On Playing and Writing

24 Jun 200919
There's more going on under the hood of No Line On The Horizon than you might have realised. As well as the standard CD release, you can also get :

* The digipak format (limited edition includes 32 page colour booklet and fold out poster as well as featuring access to an exclusive downloadable Anton Corbijn film)

* The Magazine format (limited edition with album CD, with 64 page magazine and access to the downloadable Anton Corbijn film.

* The Box format (limited edition bespoke box containing digipak format album CD, DVD of Anton's film, 64 page hardback book... and a fold out poster.

Get the delux version in the UK here
Get the delux version in the US here

These special editions feature some very fine behind-the-scenes photography from the recording period of 'No Line' - for instance, handwritten versions of songs as they evolved - and a series of intriguing conversations with Catherine Owens, a long-time friend of the band who directed the 'U23D' movie.

To whet your appetite, here's a choice extract from each of Catherine's conversations with Larry, Adam, Edge and Bono - on playing.


C So, just to go back a little, is your prep time in the studio akin to Edge's prep time, where he spoke about getting back to Malibu and being on his own with the music, do you have a similar relationship with the music?

L Hmmm... drumming is, I think, quite different, being on your own with the music would not be the same for me as it would be for Edge. Drumming is a visceral, violent discipline and for those who are not specialized in the field, like me (I am a street drummer, I have had a few lessons here and there), there is nothing romantic about this relationship. It is pure violence and that is the way I like to have it! (big smile). Now, that said, when you are working with the band, occasionally you have to bring flowers...


C So, in terms of how you would see the bass player's role and what you bring into any given situation, is your focus on where Edge is going or where Bono is going? Obviously, you and Larry are a team in a certain way...

A In situations where it is one, two, three, go, as it often is at the early stages of the record, the bass department has a few different jobs to do. First and foremost, I am trying to support what is going on so that things can fly. Then when there are bits of audio real estate, where something needs to happen, those are my little opportunities to pop things in on a creative level. That was very much true for 'Being Born' and 'No Line on the Horizon'. There were moments, like on a bird's first flight, where you don't want to drop the ball, you want to support everyone else, for example as Larry is settling on a drum part and Edge is trying to figure out his chords, Bono may be trying some new vocal range, you want to help keep all of this up in the air...


C When you are in a situation where you are presenting something musically to everybody, is that nerve wracking? Do you get attached to the pieces before you present?

E I can't really get too attached to anything I offer up or the collaborative process would be too difficult. I really have to kind of see my song ideas as orphans. Just let them go, and see which ones survive. I can come up with something I think is brilliant, but if it doesn't get Bono, Adam or Larry excited, and unless they can add to it, then it is never going to go anywhere. Sometimes I have to let go of what I think are gems, grit my teeth when something I have spent ages on is torn apart and thrown in the dustbin in front of my eyes. But you know the best ones always survive, and if you are going to be too precious about your personal work, then don't be in a rock 'n' roll band.


C Do you call these characters your muses? Have you allowed these characters to invade you or have you invaded them?

