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U2 Flashback!

John on February 11, 2007 at 5:55 pm

U2 is my favorite band. They have been almost since I first heard them in 1984. A friend sent me a link to an article about the band from CCM magazine. Originally published in 1982 (during the October tour), it is only now showing up on the internet. As a fan, I find it interesting how much of what the entire world has come to know of as U2 was all there 24 years ago. Here’s a taste:

“It’s time to talk about it,” U2 guitarist The Edge said quietly after a recent concert on a campus in the Midwest. As it turns out, almost everything The Edge says is quiet. He does not act like a rock ‘n’ roll guitar star. “We realize the band is at a crossing point. For a long time we haven’t talked with interviewers about the fact we’re Christians, because it’s so easy for people to misunderstand. It’s easy for people who are not Christians, especially writers who do not understand, to take what we say and misinterpret it.

The four members of U2 will not speak for each other about religion and Christianity. Various members of the band are at different stages of individual journeys of faith. They are all scared of being stereotyped.

The Edge and [drummer Larry] Mullen, both 19, were reading the New Testament and downing glasses of orange juice in the dim auditorium dressing room. Bono, 20, and [bassist Adam] Clayton, 21, were upstairs talking with fans and would be down to join in the discussion later. The Edge said they try to make Bible study and prayer a regular part of their “winding down” process after shows.

The scene seemed strange. An hour before, these same young rockers were pounding out a torrid 90-minute set of hard rock songs off the band’s first album, Boy, and the more recent October, released last year. October is full of obvious songs about faith and the struggle to live a Christian life in 20th-century battle zones such as the band’s home—Dublin, Ireland. The Edge finally realized somebody was going to have to speak out.

“I really believe Christ is like a sword that divides the world,” he said. “and it’s time we get into line and let people know where we stand. You know, to much of the world, even the mention of the name of Jesus Christ is like someone scratching their nails across a chalkboard.”

[snip]

“I think it is a side of ourselves we like to sweep under the carpet,” Bono said. “I don’t believe in preaching at people. You know, I always include myself in the ‘we’ ‘We‘ have fallen. I include myself. ‘I Fall Down’ is a song about my own failures,” he said. “I’m not telling everybody I have the answers.” Bono and the other members of the band are writing material for the third album. Scheduled tours of Japan and Australia have been canceled because they feel they should be at home. Events in Ireland are never far from the band’s thoughts.

“I really don’t know how it’s going to turn out,” Bono said of the band’s future. “I know I may start being more specific in the lyrics There are a lot of things that I have been writing in my little red book that I feel have got to come out.”

Of course one of the specific songs to come out of his “little red book” was Sunday Bloody Sunday. The article ends with Bono talking about…guess what? His concern for the needy in the third world and how his rejection of materialism is a part of that.

“I like to think people feel it. They just don’t want to allow themselves to feel it. I mean, everybody feels it. Everybody.
“I can’t accept a belief that I just came out of gas, you know? That we as a race just exploded into existence—I can’t believe that, and I don’t think others can, really. Maybe they can accept it on a sort of ‘thin’ level, but not really deep down. Deep down, everybody is aware.”

If critics say the band has floated off into a pretentious world dominated by a never-never-land of religion, Bono doesn’t care. In fact, it might be the non-believers who do not have their eyes open.

“Things around can shock us into a realization of what is going down. When you look at the starvation, when you think that a third of the population of this earth is starving, and crying out in hunger, I don’t think you can sort of smile and say, ‘I know. Well, we’re the jolly human race. We’re all very nice, really.’

“I mean, we’re not. People have got to see what is going on.”

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