U2 guitarist The Edge has thrown his weight behind troubled UFC star Conor . He also has a son, born in , from a previous relationship. When U2 struggled with their new album they sought inspiration in s Dublin, As a year-old, Bono – then just plain Paul Hewson – had strained relationships with his The Edge then pitches in, talking in some detail about Dublin City .. Advertise · Contact Us · The Irish Times Trust CLG · Careers. With Bono's intro out of the way, here comes The Edge with . he returns home after a long tour, the tours that can strain their relationship.
Sure, they went to service now and then, and they might read scripture together at home, or out walking on the beach. They have big beds in both their houses, and sometimes they might all be on the bed together, and they might pray. And you know what they pray for? A very simple thing. They pray to be useful. And they mean it.
Bono is less a churchman than a man of faith. He thinks religion, with its doctrine and dogma, can take away that precious freedom that faith offers. But he was impressed by the Pope when he met him earlier in the week. He believes the Pope's anger. Ask Bono what his faith is, and he says that's too big a question.
But he tries to demonstrate it with a story about the Pope and an olive tree. So, the Pope gave Bono an olive tree. The olive tree is regarded as a symbol of the three Abrahamic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. And the Pope said, "I'd like you to plant that. Where are you going next? Maybe the next stop. Lorca, we think, was killed by a firing squad in Granada on the orders of Franco's people, and buried, there and then, in a mass grave, in a ravine - or "a ditch" as Bono more bluntly puts it.
Lorca has no grave, as such. So Bono has got permission to plant this olive tree quietly in the Alhambra as a memorial to Lorca. Clearly, Bono feels it squares some circle that this olive tree from The Pope should mark the grave of Lorca, who was killed by the allies of the Catholic Church. And that he is planting it in a centre of Islam, in a place that Lorca, through one of his characters, called "a jasmine of grief".
But that's not the point. He brings me from the balcony and into the room to show me. So there is the olive tree from the Pope. And then Bono turns me around, and there, in his posh hotel suite, encased in glass, there is another, much bigger, olive tree growing. And for him, that rhymes in some way. And that is how he answers my question about what is his faith.
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He describes this poetic journey to demonstrate that "you can't approach the subject of God without metaphor". When you understand that, he says, "the scriptures open up, so you start to see. You have the fabulism and the creation myth - beautiful, the poetry of it. You see the power of John, John's Gospel. You see Paul, a proper fucking prick; he held Stephen's coat when he was being stoned… And this is the guy, [who] falls off his horse, etc… [has his] Damascene experience, writes this ode to love… and some of the most beautiful writing of exhortation we have, some of it while he's in prison.
And that, for Bono, is what faith gives you. So it was scary when he thought he was losing it. Bono had seen his own dad, who was so encouraging of Bono's faith, lose his, right when he needed it, on his deathbed. And he felt it happening to him now, after his own near-deathbed experience. God, part two Bono says he's not being precious or anything in not detailing what happened him when he nearly died, he just doesn't want to get into the soap opera of it.
Just fill in your own crisis…your own health emergency. And he realised, "even that requires watering, tending to. You can spiritually run yourself out. You need to refresh, you need to re-imagine your life going forward. Richard Rohr is essentially a Christian mystic, who supports a new reformation, from inside, and who encourages and helps believers to get in touch with their inner spiritual intuitions.
He is also a Jungian, and takes in a bit from Buddhism and Hinduism and Gandhi, too. Rohr's book, Falling Upwards, is about finding, in the second half of life, a new journey, or a new way of doing the journey. Rohr says that the ego is hugely resistant to this change.
Often he says, a job, a fortune, a reputation has to be lost, a death has to be suffered, a house has to be flooded, or a disease has to be endured, to force us out of the laziness that makes us resist changing our path.
So Bono, then, after his near-extinction event, was ripe for Rohr's message. To explain what Rohr did for him, Bono references this quote from Jung that Rohr uses: I mean, think about it.
What's another word for somebody who is up in their bedroom practising guitar all day? You repeat actions and you become very good at it. The thing is, he is clearly someone who is constantly reassessing himself, both as a person and as an artist. When everything you do at work is so expansive and public, and when you do it with such an open heart and with such an almost naive belief in, and commitment to, the current moment, it must, indeed, be hard not to look back and cringe sometimes.
