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2. Stories for Boys

This section is designed to hold answers to some frequent questions about
the band itself.  The subsections are
intended to divide U2's history in different eras. 

2.1 The early years 

2.1.1  Who started U2 and when?  How did they get those wacky nicknames?
[SL] Larry Mullen, Jr. was born on October 31, 1961 on the south side of
Dublin.  He was two years behind
Bono in high school but both noticed each other.  It was Larry who posted
an ad on a bulletin board at school
about starting a band.
  Paul Hewson (Bono) was born on the 10th of May, 1960 in Dublin.  He was
a very outgoing person in high
school who responded to Larry's note saying that he could play guitar and
sing. He really couldn't do either.
  Adam Clayton was born in Oxfordshire on March 13, 1960 and moved to
Dublin after his father got a job
flying for Aer Lingus .  Although he was not a very good student, he was
always very polite to everyone.  He
was the only bassist to respond to Larry's note.
  Dave Evans (the Edge) was born on August 8, 1961 in East London.  His
family moved to Dublin a year later. 
He was often known as a loner early in high school.  He took piano and
guitar lessons and often played with his
brother, Dick.  Both showed up to "U2's" first little gathering.

[P] First meeting at Larry+s house (60 Rosemount Avenue); set up in
Mullen+s kitchen, and played Rolling
Stones -Brown Sugar+ and -Satisfaction+ (UF, p. 61); entire group
includes Larry, Dave and Dik Evans, Adam
Clayton, Paul Hewson, Peter Martin, and Ivan McCormick .

[CB] Larry was born on the *north side* of Dublin, Artane.
 Bono, which is a shortening of Bono Vox, got his name through a group of
friends of his who were known as
the Village. The name, which means "good voice" in Latin, was the name of
a hearing aid shop in Dublin.  Edge
was named by Bono because Dave was always on the fringe of things. 

[GB] I heard on a TV show that Bono gave this name to Evans because of
the sharp lines in his face.  This could
also apply to his clear, clinging guitar playing.

[CB] The thing in Lypton Village about naming people was that: 1) they
thought it strange that you should go
by a name given to you by your parents, when that name might not really
suit you. 2) the nicknames were often
associated with a facial thing and it would then also apply to the
person's character. So The Edge had this
prominent jaw line & was always on the edge of things: like an observer. 
Bono's first Village name was:   
Steinhegvanhuysenolegbangbangbangbang (!)   Paul McGuinness became known
as 'The Goose'.

2.1.2  Where does the name U2 come from? 
[M] The reason for the band picking the name U2 is not really known.  For
one thing, the U2 is a spy plane that
was in service during the late '50s and '60s. There was a U2 that was
involved in a crash over the old Soviet
Union on 4 May 1960 (four days before Bono was born).  The name U2 is
also a pun, as in you too or you two. 
The name seemed to be sufficiently vague to work as the name of the band
we now know and love. 

[JC] The U2 model was an American spy plane used after WWII. It is famous
for the 'U2 incident'. This plane
was used for high altitude reconnaissance before the use of satellites
and was not supposed to be detectable by
radar.  The plane was shot down over Soviet Russia in the late 50's, and
the pilot, Francis Gary Powers,
captured. When the Soviets announced to Dwight Eisenhower they had shot
down a U2 spy plane, his retort was
'What plane?' Yes, a great moment in Presidential history.) The band took
their name after this plane. 

[PG] Before U2, the group had two other names (for a short period):
'Feedback'  and 'The Hype'.

[GM] 1960 was the year. Eisenhower knew about U-2 flights over the USSR,
but he wasn't just going to come
out and admit it in case the Soviets were bluffing. Adam said he liked
names like XTC, they had Steve Averill
come up with a bunch of suggestions. They didn't exactly love the name
U2, but they couldn't come up with a
better name, so they used it.  The above reasons why it was the best are
pretty accurate. 

2.1.3  Which band members were/are in U2?
[SL]  This is very boring. U2 lack the emotion of big bands like Pink
Floyd and the Beatles when it comes to
rupture rumors, and gossip. They have always had the same members, and
it's not bound to change in the near
future. The four guys seem to be good friends. However...

[PG] In the first few weeks of their existence, Edge's brother Dick Evans
was also in the band.