B Now that's a very good question, who is invading who? Hmmm, I don't know, but if you want to talk about "Being Born", well, I'm not sure why it's called 'Being Born', but it's about this character who is going a bit AWOL. Who takes a road trip, who just takes off to rediscover who he is and to refind his first love. In my head, the traffic cop is from Morocco, he is certainly African-French, he heads down through France, through Spain towards Cadiz. He's heading for a little place near Cadiz, a little surfing town called Tarifa. At night, when the sun goes down, you can see across the water to the hills of Africa. Africa and Europe are only eight miles, thirteen kilometres, from each other. The real important thing to know about this song is the sense of speed and this kind of primeval drive to get back to your essence... The engines roar, blood curdling wail / Head first then foot / Then heart set sail. As you know from our DNA's point of view, Africa is where we all come from, so I suppose I relate in some strange way to this feeling of Africa as home, I really do, and I'm not the only European that does. Especially somewhere like the Masi Mara in Kenya, which local legend claims to be the Garden of Eden. I've been brought to tears by the sheer beauty and scale of the natural diversity of this place. Sorry, I digress...
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Thank you Edge for the use of delay
Edge- I've been ripping your sound off for years to cover my drunk, sloppy guitar jamming for years. The delay hides my lazy, self-taught, ill-informed leads but it all surprisingly works for me. Just wanted to say "thanks" and admitting I completely steal your stuff. Saw you guys first in 1985 in Philly, then Hershey 8-10 years later, and hopefully summer of 2010 back in Philly as a b-day present to my daughter that my wife was pregnant with when we saw U2 in 1999 in Tempe, AZ!
A real contributor
Only 17 comments...Larry nearly sets the basis for the melody for U2. Keep playing as you guys are the greatest. Thanks for making the band what it is. Elvis would be asking Larry what to do differently to be better. Rock on!
EDGE- Collaborative
Oh how i can relate. If everyone could bring what they love best to the table, but be humble enough to have it tweeked and twisted with your friends' best of intentions and love, there would be alot more great music out there. Caught you in ATL for 360. Bet you guys don't remember Birmingham, Al in 1989, I think- Edge, you stayed at my friends dorm room! Bono, dinner at Highland's restaurant, driving across country in a van. That's when we were all so new. Keep yourselves humble, and your message strong- Stacey Hurn Alabama
Thank You for more than 20 Years of Real
This is why i always will love your music, its right from your heart. thank you very much for more than 20 years of lucky days with your music. the love of my life,i my beatiful wife tina and have been dancing to with or without you, all iwant is you, one my lucky son julian is born to your song beatiful days. our family is touched with u2 in a spcial form. so thank you very much thomas from bavaria
Hampden Aug 09
Hey there guys - Cant wait til 18/08 :o) KNOW YOU WILL ROCK AS ALWAYS AM THINKING YOU SHOULD DEF Play - Your 1st Single "OUT OF CONTROL" IT DRIVES ME MENTAL ;0).................. adam = LEGEND bono = LEGEND larry = LEGEND the edge = "LEGEND = U2 LEGENDS" FACT!
Playing on and writing
All of your music sounds like you have all come together at one time in one space and captured the essence of that moment in a song. Your candidness is unique.
richie joshuaramone
u2 always and forever
for a certain time i`ve been feelling so sad and so boring(musically bored),but thank GOD ,u2 exist,and they do music like they do so spiritual ,so profound,so full of meaning...sometimes it seems ,they`re thinking the same as i,and it`s beeing like that for a long time !thank GOD for them existi in my life
Its amazing how Adam sneaks in and steals these songs with these funky bass lines. Its like the one member who showed up not knowing how to play is teaching everyone how to get the funk out!
on "Unknown Caller"
...Also, all humility aside,ifthe bandplays "Unknown Caller" during the tour, I think towards the end of that performance, the singer should turn facing the band andgo down on one knee in gracious thanks for the musicianship in that song. ...I may very well be compelled to do so.
Wise Words
I like Edge's words on hisown personal work are wise. Good advice for any job. Bono cracks me up! I find it funny how he bails out when he realizes he might be talking too deep. So, funny. Love his depth though.
Not Orphans
Dear Edge the Awsomest guitar mistro, I think you should see them as your buddhist mandalas, NOT ORPHANS :)
Very good
Yeah , got the box set also, very good read, great pics :)
Cedars of Lebanon
Didn't know where to pop this in but have been meaning to for a while. I am growing more and more fond of thetremendous song,'Cedars of Lebanon'; particularly theidea of playing dual grace notesfor the bridge between the bass and the guitar. We need more songs like this!
What an attitude!
If everyone had Edge's unselfish attitude, the world would be a better place!
I Got the Magazine
And really great photos there great work
nat 2A
all wonderful
the "box format " is wonderful!!!!!!!!!!!!
Edge on Songwriting
This is why U2 survives and stays relevant. Their respect for one another's talent, and their lifelong bond with and concern for each other, is unparalleled. We will not see a band like this again.
Thanks Boys for Your Time
Thanks for giving us your time and keeping in touch with us mere mortals.  Poor Larry,  I had no idea that someone who doesn't specialize in playing the drums could be so amazing.  Imagine how fantastic you would be if you did. ( Ha Ha )
Thanks Boys For The Chat
I can't help but feel sad for all of Edge's little orphans. Thanks for the insight into what goes on behind the scenes. Keep it coming you Legends. 
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