Tag Archives: U2

Adam Clayton Talks to Rolling Stone About The Joshua Tree Tour

The complete article:
Adam Clayton, Rolling Stone, U2
Thirty years ago, the wild success of The Joshua Tree transformed U2 into the biggest band on the planet. Radio hits “With or Without You,” “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and “Where the Streets Have No Name” catapulted them from arenas into stadiums and found then hobnobbing with Frank Sinatra, appearing on the cover of Time magazine and sharing the stage with Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and B.B. King. “Certainly looking back on playing the tour at that time, it should have been an extraordinarily, freeing, joyful opportunity,” says bassist Adam Clayton. “But it was actually quite a tough time trying to deliver those songs under the pressure of growing from an arena act to a stadium act. I, for one, don’t remember enjoying it very much.”

He’ll probably enjoy it more this summer when U2 take The Joshua Tree on a victory lap three decades down the line. “I think this summer run is almost an opportunity to take it back,” he says, “and look at those songs and look at what was going on then and see where we are now.” We spoke to Clayton about the impetus for the tour, how the show will be structured, if fans can expect to hear rarities and what’s happening with Songs of Experience.

Rolling Stone: I know that the Innocence + Experience Tour was originally slated to go into 2016. What happened?

Adam Clayton: Well, the idea was really that we wanted to make sure we focused on the [Songs of] Experience album. By the time we finished the Innocence tour and came full circle to focus on the album, it was clear we weren’t going to be able to flip it really quickly into the Experience side of the material and put it right back out on tour. As a challenge that was, “OK, we’re going to have to look at this differently.” Also, in the course of that year, some kind of strange political movements seemed to start happening. First of all, there was Brexit in the U.K., which was just a signal that things were changing. I’m not sure how people took it. Then, quite quickly on the back of it, was the rise of Trumpism. And that was like, “Oh, OK, there’s something going on here. There’s maybe something we missed and we need to start watching this.” That sort of encouraged us to go away from trying to finish the record too quickly without being able to factor in some of the things this is telling us. Continue reading


Edge Talks to Rolling Stone About the Upcoming Joshua Tree 30 Tour

The complete article:
Since their formation in 1976, U2 have aggressively avoided any move that even hints at nostalgia. But this year they’re going to finally look back by taking their 1987 masterpiece The Joshua Tree on tour in stadiums across America and Europe in honor of the album’s 30th anniversary. It’s a chance for the band to re-connect with fans after the rather disappointing reception to their 2014 LP Songs of Innocence, and it gives them a chance to hit the road while continuing to put the finishing touches on their upcoming album Songs of Experience. A couple of weeks before the shows were formally announced, U2 guitarist the Edge phoned up Rolling Stone to talk about the tour, reviving rare songs onstage, their next album, Donald Trump and much more.

Rolling Stone: Can you give me some background on how this tour came together?

Well, when we came off the last tour, the Innocence and Experience indoor tour, we headed straight into finishing the second album of that set, Songs of Experience, which we were pretty much complete with after a couple of weeks of the final touches leading up to the end of the year. And then the election [happened] and suddenly the world changed. We just went, “Hold on a second – we’ve got to give ourselves a moment to think about this record and about how it relates to what’s going on in the world.” That’s because it was written mostly, I mean, 80 percent of it was started before 2016, but most of it was written in the early part of 2016, and now, as I think you’d agree, the world is a different place.

Rolling Stone: You’re talking about Trump and Brexit? Continue reading

Edge Talks About His New Fender Strat With Guitar World

An excerpt:
U2, Edge
Back in 2005, Guitar World asked the Edge why he never endorsed a guitar.

“I’d really, really have to believe in the thing,” he said thoughtfully, then added, “I don’t want to be that guy on the posters: ‘Buy this guitar’ and all that crap. I’ve talked to a few companies over the years. Plus, I’ve had a lot of people do custom stuff for me — that’s different. Again, I don’t want to be a poster guy in music shops.”

This year, however, the U2 guitarist changed his tune, and he makes no apologies for saying, ‘Buy this guitar’ — or amp, for that matter. “I’m so proud of these two pieces,” he says of his recently unveiled Fender Edge Strat and its companion piece, the Edge Deluxe guitar amp. “Each design presents something very unique and updates the original item in some cool ways. Let’s put it this way: I know I’ll be using them quite a bit.”

