appeared in Monday's edition of VG, Norway's biggest newspaper. Larry
mentions a new studio album in 2003 and a tour in 2004.]
U2 With a Strong Belief in the Future
VG, October 07, 2002
by Stein Ostbo
"We ended the "Elevation" tour with a very strong belief in the future",
says U2 drummer Larry Mullen Jr. (40) in this exclusive VG interview, and he
reveals that a new album with original songs is coming next fall.
Because first of all U2 are releasing the second part of their "best
of"-story in about a month, this time from the period between 1990 and 2000.
Two brand new songs have also been included, "The Hands That Built America"
(which will be on the soundtrack of Martin Scorsese's The Gangs of New York)
and the single "Electrical Storm". In the Anton Corbijn-directed video for
the latter song we meet Larry Mullen Jr. in intimate interaction with the
beauthiful Samantha Morton, last seen with Tom Cruise in Minority Report.
"Oh, it was very tough. Maybe the hardest working day of my life", Mullen
Jr. giggles on the phone from Dublin.
Enters the studio again
"She is a beautiful woman and a great actress. For me it was a new
experience I have never done anything like it before", says Mullen Jr.,
who can tell us that U2 haven't just been relaxing since the intimate, but
very successful "Elevation" tour which ended in December last year.
"We went to a studio in Monaco right afterwards to work on new ideas. It was
a great time. Down there we found the guitar-riff for "Electrical Storm" and
the piano-theme of "The Hands That Built America". It just had to become new
songs of it", he says.
Then there are maybe more songs ready, or ideas?
"Lots of them! We wrote down 16-17 good ideas for new songs. In December we
enter the studio again. And we plan to have a new album out by the end of
2003", says Larry Mullen Jr.
He is very satisfied with the "Elevation"-tour, which peeled off all the
pompous stage-design which had been present on U2's three last tours.
"The idea was to deconstruct everything that people thought about U2 and
find back to what U2 meant to ourselves. And U2 is about four people in a
room who focus on making good songs. That's why we stripped the whole thing
down, and I believe we managed to do it".
Would you say that you regret U2's previous "larger than life" concepts?
"Not at all. We did what we felt was natural then we wanted to reflect
what was going on around us in that period, among other things by using DJ's
and technology. We could use what we learnt then to our own advantage. Just
listen to the beginning of the single from our last album, "Beautiful Day".
It actually starts with a drum machine."
Speaking of "Beautiful Day" you've heard about the Norwegian band a-ha and
their "The Sun Always Shines on TV"...
"Never heard about it!" he answers quickly, before Mullen Jr. laughs.
"I'm just kidding with you. Yes, we noticed that something was similar, but
I swear, it was never meant as a plagiarism of anything believe me!"
And the technology wasn't exactly on U2's side at Valle Hovin in Oslo during
the "PopMart" tour in '97?
"I remember it very well! The lemon didn't open, and we were stuck inside
it. Oslo was the only place that happened. I guess it just had to happen one
time, and unfortunately for you guys it was in Oslo", says a laughing
superstar, who obviously doesn't have any problems with talking to a
journalist from the miniature-land when it comes to rock, Norway, while the
main person himself, Bono, travels around the world to talk to influential
people from the Pope and downwards.
"I have great respect and admiration for Bono, and you should remember that
all of us in U2 are supporting his political work what's important for him
is important for us. At the same time it's not that many who think about
what consequences Bono's engagement has for his private life, what he's
really sacrificing. There's an enormous pressure on him in connection with
family, friends and for that matter also U2, who everybody often wishes that
he would spend more time at home or in the studio. But within U2 there's a
big thankfulness that Bono takes on this burden. But I don't envy him", says
Larry Mullen Jr.
Will U2 appear on a concert stage again before next year's album?
"I highly doubt it. U2 is not a band that can just do 3-4 concerts just like
that we need time to warm up and and build up a show", Mullen Jr.
explains, and as a closing he gives us the following "I wish it was true"
"But we're looking forward to meeting you and the rest of Norway sometime
during...summer 2004, I guess it has to be!"
© VG, 2002.