He talks about losing the run of himself and his ego at various points. He had reason recently to watch himself giving Frank Sinatra a Grammy legend award in His summing up of it is: So there you have it.
Even Bono wishes Bono would shut up sometimes. But the major dysfunction he had to give up, to embrace the second half of life, was outgrowing his 'shoulder to the door' approach to life. Sometimes you should just open the door, he says, because it isn't actually locked.
Another way he puts it is that, "It really helped for somebody like myself, who is so aggressive - sorry, so aggressively involved with the world - [to realise] that I have to be more peaceful. And some of it is about the simple things.
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For example, Bono has always been up early, meditating and reading and writing. He likes to be working by 6am. Traditionally, he has managed on five hours' sleep. He's getting better now. He tries to get more. Seven hours is amazing for him. Five hours' sleep is that "other version of myself that I have to outgrow".
The blackout "What I need, or I needed," he says, "was to understand that I, I mean we, are not going on forever, and that we are, you know, just inhabiting our bodies and our moments in time, and try to be useful… and, you know, don't think force can always move an immoveable object. I think probably at the heart of my stupidity is… I'm attracted to Everests, and I'm attracted to the impossible.
That's my thing, and it's kind of at a certain point… just be careful… and what I'm learning now with imposed humility is, say, in terms of my activism and other things: How many big punches do you have left to throw in your life? Because you don't want to be wasting it in the wrong fights. This happens to me and I'm like, I'm like in the Monty Python film, I'm the body-less knight … I'm a head on the ground," he says, referring to the Black Knight, a character who appears in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
The Black Knight refuses to give up, even when his four limbs are cut off and his attackers move on: Come back here and take what's coming to ya! I'll bite your legs off! Bono's wife tells him that if he had a knife in his back, he'd be walking around saying, "Something's itchy". So you'll keep on raging?
Correct, that's the right word, getting to a place where my rage is becoming more controlled, and where I am trying to be more strategic in my struggle and the fight. And the street-fighting that I grew up with, literally and metaphorically, has to be replaced with boxing and, eventually, jiu-jitsu.
You have to stop using your own strength, and I think I'm getting more to that place, but I'm a slow learner, really. He's not sure about that. But he now knows for real that he is going to die. Even though we are sure we will die, it's an abstraction.
Yes, every single day. I'm really grateful for my family.
You know, Ali had to go through a lot. You know, it's funny… be careful of what you, not wish for, but meditate on. You know, as an artist, I'm interested in death. The Dalai Lama says we begin our meditations on life with death. The advantage I had as an artist is I'm 14 years old, just coming into proper consciousness, being a male, all of that, and And mortality is the only game in town, because - and this is what I love about U2 - it's defiance, because the essence of romance is defiance.
Did they miss out? We seem to have managed to have been an extremely close family without having a traditional route to that. But then the girls had the s, and that was great fun, and they enjoyed all of that. And he doesn't think they missed out too much. And he doesn't give his wife all the credit for that. Just most of it.
He takes some credit, too. And he gives huge credit also to the Dalkey School Project NS, "a brilliant school", and St Andrews College, "amazing; really good to these kids", and to people in Dublin, for the fact that his kids grew up in a reasonably normal way. He thinks his children have "a sense of duty. They know they've been privileged, and they know they have to give back and work at that". Bono's son, Eli, is in a band now. Famous dad aside, Eli - who Bono says gives no thought to the fact that his father is Bono - is a good frontman, at just If you watch videos of Inhaler playing on YouTube, sometimes you will see something familiar in the confident, but still slightly apprehensive and suspicious way that Eli approaches the mic.
It must be odd for Bono watching Eli set out on this path. It must be hard not to want to stick his oar in. But he tries not to. Eli did ask him did he think they should get a manager, and Bono told him they probably should. You can see that right now he is resisting being a proud dad. The night Bono lost his voice in Berlin, Inhaler played at Electric Picnic, probably their most high-profile gig to date.
Eli's mother was down at the Picnic to see him play. Eli has been accepted into art college in London, but wants to defer and give this band a year to see what happens. This is exactly what Bono did, and Bob, his dad, supported him back then: Bono looks up to the five people in his family, and "with Johnny [his youngest] at six foot, I've no choice". But his wife tells him she doesn't want him to look up to her or down on her, just look across at her, "I'm here".