Along with Bono, the Edge joined Fender’s board of directors in 2014, but he stresses that the idea of rolling out signature products essentially grew out of personal necessity. Some of his Seventies-era Stratocasters, which he relies on for live performances of songs such as “New Year’s Day,” “Pride,” “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” “Where the Streets Have No Name” and “Bullet the Blue Sky,” were failing from the wear and tear of year-long stretches on the road.

“[Longtime guitar tech] Dallas [Schoo] started to look for replacements, and things kind of grew from there,” Edge says. “Fender remade some pieces that were totally amazing. Having tried the guitar, I just realized this is a great instrument and I’d be very proud to put my name to it. When something is so good, you just have to share it.”

Below, we present a portion of our interview with the Edge. For the entire feature and more, be sure to check out the October 2016 issue of Guitar World.

Guitar World: You first started using a Strat when you were a teenager, but your interest in the guitar stemmed more from Rory Gallagher than, say, somebody like Jimi Hendrix.

Edge: Yeah, I knew of Hendrix, and I loved his work, but Rory was the local hero, so it was a different kind of experience. When I was in my teens, I got to see him play, and there were some of his records around, so I kind of cut my teeth learning to play guitar by learning some of his licks and songs. He was really part of a power trio originally, and I think he inspired me to look at the guitar as something that could supply quite a lot in terms of dynamics and textures. There seemed to be so much sound that could come from a guitar, a Strat. That really impressed me.

GW: Tell me about your first Strat. It was a sunburst model, right?

Edge: That’s right. That was the first guitar I owned that you could say was kind of a professional-grade instrument. Actually, in those days I only owned 50 percent of it. My brother, Richard, and I used to pool our meager resources to acquire equipment. We had that Strat and we also invested in an amp and a couple of pedals, and that took care of us for a couple of years. Then I think we might have kept a pretty rough, beat-up traditional guitar that we used if we happened to be playing at the same time. That’s how things went for a while. After a while, it felt like we really had to invest in two complete sets of equipment, so we split things up. I took the amp and he took the Strat. He still has it, actually.

GW: The black ’73 Strat you bought in ’81, what was it that impressed you about it?

Edge: It’s funny, sometimes it’s very hard to define quality when you pick up an instrument. I just call it “musicality,” where you pick it up and you’re immediately inspired by what you’re playing. I always talk about finding the songs in the guitar, the riffs and parts. So for that Strat, I just remember that it was the one. I was in New York at one of those stores on 48th Street. I tried a couple guitars — they were all used; they were in the second-hand part of the store — and this one just had it. It was an inspiring instrument and it sounded musically good, and suddenly I was playing parts and ideas. I knew this was the guitar for me.

GW: The Explorer you used on the first album started to make way for the Strat.

Edge: Yeah, around that time. Like it is with most musicians, you get a new guitar and you want to really use it. So on the second album, I got the Strat and started to use it fairly heavily, particularly on something like “Gloria.” Then on subsequent records it became an important go-to guitar for me.

GW: When did you decide to put DiMarzio pickups in it?

Edge: I kept it stock for a few weeks, but I kept noticing that every time I went to the bridge pickup, it sounded too biting, too…piercing. So I went back to the same shop and told them about it, and they said, “Oh, there’s a guy next door who works on guitars.” I talked to him and he recommended changing the pickup. I think he might have modified the pickup slightly; I don’t think it was straight stock DiMarzio. Later on, we looked to see how it was modified, but we couldn’t figure it out, so it could have been a bit of a sales pitch. Whatever it was, it fit my needs perfectly.

GW: What did you get out of that Strat that you weren’t getting from the Explorer?

Edge: The Explorer was great in so many ways, but there are just certain things the Strat can do that the Explorer can’t just by virtue of the whammy bar. Beyond that, there’s a sound difference that’s different musically. It has something to do with the single-coil pickups. When I would use the out-of-phase position between the bridge and second pickup, there was a sustain in the tone, a feeling in the attack — the transience. It just had this really great quality, and then when you add distortion and overdrive, you can really bring it out.

GW: On some of the songs you’ve played a Strat on, would you sometimes try a different guitar first?

Edge: That would happen, but 80 to 90 percent of the time the guitar I’m playing in real time with a particular sound would inspire parts and ideas. It’s very much a creative process that starts with the sound and the instrument, and the parts come from that rather than choosing to see if some other guitar suits it best. It’s rare that I would go for another guitar, unless there’s some real sonic deficiency of some kind. Occasionally you might go for something else from a production standpoint — you want to bolster the sound. But it pretty much starts with the sound and the part.