[CB] The band were advised to dump Larry, in the early days.(by a record

2.1.4 Who's the boy on the cover of "Boy" and "War"?
[SL]  I saw an interview around the time of the Joshua Tree tour where
Bono talks about this. He was a kid who
lived across the street in front of Bono's house in Dublin. Quote 'He was
a smart guy, know-it-all, he's probably
taller than me now'

[Ge] His name is Peter Rowan.

[CB] Peter Rowan is the brother of Derek "Guggi" Rowan, and Strongman -
both of which were in the Virgin
Prunes.  Peter later became skate-board champion of Ireland, works in a
skate-board shop and has also had
various acting parts, notably in 'The Commitments" and "The Snapper".

2.1.5  Wait, I don't see a boy on the "Boy" cover!!
[SL]  That's probably because you have the US release of the album, which
has been censored /edited to avoid
child abuse implications. 

[RA] The cover was changed in the States because of "a vague worry at the
label that there might be a
homosexual impression left from the boy's waist-up nakedness." (Ellen

[Ge] It was Warner's in the USA that changed the cover of Boy for fear of
 paedophilia claims.

2.1.6  What does Bono sing at the end of Another Time, Another Place?
[JV] It sounds like German - what is it and why is it there?"  No one
seems to know the answer to that last one,
though plenty of people  would like to find out.

2.1.7 What is the meaning behind the title "An Cat Dubh"?
[AL] My boss, who is (Northern) Irish, told me it's Gaelic for *The Black
Cat". Sort of makes sense if you
listen to the words, I think.

2.1.8 Who is Gavin Friday?
[CB] Gavin Friday was born Fionan Hanvey, October 8, 1959, a few blocks
down the road from Bono. They
met and became friends in their teens and to date Bono describes Gavin as
his 'friend for life, drinking buddy on
weekdays  and some sort of a musical diviner'. Gavin formed the Virgin
Prunes,  taking a left turn where U2
went to the right, fueled by such diverse  influences as the Dada
movement, Salvador Dali, Bowie, T-Rex, The
Sex Pistols and.... ABBA, as well as a smouldering Celtic strain. 
Spontaneity was important to the band's
performances and when that  spontaneity was all but dead around 1986,
Friday decided to call it a day.  After a
brief painting stint, he returned in  with his solo debut 'Each Man Kills
the Thing He Loves' (Island 1989) on
which he  exorcized all the ghosts that had lain dormant since the Prunes
demise. The record was a dark, moody,
introspective affair, dealing with such  primary topics as love, sex and
death. Determined not to be categorized
Friday revamped his 'cabaret singer from hell'  act into 'mad eclectic
popstar' for his second album 'Adam 'n'
Eve',  showing a lighter side of himself, but not wandering too far  from
his familiar themes. On the ZOO TV
and Zooropa tours,  Friday's possible influence on U2 became more
apparent to the media, the NME going as
far as naming him Bono's 'confidante and advisor'.  Many believed his
presence was strongly felt in Bono's new
stage  character 'MacPhisto', but Friday claims he only 'put the horns on
him'.  In 1993, Friday, his pianist
Maurice Roycroft and Bono collaborated  on the 'In the Name of the
Father' soundtrack, with Bono admitting  it
was Gavin who did 'most of the work.' Late 1995 will see Friday,  who
says he 'never could rock and never
wanted to roll' return to the stage with his third record on Island: Shag

[MJS]  If you want to know more about Gavin Friday check out the
following web site: 
Gavin Friday's Wonderful Wicked World
and Caroline Von B's book on Gavin Friday, "The and the Dark."
A sound sample of the single "In the Name of the Father" is available at
the U2 site and on Compuserve.  

2.2   October to The Unforgettable Fire

2.2.1  Where is the castle on the cover of "The Unforgettable Fire"?
[GD] The castle on The Unforgettable Fire is NOT Slane Castle. The album
was partly recorded at Slane Castle,
but the castle on the cover is called Moydrum and is in county West

[CB] However, the castle on the back sleeve of the album is yet another
castle. This is called Carrickgogunnel,
in County Tipperary.

