Actually oddly enough, I think my work, the activism, will be forgotten. And I hope it will. Because I hope those problems will have gone away.
Africa is a continent in flames. And deep down, if we really accepted that Africans were equal to us, we would all do more to put the fire out. We’re standing around with watering cans, when what we really need is the fire brigade.
Africa will thrive.
America is not just a country, it’s an idea, and real Americans are getting busy.
Anyone that’s involved in development has discovered that all the good work that’s been done in development has been undone by the AIDS emergency.
As a musician and a songwriter, it is an act of the ego to believe that other people might be interested in your point of view. But it is usually an empathetic nature that gets you going in the first place.
As a musician and a songwriter, it is an act of the ego to believe that other people might be interested in your point of view. But it is usually an empathetic nature that gets you going in the first place. Music keeps the heart porous in many ways.
As a rock star, I have two instincts, I want to have fun, and I want to change the world. I have a chance to do both.
As hard as it is, as ghetto as it is, hip-hop is pop music. It’s the sound of music getting out of the ghetto, while rock is looking for a ghetto.
At the heart of the Irish economy has always been the philosophy of tax competitiveness. On the cranky left, that is very annoying; I can see that.
Because I was suspicious of the traditional Christian church, I tended to tar them all with the same brush. That was a mistake, because there are righteous people working in a whole rainbow of belief systems – from Hasidic Jews to right-wing Bible Belters to charismatic Catholics.
Because you know when you first become famous, you start walking a little different because people are staring at you.
Books! I dunno if I ever told you this, but books are the greatest gift one person can give another.
But more than anything else, for the British folks Irish people were all terrorists. So when we went to Britain, it was always a lot of resistance to U2. And that’s why we came to America.
But there is a difference between cozying up to power and being close to power.
But with Christ, we have access in a one-to-one relationship, for, as in the Old Testament, it was more one of worship and awe, a vertical relationship. The New Testament, on the other hand, we look across at a Jesus who looks familiar, horizontal. The combination is what makes the Cross.
Celebrity is ridiculous and silly and it’s mad that people like me are listened to – you know, rap stars and movie stars.
Contrary to reports, this boy is not a billionaire or going to be richer than any Beatle… and not just in the sense of money, by the way; the Beatles are untouchable – those billionaire reports are a joke.
Convictions, in the end, they can be dangerous, but a world without them is just kind of an awful kind of gray, amorphous mass.
Distance does not decide who is your brother and who is not. The church is going to have to become the conscience of the free market if it’s to have any meaning in this world – and stop being its apologist.
Ethiopia didn’t just blow my mind; it opened my mind. Anyway, on our last day at this orphanage a man handed me his baby and said, ‘Would you take my son with you?’ He knew, in Ireland, that his son would live, and that in Ethiopia, his son would die.
Facebook are an amazing team, a brilliant team. It’s a technology that brings people together.
Facts, like people, want to be free – and when they’re free, liberty is usually around the corner.
God is so big. It’s a gigantic concept in God. The idea that God might love us and be interested in us is kind of huge and gigantic, but we turn it, because we’re small-minded, into this tiny, petty, often greedy version of God, that is religion.
God’s Spirit moves through us and the world at a pace that can never be constricted by any one religious paradigm.
God’s Spirit moves through us and the world at a pace that can never be constricted by any one religious paradigm. I love that.
Hanging out with politicians and corporations is very unhip work. But I think that the U2 audience have turned out to be incredibly subtle in their understanding.
Happy the country that lives on nothing but its wits; cursed be the one that thinks it can get rich by planting or digging or drilling for wealth.
I accept the Old Testament as more of an action movie: blood, car chases, evacuations, a lot of special effects, seas dividing, mass murder, adultery. The children of God are running amok, wayward. Maybe that’s why they’re so relatable.
I always think if you are asking somebody for something it is a good idea to give them something first.
I am, as a character, at times, a little overbearing. I recognize that.
I believe that Jesus was, you know, the Son of God. And I understand that… we need to be really, really respectful to people who find that ridiculous and… preposterous.
I don’t let my religious world get too complicated.
I don’t like the name, U2, actually.
I felt rich when I was 20 years old and my wife was paying my bills. Just being in a band, I’ve always felt blessed.
I get to hear the really good or the really bad things in the press, but I don’t read it. I can afford to say that because public opinion does not drive U2’s audience.
I have been working for Africans since I was 18, when I got involved with the Nelson Mandela concerts. I got involved with debt cancellation because Desmond Tutu demanded that the world respond to that situation.
I have learned to interface – what I think would be the contemporary term – with various different lexicons, and people speak very different languages. I’ve learned to speak in a lot of tongues, and I can live with the bellicose language of some fervent, fire-breathing Christians, sure.
I put Catholic guilt to work pretty good for a rich rock star.
I really have had to swallow my own prejudice at times.