GW: Your signature Strat is a Frankenstein based on few of the models. What were your main considerations when coming up with this design?

Edge: I’d say 90 percent sound. I wasn’t slavishly trying to recreate a Seventies instrument. I just knew the aspects that I loved and wanted to preserve, and then I wanted to see if I could improve them. I experimented a lot. We had nine or 10 prototype instruments made, because I really wanted them to hear the impact the different body weights would have on them.

I tried to make one with an alder body with a rosewood neck, but we ended up with the maple neck on the alder body. Fender also made some ash bodies, trying out both rosewood and maple necks. I was really kind of delving into the nuance of why a guitar sounds the way it does. I tried a couple of them on the road, thinking that the ash body and rosewood neck might deliver more of a classic Strat sound, but I reverted back to the heavy alder body and the maple neck. That’s what works for me as a songsmith.

To put it simply, the maple neck is brighter, and the alder body is deeper and has more sustain. They kind of balance each other out. The guitar has more top end but more weight to it. Compared to the ash body and the rosewood neck, which is a little softer and not as wide in terms of frequency response.

Edge Talks to Billboard About Performing In Paris & the New Album

U2’s The Edge and His Decade Long Fight to Build on a Pristine Malibu Hillside from the LA Times

Edge Performs In the Sistine Chapel

Edge Visits Belfast Center for Disabled Children

U2 on TFI

U2 Visit Bataclan Theatre To Pay Respects [VIDEO]

Gifts For U2 Fans

Follow @Music_IntheDark on Twitter

Bono Advocates for Internally Displaced of Nigeria

BonoBono recently visited a camp of 2.3 million displaced people in the northeastern part of Nigeria, an area that has been severely affected by the insurgency of Boko Haram.

Life is hard enough for the millions of adults living in camps for the internally displaced in Nigeria. For the children, the conditions are far more dangerous. Irish rock star Bono, an ambassador for the U.N. High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), is trying to change that.

“We know that 50,000 kids are going to die before the end of the year, according to the U.N., if they don’t receive … I think they’re looking for $300 [million],” Bono said in a press conference in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja. “They only got $100 million in response so far. So already, the responses are just only a fraction of what they need to be.”

Though the Nigerian military made progress in pushing back Boko Haram, the post-insurgency reconstruction requires substantial funding.

“There are no homes for these displaced persons to go back to, their towns are gone, their villages are gone,” Bono said. “They’re razed. You know that, I didn’t.”

Dangote, considered to be Africa’s wealthiest man, says a global partnership is needed to boost the domestic relief efforts carried out by his foundation.

“In terms of our own foundation, we are spending quite a lot of money not only in Borno, but in Adamawa [and] in Yobe,” Dangote said. “In total, in the three states, we have actually spent over four-and-a-half billion naira [$14.3 million], and we would continue to spend until the end of the problem.”

Bono has pledged to raise money and return to the region with help. But, he notes, time is short and the need is great.

Bono & Adam Clayton Plant Trees In West Cork

U2 & the Ireland Funds Donate 3 Million Euros to Music Program

Bono Releases Film About the Psalms

Adam Clayton Talks About Alcoholism & Mental Health

Gifts For U2 Fans

Follow @Music_IntheDark on Twitter

Edge Talks to Billboard About Performing In Paris & the New Album

U2, EdgeU2 guitarist The Edge talks about the Paris concert broadcast on HBO, security concerns, and the new album

The complete article:

On Dec. 7, U2 took the stage at Paris’ Accorhotels Arena to make good for the second of its two shows originally postponed in the wake of the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in the city that left 130 dead, including 89 at the Bataclan concert venue where Eagles of Death Metal were playing.

The concert, U2: iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE Live in Paris, captured live for HBO by director Hamish Hamilton, was a breathing testament to the healing power of music, not only for the audience, but for U2 as well. “It sort of felt like it was part of a process of reclaiming live rock and roll in the city of Paris,” says U2 guitarist The Edge in an exclusive interview. “We were by no means the first event post the Paris attacks, but for us it was very symbolic and very significant. We tried to get back as quickly as we could.”

U2 invited the Eagles of Death Metal to join them on stage, marking the first time the California band had played since the attacks. “They were robbed of their stage, so we would like to offer them ours,” U2 frontman Bono told the audience.

