From the Sky Down (2011) Movie Script

What people are doing
when they're forming a band,
is they're forming what an
anthropologist would call a clan.
It's a group of people
who may not be genetically related,
but share interests of some kind...
...and have pledged loyalty
to each other.
I think men in particular, have
a kind of instinct for banding together,
and being in a group together.
Most of the identity of that group is formed
by its separateness from everybody else.
There is a moment when it is
dysfunctional not to look at the past.
20 years into it -
the randomness of an anniversary,
we're actually going to look at it.
We're gonna open the box.
Making Achtung Baby
was the reason we're still here now.
That was the pivot point
where we were either going forward,
or, is this our moment to implode?
I thought to myself, "This is it,
we've come to the end of the road -
"band breaks up
over artistic differences. "
Classic cliche.
We're gonna have to listen to The Fly,
I think, and...
So, if we can play it back...?
We can't afford to make a mistake
on the second song.
We had this thing where we really
believed in music as a sacrament.
It's over there.
You almost have to take your shoes off
in its company.
So we have quite a low opinion
of the musician,
and a very high opinion of music.
We're only reverent
to the thing if it happens.
That thing, whatever you call it, you know,
the song that enters the room,
and you go, "That's why we're all here. "
- It's not gonna work.
- It doesn't really work, does it?
You can stop that, if you would.
Do we know where that's from?
Was that actually played
to human beings...
...who were gathered together
for the purpose of music?
Was that a guitar mix?
It sounds like...
Yeah, it's a special mix
accentuating the guitar.
OK, it's certainly very 'special'.
Joe, do you have a version
that you mixed?
There's an environment
out of which music... grows.
There's a kind of faith that's necessary
to move from one note to the other.
That wasn't the environment
we were in.
We felt as we walked into this place,
well, it's so full of greatness...
...that greatness will visit with us.
So, we're there,
and greatness is nowhere to be seen.
Greatness has left the building,
it seems, years ago.
This is good.
Try it more, em...
...from you, Edge,
just more totally abstract,
like sonic abstraction.
At this moment, we're a long way,
a long way from the madness of Zoo TV,
we're a long way from taking
that television station around the world.
Picture, picture.
At this moment...
...I couldn't imagine
what we were gonna become.
Edge, it's brilliant.
Great. And then, when I'm singing,
slap it with the back of your hand.
We're much closer now.
The '80s, I think they suffered a lot
from my own intensity.
So, our rehearsals were, a lot of the time,
me shouting at people.
Well, shouting over the
fucking racket they were making!
And then shouting to achieve
some kind of direction,
and I don't know
how they put up with that.
Edge, Edge...
...when the singing starts,
try to create a dynamic
by almost getting really quiet -
make it a dynamic.
Very hard to do.
OK, hold on.
It's because you're in full flight -
if I stop, it'll just sound bad.
- No, it'll be great if you stop.
- OK.
So, a big, wild feedback thing.
OK, keep going.
Bono is the same now
as he was back then.
I mean, he's just one big idea.
The moment I met him, he had the ball
and he was running with it,
and this was his opportunity.
Look at where this could go
with a guy like that.
You know, having that guy out front,
having that guy as your singer -
anything is possible.
You wanna do this, we can do this,
here's the plan -
it was hard not to be taken by it,
intoxicated by it,
and just going,
"Wow, this is something. "
After we'd left school,
there was this period
where Edge went to a technical college,
Larry got a job,
Bono almost got into college,
and I wasn't doing anything.
OK, here goes.
OK, the band could just fall apart.
Slowly, everyone kind of
came back together again,
and said, we've tried this
going to college thing
and this going to work thing,
and we don't really wanna do that,
we wanna be in the band.
Adam was the oldest, wisest
and with his posh
plummy British accent.
Edge was fairly reflective, even then,
and kinda studious,
Larry was a real life-force.
He laughed a lot,
but then he'd have moments of panic,
where he'd go, "What am I doing
hanging out with you guys?"
I was a bit of a brat,
but I'd had enough trauma at home,
I was too raw
to be a total pain in the arse...
...but I had a lot of front.
In fact, that's all I had.
I managed to break through
the self-consciousness.
I got almost violent,
hitting notes I couldn't sing.
I always knew
that I had these melodies in my head.
I knew them when I was eight,
when I was ten,
but I had no ability to express them.
One of my earliest memories
was in my granny's house -
they had a piano.
I couldn't see the keyboard
but I could make a sound.
