'A big song with lots of layers...'

17 Jan 2009
He'll be the first to play it on Monday, so what does Dave Fanning think of the new single ?

On Monday morning, the world finally gets to hear Get On Your Boots. As usual, the person to premiere the track will be Irish TV and radio presenter Dave Fanning, someone who's been championing the band since he first started playing their demos on pirate radio more than three decades ago. Ever since, Dave's got the first play of a new U2 single. We tracked him down at 2FM in Dublin.

So you've heard the single, which the rest of the world will hear on Monday - first impressions?

First impressions is that there's eleven tracks on the album and 'Get On Your Boots' is the one you'd instantly say is the single. It's the 'Vertigo' of the album - although a completely different kind of song. That was a new song which was an instant hit night after night on the last tour and this song will be the same on the next tour. People will be impressed, it's very U2 and there's nothing wrong with that, a big song with lots of layers but not overproduced. Great track.

Sounds like you've heard the album too?

I have, just a few times though and it's hard to give you first impressions because I need to hear it in the car and in the bath. But certainly you know in hearing it that they remain a great creative force as a band, what I'm not sure of yet is whether it is the beginning of a new sequence of albums or the third in a series that began with All That You Can't Leave Behind.
It's a big record though and I was struck by the running order, that tracks 2 (Magnificent), 3 (Moment of Surrender), and 4 (Unknown Caller) alone are almost twenty minutes of music. Normally you find longer songs at the end of a record, but these come before you even reach Get On Your Boots. Some of the lyric writing seemed more personal than usual to me, and there's lots of buried songs on there too, songs that will grow on you - like if you ask your average U2 fan to sing A Man and A Woman or Crumbs Under your Table from How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb they might not be able to, but they were gems. The album has plenty of songs like that, songs to return to.

There was a time when they let you choose the single release.

Yes, it's hard to believe that thirty years ago they came into my show, all four of them every night for a week, and we played three of their songs a night and asked the audience to decide what the single should be. Out of Control got it, with Stories for Boys as a b-side and we threw in Boy-Girl too. I remember a thousand copies of the single were pressed and we launched it at Windmill Lane and about 15 people turned up.
I'd been playing their demo tapes since being on pirate stations in 1978, I just got behind them, I never even knew they would get as far as another demo. I'm not brilliant, I couldn't predict anything, I was more into The Undertones at the time but U2 just seemed to be going along the same lines as me and I liked them.

Ever since you've always had the world premiere of a new U2 single from a new album.

I've had the world exclusive ever since, Paul McGuinness always likes to start a new campaign with me. I asked him about it this morning, he said he thought I was a good luck charm. But my feeling on this album is that while it's been a really long wait, it is worth the wait. They were the biggest band of the eighties, then they dominated the nineties and now they're writing a whole new chapter in another decade - not young anymore but still looking very cool. I think of all the 17 year olds who are going to buy this record and it will only be the third or fourth record they have bought - they're still right up there.

One other song that really stood out for you ?

Stand Up Comedy - the nearest thing they've ever done to Led Zeppelin. But I could change my mind, wait till I've heard it in the bath a few times. One - from Achtung Baby - never hit me for months.


12 Aug, 2022

‘Prayers please for Salman…. whether he’d approve or not.’

21 Jul, 2022

Chris Blackwell talks to Adam and Bono

1 Jul, 2022

Listen to Bono choosing his Desert Island Discs.

14 Jun, 2022

 Subscribers Special. 'This time we're gonna take a supermarket.' Propaganda 26, latest addition to our digital collection.