by Braden Towne, Crawdaddy Magazine
Only four years into their musical career, U2 found themselves at an artistic crossroads. Firmly established as a powerful rock 'n' roll combo by the live set Under a Blood Red Sky, the little Dublin four-piece could merrily continue pounding out spare populist anthems like their preceding efforts. Or they could consider the success of their recent EP the curtain drawn on the first act of a decades-spanning epic and lock themselves in a castle to create an atmospheric masterpiece that would find them heralded as the greatest band of the '80s and beyond.
When Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois assumed the controls for the sessions that would ultimately yield The Unforgettable Fire, the path chosen was resolutely the latter. It may seem outrageous to claim that such a plan was in place when recording began, but with an auspicious degree of talent gathered in a monument to Anglo-Norman nobility, the topic of conversation must have turned to global domination at least once.
Never at a loss for words, here Bono shares the intimate details of the recording process for their seminal work, the finer points and perils of live performing, and the beginning of a creative partnership with a legendary producing duo that would last for five more records, over nearly 10 years. Though political awareness and activism have always been a part of the U2 platform, it's refreshing to hear the inexhaustible singer talking about music for a change.
If there's a word that describes Bono it is energy. And his enthusiasm for life and art is always evident. For a dose of inspiration, tempered with some moderately convincing humility, let Bono bend your ear.