When I hit one of those notes,
my instinct was to find another note
that felt good with it.
And I even then
discovered the power of reverb.
I remember sticking my foot
on the pedal of the piano,
and how this tiny living room
would become a cathedral.
When I found my voice,
it was like I'd been walking
with a limp.
It was the first time
I walked up straight.
Rock and roll,
joining this band,
was emancipation.
It was liberation.
And I just knew this feeling
was the greatest feeling I could have.
The clan sees itself as distinct
from everybody else around,
and sees itself
as bound by some ties of loyalty.
Sounded great.
Yeah, fantastic.
Maybe a bit more passion
this time, Bono.
- Yeah, it was a bit restrained actually.
- Yeah.
Maybe you could try standing
for this one.
The only direction
I might offer you is that
the first chorus might be
a little more restrained than the others.
But, um... I wouldn't like to inhibit
what you're doing.
All the British rock and roll people,
even the punk rock people,
Joe Strummer and Paul Simonon,
they're all Art School.
John Lennon - Art School.
Eric Clapton - Art School.
Jimmy Page - Art School.
They're all Art School.
Brian Eno was our Art School.
It is like painting.
You're putting sounds together.
You're adding things,
taking them off the next day.
Suddenly the act of making music
is spread over months,
rather than a single performance.
Play your bit.
I think they always know
that it's difficult,
and if it isn't difficult,
they don't trust it.
Yeah, that's right.
Every record they've ever made has gone
right down to the very last second.
That's the thing. I would just like to know
that we have got a good take,
even if there are
one or two things to repair.
And then we can go on with some
sense of, less sense of desperation,
into doing some other takes.
What do you think, Bono,
do you wanna try a few lines on this?
Erm, I'll do some scat singing
if that's any help to you.
When Bono goes off
and does a vocal,
and you think you've heard
a whole set of lyrics,
you think, "Wow,
I was really touched by that lyric".
Then you listen later and say, "Wait
a minute, he's fudging half the words. "
Bono's singing,
and he's just channelling.
He's trying to get to the vocabulary
of the melody in sound.
Anything there?
We get the music
and then the melody,
and then we try to let the words express
the feeling that's in the song,
cos there's a feeling
in every piece of music.
It's an odd way to live your life,
as a composer,
building your house
from the sky down.
Sometimes I think I'm cleverer
than what I've just...
than the expression
that's just come out.
It's not a place for a vain man to be -
you know, intellectually vain.
I find myself listening
on little tape machines
to me singing gobbledegook -
it's like a child, it's like I'm speaking
Japanese or Italian or something.
Bonolese is like a language
It's just a made-up language.
I hear then a word,
I hear then a thought,
and I have to scribble it down.
We always had a mic ready
when Bono came into the room.
He'd hear something and say,
"Oh", and he'd start singing,
and if you didn't catch it,
it was gone.
He didn't repeat things.
Or, if he did,
he didn't repeat them
with that same oddness
that the first moment would have.
What's the chorus chords again?
So, A to...
A... D...
We'd spent the '80s
throwing stones at other people.
Now we've started throwing the stones
at ourself.
Is this what you would do?
- Pretty much.
- What's different?
The only difference is we didn't,
we have songs now -
back then
we didn't really have songs.
Well, the mid '80s
we started to tour in America.
It wasn't a thing of having been prepared,
groomed, made ready for it,
it was like suddenly, boom,
you were there.
Being 22 or 23
and you have a bit of success,
it's gonna be tricky for anybody.
If you come from Dublin,
and not only do you come from Dublin,
you're still in Dublin,
it's gonna make you
a little self-conscious.
I met them in '82. I was working for
a magazine in England
called the New Musical Express.
They asked me to go to New Orleans
to shoot U2.
I'd never heard of U2.
There was certainly
a house photographic style,
we used to jokingly refer to it.
Since most of the photographs
during that time were taken by Anton,
there was a certain amount of collusion.
That was the way the band wished
to present themselves.
The work was always serious
and for me that was the same.
My photography,
if you look at my books,
is never about
the lighter moments.
We hated photo shoots.
Make sure you get
some sun on your faces.
If you all come a bit forward...
We started to be those
kind of earnest po-faced men.
I went out one night with Bono
and I said,
"There's a tree here which I really love,
it's called the Joshua Tree
"It would be a brilliant idea
to have that on the front
"and the band would be on the back,
like a continuation. "
He's Dutch
and he can't say 'Joshua'.
