Dublin rock band owes longevity to collective spirit

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Dublin rock band owes longevity to collective spirit


U2’s latest album, their 12th, was released in March 2. (See review right.) Provided by Universal Music

One of their biggest hits was “With or Without You” off the acclaimed 1987 album “The Joshua Tree,” but the title of the track can’t be applied to a discussion of U2’s place in world music: the Dublin rock band remains an integral force in popular music after more than 30 years in the industry.

The Irish band has left an unprecedented mark both in terms of music and politics, earning 22 Grammy Awards, which is a record for contemporary artists, one that is shared with singer-songwriter Stevie Wonder.

But it’s also perhaps the most successful band at voicing its political views - frontman Bono was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.

In March 2, U2 released its 12th studio album “No Line On The Horizon.” It went to No. 1 in France, Ireland and the U.K., among others in just a week after its release.

Here are excerpts from a recent e-mail interview with the band.

Q. Inspiration seems to have been with you more times than not in your 30-plus years as a band.

A. We never give up on a tune. We just keep banging away until we figure out what needs to happen to it, because in our experience the thing that ultimately we have to arrive at is the quintessential version of the song.

When we haven’t finished a song, it just sounds like our fingerprints are all over it, it’s very man-made and contrived.

When it’s finished, it just has that sense of, ‘well that’s the way it always should have been anyway.’ (The Edge, guitarist)

You’ve survived longer than many marriages these days. Do you have any marriage guidance advice for other bands?

I think, and maybe this happens to long marriages, you eventually come to a point where you realize that you are enabled and empowered to do so much more collectively than you could possibly have done singularly and I think that’s the promise of being in a band with great people.

You can go further together than you could on your own and I certainly think that’s true with us. (Adam Clayton, bass)

Your songs have become a part of people’s lives and the significance of some of your songs to millions of people must really touch you.

I think that’s right. You know there’s a roar at a U2 show. It’s for the songs and really it’s for themselves, the lives they have attached to songs.

It’s true, people attach music. I think we are the ultimate weddings, bar mitzvahs and funerals band. Times of great joy for people, times of great despair and the odd party. (Bono, vocals)

By Kim Hyung-eun Staff Reporter [hkim@joongang.co.kr]
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