[H] Following a fire, Slane Castle is currently undergoing very slow
repairs but it has been host to some gigs
since the fire. There are some musically unconnected details including a
B&W JPG at:

2.2.2  Where did the idea for "The Unforgettable Fire" come from?
[JC] "The Unforgettable Fire" is the name of a collection of drawings and
pictures made by the survivors of the
Hiroshima nuclear bomb blast at the end of World War II. Although
simplistic in depiction, they are considered
national treasures by the Japanese.  An exhibit toured through the United
States in early 1984, and U2 saw the
exhibit in Chicago.  Touched by the exhibit, it inspired the song and
album title, as well as some of the painting
used as stage backdrops on the  Fire' tour. 

[JV] The album title also refers to the "unforgettable fire" for equality
and peace which burned inside people
like Martin Luther King, Jr. The songs themselves speak to this,
juxtaposing images of nuclear devastation and
human triumph in and between the various tracks on the album. 

2.2.3  Tell me all about the song "Pride (in the name of love)"
"Why does Bono sing 'Early morning, April Four' in Pride, when MLK was
shot in the early evening?" 
[JV] The Wire answer is basically that he either screwed up or exercised
poetic license to make it fit better. 

[GM] Bono says he screwed up.  He sometimes sings 'Early evening, April
4' The song's origins came during
the War Tour in a sound check in Hawaii.  The original lyrics were
anti-Reagan with 'What more in the name of
love' also being a featured lyric according to The Edge.  The song
evolved into one about martyrs and those who
create them.

[P] This in no way is an effort to justify what is a glaring historical
inaccuracy in the song, but .... When Bono
heard the news as a 7-year-old in Dublin, it WAS early morning. BUT ...
it was early in the morning on April
5th when he would have heard the news.

2.2.4 [EMD] Who is the Mrs. Christine Kerr listed in the liner notes?
[MJS] It is Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders, at the time UF was
recorded, she was married to Jim Kerr of
Simple Minds.

2.3 Time for worldwide acclamation

2.3.1  Is The Joshua Tree the biggest U2 album ever?
In the US, JT was #1 for nine weeks.  In the UK it became the fastest
selling album in history staying on the
charts for 129 weeks.  It reentered the UK charts twice more, reaching
#19 in 1992 and #27 in 1993.
[P] It topped the charts in 22 different countries!!!

2.3.2  What's the story behind "Where the Streets Have No Name"?
[SW] Back during the time of the whole Ethiopia starvation crisis, Bono
and his wife Ali did a 6 week deal over
there as volunteer relief workers or something of the such.  The tent
cities that were set up for the people were
just lined up in rows, and that was how these people lived, hence there
were streets without names.  'high on a
desert plain' would be referring to Ethiopia, as well as the mentions of
being 'blown by the wind' and 'trampled
in dust', as it was a drought and I'd imagine, awfully dusty.  Also, I
would assume that 'and when I go there, I go
there with you...' would be referring to Ali. IMO, the beginning lines
are written in frustration at the misery and
hopelessness of the situation and his inability to make very much of a

2.3.3  Who are Greg Carrol and Jara in "One Tree Hill"?
[PH] A New Zealander (Greg Carroll) who worked for the band was killed in
a motorcycle accident in Dublin
while doing something for Bono. I think the funeral was held in the Maori
cemetery at the top of One Tree Hill
in Auckland--hence the name of the song. FYI, One Tree Hill is called
that because although there are plenty of
trees on the lower slopes of the hill, the upper slopes are completely
bare apart from a tall, old tree on its own at
the top. 

[JM] The funeral was conducted at Waitangi, which is the place where New
Zealand's "founding documents"
were signed, by most of the Maori chiefs. (nowhere near One Tree Hill)
The "One Tree" on the hill is alive and
well after being attacked by a Maori activist with a chain-saw, and so
was in danger for quite a while. The tree
is a pine (not native), and the hill is a site of an old Pa (Maori
fortress), and he felt that the tree was an insult to
sacred Maori ground, and should be replaced with a native tree.

[SL]  Victor Jara was a Chilean folk singer/songwriter who was very
famous at the beginning of the 70s in
Chile. His songs were full of social criticism and called for uprising.
He was respected among the intellectual
leaders of the socialist Chilean government. Alas, Augusto Pinochet
overthrew the government in a military
coup. Part of the associated repression included torturing Victor Jara to
death, cutting both his hands and
making him sing and play the guitar afterwards. Thus, "Jara sang, his
song a weapon in the hands of love, his
blood still cries from the ground". 

