When U2 first started out toward their goal of world domination, they weren’t very good. That’s not a dig at the band, it’s an honest fact supported by opinions from the band themselves as well as others, closely related to the band both then and now. They worked long and hard to get to the point of being able to write and play so that by the time Boy came out, they were cranking out some genuinely good music.
Still, it took them a while to hit the big time, and from the band’s inception to the time that they hit the top 40 in the US with “Pride (In the Name of Love)” was a period of eight long years. Eight years of almost constant touring, away from home, on the road in a cramped and uncomfortable van, playing to almost entirely empty venues at times. For much of that time, they didn’t have the money to pay a full crew. I have no doubt that they had to deal with dishonest, unscrupulous or just plain stupid owners. There were other setbacks, too – the theft/loss (depending on who you ask) of the October lyrics, for one, and although there were plenty of small triumphs along the way, I imagine that the band members were sorely tempted at times to give up and go back to school or do something, anything, other than trying to make a living as musicians, but something kept driving them onward.
A belief that they could break through. That they could create art that was not only amazing but which also appealed to a wide audience. I’m at a similar place in my life right now. I desperately want to make a living as a writer. I think I’m pretty decent at it, but it’s not easy. I work really long hours, and writing something that’s honest, that comes from a place deep inside – it’s draining. It sucks the life right out of me. I’ve even started to get some paying gigs, but some of the people that have given me those jobs – the people with the checkbooks, who I have to be nice to – are inconsiderate, irresponsible, insulting and just plain moronic. Most mornings, I wake up with a sense of dread, like I’m just |-| that far from complete and utter ruin.
Still, though, there’s something deep inside of me that believes that I can do this. A lot of days, that something is U2. Knowing that they worked just as long and hard as I do, that they faced just as much rejection and heartache and worry and that they still managed to come out on top is a great inspiration to me. Just like them, I’m paying my dues, and I have faith that some day I’ll find my “Pride”.
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