He would say 'Yoshua'.
So we really go off on getting him
to say Yoshua Tree Park.
The Joshua Tree sleeve
is my favourite sleeve.
Their faces were sculptured in stone.
We always felt that the photographs
should look like the material.
Anton was not photographing us,
he was photographing our songs,
and the environment of the songs.
So, those pictures of us
as stoic Irishmen,
pilgrims, in the desert -
people would say when they meet you,
you're not the same person.
This is a very dangerous place to be,
when your public image is so different
from your private reality.
And the winner is...
...The Joshua Tree, U2.
We'd arrived.
Suddenly, this was our defining moment.
I'd like to thank Jack Healey and
Amnesty International for all their work,
Desmond Tutu for his courage...
It was a very mad time.
We were guys in our mid 20s
having this amazing experience
Nothing could've prepared you for that
...John the Baptist, George Best,
Gregory Peck, Batman and Robin,
sumo wrestlers throughout the world,
and of course, Ronald Reagan.
They wanna put us on the cover
of Time Magazine.
Um, it's a comedy.
It's a comedy about the tour.
It was a great idea.
It was a really good idea.
Make a small film about the band.
And everyone went,
"Yippee, this is a great idea. "
The next thing it's like,
"We're going to invest
"all the money we made from
The Joshua Tree into this thing,
"Paramount are going to take it
"and it's going to go to cinemas
all over the place. "
I encouraged the idea of a movie.
Remember that
in the course of the tour,
we went from being an arena band
to being a stadium band,
and had to learn how to do that
kind of on the run.
This was in the days
before video reinforcement.
It was hell.
It was literally just us in a stadium.
We were so out of our depth
and not quite proficient enough
to be consistent.
It was a rollercoaster ride.
There was a white knuckle aspect
to just holding on.
We didn't have enough material
to do a stadium show.
Bono felt particularly vulnerable -
he's out there,
sticking his ass out the window,
and he expects
the band are gonna be there.
Every night we would come off the stage,
we would debrief ourselves,
and we would have this over-riding feeling
of doom and gloom,
that we just weren't good enough.
You couldn't just rely on making it up
on the night.
Shit happens.
The drum kit would move forward.
The sound I'd have on stage
wouldn't work.
I can't live with this.
Edge would break a guitar string
and it would happen
every night for a week.
For him, he became just wild -
pent up rage, anger, I mean,
the whole gamut of emotions,
so, and you really didn't know
what you were going to get -
it was very intense.
It was particularly difficult for Bono,
because he had to really work as a
physical performer to sell those songs.
Having to steel ourselves almost
to deal with the position
we found ourselves in,
and we'd become overly earnest,
overly intense, overly protective.
In the course of that tour,
they became fascinated,
if you like, by America
That's my wife.
The reason for making
Rattle And Hum
was actually to prove something
to ourselves and to our audience.
It was an experiment in drawing from
the American roots music canon.
I want to learn the blues
from you today.
Have I come to the right place?
The idea behind Rattle And Hum was,
wouldn't it be interesting
if we went on this journey
to discover American music,
because we had no background in it.
Let people see us as fans.
Just because something was new for us,
doesn't mean it's new for the listener.
People knew all about BB King,
they knew all about the blues,
they knew all about country music.
It looked to people
like we were going,
"Let's introduce you
to your music. "
That's such a shame, really.
We had unbelievable amounts
of laughs,
except when you put
the camera on.
Then we just were like... Woosh!
It was gone.
He went through miles and miles
and miles of takes,
and there's no joy in it.
What's the deal with the camera, Phil?
Do we just pretend it's not there,
or get on with it?
No, you can do what you want.
Yeah, this is just like whatever we...
it's for fun.
So, you know, man,
if you want to talk...
It's fun for him, guys.
I know, I know.
The good thing is, it's your camera.
As post production started,
they involved themselves in the cut,
and got to choose which way
they really wanted to be seen.
The film is entirely shot in America,
showing U2 in America, why is that?
Why is that?
We let people see
the sort of naivete.
And what came out the other end
was a slew of reviews saying
these people
are fucking megalomaniacs.
Backstage footage shows the band being
deliberately inarticulate in interviews
and pretending that's cute.
But it's not cute to giggle
and pretend you have nothing to say.
Everyone was kind of
a little shell-shocked.
You start to believe...
what people are saying about you.
You start to think,
maybe this is the end.