2.3.4  Tell me about the Negativland incident
[SL] I have chosen to quote here a 'neutral' answer. This is sampled from
the music /alternative-faq /part1 file,
available from and maintained by Joshua Buergel - - If you'd like to
get the mentioned lyrics, check out question #1 
[MJS] Since this incident has faded somewhat, I've shortened this answer
a bit. The full version is still available
at the address above.
A:  The Negativland _U2_ single put out in late '91 by SST Records and
featured two tracks, both of which
made fun of U2's "Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For".  Shortly
after its release, an enormous legal
document arrived at SST from Island Records/ Warner-Chappel Publishing,
the gist of which was that SST was
getting its butt sued for putting the thing out. Among the charges being
leveled were that the packaging was
deceptive (this was reportedly the biggest problem that Island had with
the record), that the use of various
unauthorized samples on the single were copyright infringement
(Negativland maintained that as a piece of
satire the samples should have been allowed) and lots of other charges.
Incidentally, the "deceptive" packaging
as that the single had "U2" in huge letters on the front with
"Negativland" in really small letters across the
bottom.  Island apparently felt that such packaging was intended to
deceive the consumer into believing it was a
U2 release. 
    Anyway, SST and Negativland got squashed.  The settled out of court.
Total damages: $90,000.  SST tried to
get Negativland to pay the entire bill while N'land offered to pay half. 
No agreement was reached and N'land
left SST records, whose owner (Greg Ginn, ex-Black Flag guitarist)
threatened lawsuits.  Shortly thereafter
Negativland put out a CD and magazine combo entitled "The Letter U and
the Numeral 2" which documents the
whole fiasco, including press releases, legal documents, articles and
everything else possibly concerned with the
whole situation.  

[MJS] Finally, I think it's worthwhile to let U2 have their say in this.
The Edge was interviewed by Mondo 2000
magazine in 1992.  Two members of Negativland took part in the interview,
although this was not revealed to
the Edge until halfway through the interview.  The entire text of this
interview is available  What follows is a
very brief excerpt of U2's perception of the incident.

EDGE:  Yeah, well from what I can remember, I can't remember the exact
sequence of events, but as it was
presented to us, you know, "Here's the record, here's the album sleeve,
Island are already on the case here, and
they've objected because they feel it's, because of the artwork, this is
at a time when a lot of people are
expecting a new U2 record," and they felt that, from their own point of
view, in a pure business sense, nothing
about art, I just think they felt there was a chance that people would
pick up the record in a record shop and
think, "Oh, this is the new U2 album." 

2.3.5   In the Song Angel of Harlem, what is "BLS"?
[MP] In the song Angel of Harlem, there's a line, "On the BLS I heard the
sound, of an angel . . ." Could you tell
me what "BLS" is??? I thought it was somehow associated with airplanes,
or those ever-annoying PA systems
in airports, but I can't seem to figure this one out.  Any info about

[MPZ] As a lifelong New Yorker, I can tell you that BLS in the line "On
BLS I heard the sound (of an Angel)"
refers the New York City radio station WBLS-FM, which has been playing
Rhythm & Blues/Soul music for
20+ years.

