BONO

Q (UK) - - Awards 2018 - DAVE EVERLEY

The U2 front­man pre­sented Noel Gal­lagher with his Out­stand­ing Con­tri­bu­tion Award. He re­flects on when they first met and why Brit­pop changed ev­ery­thing.

Where did you first meet Noel Gal­lagher? I’m not sure. I think it was in what­ever his base­ment flat was. I can’t re­mem­ber the street but they were just out of the gate. I re­mem­ber be­ing in that base­ment and talk­ing shite. And watch­ing his shite turn into gold has been one of the great plea­sures of my life. I think the next time I saw him, we talked about a sup­port slot. And he said, “You’ll do it then?” And I said, “Yeah.” He was talk­ing about them giv­ing us the sup­port, which is why I love him. Be­cause he makes me laugh. He gave me his au­to­graph. Were Def­i­nitely Maybe and (What’s The Story) Morn­ing Glory? on your radar at the time? Of course. Both of those al­bums changed ev­ery­body’s lives, in­clud­ing mine. They oc­cupy that space where they own a mo­ment of your life, they own you – you are no longer in con­trol of your emo­tional life when you hear any of those tunes. Right up to re­cent times, he has me. He has that rare thing, it’s very un-Irish, where he re­fuses to sur­ren­der to melan­choly. So when he does it just breaks you right open. But most of the time, he’s de­fi­ant. And de­fi­ance is the essence of ro­mance, is it not? Did the Brit­pop era regis­ter with you? It changed ev­ery­thing. It was pretty mis­er­able at the time. In fact, you got ex­tra gold stars the more mis­er­able you were. Ap­par­ently, that made you more au­then­tic. I al­ways thought there were two sounds that bands made: the sound of peo­ple who wanted to get out of their garage and get on that big stage, and the sound of bands who wanted to stay in their garage be­cause it was their daddy’s garage and it was prob­a­bly kit­ted out with a fridge. And you just got the feel­ing from Oa­sis that they wanted to get out of that garage. The am­bi­tion was The Bea­tles, the Stones: “Let’s get out of here.” His­tor­i­cally, you can look back at the ’ 90s as al­most a hip-hop kind of mo­ment for the UK. Oa­sis’s stance – it was com­pletely un-in­die. And that freed up mu­sic. There was a de­sire to be heard. Noel was do­ing things that no­body was do­ing. The big, hairy Neil Young notes – that was like fart­ing at that time. He took what­ever he wanted. He thought, “What do you mean we can’t have am­bi­tion? Who says that? No­body we care about ever thought that. We’re go­ing to have this.” The am­bi­tion of U2 had been hard for peo­ple to ac­cept, and sud­denly it seemed like, “Oh, we’re not the out­liers any more.” Have you ever tried to write a song to­gether? Yeah, we have. But very late at night and prob­a­bly not for hu­man con­sump­tion. It might be in­ter­plan­e­tary. It’s a song that will fi­nally prove that there’s no life on earth. What’s been the high­light of 2018 for you? I shouldn’t tell you this, I don’t know how mean­ing­ful it would be to you, but the band played some New York shows, in Madi­son Square Gar­den. And I looked around and went, “Oh my, this is the most po­tent this band has ever been.” It’s not like there was an ear­lier pe­riod where I thought, “This is nearly as good as back then.” This is like bet­ter. Then I re­alised they’ve al­ways been very good-to-great. I heard early Mar­quee shows back and re­alised the band, the mu­si­cians in the band, have al­ways been very good-to-great, but I wasn’t. I was a great light­ning rod and front­man, but when I heard those Mar­quee shows from 1980, I don’t think I was great. But I’ve caught up with them. You lost your voice a few songs into a show in Ber­lin in Septem­ber. What did that feel like? It was emas­cu­lat­ing. I didn’t know quite what it was. I had noth­ing wrong with my voice be­fore the show. It wasn’t laryn­gi­tis. That’s what made peo­ple alarmed. It was some al­ler­gic re­ac­tion, and it just turned it off. Turned off the voice.

“Oa­sis oc­cupy a space where they own a mo­ment in your life. They own you.”

“Hon­oured, I’m sure”: Noel feels the love from early adopter and BFF, Bono.

Hail to The Chief! Award pre­sen­ter Bono sings Noel’s abun­dant praises.

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