Calling from the studio where U2 is working on the follow-up to 2014’s Songs of Innocence, The Edge talked to Billboard about that Paris night, increasing security following recent events such as the Christina Grimmie murder and the Orlando club massacre, as well as the new album and a possible new tour.

The Edge Says U2 Is Working on ‘Zooropa’-Like New Album For 2016

Billboard: What is your best memory of that night in Paris?

Edge: That moment when the Eagles of Death Metal came on stage and we handed to them one of our guitars, [bassist] Adam [Clayton] and myself, and Larry [Mullen Jr.] handed them drumsticks. We then grabbed guitars ourselves and we joined in with them. There was that moment of handing over our stage and our instruments that was just really moving after everything that they’d been through. Continue reading

Bono & Adam Clayton Plant Trees In West Cork

Bono, Adam ClaytonBono and his wife Ali, along with U2 bass player Adam Clayton, paid a visit to Liss Ard Estate in Skibbereen last weekend.

They arrived on Friday afternoon and departed around noon on Sunday after touring the 163-acre luxury estate overlooking Lough Abisdealy.

A spokesperson for the estate, currently for sale, confirmed their stay at the weekend and posted a photo of the group lined up in front of a massive tree in the garden.

“Our policy here at Liss Ard is to always keep details about our guests’ visits private and discreet,” a spokesperson told The Southern Star.

The spokesman did, however, mention that Bono and his friends enjoyed some great meals over the weekend. “They were prepared using local ingredients by our superb head chef Pamela Kelleher and her team,” he said.

Bono, Ali, and Adam were joined by their childhood friend, artist Guggi, as well as other family members and friends – all of whom enjoyed the privacy of the walled estate, which is noted for its Sky Garden by James Turrell.

During the visit, Bono added to the appeal of the place by planting a flowering cherry tree near the Sky Garden while Adam planted a Sheerwater seedling.

They were just the latest in a line of celebrity musicians who have planted trees at Liss Ard. Over the years, Patti Smith, Nick Cave and Lou Reed have all made their mark by planting a tree and having their name inset into a wall near the Lake Lodge.

Liss Ard, as the website states, offers “a home from home feeling … striking the perfect balance of seclusion without solitude.”

U2 & the Ireland Funds Donate 3 Million Euros to Music Program

Bono Releases Film About the Psalms

Adam Clayton Talks About Alcoholism & Mental Health

Gifts For U2 Fans

Follow @Music_IntheDark on Twitter

U2’s The Edge and his Decade-long fight to build on a pristine Malibu hillside (from the LA Times) #U2 #Malibu

The complete article from the Los Angeles Times:
Malibu, Sweetwater Mesa
Sweetwater Mesa sits on an untouched hillside 1,000 feet above the Malibu Pier. More than 150 acres, it straddles an old Jeep road that climbs into the Santa Monica Mountains.

It’s steep, rugged terrain, empty apart from small lizards, flying insects and the occasional rattlesnake. Chaparral and purple needle grass cover the ground, making it an environmentally sensitive habitat under California coastal regulations.

A biologist might stand on that hillside and notice what’s at his feet. Anyone else is likely to be transfixed by the view: steep mountains plunging into a deep blue ocean that stretches across the horizon, like God’s infinity pool.

David Evans (a.k.a. U2 guitarist “The Edge”) first saw that vista in 2005 with his wife, Morleigh Steinberg. Evans had spent more than two decades strumming his way from anonymity in North Dublin to playing guitar for one of the most successful rock bands on the planet. The couple could afford practically anything they dreamed of by that point, and they dreamed of a house on that ridge.

“We were absolutely blown away by its beauty, and the position of it, and every aspect of its potential,” Evans said later, during one of the longest, most bitter and costliest residential development battles in California history.

Since buying the land more than a decade ago and proposing to build a residential compound, Evans and his partners have employed more than 60 lawyers, lobbyists and environmental consultants to get the required permits, public records shows.

They filed more than 70 technical reports, filling 26 bankers boxes, from all manner of experts — geologists, biologists, hydrologists, archaeologists, arborists, structural engineers, transportation engineers — to persuade the California Coastal Commission that the houses wouldn’t unduly stress the plants and animals living on the hillside, or create an eyesore for neighbors and surfers riding waves off the beaches far below.

