The Music Changes Shape

1 Mar 2002
Edge and Bono Talking after Wednesday's Four Grammy Wins.

"We're huge fans of his work," said the Edge about T-Bone Burnett, producer of the Grammy Winning 'O Brother Where Art Thou' soundtrack. "So it felt, on one front, we're disappointed [we didn't win Album of the Year], but on another, we're so proud of him and so proud of his work we wouldn't have wanted to lose to anyone but T-Bone. It was kind of a sweet defeat."

On a different tack, Bono discussed what it has been like for U2 being in the USA in recent months.

"When this country takes you to its heart, it's an extraordinary feeling," Bono told CDNow. "And these have been very testing times for America, so you're not just taking anybody to your heart. ''We put our tickets on sale after September the 11th. I think that communicated. The songs did change their meaning. You're supposed to know what you're writing about; you're the songwriter. You're supposed to know what those songs are about. You're often wrong.

"The music changes shape to fit the predicament it finds itself in, and this year, the predicament was a very different America," he continued. " I have to tell you, just as outsiders, as guests of the nation, we've always loved coming here. But this year, I've rediscovered my love of America, the great idea as opposed to just the great country. It is a great idea, it's worth defending, and it's also worth taking this idea around the world."

It was at last year's GRAMMY® Awards that Bono said the group was applying for the job of the "Greatest, Most Important Rock Band," something many would agree they've now lived up to after the band's successful Elevation Tour.

"You know, when you're in a corner, we do make, I do make, wild pronouncements, about our potential, but you know what, we're not in a corner tonight, we're right in the middle of main street. We like it much better here. We think it suits us," he said. "But last year, we were pushing our rock up the hill. This time last year, rock and roll music was very much the outsider. And that's always where we get defensive and start making wild pronouncements about being the greatest rock band in the world."

And are they, he was asked? "Yes, as it happens," he answered, to a roar of laughter. "But some of our friends are very good too!"

On a more serious note again, Bono went on to say their deepest desire as a band is for the U.S. to really look "outwards as to what's going on in the rest of the world, and the shock of 9/11 wasn't just watching the Twin Towers turn to dust, but was the aftershock of people jumping up and down in Jakarta and Pakistan celebrating. And you think, 'How did that happen?' to us in Europe, to you in the United States?

"What is going on that the United States, the country that liberated Europe, should be seen like this? And they're very hard questions that have to be asked, 'cause I don't believe that's a deserved position," he continued. "The United States is just crap at P.R. and has a role to play in the world not just as a police force, but actually just continuing the idea of the country. And it's an amazing idea. The Declaration of Independence is incredible ­- we pledge our lives, our fortunes, our sacred honor ­- these are poetic ideas. And it seems like the idea of America has gone away in the last while, it's just a great successful country, with great military might.

"I actually believe in the idea of America and I'm really encouraged that that idea might catch on, in the wake of this tragedy."

More from CDNow on U2 and the Grammy Awards - as well as a lengthy interview from last year on All That You Can't Leave Behind - at


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