Bono (and maybe U2) Is Not A Fan Of Progressive Rock Music (RIP Neil Peart)

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jick

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I remember a recent interview when Bono talked about moments in their studio sessions when they hear the "progressive rock bug" creep in as they are jamming, and the band immediately tries to rid themselves of it.  I tried so hard to find that interview to no avail.  Instead, I came across these quotes from Bono over the years about progressive rock...

Circa 2001:

"The thing that separated us from temporary, sophomoric, white-bread fucking art students is the thing that puts us in with hip-hop: Taking care of business, as Elvis Presley described it, is the thing that marks how much artists care about what they do. When rock stops trying to communicate on the level of mass media, it becomes progressive rock; it becomes solipsistic."

"... when you put (progressive) with rock - progressive rock. We've banned that word. There are a few things we've banned actually on the album (All That You Can't Leave Behind). But it's funny if you ban something it's like prohibition it seems to come up again. Things that you keep trying to keep down sometimes bite back. We banned progressive rock, that is the enemy. And gothic, we banned gothic ...Progressive rock is glabby and dizzy. Unfortunate there is a lot of progressive rock on the rise, sadly. Progressive, if you mean innovation if you mean discovering new ground than I like the term. But progressive rock recalls for me the seventies, long solos and even worse haircuts."

Circa 2005:

"Progressive rock was the enemy in 1976. And it still is. And it has many, many faces. This beast is lurking everywhere. It can describe itself as indie rock. It's the same [blanking] thing. It's misery. I have seen so many great minds struck down by it."

"To be relevant, to set the imagination off on a new generation coming up. Songs that up the ante. That's your chorus? Make it your verse, then write a better chorus. That's what it's going to take. Basic songwriting. I think what happened in the UK music scene is instructive. Oasis came around and they weeded out progressive rock-itis, and brought ambition back to songwriting, and got a band to promote itself. "


Circa 2009:

"We grew up on the rock & roll 45. It is, in an evolutionary way that Brian should, but doesn't, appreciate, the Darwinian peak of the species. It is by far the most difficult thing to pull off, and it is the very life force of rock & roll: vitality, succinctness and catchiness, whether it's the Sex Pistols, Nirvana, the Pixies, the Beatles, the Who, the Rolling Stones. And when rock music forgets about the 45, it tends toward progressive rock, which is like a mold that grows on old, burned-out artists who've run out of ideas. We have a soundtrack/Pink Floyd side of our band, and it has to be balanced by fine songwriting. And it's an infuriating thing for me to see indie rock & roll give up the single to R&B and hip-hop. And that's why I love the Kings of Leon album or the Killers album: These are people who have such belief in their musical power that they refuse to ghettoize it."

Circa 2014:

ďThereís awful progressive rock lurking around, but I have enough of a memory of 1977 to not surrender to it. There were incredibly pure thoughts in music then. You knew what the song was about. You knew the melody. You knew the hook. Weíre going for a bit of that on the new album.Ē

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In short, Bono (and presumably the rest of U2) are not fans of progressive rock music.  They have never cited any progressive rock band as an influence or peer.  What I am saying is that I don't think we will be hearing U2 make any Neil Peart tributes or statements soon.

On another note, have U2 ever mentioned Rush or any progressive rock band in an interview or snippeted any of their songs?

Cheers,

J



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guest259

They covered "I Believe in Father Christmas" by Greg Lake. Emerson, Lake and Palmer were prog oriented. But in general, you're correct. That's literally the only example I can think of of them covering a track by a prog artist, and it isn't even a prog track, it's a straightforward song.

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Zeropartii

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Instead we get Preachy Rock like American Soul, Gooyow, Blackout




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guest259

Instead we get Preachy Rock like American Soul, Gooyow, Blackout




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Indeed. Zooropa is their most prog album and most fans love it.

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laoghaire

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Isn't Unknown Caller prog?

I know the song is flawed but I want more of that.

Prog U2.

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guest259

Isn't Unknown Caller prog?

I know the song is flawed but I want more of that.

Prog U2.

I suppose yes, parts of NLOTH are a bit progish. And of course Unforgettable Fire and Kid A. I said Kid A, hahaha, I really meant Original Soundtracks Vol One.

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laoghaire

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Dear Bono,

Punk taught you to hate prog.

Fuck punk. You suck at punk anyway.

Love,

Laoghaire

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riffraff

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Dear Bono,

Punk taught you to hate prog.

Fuck punk. You suck at punk anyway.

Love,

Laoghaire
Bono would most likely appreciate this sentiment!
Sometimes Iím full of anger and grieving, so far away from believing that any sun will reappear

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laoghaire

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No. He would not appreciate it at all.

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riffraff

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No. He would not appreciate it at all.
;)
Sometimes Iím full of anger and grieving, so far away from believing that any sun will reappear

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an tha

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Yeah Bono vapid pop shite like the best thing is better than prog isn't it...

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MPare1966

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Yeah Bono vapid pop shite like the best thing is better than prog isn't it...

I will say one thing about this: back in 82-83, I was deep into prog rock (Pink Floyd, Genesis, Yes, ELP, Supertramp, etc.). It was U2 and, as you probably know, WAR that liberated me from that prison. I never went back.  :D
First Chair. Last Call.

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So Cruel

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At the end of the day a good song is a good song, no matter what category someone wants to put it in.

U2 know their limitations and have at times used those limitations as strengths. They arenít great individual musicians and they know it. Knowing they couldnít walk the same path due to their limitations they decided to create their own. Most bands are derivative of their influences, U2 created a whole new sound. Not too many others who can say that.
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 Havenít Found What Iím Looking For, 8. Hawkmoon 269, 9. Red Hill Mining Town, 10. Luminous Times

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an tha

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Yeah Bono vapid pop shite like the best thing is better than prog isn't it...

I will say one thing about this: back in 82-83, I was deep into prog rock (Pink Floyd, Genesis, Yes, ELP, Supertramp, etc.). It was U2 and, as you probably know, WAR that liberated me from that prison. I never went back.  :D

I am not really into prog but it does irritate me to hear Bono slag it and come out with his 'song craft' bullshit he uses to defend the abysmal pop shite he has churned out in recent years.

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riffraff

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I think "popshite" should be in the dictionary.
Sometimes Iím full of anger and grieving, so far away from believing that any sun will reappear