I was sitting with Ali, she said,
"You've gotten so serious.
"You've gotten so serious.
"The boy I fell in love with
was so full of mischief,
"so full of madness.
"You were a much more
experimental character -
"what's happened to you?"
A group is a sort of
collective ego in a sense.
And that ego is very easily offended.
We found out
that he had left the group
when we got copies of the letter
from the record companies.
Of course, popularity is a great ruiner
of friendships in a way.
That makes me feel like sad,
you know?
That's like somebody
taking you out to dinner
and you think
you had a great time
and at the end of the night
they go,
"Hey, you know what?
I had a really lousy time.
"And you know what?
You're lousy too! But thanks for dinner. "
It's to do with personalities,
you know what I mean?
I didn't split. I didn't do a walk,
Noel did, so ask him.
I was a nightmare to work with.
I had to have my own dressing rooms
and stuff. I don't think so, mate!
Well, I'm going home!
This... I was explaining to people
the other night,
but I might've got it a bit wrong.
This is the end of something
for U2-
that's why we're playing
these concerts.
We were physically exhausted,
and creatively felt
we'd run out of steam.
It's no big deal,
it's just we have to go away...
...and just dream it all up again.
Stop it!
Hang on,
wait until I put me hat on.
Anyway, we are going...
going very shortly
to The Point Depot in Dublin,
where U2 are playing.
This didn't become us,
this kind of band we had become.
We looked like a big overblown
rock band running amok.
The Irish sons
returning home triumphant.
Irish people go, "Who?"
First of all
they look like some American band.
And not just American,
but like some American show band.
You left here as an interesting
post punk phenomenon... go to America, fine,
we'll run with you on The Joshua Tree,
but now you've actually become this,
you've come back,
and by the way,
you're not very good at it.
When we were kids, 16/17 years old,
going to see The Clash in Dublin,
this was the enemy.
Have we become the enemy?
We hadn't committed any great crimes
against humanity or art -
all we'd done was been
a little self-conscious and overblown.
I'd like to thank Edge
and Adam and Larry
for letting me be in their band.
They started out, as do most bands,
by saying we don't want to be that,
and we don't want to be that
and we don't want to be that,
and then they carried on by saying
we don't want to be what we were either.
As an artist, your biggest enemy
is your own history, actually.
Couldn't make corrective adjustments
to put it right -
the limb had to come off, you know.
Let's get a big fucking chainsaw
and cut down the Joshua Tree.
Great, good, thank God for that.
So, now, let's go and figure it out.
that was the end of the conversation.
Bono made that statement, that was it.
Next time we met, I think, was
not long before we turned up in Berlin.
We were running away from Lovetown
and Rattle And Hum as fast as we could.
I was listening to bands like KMFCM,
Einsturzende Neubauten,
the Young Gods.
Machine age music is really what it is.
It's about the use of repetition,
and taking the humanity out of things,
to a degree,
so that the humanity
that you put in there means more.
Something about
that new decade, the '90s,
something about
the fall of the Berlin Wall,
a new Europe emerging,
that's what we were focussing on.
There was a lot of experimental
avant garde kind of music,
that was coming out of Berlin
and coming out of Germany.
Berlin was all about texture.
Manchester was about rhythm -
rhythm that could only be created
using computers and machines.
I mean, the kids in Manchester
don't know about that -
they just instinctively know that
that stuff is uncool,
this is a cool direction.
It was at that moment when
rock and roll and club culture
had sort of come together -
records being made for dancing.
You could really trace it back
to German theory,
Stockhausen and these ideas about
what modern composition
should be about.
German music had a huge impact on us,
from Kraftwerk.
When I was 16, one of the first records
I bought for Ali was Man Machine,
for her 15th birthday.
This is soul music from Europe.
This is the invention of electronic music.
And they had a big influence
on Joy Division,
which had a big influence on us.
It was just an education in rhythm
going on that you couldn't ignore.
How were we gonna absorb that,
and allow it to just make us better?
After the New Year's Eve gig,
there wasn't a lot of communication.
Bono and Edge took themselves off,
and decided to try and find a new way
of writing and developing ideas.
There was a little bit of abandonment,
and a lot of that abandonment, for me,
I spent in not good places.
I took some drum lessons and listened
to music I hadn't listened to before.
Cream, and Ginger Baker
and stuff like that.
You have to reject one expression
of the band... first,
before you get to the next expression,
and in between you have nothing.
You have to risk it all.
The height of technology
was the DAT player.