The appreciation extends to the fans. Someone who works with the band says to me at one point, just casually, "as Bono always says, we must appreciate them because they give us this life". At the hotel that U2 are staying in, as with all the hotels they stay in, fans have gathered.
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One thing you understand when you dip into into the world of U2 on tour is that nothing is left to chance. Everything is organised and managed. Even the fans outside the hotel. Bono's right-hand man, Brian, and his colleagues, get the hotel's cooperation to allow the fans to wait in a particular area out the front.
They are minded and given water. They are told if the band will not be able to come out to meet them. But usually the band do, and people are told when to expect them and who is coming.
U2: Exclusive interview as Brendan O'Connor enters the belly of the beast - meer-bezoekers.info
Adam comes out to them first to a big cheer, and he walks amiably among them, taking time for everyone to get their picture or autograph. The Edge is next, and he seems to get even more involved with everyone, clearly listening to their entreaties, for example, to play Spanish Eyes. And then there's Bono. It's extraordinary to watch him. It's not just that you see him deep in conversation with people, it's that he listens to them.
He stands there, actually listening thoughtfully, taking it all in. He draws an elaborate doodle for one woman, like some street artist down the road in the Plaza Mayor. The wanderer After the informal meet-and-greet, I hop in a car with The Edge to go to the venue. The Edge says he enjoys meeting the fans.
You even get to know some of them, he says. Some of them there have been to every gig on the tour - America, and now Europe. You can sense The Edge is feeling good about being in U2 right now. He remembers back to the time of the Tour, when he says there was a danger that U2, while continuing to be a very successful live band, weren't enough of a part of "the cultural conversation", that their new material was not being played enough on the radio.
So with the last two albums, Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience, there was what he says was, "a concerted effort to be, for want of a better term, back in competition… rather than making work that might be fun for us" but that might not connect to the wider audience. Connecting to the wider audience has always been U2's ambition.
There's a bit of the gypsy in him, he says, and he still gets that buzz of excitement heading to the airport, as does his wife, Morleigh. Having Morleigh along - she is their resident director for some of the tour, acting as a kind of quality-control manager, the band's "eyes and ears in the crowd" - is fun, too.
Once he dons a baseball hat instead of his usual beanie, he can even maybe get to see some of the city they are in. He admits that when he went to see the Russian Dada exhibition at the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, they did get chased at a certain point by U2 fans, but, he says, it's manageable.
Has Bono's loss of voice, and other events over the last few years, meant he has contemplated at times the possibility of this band not existing any more? He has, and he is confident he would be fine. He has enough interests outside of U2 to keep him going.
But it's a hell of a lot more fun, and a lot more challenging, being in U2, he says. He concedes though that he's looking forward to some breathing space when this tour ends, to enjoy music "without feeling like there's a time clock or some intention".
While he's been living back and forth between Ireland and the US over the last few years, this year, it'll be a lot of Ireland. It's kind of that everything makes sense there for me, and I think it's holding on to that connection with not just the country, but with our community of friends and family that date back to when we were going to Clash gigs. He has a little studio that he brings on the road, and he finds that playing in front of audiences every night is a great proving ground for songs, and you keep some sense of that about you while writing new stuff on the road.
Right now, his passion is proving again the possibilities of guitar music. You look at the charts and you listen to the radio, he says, and it's practically all electronic music. So this is the Edge's current challenge. To keep guitar music alive.
Lights of home After Dublin this week, U2 return to Berlin to play for the people who were there the night Bono lost his voice. Bono says proudly that even though thousands of those people came from overseas for that gig, only people looked for a refund.
Adam talked about this a little bit in "U2 by U2". I get the feeling Bono sometimes wishes all of U2 could be more like Adam ie. On the other hand, straight-laced Larry could obviously be riled by Adam's easy-going, model-dating, rolling-stone lifestyle.
I thought it was cute how Larry went to New York in with Adam to "keep an eye on him" or whatever they said. They seem to enjoy deflating one another at times "Edge is on a completely different time, as usual!
But then again, it was Edge who sucker-punched Bono in defense of Larry back in They seem by far the most socially conservative and modest mannered. Larry probably idolized Bono to some extent when they were teens. They are also the two really Irish members of U2. Like Larry and Edge, these two seem to enjoy deflating each other at times "Larry was Bono's atrocious guitar playing".