Malibu, Sweetwater Mesa

There’s no public accounting of how much the massive lobbying effort has cost, and Evans declined to be interviewed for this story. But his struggle has become a symbol of, depending on your perspective, the absurd thicket of regulation facing those who want to build along California’s 1,100 miles of coast or the ability of the rich and politically connected to get their way.

In the process, Evans, whose band has famously championed progressive causes like ending apartheid and easing debt for developing nations, became a pariah among California environmentalists, as debate about the potential impact on a sensitive habitat gave way to critics claiming he planned to “level” the mountain. LA Weekly branded his proposal the “Edge of Destruction.”

The criticism has taken a toll on Evans, say those close to him.

“We’re talking about an activist, an artist, that made his money from spreading peace and love in the world,” said Evans’ project director, Moses Hacmon. “He has been hurt, personally, by all of this.”

The brochure offering Sweetwater Mesa for sale in 2005 had sketches of five boxy, Bauhaus-inspired houses, Evans said in a video produced by his public relations team years later.

He and his wife, a Los Angeles dancer who had performed with the band on tour, were initially put off because they wanted only one house. But they were so taken by the setting that they bought the land — for nearly $9 million, county records show — and then recruited friends and family from Ireland to become partners in building what they pictured as an eco-friendly sanctuary in the California sun.

But the property, made up of five separate parcels, would have been “in the crosshairs” of suspicious environmentalists and regulators well before Evans and Steinberg set foot on it, said Ralph Faust, former chief counsel for the Coastal Commission.

The previous owner, Brian A. Sweeney, who bought the land in 2001 for $1.5 million according to county records, was a speculator who had made millions flipping undeveloped coastal tracts coveted by preservationists. He’d buy the land, begin the permitting process to build a subdivision and then sell it for a hefty profit to suddenly motivated conservation groups and park agencies.

Sweeney had taken the preliminary step of receiving “approval in concept” from Los Angeles County for five houses – one on each of the property’s five separate legal lots — before selling it.

“We didn’t know those stories about Sweeney. We didn’t know about those controversies. Had we known, The Edge and Morleigh would not have bought the land,” said Hacmon.

After Evans’ purchase, the first objections came from his future neighbors, who feared the compound would spoil their views. They were quickly joined by conservation groups, who said the land, which is adjacent to Malibu Creek State Park, was an essential wildlife corridor and should be left untouched.

In an effort to soothe critics, and build something that suited his own environmentalist aesthetic, Evans threw out the “boxy” plans and hired renowned architect Wallace Cunningham to design houses that, while very large – they ranged from 7,220 to 12,785 square feet — blended more naturally into the rugged hillside.

Malibu, Sweetwater Mesa

As Evans’ team worked, they consulted with the Coastal Commission, attempting to ensure the designs would win approval from the notoriously hard-to-please regulators.

Members of the commission are unpaid, apart from food and travel allowances while they attend meetings, and are appointed by either the governor, the state Senate Rules Committee or the speaker of the Assembly. Commissioners usually can’t stop owners from building on private land on the coast, but state law gives them tremendous authority over the size and scope of any construction.

The houses’ potential impact on the “viewshed” — what people might see from the ocean or while driving along the Pacific Coast Highway – would become a big issue. So Evans hired visual impact consultants to persuade commissioners that the houses, which were shorter than local zoning laws allow, would be relatively unobtrusive.

Another concern was stability of the terrain. In the four years leading up to their first hearing before the commission, Evans and his partners spent more than $400,000 for engineering studies to demonstrate the rock beneath the proposed building sites would not crumble and trigger landslides.

To overcome opposition from the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, a state agency created to protect open space in the region, Evans and his partners offered easements for a public hiking trail and about $1 million to help build and maintain it.

Malibu, Sweetwater Mesa

While the surrounding hillsides were scattered with subdivisions, some containing dozens of homes, the Irish group’s houses covered less than 3% of their land. The rest of Sweetwater Mesa would be left undisturbed.

So, despite a groundswell of vocal opposition, when Evans’ consultants walked into the Marina Del Rey Hotel in June 2011 for their first hearing before the commission, they had reason to hope their plans would be approved.

They hit a buzz saw in the form of Peter M. Douglas.