So I rang Bono and said, "I've got
this idea. See what you think. "
He came in and he heard it and said,
"I think it's good. Let's try it. "
So we recorded a few takes.
Yeah, all right.
C'mon now and give me
that chocolate mousse.
- Ready.
- So high...
Bass guitar.
All right, Reggie. Give me
that chocolate mousse.
Thank you.
A rhyme.
Oh, it's the bass part
from Mysterious Ways.
It's like trying on
a new leather jacket.
You're just like...
"Yeah, this can work, like. OK.
"Make a few adjustments.
Yeah, it's sort of...
"Is it me? Yeah, it's kinda me. "
You can hear like
Bono's trying to find himself in this.
If you had that kind of genius
that you could just sit on the groove,
it's actually a great groove.
It's just...
There's just no song there.
This is not Larry.
This is the drum machine,
so it's got no personality.
It's just...
It's not all right, in fact.
In Dublin,
I had a little studio in the house.
The two of us worked together,
just going through
possible melodic ideas.
It just didn't... go anywhere.
The idea of going away
to a remote location,
and recording away from home,
was kind of already in the air,
and I think Hansa must have been
the number one candidate.
It was, I think,
the feeling of being somewhere where
there was a culture collision going on.
There was a tension.
Just a natural tension there.
If drama is conflicts,
you're going to end up
in these kinds of places.
Yeah, it's a great rock and roll room -
a lot of good records were made there.
We'd heard about it from Brian Eno.
He'd been here
with David Bowie, obviously.
The engineer that we got very close to
and was also a co-producer, Flood,
had worked in Berlin before.
From about '84/'83
there were a variety of different artists.
Bono said,
"We want to go to Hansa. "
"We want to soak up that atmosphere. "
It was like, "OK, brilliant. "
You took Iggy Pop to Berlin
to make his records.
I think it's a very good therapeutic city
for an artist to go to,
to come back to,
not the punk street level,
but a real street level,
where you have to do things
for yourself,
where nobody
will take any notice of you.
I was totally anonymous in Berlin.
Suddenly you're creating
a kind of crucible -
it's like a focussed capsule,
where it's just the group of you.
Eno was always a bit frustrated
by the domesticity
of the rock band, if you like.
It makes sense to break away
for a little while
and let the thing go
kind of out of control.
We just felt we wanted to get away
to a place
where we were much more focussed
on making the record.
We didn't have to, you know,
deal with all the other paraphernalia
that surrounds us in Dublin.
Plumbers to talk to
and interior decorators.
Interior decorators
are the death of recording, actually.
The idea was to do something
that had its roots
partly in club culture...
something very rhythmic.
So, we started out
by using a drum machine in Dublin,
programming this very intricate
polyrhythmic beat with a lot of swing -
a place that U2
would never go to normally.
We were trying to find our way
into dance,
a kind of groove music,
that wasn't cliched.
We were very much reacting to
that shift away from Americana.
Behind the workings
of all of those songs,
was this awareness of the rhythmic
sophistication had to kind of come up.
So we were the last flight in
to the old divided Berlin.
It was British Airways'
last one in the sky.
the pilot could just circle Berlin.
And he had a very plummy accent...
"We are just going down
over the Brandenburg Gate.
"As you know, we have the skies
to ourselves tonight,
"and we're just going to take
a little tour over here.
"This is the wall. "
And we're like...
And there was a little bit of 'bombs away'
about it, no doubt about it.
More than a million Germans are out
on the streets of Berlin tonight...
...celebrating the birth
of a united Germany
in what is once again its official capital.
We went looking
for the celebrations,
because we're Irish
and we like to go out.
And we ended up
at a huge mass rally.
But people didn't really look like
they were having a very good time.
It was like grim. Very grim.
until we discovered that we weren't at
the celebration for the wall coming down,
we were at a protest meeting
to put the wall back up.
I can't recall this exact spot,
but I can recall it was behind
the houses that I'm looking at now.
The wall was here, somewhere.
The wall was here, I think.
And you had Hansa Studios,
then a lot of waste land
because nobody built near the wall.
It was just, you know, visually...
It was really interesting.
It's hard to beat a good wall
as a background for photographs,
so I was always
a very happy person here.
We ended up in this hotel
called the Palace Hotel,
which was a festival of brown,
meaning everything
in the fucking hotel was brown.
Brown carpet,
I mean, East Berlin was brown -
brown knobs on the stereo,
brown, brown!
