Bono and Larry Mullen Jr. on the Late Show with David Letterman, June 10, 1997
David Letterman, host: Our next guests, of course, one- half of U2. This is their new CD, simply entitled "Pop." And currently touring the country. We're delighted that they've stopped by for a visit. Ladies and gentlemen, Larry Mullen and Bono. Boys!
(Bono hands Letterman a cigar as they shake hands.)
Oh. Oh. God-- God bless you. Well, we'll get to that a little bit later. Thank you very much.
Bono (U2): Fidel Castro gave me that.
Letterman: Welcome to the show. Thank you for being here. How are things going? All right?
Bono: They're great.
Bono: Couldn't be better actually. Yeah.
Letterman: You enjoying touring with the show?
Bono: Yeah. It's a great show. You know we're right there with a giant forty-foot lemon. What can I tell you?
Letterman: What's the deal on the lemon? Why is there forty- foot lemon here?
Bono: It could have been an artichoke. But we were looking for a practical fruit.
Letterman: Well, there, you have something, then, don't you?
Bono: Yeah. No, it's a cool thing. You happy with the lemon?
Larry Mullen (U2): I'm happy with the lemon. There is something quite funny about four Paddy's walking out in front of a forty-foot lemon.
Letterman: Whose idea was the lemon?
Bono: I think the lemon was last seen in a gin and tonic -- I don't know. I mean, when you're in a band, you're in a band, you get these big ideas, and fortunately, people build them and -
Letterman: Is it a little Spinal Tapean?
Bono: I hope so. Somebody's got to have the (Bleeped) to stare that down. You know, it's like, you know, rock and roll has kind of gotten very miserable, very dull, especially like white rock and stuff, and we want to be the brightest sort of boldest, baddest band in the land.
Letterman: You know, do yourself a favor, next time you're performing, next time you're recording, add a couple of these (Vocalizing)
Bono: Somebody in the crowd doing that earlier.
Letterman: Yes. I know.
Bono: Sounds like you're doing the road map. Isabella Rossellini.
Letterman: Oh, she's lovely, isn't she?
Bono: She just told me that she was going to be my guardian angel while I was here.
Letterman: Oh, that 's nice. That's very sweet of her. That's the kind of woman she is. She's very nice.
Mullen: Yeah. But she really likes drummers.
Letterman: So, you actually, this was your band. You started the band and wanted to fire Bono. Right?
Mullen: I did. It was funny, because you know, in Dublin, 1976, there wasn't a whole lot to do, you know, join a band or play football. So, we started a band. And I did try to fire him, because in 1976 he wanted to take a lemon to America then. But as you can see, he came back, crawling on his hands and knees, and here we are.
Letterman: But now seriously, how early into this did you think that he wasn't going to be right for the group? I mean, was that true? Was that serious?
Mullen: It wasn't that kind of thing. I think there was -- there was an incident in America where we had a little bit of a misunderstanding and be threw a drum kit at me. And I (Unclear) that it was time for him to leave. But as I said, he came crawling back on his hands and knees.
Bono: Gave me my first -- this man gave me my first and only job.
Letterman: It turned out pretty well. Didn't it?
Mullen: And don't you forget it, pal.
Bono: I won't forget it. Yeah.
Letterman: Do you have an actual friendship? Do you have an actual relationship with Frank Sinatra? Or is this a guy you know that you've met? You spent time with him?
Bono: Well, we're fans. I mean, it's like we are all just, you know, orbiting in Frank 's universe, as far as I'm concerned. But we did meet him in -- in Las Vegas. We went to a big fight. And then we met him. Saw him play. And met him afterwards. And he was very cool. And then I got to sing with him. In fact, it's quite funny, because we got a fax from Japan -- I think it was from Nippon EMI about a duet with myself and a Mr. Frank Sinolta. The duet was called "I've Got You Under My Chicken." And that's when things started getting very surreal in this plan(?). That was way before the lemon.
Letterman: Do you -- do you socialize with the man? Have you seen him recently?
Bono: Well, we -- I haven't seen him recently, and I wouldn't call myself a mate of the chairman of the board. But we went to his house.
Letterman: Spent time at his house.
Bono: He can drink.
Letterman: Yeah? Can you keep up with Frank Sinatra? I mean, he's close to 80 years old. Isn't he?
Bono: I'll be honest with you. I can't keep up. And tried. And in fact, he showed us a movie in this beautiful, you know, snow-white screening room that he has, and it was a movie, and I'd had a few of those stiffies that he puts together. And I'll be honest with you, okay. During the movie at Frank's place, I--I--I fell asleep. And when I woke up, okay, I was just -- this horrible, horrible dampness between my legs...
Bono: And I thought -- I'm actually serious. I thought: This is dreadful. This is serious Irish defeat to Italy. But -- but in fact -- I didn't know what to do. What'll I say? Will I just wait? Will I just - what'll I do? I'll just close my eyes, pretend I'm still asleep, and then skip off. But it was just a Jack Daniels and Coke. I think.
Letterman: So, you Just -- so, the story has a happy ending. But he -- he kind of responds to you guys as musicians and as just performers. Guys out there doing it, doesn't he?
Bono: He talked to Larry, actually. The thing about it I guess people in his world don't talk a lot about music to him, maybe, as much as you'd think, I mean, Larry-.
Mullen: He loves drummers, too. He really does, no. He was -- he was -- I mean, I only met him very briefly in Las Vegas, and he -- he -- all he wanted to talk about was Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich who had just died. Real music fan. And that was kind of surprising. Because there were a lot of people around him, a lot of stars. And he's not known for liking rock and roll. So, it was kind of nice.
Bono: Like at the concert -- when we went to his concert - he did this, you know -- he introduced us from the stage.. And apparently he doesn't do a lot -
Letterman: Was this in Las Vegas?
Bono: Yeah. In Las Vegas. We'd stand up and do the wave thing. The show business thing. And we all stood up. And I think it was -- this was a while ago. And we were dressed in - the way we were dressed. And he just looked at us. And he just went, "Wow! you may be number one, but you haven't spent a dime on your clothes."
Letterman: Where are you guys off to now? Where are you working now? What's -- what's the summer like ahead of you?
Bono: What are we doing?
Mullen: Well we go to Canada Wednesday and travel the rest of the U.S. Go back to Europe. Back again. So, we've got quite a bit.
Bono: We're just kicking this -- you know, it's a tired old thing. Rock and roll has just gotten too safe. It knows what it is a little bit. And we're just trying to kick it up the arse a bit, send it into the next century.
Letterman: Well, there you go, It was great meeting you. Thank you, Bono. Have a great day! Have a great tour!
Bono: All right.
Letterman: Larry, a pleasure to meet you.
Mullen: Very nice to meet you.
Copyright Â© 1997 Worldwide Pants, Ltd. All rights reserved.