Rattle and Hum- how the band portrayed themselves in the film

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Shank Asu

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Rattle and Hum- how the band portrayed themselves in the film
« on: November 16, 2018, 03:57:52 PM »
I re-watched Rattle and Hum this week and knowing what many of the critics have complained about the band in film- that they were overly ambitious or conceited in throwing themselves into the larger history of music or putting themselves into the upper echelon of musicians and etcetera, what does everyone else think of the band in the film?

I'm actually a bit torn, while I love the film, not quite sure what the average fan gets from the band from it outside of the concert footage.
The opening question and answer segment, while meant to be funny, shows that the band didn't really have a vision for the film and the poor director's face when he looks at the camera at the end of the scene shows how helpless he is in getting anything meaningful from their responses.  They give nothing away.  Critics claimed they were acting as though they were above this and not taking it seriously which i can see, but i also think they might have just be at a loss of words which for Bono and the band seems odd.
The most emotion i see out of any of the band members is from Larry talking about Elvis.

While the band talks about exploring American music- they weren't really big fans of it when the film was made.  In the mid-80's Bono was embarrassed when Bob Dylan called him onstage to help sing one of his famous early songs (I believe it was Blowing in the Wind) and he didn't know the words and from that he realized he needed to learn more about music history- meaningful artists, different genres-etc) so U2 saying they were big fans of the blues in '88 isn't really comparable to how the Rolling Stones were influenced by the blues and classic R&B.  When Bono tells Edge to play the blues on stage- Edge plays music that is far from the blues.  Was the band just grandstanding by pulling out BB King on stage and visiting a gospel choir to sing ISHFWILF with?

I still enjoy this film and will continue to watch it every year or so along with the JT Special Edition documentary that is the perfect companion piece, but it definitely has its weaknesses.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2018, 05:35:19 PM by Shank Asu »

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guest87

Re: Rattle and Hum- how the band portrayed themselves in the film
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2018, 04:23:30 PM »
U2 are not a bluesy band, it's not their background.  Mick Jagger and Keith Richards grew up listening to R&B and probably not much else, whereas in their youth U2 were listening to punk music.  The period of listening to the blues during the JT tour was just a fad, because if they really liked it they would still be making records with bluesy influences to this day.  U2 is a very white band and so are their audiences.  When Bono tells The Edge to play the blues I half expect him to look at Bono with a 'are you having a laugh?' expression on his face.


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mariamontreal

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Re: Rattle and Hum- how the band portrayed themselves in the film
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2018, 05:32:32 PM »
They are definetly not a blues band .They experimented with the blues when they first came to USA and toured the country.That was the end of it.
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an tha

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Re: Rattle and Hum- how the band portrayed themselves in the film
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2018, 06:44:15 PM »
I thought that in this film they came across as total knobheads.

They learned from it though, to be fair to them.

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JTNash

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Re: Rattle and Hum- how the band portrayed themselves in the film
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2018, 09:07:31 PM »
I liked R &H, when I went to Graceland I was like those are the Bikes U2 sat on and my Dad like um they were Elvis that doesn’t impress you lol
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Marvinho

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Re: Rattle and Hum- how the band portrayed themselves in the film
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2018, 01:26:33 AM »
The live stuff is incredible but the behind the scenes, supposed candid fly on the wall parts and interviews are generally toe curlingly awful.

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So Cruel

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Re: Rattle and Hum- how the band portrayed themselves in the film
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2018, 12:38:00 PM »
I loved it when I was young and that’s one of my favourite periods of the band.

As noted, they never truly “played” the blues, but I do love how it inspired Bono as a writer.

“No stars in the black night
Looks like the sky fall down
No sun in the daylight
Looks like it's chained to the ground
Chained to the ground”

Bono wrote that after listening to the blues one night with Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood. His lyrics definitely got a bit more bite in them.

60’s soul also had a big influence during this period. Bono went on to write some of his best pop songs with these influences, Ángel of Harlem and She’s a Mystery. We got Desire from a Bo Diddley riff. Really a brilliant period of song writing from them.

Definitive U2 Top 10: 1. One, 2. Bad, 3. With Or Without You, 4. Running to Stand Still, 5. So Cruel, 6. Ultraviolet, 7. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, 8. Hawkmoon 269, 9. Red Hill Mining Town, 10. Luminous Times

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Soloyan

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Re: Rattle and Hum- how the band portrayed themselves in the film
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2018, 05:09:45 PM »
For those who haven't, you should read this :

https://www.atu2.com/news/u2-interview-with-rattle-and-hum-cinematographer-robert-brinkmann.html

Brinkmann confirms the band would not let go of the control of the film and would not really show their true faces... which is basically the opposite of what truly great rock films are about.

I'd love to see a new cut of the film showing what the band really was : insecure.
A dangerous idea that almost makes sense...

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The Edges Cat

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Re: Rattle and Hum- how the band portrayed themselves in the film
« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2018, 04:11:15 AM »
"Thumb a lift there Edge!"

I love the Lovetown era, but y'know what? R&H gave us ZooTV. There'd be no Fly if it weren't for the backlash U2 copped for R&H.
The Edge: “[Eno] would love to see us making albums a bit more like [Zooropa]. Where we go, ‘You know what? We’re not going to second-guess any of this. Let’s just go for it.’”