I was looking at a beautiful cathedral
that was nice, from the brown room,
in the brown hotel.
Every morning,
we'd drive into the studio,
and there'd be a new burnt-out Trabbi
on the side of the road.
This car had just made it from some
obscure part of East Germany,
and he just had to leave it
on the side of the road.
These were cars that people were driving
from the east side.
They were made from papier-mache,
they had two stroke engines
in them.
Potsdamer Platz,
the centre of the old Berlin,
has got a wall
built right through the middle of it.
There's a load of gypsies living there.
Crusty people,
beautiful souls, I'm sure.
In the great hippie tradition
of that city,
they'd been given rights
to live there.
When the wall was knocked down,
they owned the most prime real estate
in Germany.
Then there was Hansa Studios.
We're coming here
believing in improvisation.
We started out doing the same thing
that we'd always done,
which was look for the magic moments
when we played together.
So it allows the four of us
to be in the song writing process.
Even before we went there,
there was a sense
of something not quite right...
...and then when we got there,
we were on
completely different pages.
We would go into the room
and we would just bash it out,
hour after hour.
Listen back and not like anything
that we were doing.
This is unexpected.
We've got these great ideas,
sounded great in Dublin,
and now, we've hit Berlin
and, what's wrong here?
His marriage is breaking up.
It has broken up.
We're a really tight community.
This is not like
somebody's girlfriend's left,
we've grown up with these people -
this is our family, our community.
This was really hard for us,
and very difficult for my wife.
It was like the first cracks
on the beautiful porcelain jug,
with those beautiful flowers in it,
that was our music and our community
starting to go.
Leaving Dublin for Berlin was actually
in a weird way was a distraction,
a way to escape.
I was disappearing into the music
for a different reason, you know.
It was a refuge in a way.
That approach didn't completely work,
you know.
I wasn't really
in a good positive head space.
I was...
I was running away, I suppose.
I remember being in the studio
playing a guitar solo over
Love Is Blindness.
I've put everything into it.
All the feeling,
all the hurt, all the angst -
everything went into that solo.
I put down the guitar,
went into the control room
listened back,
and it was really bad.
And Danny looked at me,
of course he had no idea
what had gone into that
...and he said,
"Nah. That's not it, is it, Edge?"
And I went,
"Danny, you're right, it's not it. "
Ever since we were kids,
Edge tunes up at high volume,
and he doesn't know that he's doing it.
And based on the day he's having,
and his emotional life,
he tunes up more or less.
So, when he's going through bad times,
dang, dadang, dadang!
So, it's like being hit by an iron bar
on the back of your head,
just going through rehearsals.
And Larry's sitting there,
he can't even move anywhere -
he's like, "Edge, would you shut
the fuck up! We're trying to talk here. "
And Edge just goes like this,
gadang, gadang, gadang!
We were kind of going down
a lot of blind alleys,
and there was a lot of friction,
there was a lot of tension -
nobody was particularly happy.
And there begins a sort of internal
argument about where we're not going.
There was a lot of grumbling as to why
we were there in the first place,
and nothing was coming out of it.
Within the band, myself and Bono
were probably the ones
pushing hardest to try new things.
Adam was with us,
Larry was probably the most resistant,
and questioning why we were taking
the direction we were taking.
It was just not really understanding
what Bono and Edge had in mind,
where they were coming from.
I'd no idea that they were exploring,
and particularly Edge,
was exploring a particular kind of rhythmic
and dancing, I had no idea.
There was no us against them, really.
I think...
it was probably... for a moment,
each man for himself,
which is betrayal
of the concept of a band.
People just start to walk a bit differently.
Conversation is a little different.
The way they carry their cup of tea
is different -
there's just a sense of tension,
of a doubt, of...
Everyone sort of retreats somewhat
into their own little corner.
It was a long, cold existence.
It's fraught with danger,
because you can fail at any moment,
but that's the whole beauty of it.
If you're prepared
to remove the safety net,
and if you're prepared
to really expose yourselves,
because your pursuit is after
the magic moments -
those moments of,
"Wow, I would never have imagined. "
What I did was I just started to concentrate
on ways to solve the musical problems,
which is... my main sort of personality
trait is a solver of problems.
We would have
a rough kind of chord structure,
a rough melody,
and we would basically
try and get a drum take.
I was using a lot of loops
and drum machine elements.
So we were trying to mesh
Larry's live playing
with these programmed elements.
