In New York for the book signing earlier in the week, Bono and Edge talked with John Norris of MTV. Catch our edited highlights.
MTV: You guys have done big events before, the Super Bowl, Live8, but there had to have been something special about last night.
Edge: Yeah. It really was. It was one of those moments where the heart and the soul of the whole occasion were just so amazing. And the reaction from the crowd who were there to see a football game really ... I mean they went nuts. It was because they got it, they knew what we were going to do and the spirit of the event, and it was amazing. It was really very moving.
MTV: Tell me about the decision in doing this particular song and the choice of working with Green Day.
Edge: We have a charity (Music Rising) that's trying to replace the instruments - first the professional music of the area but also we're moving on to churches and schools. They approached me about the re-opening of the Superdome and said, 'Could you put something together for the pre-game show ?' I thought about this song that was one of my favorite songs from growing up, (a song by) The Skids called 'The Saints Are Coming'. First of all (there was) the obvious connection with The Saints team... then when I was looking up the song lyrics I realized it was perfect on so many levels, almost as if it was written for this event.
We'd met with Green Day in LA around the time of the Grammy's and we were talking about trying to find something to do and I thought this is the perfect situation ... it's perfect for them. So I got in touch with Billy Joe and he listened to the song and was like 'this is great.' I was pretty sure that if we came up with a great thing to do together in the Superdome, that they would be up for it, and they were.
MTV: It had to be something special last night....
Bono: It was kicking when we went off; those Green Day boys are something. You know there was something going on in that place that was more then a Super Bowl - it was a city fighting for its dignity and getting it back, demanding that their city rise up from the ashes, you (could) feel it in the room.... it was the people of New Orleans in their sort of sports cathedral going mad.
MTV: Now speaking of books, about a year and a half ago we were in a Boston book store and you were there talking. This ('U2 by U2') is something altogether different, this is pretty comprehensive.
Bono: Yeah I mean I didn't want to do either book , and (this) book, which is a series of conversations we've had together, I'm very glad that I've done it and it's over but this is the history of U2 - which is much more than any one members history. That what's peculiar about it - the whole seems to be a lot greater then the sum of the parts and though I think we are all very interesting people, on our own a lot less so.
MTV: Eighteen months of interviews that Neil did with you - how do you remember all these details and stories?
Edge: Well that was the fun actually, having to go back and dig out all the photographs and to rack your brains about all the stories about how things came together and Neil was very rigorous. It happened with me a couple times - I'd say something and he'd get back to me and say 'I think you're wrong, I talked to Larry and Adam and they say it was the Wednesday night.' So you had to, along the way, correct things you remembered incorrectly. But that was the great thing about the five memories ... and that's why I think it's more accurate (than) it would have been if it was one persons point of view.
Bono: As a band we're not very good at looking back, and we don't encourage it in each other. We're much more into the future and the present then we are into the past. (But) sometimes it's worth just realizing what it took to get you there - and especially for new bands it's going to be an important book as you realize one, just how bad we were and two, how chemistry overpowers all obstacles.
MTV: U2 fans (may) think they know everything they need to know about this band. Is there anything they can learn from this book?
Edge: Absolutely, (they) will definitely learn stuff. I learned stuff that I didn't know about the rest of the band. I used to think they liked me ... and stuff like that.
Bono: Personal hygiene turns out to play an important role in the success of any rock and roll band.....