March , 1982
By Greg Garrett
No October Surprise with U2
I'm pretty near to being full-blooded Irish. At one point in the past, you would have kept that fact somewhat hidden, unless it was St. Patrick’s Day when everyone claims it as their heritage. If you check the history books, you'll find that the Irish were regarded as second-class citizens before the turn of the century.
But that was yesterday.
Today, the pride of Ireland – the Northern half too – can be found in four young Irish lads from Dublin who have been making some wonderful noise of late. Calling themselves U2, Paul Hewitt (aka Bono), Dave Evans (aka The Edge), Adam Clayton and Larry Mullins, Jr. are on the road supporting their second recording, October.
“Don’t write off music that that has been created since 1976” clayton warned. “Everything has its value. If you can be open-minded enough to accept some of the new bands coming through, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. I think there’s a lot of good music happening now. I don’t think that you have to keep going back to Led Zeppelin records to find it. I think there are things that are happening that are new and exciting.”
One of those exciting things has to be U2. They started performing together at the ages of sixteen and seventeen. The release of their first album, Boy, had the hit single, “I Will Follow”. Their current album contains the hit, “Gloria”.
U2 is currently playing clubs and small venues on their current tour. In bigger markets like Los Angeles, Boston and New York, the band is able to attract larger audiences. In fact, the first time the band played the venerable Palladium in L.A., they sold out the 5000-seat theater. This current tour will also see the group open for the J. Geils Band, which personally extended an offer to the band to go on the road with them. The group jumped through a few hoops to make the tour happen, but at this stage of their career, it really doesn’t matter.
"When you're young, you're real insecure,” said Clayton. ”When we were sixteen and starting out together, our attitude was 'Let's go for it! We have to get better because we can’t get any worse!’ Well we did get worse, but eventually turned things around and got better. The four of us realize now after several years at this that actually we have an incredible advantage now because of our age.
“We have released two albums. When our record and management deals are through, we'll be twenty-three. We're ahead of the field for the fact if we don’t like how things have progressed after this tour, we can start all over. This band has learned enough from its mistakes that it can handle anything. It's more important to go all out when you're young, because time is on your side."
U2 is not your typical up and coming band. While many young American rock bands prefer consumption of conspicuous substances, alcohol and even a bit of debauchery, this Irish band will have none of it. They almost seem puritanical in how they approach the business.
“If I was to pick out my favorite think about touring,” responded Clayton, “I would say the responses we receive from the crowds when we perform are the highlights. In places where it's possible, we try to meet the fans after the show. That is special too. I like talking to fans my own age that enjoy rock and roll, partying and stuff like that. There's no pretense with them. American fans are really respectful, as well.
“In England, people are always putting you down, because everyone over there thinks they are a star, you know? The press there has no problem knocking you down to make you look like an idiot. In this country, however, you are respected for what you have accomplished and no one puts you down. They just want to be your friends and find out what you’re like. That’s something I enjoy a lot.”