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Sunday, 16 December 2012

#48: Me Juan, Inspired by U2 — Part One

I recently read U2 by U2 and thought it a great read. I was inspired by the band’s journey; from four, spotty-faced kids in their mid-teens with no real direction to the legendary rock icons they are today.

The book chronicles all that happened in between – and was penned by the people who know that journey better than anyone else; the band members themselves: John, Paul, George and Ringo.

Oh no, wait. That’s not right. I meant: Mick, Keith, Ronnie—wait a minute… doctor! What the hell happened to my memory?

Thanks, that’s much better.

Where were we? Ah yes. U2. The band members: Bono, The Edge, Larry Mullen Junior, and the other one. The bass player. You know, whatsisname… the one with the blond-turned-silver Afro… ADAM. That’s it. Adam… (sound of clicking fingers) Ant—Clayton! Adam Clayton. That’s the guy.

One of the things that stands out for me is the fact they were so raw when they started out; after Paul Hewson (Bono), David Evans (The Edge), Clayton and Dave’s brother Dik (also a guitarist) answered the legendary ad Mullen Jnr. posted on Dublin’s Mount Temple high school notice-board seeking musicians for a band.

Bono’s now polished, whiny wail was more of a shouty scream back then; Edge’s guitar skills extremely basic and the abilities of Mullen Jnr. and Clayton on drums and bass respectively very much ‘works-in-progress’.

Mullen Jnr. freely admits he used to play the drums way too fast and fairly incoherently (more Animal from The Muppets than Ringo); if he was the heartbeat of the band, it frequently risked cardiac arrest in the early days.

But that didn’t deter the focused four in the slightest. They now had each other – Bono and Mullen Jnr. particularly appreciating their new extended family having both lost their mothers – and a purpose.

So they met up in Larry’s family kitchen and began bashing away at their instruments; often out-of-tune, out of time (with each other), but driven by the belief that if they stuck at it they’d have to improve – and who knew where it might take them?

To read the rest of this column, check out BC Johnny's upcoming book: Chilled Almonds.

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