Stories for boys: U2’s first cover outside of Ireland

November 10, 2015 |  by  |  Bono, Design, U2 Memorabilia  |  No Comments

Record Mirror November 10, 1979

This 1979 issue of London-based Record Mirror has been one of my U2 holy grails since learning of its existence. I’d never actually seen the cover, though, and it has never turned up in searches for U2 magazines (my collectible of choice, as vinyl, sunglasses, guitars and inflatable lemons can get pricey). I was on eBay recently chasing something else entirely, and an unfamiliar thumbnail popped into the list. I realized what it was and it spiked a feeling not unlike finally seeing a ticket become available on TicketMaster after hours of unsuccessful refreshing—a lot of disbelief followed by frenzied scrambling for my credit card.
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From the ground up: Re-creating the first U2 shirt

March 30, 2013 |  by  |  U2 Memorabilia  |  1 Comment

(Update, 5/10/13: While at the U2 Conference last month, I learned that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has an entire new collection of U2 memorabilia on display. Larry’s shirt is no longer there and has been “returned to the original lender.” Perhaps it will show up in an exhibit in Dublin.)

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has some pretty remarkable U2 artifacts on display—ZooTV trabants, Bono’s Fly suit, his handwritten lyrics for “Bad” … But housed inside a glass case, next to a collection of rejection letters in response to the band’s early attempts to find a record deal, is a tattered t-shirt. It’s stained and stretched. It’s primitive—both in the sense that it’s the earliest of its kind, and in its rough, rudimentary craftsmanship. The logo is weirdly placed below the chest and off center, and the graphic’s two colors are poorly registered on a shirt that doesn’t quite match. The design is a larger ring encompassing a smaller ring, the former cut across by two diagonal lines. In the inner circle (a favorite phrase among U2 fans some 30 years later) are two abstracted figures built of rectangles: a “U” and a “2.” Read More

Music can change the world because it can change people

May 5, 2012 |  by  |  Achtung Baby, U2 Memorabilia  |  12 Comments

A Filament Project bracelet made with a string from Bono's Gibson acoustic used during the Achtung Baby re-release sessions at Hansa Studio in 2011.

I get asked a lot if I’ve met Bono. Surely someone who’s devoted 20 years of her life and a URL to the man has met him, right? Wrong. Wrong wrong wrong. I haven’t met him, haven’t touched him, haven’t smelled him, haven’t been rendered stupidly speechless by his presence. And it’s probably for the best, as I still don’t know what I’d say to the man. “Thank you” is my best guess. It’s simple, sincere, all-encompassing. But it’s the same thing I say to the pizza delivery guy and the pedicurist. The man whose voice has been in my head for a couple of decades probably warrants a little more inspiration.

But, this week I did manage to get a little closer to him thanks to The Filament Project, an organization that collects donations of guitar, bass and other musical instrument strings along with various electrical and telephone cables to create bracelets and other jewelry. U2 fandom’s EdgeFest, knower of all things The Edge, spotted and won and shared an auction on eBay for one of these guitar string bracelets. It was for a string from Edge’s Fender Stratocaster guitar, played during With or Without You at the 360 tour’s finale in Moncton (totally thought I was done saying that word) last July. I quickly clicked on “seller’s other items” and saw a listing for another bracelet — one made of a string from Bono’s acoustic Gibson guitar, used during the 2011 Hansa sessions, when U2 went back to the famous Berlin studio where they recorded 1991’s Achtung Baby. The listing included a photo of the packet of strings donated to The Filament Project, on which Dallas Schoo, U2’s beloved (by fans as much as the band) guitar tech had written, “This is a packet of used guitar strings off of Bono’s Gibson acoustic guitar from the re-release of “Auchtung Baby” [sic] in “From the Sky Down.” Read More