I'd never played to a drum machine
that was going to be so present.
This was a very new experience,
and I didn't really know what to do.
I didn't know how to give myself to it.
I came in with my offering
of the morning, of,
"How about these ideas
for the chorus?"
I don't know
which version we were working on.
It's starting to come into focus.
A new bridge.
OK, this is the bit that I was saying -
that never made the song.
Well, this is, this is that.
But there was another new bridge.
That's a bit mad.
The verse seemed to offer some kind of
eternal, joyful, upful melody.
Mm, interesting. Is that the first,
the first time that melody...
The first time,
those chords in that melody were tried out.
Didn't that shift into...
I played these on acoustic guitar.
Everyone's like trying to decide
whether they were any good,
and then Danny said,
"Edge, why don't you
play those two ideas sequentially?
"Just play one after another
and see what happens. "
So, I did, and everyone was like,
"Ooh, that sounds really good,
let's try that.
"Let's try that in the big room. "
When you're at
that moment of inception
there's a sense of momentum,
that takes you into a different place.
You're not in the environment,
you're not in those four walls.
So, we all went into the big room
and showed Adam the chords,
and we just started playing them.
Bono got on the microphone.
Suddenly something very powerful
is happening in the room.
Something happened,
something comes into the room,
and you know it -
everyone knew it, Danny...
It was one of those
hairs on the back of your neck moments.
Piano, Edge.
To the C. Stay on the C.
F to G.
If you can get the piano in Edge,
that helped me the last time.
And I'd like to hear Edge, Joe.
He's calling out the chords
and moving the chords,
to figure out where
the fertile ground is melodically for him.
It's such a pivotal moment.
We'd been going through
this hard time
and nothing seemed
to be going right...
we were presented with this gift
that just kind of arrived.
It steadied everyone's nerves hugely
in the studio.
We're playing these changes,
but we're really listening to what
Bono's doing on the microphone.
Every time he finds a new place
to go melodically,
we try and go with him dynamically.
We, as a band,
always seem to come alive,
when we're all aware of the fact there's
something new happening in the room.
Whatever it is, some little spark,
some angle that's new,
and then everyone's suddenly there.
It can happen very, very quickly,
or... tragically, very slowly,
but in the case of One,
things happened extremely quickly.
I don't want them to take off the echo
if there's a chance they'll lose it.
It wasn't that we'd found
a sonic identity for that,
that sort of came later.
I think it was
we found a spiritual identity -
that was the important thing,
that was what we actually needed.
There's a sort of blood pact, which is that
we have to be truthful with each other.
So, it wasn't working,
we'd run out of gas...
...and maybe just saying that was... know, that maybe
we've outgrown each other.
It wasn't Adam's fault,
it wasn't Larry's fault,
it wasn't Danny's fault -
they weren't convinced,
because we weren't convincing them.
The material wasn't done,
it wasn't right.
Where's the songs?
"Cut the crap, show us your willy,"
as the cartoon said.
Ever seen that with the peacock?
Peacock's showing the big fantail,
so, he goes, "Just cut the crap
and show us your willy. "
Next time we do the chorus
I want you not to end on a G
but end on a C.
Did you hear that, Adam?
The way through writer's block
is always by being truthful -
to write a song about division,
a bitter-sweet song
about... disunity.
I think what was going on at that time,
took us a long time to come to terms with,
and I almost can't remember
what we were actually trying
to come to terms with,
but I know we carried each other
to the point where we could stand
on our own feet.
At Christmas, everybody just went,
"Fine, that's enough, go back to Ireland. "
I think there was about two months where
there was a sort of sense of regrouping,
like, "Right, so that's what
we've left behind.
"OK, well, we have got one or two things
"that are leading the way. "
Berlin was a baptism of fire.
It was something
that we had to go through,
to realise that
really what we were looking for
and what we were trying
to get to,
was not something you could
find physically outside of ourselves
in some other city.
There was no magic to it -
we had to actually just put the work in,
and figure out the ideas,
and hone those ideas down.
I mean,
it's never gonna be a democracy,
but if it's a benevolent dictatorship,
that allows everybody to feel that they at
least get a chance to say yay or nay.
Then you get something like One -
everybody's going,
"Wow, that's amazing!
Classic song, genius. "
Brian, "I really don't like that.
"We're gonna have to sort that,
that's just boring me to tears. "
The idea is to try to set a scene,
so that the band
doesn't walk into a blank canvas.