A fierce and controversial environmental crusader, Douglas had been a key author of the 1972 ballot initiative that created the commission, and had served as the agency’s Executive Director since 1985.
Malibu, Sweetwater Mesa
In a rich baritone, Douglas opened the hearing with his succinct opinion of the project. The proposed homes were “very attractive,” Douglas offered, but they were still too big, too prominently perched on the ridgeline and the access road connecting them would carve a jagged, mile-long scar across the face of the mountain.

“In my 38 years with the commission,” Douglas said, “I have never seen a project as environmentally devastating as this one.”

Shocked, Evans’ team scrambled. The project manager at the time, Don Schmitz, a former Coastal Commission employee who had become a developer’s consultant, lectured the commissioners for ignoring their history of allowing larger developments, with longer access roads, on surrounding hillsides.

If any tactic could have saved the day, confrontation wasn’t it. The commission voted 8-4 against the proposal.

Because Evans was entitled to build something on the land, Douglas’ staff offered an alternative: Make the houses smaller, move them off the ridgeline and cluster them close together on a relatively flat mesa lower on the hillside, eliminating the need for about half of the road.

And then they dropped a bomb. The commission staff didn’t believe there were actually five separate owners. Instead, they said, the limited liability corporations through which the partners held deeds were part of a scheme to mask the one true owner, Evans.

In that case, Evans would only be entitled to one house, but the staff was prepared to allow up to three.

That meant two of his four partners — Gillian Delaney, Evan’s sister; Chantal O’Sullivan, a Dublin antiques dealer who was the ring bearer at Evans’ wedding; and two wealthy Irish real estate investors, Tony Kilduff and Paddy McKillen – would be out of luck.

Evans’ team insisted the partnership was genuine, and that Evans had no controlling interest in the others’ property. They played videos recorded by three of the partners in Ireland conveying that message, but the commission wasn’t swayed.

Many applicants might have given up at that point, but The Edge had the money and determination to fight on.

Malibu, Sweetwater Mesa

First, he sued, asking a judge in October 2011 to determine that there were, in fact, five separate owners. Evans agreed to suspend the lawsuit while he and the commission staff explored an out-of-court compromise on the number, size and location of the houses.

In addition to the lawsuit, some of the lobbyists and lawyers Evans had previously hired, including ex-Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, one the most powerful advocates in Sacramento, launched an effort to change state law. They pushed a bill in the 2012 legislative session that would have required the Coastal Commission, and other state land regulators, to accept that a person, or corporation, that holds a deed is recognized as the property owner.

The bill died after fierce opposition from environmentalists and the regulatory agencies that would have been affected.

Around the same time Evans filed the lawsuit, he hired a new set of consultants to open a fresh permit application with the Coastal Commission and start the arduous approval process over again.

Two developers with experience building in coastal Malibu, and familiarity with The Edge’s proposal, estimated the total cost of his lobbying and legal campaign was at least $3 million, and possibly two or three times that amount.

In a recent interview at her Studio City office, Evan’s public affairs consultant, Fiona Hutton, refused to say how much the effort had cost. “We’re not going there,” she said.

An appraisal done last fall for Evans’ attorneys estimated that the combined value of the property and the houses would be roughly $66 million.

While Evans’ new team was busy redesigning the project to conform with most of the commission’s recommendations, the commission was undergoing dramatic changes of its own.

In nearly four decades as executive director, Douglas had fought off repeated attempts to remove him by powerful developers and their political allies. He succeeded, at least in part, because, under the rules he had helped write back in the 1970s, no single California politician could appoint a majority of the commission. That meant no single politician — not even the governor – could pick up the phone and give him orders, or have him fired.

But, shortly before the hearing on Evans’ project, Douglas had been diagnosed with cancer, and he was forced to give up his daily responsibilities later that month. He died less than a year later, in April 2012, at the age of 69.

Douglas’ second in command and hand-picked successor, Charles Lester, a former college professor, was equally committed to the environment but lacked his predecessor’s skill as a political infighter.

Not long after Lester took over, several commissioners appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown raised questions about Lester’s management ability. They complained about the time it took for developers to get permits approved, and about staff members failing to answer commission questions or respond to emails in a timely fashion.

Commission employees, almost all of whom signed a petition in support of Lester, feared a coup was underway, with the goal of cleaning house and restocking the agency with people who would be more sympathetic to developers.

That internal maneuvering, which ultimately led to Lester’s ouster three months ago, was nearing its climax in December 2015 when Evans and his partners stepped forward for a vote on their scaled-down plan.