I remember how my mother would bring us to chapel on Sundays… and my father used to wait outside. One of the things that I picked up from my father and my mother was the sense that religion often gets in the way of God. For me, at least, it got in the way.
I think ‘Invisible’ is a great song, but I don’t know how accessible it is.
I think ABBA have a pure joy to their music and that’s what makes them extraordinary.
I think carrying moral baggage is very dangerous for an artist. If you have a duty, it’s to be true and not cover up the cracks.
I truly believe that when the history books are written, our age will be remembered for three things: the war on terror, the digital revolution, and what we did – or did not do – to put the fire out in Africa. History, like God, is watching what we do.
I used to – my earliest memory of waking up with a melody in my head was, you know, 8, 9, 10. I’ve always heard kind of melodies in my head.
I used to love Kurt Cobain, when he was telling people we’re a pop band. People would laugh, they thought of it as good old ironic Kurt. But he wasn’t being ironic.
I’m a singer, not a politician, and I think you don’t want the two to get confused. It’s not OK to be on CNN talking about people starving and then tell the interviewer that your new album is coming out in six months.
I’m actually starting to like more and more people who have convictions that are unpopular.
I’m as skeptical as anyone would be about celebrities and causes – and I will dare to say to you that I don’t think of myself as a celebrity per se.
I’m home a lot. Because I live in Ireland, we can live under the celebrity radar. I might go missing for a whole year.
I’m never nervous.
I’m the man that brought you the mullet.
If September 11th has taught us anything, it’s certainly that the world has never been so interdependent. It is impossible now to be an island of prosperity in a sea of despair.
If you pour your life into songs, you want them to be heard. It’s a desire to communicate. A deep desire to communicate inspires songwriting.
In my view, the only thing worse than a rock star is a rock star with a conscience.
It’s a privilege to serve the poor, to be servants of noble Africans, but I better belong in the rehearsal room or in the studio with my band. That’s where I want to be and I still wake up in the morning with melodies in my head.
It’s annoying, but justice and equality are mates. Aren’t they? Justice always wants to hang out with equality. And equality is a real pain.
It’s much easier to be successful than it is to be relevant. The tricks won’t keep you relevant. Tricks might keep you popular for a while, but in all honesty, I don’t know how U2 will stay relevant. I know we’ve got a future. I know we can fill stadiums. And yet with every record, I think, ‘Is this it? Are we still relevant?’
It’s not a coincidence that in the Scriptures, poverty is mentioned more than 2,100 times. It’s not an accident. That’s a lot of air time, 2,100 mentions.
It’s so sweet, I feel like my teeth are rotting when I listen to the radio.
It’s stasis that kills you off in the end, not ambition.
It’s very important for Christians to be honest with God, which often, you know, God is much more interested in who you are than who you want to be.
Jesus isn’t lettin’ you off the hook. The Scriptures don’t let you off the hook so easily… When people say, you know, ‘Good teacher’, ‘Prophet’, ‘Really nice guy’ … this is not how Jesus thought of Himself.
Mandela’s heroism is the heroism of a man who suffered so badly for what he thought of as freedom. And yet when he had the upper hand he has this incredible self-control and these incredible leadership qualities.
Marriage is this grand madness, and I think if people knew that, they would perhaps take it more seriously.
Music can change the world because it can change people.
Music fills in for words a lot of the time when people don’t know what to say, and I think music can be more eloquent than words.
Music keeps the heart porous in many ways.
My heroes are the ones who survived doing it wrong, who made mistakes, but recovered from them.
My understanding of the Scriptures has been made simple by the person of Christ.
My understanding of the Scriptures has been made simple by the person of Christ. Christ teaches that God is love.
Overcoming my dad telling me that I could never amount to anything is what has made me the megalomaniac that you see today.
Particularly conservative Christians, I was very angry that they were not involved more in the AIDS emergency.
Politeness is, you know, is a wonderful thing. Manners are in fact, really important thing. But remember, Jesus didn’t have many manners as we now know.
Poverty breeds despair. We know this. Despair breeds violence. We know this. In turbulent times, isn’t it cheaper, and smarter, to make friends out of potential enemies than to defend yourself against them later?
Religion can be the enemy of God. It’s often what happens when God, like Elvis, has left the building.
Rock ‘n’ roll is ridiculous. It’s absurd. In the past, U2 was trying to duck that. Now we’re wrapping our arms around it and giving it a great big kiss.
Rock music is niche.
Rock stars are good at making noise.
Sadly, I do my homework. I’ve a soft spot for the boring minutiae. I read the Charter of the United Nations before meeting with Kofi Annan. I read the Meltzer report, and then I’ll read C. Fred Bergsten’s defense of institutions like the World Bank and the I.M.F. It’s embarrassing to admit.
Selling out is doing something you don’t really want to do for money. That’s what selling out is.
So what we’re talking about here is human rights. The right to live like a human. The right to live, period. And what we’re facing in Africa is an unprecedented threat to human dignity and equality.
