Thursday, March 29, 2007

(not) Sir Bono

Bono Becomes Knight of the British Empire

Coincidentally I *just* read the most fantastic interview with Bono, done up right by Chuck Klosterman (from 2004, just before "How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb" was...dropped...har har). Paul, I thank you again for lending my this utterly impressive collection of Klosterman interviews and essays (from his initial Big Time, Big City period) from his last book.

Of course, the whole thing is fucking great. Klosterman claims that he thinks it took him *under an hour* to write the whole piece because Bono provides so much material, because he "always behaves like he's being filmed for a documentary." (I mean, his lead is the Bono quote, "The job of art is to chase away ugliness.")

I must share this absoulutely magicial scene from the interview. (or is it full of shit? Is Bono "real or is he full of shit"? Klosterman continually wonders)

Klosterman is riding shot-gun in Bono's Maserati around Dublin. (yeah, I know. Klosterman! That lucky fucking fuck.) They come across four teenagers that are "hudled near some U2 graffiti"--two are Belgian, one is Austrian and one is Irish.

Here is Chuck's description of what happens next and it is golden:

They have been sitting there for seven hours, hoping to see anything that vaguely resembles a transcendent rock band. "I'm going to talk to these kids," Bono says as he stops the Maserati and jumps out. I can see him signing autographs in the rearview mirror. This strikes me as quaint, and I begin jotting down the event in my notebook. But then Bono opens the trunk and throws the teenagers' bags inside. Suddenly, there are four pale kids climbing into the backseat. I guess we're lucky this is a Quattroporte.

"We're gonna give these kids a ride," says Bono. I look over my right shoulder at the girl from Austria, and I witness someone's mind being blown out of her skull; I can almost see her brains and blood splattered across the rear window. The car takes off. Bono drives recklessly, accelerating and braking at random intervals. "Do you want to hear the new album?" he asks the glassy-eyed teenagers. This is more than a month before How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb will be released. They say, "Yes." Bono punches up track four, "Love and Peace or Else." He hits play, and it's loud; it sounds like someone dropping the throttle on a Harrier Jump Jet. Bono starts singing along, harmonizing with himself. He's playing air drums while he drives. The music changes, and he exclaims, "This is the Gary Glitter part!" The music changes again. "This is the Brian Wilson moment!" The teenagers aren't even talking. They're just kind of looking at each other, almost like they're afraid this is some Celtic version of Punk'd.

One of the kids asks to hear "Miracle Drug," which makes Bono nervous. An early version of the album was stolen in July, and he is worried that it may have been leaked to the Internet. But he plays the track anyway, still singing along, and he turns the volume even higher when we get to the lyrics, "Freedom has a scent / Like the top of a newborn baby's head." He calls these two lines the best on the album. This behavior is incredibly charming, a little embarrassing, and amazingly weird. We eventually get to the hotel, and Bono drives up on the sidewalk. He unloads the kids' bags, and they walk away like zombies. The two of us amble into the Clarence and shake hands in the lobby, and then Bono disappears into the restaurant to meet the elderly painter I've never heard of. And I find myself thinking, "Did this really just happen? Am I supposed to believe he does this kind of thing all the time, even when he doesn't have a reporter in the front seat of his car? And does that even matter? Was that car ride the greatest moment in those four kids' lives? Was this whole thing a specific performance, or is Bono's entire life a performance? And if your entire life is a performance, does that make everything you do inherently authentic? Is this guy for real, or is this guy full of shit?"

and you know what? Even though Klosterman seems to not know the answer to the question he poses, he convinced me that yes, Bono is for fucking real and because of Klosterman's dynamite job of telling such a magnificant interview...I really fell for Bono. Hard. I've always dug him, but wondered that "full of shit" question myself. But, no matter what, he's as intellectually complex and as big-hearted and as facinating as rock stars come. Also, anyone who air-drums while they are driving a car (J Mo, I'm looking at you) is automatically fucking righteous.