They had incorporated virtually all of the commission staff’s recommendations. The houses would be moved off the prominent ridgeline, clustered on the mesa and none would be bigger than 10,000 square feet. They would be built and decorated with earth-tone materials, they’d have non-reflective glass to prevent glinting at sunset and they would employ so-called “dark skies” lighting – no outdoor lightbulb greater than 60 watts – to prevent the houses from glowing too brightly at night.

Malibu, Sweetwater Mesa

Evans and his partners also agreed to pay an archaeologist and a Native American consultant to supervise all digging and empower them to stop the process and gather any culturally sensitive artifacts that might emerge.

But the Evans team refused to budge on the biggest issue: They were still planning to build five houses.

The atmosphere at the hearing, though, had changed from their first appearance, four years earlier.

Douglas was gone, his once-assertive staff was on its heels and, because the hearing was in relatively remote Monterey, many of the opponents had chosen not to attend.

Orchestrating The Edge’s campaign this time was Susan McCabe, the go-to lobbyist for wealthy land owners seeking guidance through the commission’s maze of red tape. McCabe declined to comment for this story.

McCabe met with most of the commissioners in the weeks before the hearing. Evans lobbied hard, too. He and his wife gave one new commissioner, Long Beach City Councilman Roberto Uranga, a guided tour of the Malibu hillside.

Uranga, 62, said the celebrity treatment did nothing to sway him and that he didn’t even recognize The Edge, who turned up in a baseball hat instead of his trademark cotton beanie. “Honestly, I prefer jazz,” Uranga said. But he was impressed with all of the changes Evans had made to the proposed houses to address the commission’s concerns.

Evans met another new commissioner, Mark Vargas, in late November at a stadium in Dublin just before a U2 concert. Commissioners can’t accept gifts in excess of $10 per month from applicants. Vargas said he paid for everything himself, including airfare, hotel and even a ticket to the show. He said he’d been in London for a Thanksgiving vacation, and he attended the meeting on his “private time.”

Hacmon, Evans’ project director, said the U2 band members frequently hold meetings at arenas before shows. For them, it’s a workday, and they’re trying to get as much done as possible. Vargas got no special favors, Hacmon said, not even a free ticket to the concert.

“Commissioners cannot be bought; our experience is they have the highest integrity,” Hacmon said. “It’s ridiculous that people think we walk in with big cases of cash and just drop it.”
Malibu, Sweetwater Mesa
In addition to the new commissioners who were lining up on his side, Evans had also won over some of his most vocal critics.

Sweetwater Mesa’s closest neighbor, Jim Smith, 76, was among the first organizers of the opposition. He said he was so appalled by the scale of the original plan that, while riding down the hill in an ambulance after a massive heart attack in 2011, he pointed to the ridge out the back window and told the confused paramedic, “If I don’t make it, don’t let that son of a bitch get away with it!”

But that was all water under the bridge by late 2015. Smith said Evans had been to his house many times in the intervening years to settle their differences. “He’s a hell of a nice guy,” Smith said. “I took a lot of flack for my change of heart. People thought for sure I’d been paid off, but I didn’t get a nickel.”

Evans also got support from former neighbor Davis Guggenheim, director of the global-warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth.

“I think the objections to this thing are overwrought,” Guggenheim said. “You can’t find more conscientious people than The Edge and Morleigh… they’ve gone to tremendous lengths to make sure these houses are environmentally sound.”

The long process has probably taught Evans more than he wanted to know about California politics, but he’s always been a master showman, and it’s hard to watch the video of the December hearing without admiring the casting.
Malibu, Sweetwater Mesa
Gone was the argumentative, precedent-citing former project manager who had done the original presentation. He was replaced by Hacmon, an artist and sometime model, who had interupted his architecture career in 2007 to play the title role in a National Geographic documentary, The Missing Years of Jesus.

Hacmon didn’t speak in the film. He provided the B-roll, walking through the desert with his long hair flowing and his soulful brown eyes searching the horizon. He had a similar look as he stepped to the podium at the December hearing.
Malibu, Sweetwater Mesa
“We are artists,” Hacmon told the commissioners. “For us, the mountain is the sculpture, and our inspiration…our intention is to disappear and become one with the mountain.”

The commissioners voted 12-0 in The Edge’s favor.

The Sierra Club has sued to overturn the commission’s decision, but legal experts call it a long shot. Barring court intervention, The Edge could break ground as early as next year.