U2 Fans: We'd all love to see that, Edge.

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73October

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Re: Rattle and Hum- how the band portrayed themselves in the film
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2018, 12:17:40 PM »
I'm not surprised there was the backlash after this

https://youtu.be/dE8e40T6DU8

From the days when Bono dressed similarly to Nigel Farage.
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You got to do what you should.
One life; With each other
Sisters, Brothers
One life; But we're not the same
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The Exile

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Re: Rattle and Hum- how the band portrayed themselves in the film
« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2018, 12:20:53 PM »
"Thumb a lift there Edge!"

I love the Lovetown era, but y'know what? R&H gave us ZooTV. There'd be no Fly if it weren't for the backlash U2 copped for R&H.

Good point. Plus, I remember reading a review of Flannagan's book, U2 at the End of the World, when it was first coming out in the mid-'90s, and one thing he mentioned was that the band gave him complete access to everything, and that they would not insist on approving the final version. So it seems like they learned their lesson.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2018, 12:33:12 PM by The Exile »
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The Edges Cat

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Re: Rattle and Hum- how the band portrayed themselves in the film
« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2018, 07:04:26 PM »
@ SO CRUEL -- Good call re Bono's lyrics! Bono's R&H lyrics evolved thanks to the Blues and their America idolisation. What was it BB King said about When Love Comes To Town, "these lyrics are very heavy for a young man." I think Adam said something about Hawkmoon 269, that it's not their best song but lyrically it was very important for Bono's development.

@ EXILE -- Yeah, Flannagan was given all access and band approval to write whatever he wanted (within reason). The band definitely regretted presenting themselves as too serious and earnest in R&H, and that helped ZooTV so much. It's weird considering they acted like schoolboys on a school trip behind the scenes, with a sense of humour and getting up to shenanigans (that's right U2, we need more shenanigans!). This is a big reason why we won't get another Achtung Baby-ZooTV, ever -- it was a reaction to what came before. U2 have, for better or worse, plateaued. Where to from here? NLOTH was a reaction to the "safe" radio relevancy of HTDAAB, and it didn't work. ATYCLB was a reaction to Pop (and the "cultural conversation" of the day), and it worked (not so much on obsessive fan forums though!). What can they react to now? A decade of no radio hits?

Has anyone seen Coldplay's A Head Full Of Dreams?
« Last Edit: November 18, 2018, 07:07:49 PM by The Edges Cat »
The Edge: “[Eno] would love to see us making albums a bit more like [Zooropa]. Where we go, ‘You know what? We’re not going to second-guess any of this. Let’s just go for it.’”

U2 Fans: We'd all love to see that, Edge.

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Aviastar

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Re: Rattle and Hum- how the band portrayed themselves in the film
« Reply #12 on: November 19, 2018, 09:50:17 AM »
I thought that in this film they came across as total knobheads.

They learned from it though, to be fair to them.

I liked the cinematography, the live shots, the music. I think this was one of the coolest eras for U2 and it's what made me a huge fan back when I was a kid. I love the Heartland sequence in the R&H film. The imagery of them overlooking the Mississippi river in Memphis is WAY COOL imo, but that's just because I like Memphis, BBQ, riverboats and Beale St.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2018, 09:53:38 AM by Aviastar »
My U2 Top 10: The Unforgettable Fire, Acrobat, New Year's Day, Gloria, The Fly, A Sort of Homecoming, Where The Streets Have No Name, Bad, Ultra Violet (Light My Way), Drowning Man

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Soloyan

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Re: Rattle and Hum- how the band portrayed themselves in the film
« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2018, 11:03:35 AM »
I think the film looks great, but it fails to capture U2 as they were at the time. Be cause it's all staged and not very spontaneous, plus... the band is very tired, especially Bono. I think it's possibly the worst version of "bad" ever recorded.
A dangerous idea that almost makes sense...

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an tha

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Re: Rattle and Hum- how the band portrayed themselves in the film
« Reply #14 on: November 19, 2018, 11:07:43 AM »
I thought that in this film they came across as total knobheads.

They learned from it though, to be fair to them.

I liked the cinematography, the live shots, the music. I think this was one of the coolest eras for U2 and it's what made me a huge fan back when I was a kid. I love the Heartland sequence in the R&H film. The imagery of them overlooking the Mississippi river in Memphis is WAY COOL imo, but that's just because I like Memphis, BBQ, riverboats and Beale St.

Different strokes and all that - I thought for starters they looked ridiculous (and not in an ironic or cool way)

Came across as way too serious.

Bono with his faux American accent.

There was one part filmed I assume during a show where Bono is talking to the rest of the band or maybe just Edge (it has been a long time since saw it) and he is going along the lines of something about verses "not the first verse" or something and it actually made me want to reach into the telly and punch his lights out - deeply irritating.

And don't even get me started on that fucking gospel stuff for ISHFWILF.

Whole thing came across to me as deeply, deeply forced - but as someone else pointed out it led to them looking at themselves and re-inventing for Zoo so at least what I consider to be an absolutely awful thing had some good.