There were suddenly
all these little glimpses -
"Oh, I can do that"
and "I can try that. "
The thing behind the foreground -
push that more and the voice more.
So, bells back?
Bells and Dan's like
real attacky guitar.
Everybody started to see
jumping off points.
What about the low one?
I really like that.
There's a kind of quicksilver sound
about it, it's like shimmering.
I like it, a real sliver of silver...
at the top,
but it needs maybe some...
And maybe that would come from...
from you, Edge.
You dirty dog!
As wiry a sound
as you can make it, Edge.
Grit, wire...
The drum sound,
the original drum sound,
it came in so low and then it went...
it came in and then went up,
so I missed that.
- It's not a point of drama anymore.
- I felt I really missed it.
The thing about Larry is
he's as much of a visual part
of the band as Bono and Edge.
His style of drumming
is unlike anybody else's.
He's completely self-taught
and he's basically wrong,
but, thereby incredibly individual.
Yeah, basically,
what I was just gonna do was,
because Edge seemed
so keen on the previous part,
I was basically just gonna try
and emulate that
and then change
for the choruses.
Sure, I'll do that.
No problem. Sure.
Man, he comes up with
the drum signatures.
Now hardly any drummers do this.
You hear the drum beat
and you know that's that song.
Sorry, Larry, I'm stopping you
cos I don't think that's going anywhere.
It's softening the song up.
What I liked about the previous part
was that it was brutal,
and made it sound
vigorous and strange.
It might be because
there's another snare involved in it.
Everybody knows
the value of the band.
The idea that there'll be
somebody to challenge you,
and you can challenge other people,
the idea they can do that as adults
and not necessarily
have to agree with people.
- It's a nice sound, isn't it?
- Yes, I know.
They're very, very loyal
to each other.
And they're really, really kind
to each other.
It's no good to have somebody
not well in the unit or not happy.
The others don't say,
"Hard luck, mate, we're carrying on. "
The others say, "OK, we've gotta get
that person happy again. "
"We've got to draw them
back into the circle. "
If we're being accused
of megalomania...
...let's do some judo.
Let's use the force of what's attacking us
to defend ourselves.
So, then we got a voice,
this character, The Fly... go with the glasses,
and we distorted the voice,
so I could go...'s no secret that the stars
are falling from the sky...
So, getting down there,
into that sort of guttural place,
into the gutter
then I had a whole new
vocabulary open up.
You're going to go there,
and I just decided
I was gonna go there,
but I couldn't do it
without some armour on.
If I was gonna expose my heart,
I needed the right kind of armour
to protect the rest of me.
Well, I'm learning to lie.
- Tell us about Bono.
- I'm learning to be insincere.
The shades, rock and roll, man.
To quote Iggy Pop, "When things get
too straight, I can't bear it,
"and I feel like I'm stuck on a pin. "
Let's give them a rock star,
let's have some fun with this.
I took Lou Reed's glasses,
and Jim Morrison's pants,
Elvis's jacket,
and a little bit of his hair -
it was like an Identi-kit rock star,
you know, an assemble one yourself?
And actually,
it was incredibly freeing.
We started to embrace our world
and the silliness of it -
the contradictory nature of it.
We stopped trying to be
those earnest po-faced men.
The mask reveals the man alright.
It was a move into brighter light.
I think we got a bit fed up with
those serious black and white
gloomy photographs.
It's Anton really not working in an area
that he was comfortable in.
I think we did brighten up a bit.
That song informs so much
about what ended up becoming
our exploration live of media
and the truth which was Zoo TV.
Or maybe the encore's
exactly the place for it.
Just, you know, like fish tanks,
something that might start over there
and end up over there,
but it's not what you think it is.
So, you really like that?
And Ned reckons
he can get fins on it and all sorts.
It's something funny, basically,
isn't it?
During Zoo TV,
I remember Edge saying...
"This fantastic thing, this is
our reward for ten years of restraint. "
It's just such a wide expanse to do
something that...
makes people laugh,
as opposed to just be impressed.
Loud, boom, boom!
All different versions of us.
I saw... them.
I saw into them.
I saw what Edge is now,
I saw it then.
I saw who they could be.
It was always there.
And I saw Larry, and I thought,
"This guy's a superstar. "
It's a very unromantic love,
it's a very hard-bitten,
tough, fuck off love.
You have to reject
one expression of the band... first,
before you get to the next expression,
and in between, you have nothing.
You have to risk it... all.