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Bono Releases Film About the Psalms

Bono, Eugene PetersonU2 lead singer Bono will release a short film about the Psalms that was made in collaboration with Eugene Peterson, a retired Presbyterian pastor and author of The Message.

The 20-minute film, Bono and Eugene Peterson: The Psalms, is set in Peterson’s Montana home and in New York’s gallery for the International Arts Movement and follows a conversation about the book of Psalms as the foundation of their friendship.

Bono became friends with Peterson after they met in 2010 during U2’s 360 Tour.

The documentary is produced by Fourth Line Films and directed by Fourth Line’s Nate Clarke. The NBP notes that the film is the first production to be released by the Pasadena school’s new website, Fuller Studio, a resource from Fuller, a seminary founded by a 1940s preacher who reached the masses through radio broadcasts.

“Our hope is that as a result of watching the film, people will be curious or inspired to read the Psalms themselves and to discover this remarkable book of poetry in Holy Scripture that has captured Bono and Eugene’s imaginations,” David Taylor, the film’s producer and director of Brehm Texas, which is an initiative of Fuller Seminary’s Brehm Center for Worship, Theology and the Arts told the New Boston Post. “Their conversation at the Peterson’s home in April 2015 represented their second time to meet and it proved to be a very lovely afternoon together.” The film will “connect with fans of U2, fans of Eugene’s writing, church and lay leaders, artists, worship leaders, and folks involved in the intersection between faith and culture.”

The Message, which was published in segments from 1993 to 2002, seeks to capture the tone of the text and the original conversational feel of the Greek, in contemporary English.

“While I was teaching a class on Galatians, I began to realize that the adults in my class weren’t feeling the vitality and directness that I sensed as I read and studied the New Testament in its original Greek,” Peterson said of why he wrote The Message. “Writing straight from the original text, I began to attempt to bring into English the rhythms and idioms of the original language. I knew that the early readers of the New Testament were captured and engaged by these writings and I wanted my congregation to be impacted in the same way. I hoped to bring the New Testament to life for two different types of people: those who hadn’t read the Bible because it seemed too distant and irrelevant and those who had read the Bible so much that it had become ‘old hat.'”

In a 2002 interview, Bono revealed that he read parts of the Psalms from The Message to his dying father.

Bono often talks about the importance of his Christian faith and includes spiritual themes in many of his songs. He has also suggested that Billy Graham played a significant role in his coming to faith, even giving tribute to the world-famous evangelist in the introduction to a song, “Thank you Billy Graham.”

In a 2013 interview with Irish news channel RTE, Bono expressed a belief in the divinity of Jesus Christ: “[Who is Christ] is a defining question for a Christian…you’re not let off easily by saying a great thinker or philosopher…he went around saying he was the Messiah…he was crucified…because he said he was the son of God. He either was the son of God…or nuts…[and] I find it hard to accept that millions of lives… have felt their lives touched and inspired by some nut. I don’t believe it.”

Bono and Eugene Peterson: The Psalms is out now.


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Adam Clayton Talks About Alcoholism & Mental Health

Adam ClaytonU2 bassist Adam Clayton has spoken about getting through problems with alcohol “and other things”, as well as his experiences with improving his mental health.

The U2 star talked about getting help for feeling “wonky” in an interview with an Irish radio station yesterday (April 7).

“I relied too much on alcohol and other things to get me through,” Clayton said. “I pretty much had a eureka moment. I was fed up of the way I felt constantly. In my particular case, it was difficult for me not to go ‘you’ve got a great life, what’s wrong with you’. Eventually I got fed up with feeling fed up. Eventually a few friends who’d been through alcohol and drug treatment said ‘you can get over this, you can feel better’. At the root of addiction, certainly in my case, was a mental issue. It’s how I approached the day. I was able to get help and revise my thinking and turn that around. I’m a much happier bunny now.”

Clayton also discussed the difficulty people face in seeking help, particularly men.

“Any kind of medical issue, particularly men, we don’t like going to doctors for anything,” Clayton said. “Particularly with mental health, you don’t have to say you’re depressed, you just have to say I’m feeling a bit wonky, I feel a little broken. It’s a very complicated world we live in with all kinds of pressures, and we get it wrong sometimes. A big part of it is demystifying it.”

Listen to the interview below:

Read more at http://www.nme.com/news/u2/92841#Y4mM2hXRcIKtvYqk.99

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