2.3.6  What is The Joshua Trio?
[AK] I know all about the Joshua Trio as it was some mates of mine that
put the whole thing together. I did the
graphics for the one and only single release (only in the UK and
Ireland).   Basically the Joshua Trio sprung
from the overblown state of U2 circa Joshua Tree/Rattle and Hum. We were
in art college in Dublin and three
friends had established a punk/country band called the Dodge City
Slickers. The Slickers were very theatrical
and were a great laugh while they lasted.  Just prior to the Joshua Tree
tour in the States we were involved in
doing some 'club design' stuff in the Factory for a birthday party for
Adam Clayton. There was a little stage set
up where pretty much everybody was gigging on by nights end. There was
the strange combo of U2, Cactus
World News, The Dodge City Slickers, and Hank Halfhead and his Rambling
Turkeys all doing covers.
 Anyway when the Slickers broke up Paul the singer had this idea of a
jazz combo which only did U2 covers. It
was a tongue in cheek idea which then developed into a greater concept: 
  'To bring the music of U2 to a wider audience'
 Bono at this point was acting very egotistical and moralistic so the
idea of Bono as a religious guru with a
message to spread became part of the Trio's concept. The band wore either
angels wings and 'Jesus style' towels
around their waist or (in Paul's case) a toga and a medallion with Bonos'
face on it.
 The jazz (and trio) idea gradually turned into a wider musical thing,
with jazz, country, metal, loungebar and
just plain stupid interpretations of U2 stuff. Also songs about U2 ('the
edge has got his hat on', 'nothing
compares to U2') 'Nothing compares' was sung by 'guest star' Sinead (Paul
in a bathing cap).
 The movie was a proposal called (if memory serves) 'The last temptation
of Bono' (or something). It involved a
cast of Irish music types and would have been very funny. It was offered
(ironically) as a serious venture and
was taken as such by a variety of media types. Arthur, who was in the
early version of the Trio is a very talented
comedy writer for TV who is flavour of the month in the UK at the moment.
 The Trio became very popular in Ireland for a period and took to
bringing donkeys into venues for gigs and
such like. They had some interesting forays into England where they had a
strange small cult following. For
some reason Japanese girls seemed to love them (?)
 A single/ep was released through Son (part of the U2 stable) which got
good airplay in the UK but never sold
very well (you could never find the thing!). It was a country version of
'The Fly' with a couple of live numbers. 
With the Zoo TV tour the joke didn't make as much sense (although there
were gigs in Dublin with televisions,
washing machines and bicycles on stage) and the band lost interest.  
There you go. A potted history of the
Joshua Trio

[MJS]  The movie was to be called "The Last Temptation of Chris DeBurgh,"
the Joshua Trio dropped hints
about the plot in an interview with Hot Press that can be found in Three
Chords and The Truth.

2.3.7  Why haven't I seen the video for Red Hill Mining Town?
[PC] The song was actually slated to be the second single off of the
album. The video was shot in Bodie,
California (a ghost town) and directed by Neil Jordan.  But while W/or
W/Out You was doing its tour of duty,
the band was rehearsing for the tour and they discovered that Red Hill
was too high for Bono to sing every night
and would not be in the set list for the tour. And as logic says: What's
the good of touring if you can't use it to
promote your latest record/single?

[P] The original copy of the video remains in storage at Principle
Management's offices in Dublin. Rumors have
circulated that MTV showed this video once on-air, and that they also
have a copy of it in their "library." These
rumors are just that, and they are false.

2.3.8  Who dies at the end of the All I Want is You video?
[MJS] This question truly is frequently asked. I think it's the woman.

[DC] I believe it is the midget who is in love with her.  Earlier in the
video he threw himself off the high trapeze
swing, and when we see him at the funeral, it is really his ghost, and
only his friend the strong man even senses
that he is there.  Then he throws in the ring, to be buried along with

2.3.9 Was JT originally a double album?
[P]  When Edge was asked about this in Hot Press, he never REALLY
confirmed the idea. This is his response:
Edge on double-album idea: "For instance, we disagreed vehemently about
what songs should go on the album. 
If Bono had his way, 'The Joshua Tree' would have been more American and
bluesy, and I was trying to pull it
back." That compromise led to the later flood of new B-side tracks.  Bono
argued that "the album is almost
incomplete. 'With or Without You' doesn't really make sense without 'Walk
to the Water' or 'Luminous Times'. 
And 'Trip Through Your Wires' doesn't make that much sense without
'Sweetest Thing.'" (HP, 12/87)

2.3.10 What does Hawkmoon 269 mean?
[MJS] Hawkmoon 269 was taken from a road sign the band saw from their
tour bus. It means, literally the town
of Hawkmoon is 269 miles from this point. The name intrigued Bono and
eventually he used it as the title for
the song we know and love.

  2.3.11 Who is Goldman in God Part II

[MJS] Albert Goldman, the author of a controversial biographies of John
Lennon and Elvis Presley, both of
dubious validity.  The old joke was "What's the only good news a rock
star can hear after his death?  That
Arthur Goldman died five minutes before he did."

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