Breaking into Somebody Else's House...

28 Feb 2003
...that's how Edge and Bono describe the band's Oscar nomination for 'The Hands That Built America'.

'It doesn't get much bigger, really.' said Bono, asked how the band felt about the nomination. 'I mean, you feel like you're breaking into somebody else's house and robbing their furniture, a little bit, because it's not our world, Hollywood. But we're going to go out there and trash the place.'

On comparing their nomination with other contenders such as Eminem and Paul Simon, working in different kinds of music, Edge responded, 'I think it's about the context of the songs in the movies, you know. If you look at it in that sense, it's not about what kind of a song it is, it's like how does it resonate in the context of the film that it was written for. And that was one of the real challenges for us writing 'The Hands That Built America', we're dealing with a period piece set in New York in, I believe, the 19th century. So how do you write a song and arrange a song that kind of work in that context but still speak today?'

Edge and Bono were speaking to Matt Lauer on NBC's Today Show on which they performed the 'Hands', which, said Bono, was a song which 'grows out of the characters.'
'It is tricky working with Scorsese. He said, you know, 'Could you write a song that starts in 1861 and ends in 2002?' Yeah, sure.
'But we went at it old school with a respect for those people, like score almost. It was like a song as score...

'The story of Irish immigrants coming to New York is something that we have more than a feel for. I mean, we are them, in a sense, years and years later. And it's a very powerful story. These - the blacks and the Irish - were the only two races that came to America not out of choice. Irish people were starving - famine, the potato famine in Ireland - and they came off those boats, you know, grass still in their mouths from trying to keep alive. And they were mean, and they were rough. And as far as having the big ideas and wanting to join the police and the priests of this city, they were also thugs. So we wanted to get that across, that this great country, this great city had at the root of it this compromise that you find now, in, say, the developing world.'

Lauer mentioned that previous winners have included the likes of Barbra Streisand and Isaac Hayes, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Irving Berlin. Whether they win or not - and it will be an honour just being there - they will rooting for Martin Scorsese and Gangs of New York. 'This has got to be his year.'


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