something taken away from you which is your whole reason for existence, you know you get up every day knowing you're going to do a show each night and then when it's all over you have to come back and like pay the electricity bill and open the door to the postman or whatever it is, there is a frustration there and an emotional confusion about who and where you are and what you're doing. I find I tend to cry a lot then.


Adam: I think life is lonely. No matter what you do at the end of the day it's down to your decision, your choices, nobody can make those for you and I think that's lonely.

Larry: (Long, long pause) I'm not going to answer that.

Bono: I suppose I do everything in extremes -- laugh a lot, cry a lot, fight a lot, make love a lot, eat too much, drink too much, try too much, cry too much. Pass the onion...

Edge: When I saw 'Spinal Tap' 'cos it's all true.


Edge Yes! That U2 have got this far! I believe in miracles and prayer and faith.

Larry: I always believe there's a chance through hope, faith or downright miracles.

Bono: Yes. Most people who make music see the spirit move in some way.

Adam: Yeah. We made 'Achtung Baby'. I think it's a miracle that U2 are still together and alive and making records, considering the odds against us. Bit of a miracle, that. I'm not saying it in a profound sense but certainly knowing that we got this far convinces me that there must be things at work.


Adam: By the success of the band? Yeah, I am. I'm generally in awe of it that four people who really didn't know their arse from their elbows and were wet behind their ears can actually travel the world and meet people.

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This page contains a single entry by Jonathan published on March 26, 1993 9:48 PM.

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