So you cannot, as a Christian, walk away from Africa.
Sub-Saharan Africa is also home to 400 million of the world’s poorest people.
Technology is huge; I wanted to learn about it. People might say that’s odd, but I think it’s odd if artists aren’t interested in the world around them. I’m always chasing that.
The French are so into themselves that they don’t even notice you.
The extraction of oil, coal and minerals brought, and still brings, a cost to the environment.
The fact is that ours is the first generation that can look disease and extreme poverty in the eye, look across the ocean to Africa, and say this, and mean it. We do not have to stand for this. A whole continent written off – we do not have to stand for this.
The great moments of rock ‘n’ roll were never off in some corner of the music world, in a self-constructed ghetto.
The great music for so many artists – the Beatles, the Rolling Stones – was always at the moment when they were closest to pop. It would be easy for U2 to go off and have a concept album, but I want us to stay in the pop fray.
The idea that there is one kind of African is, of course, ridiculous. Sometimes African entrepreneurs want to kill you because you are saying public health is the priority, not roads. Of course they are right to press for that issue, but so are we right, I believe, to argue, for example, that millions of children could and should be vaccinated.
The job of art is to chase ugliness away.
The less you know, the more you believe.
The most powerful idea that’s entered the world in the last few thousand years – the idea of grace – is the reason I would like to be a Christian.
The only person who ever called me Paul was my father, so I always associate it with doing something wrong, you know. So, you know, occasionally, people will come up to me on the street and try to, you know, ingratiate themselves and call me Paul. I don’t like it, actually.
There was a moment when Prince did rock & roll with a sponge-y seductive sound. I think that’s what was in our head for ‘Get On Your Boots.’ But actually, the song is much more punk rock.
There’s nothing hippie about my picture of Christ. The Gospels paint a picture of a very demanding, sometimes divisive love, but love it is.
To be one, to be united is a great thing. But to respect the right to be different is maybe even greater.
U2 is an original species… there are colours and feelings and emotional terrain that we occupy that is ours and ours alone.
U2 is sort of song writing by accident really. We don’t really know what we’re doing and when we do, it doesn’t seem to help.
U2 was involved in Live Aid, and I ended up going to Ethiopia and working there for some time with my wife, Ali.
U2’s best work has always been when we didn’t know what we’re doing.
Until it’s on the radio or online, it’s not real. With U2, our album isn’t finished until it’s in the stores.
We thought that we had the answers, it was the questions we had wrong.
What I like about pop music, and why I’m still attracted to it, is that in the end it becomes our folk music.
What really turns me on about technology is not just the ability to get more songs on MP3 players. The revolution – this revolution – is much bigger than that. I hope, I believe. What turns me on about the digital age, what excites me personally, is that you have closed the gap between dreaming and doing.
What turns me on about the digital age, what excited me personally, is that you have closed the gap between dreaming and doing. You see, it used to be that if you wanted to make a record of a song, you needed a studio and a producer. Now, you need a laptop.
What’s so powerful about the Psalms are, as well as they’re being gospel and songs of praise, they are also the blues.
When a nation is over-reliant on one or two commodities like oil or precious minerals, corrupt government ministers and their dodgy associates hoard profits and taxes instead of properly allocating them to schools and hospitals.
When people say, you know, ‘Good teacher,’ ‘Prophet,’ ‘Really nice guy’… this is not how Jesus thought of Himself. So you’re left with a challenge in that, which is either Jesus was who he said he was or a complete and utter nut case. You have to make a choice on that.
When you align yourself with God’s purpose as described in the Scriptures, something special happens to your life.
When you truly accept that those children in some far off place in the global village have the same value as you in God’s eyes or even in just your eyes, then your life is forever changed; you see something that you can’t un-see.
Where you live in the world should not determine whether you live in the world.
With all singers, insecurity is your best security. That’s why we’re such loud people and why we walk all funny. You think, ‘Are people interested?’ But I think our band has something and they know we don’t just put albums out. We do think about it.
You know, God has some really weird kids, and I find it hard to be in their company most of the time.
You see, Africa makes a fool of our idea of justice. It makes a farce of our idea of equality. It mocks our pieties. It doubts our concern. It questions our commitment. Because there is no way we can look at what’s happening in Africa, and if we’re honest, conclude that it would ever be allowed to happen anywhere else.
You see, idealism detached from action is just a dream. But idealism allied with pragmatism, with rolling up your sleeves and making the world bend a bit, is very exciting. It’s very real. It’s very strong.
You’ve got to watch the politics of AIDS. The politics of AIDS can work both for and against the victims of AIDS.
You’ve gotta be very careful that grace and politeness do not merge into a banality of behavior, where we’re just nice, sort of ‘death by cupcake.’
Quotes by Bono
Quotes by Bono
Actually oddly enough, I think my work, the activism, will be forgotten. And I hope it will. Because I hope those problems will have gone away.