PopMart Archives: Adam Clayton Chat Transcript

Hi everyone. We’re live in Dublin with U2 bassist Adam Clayton.

salome269 says: Adam: what has been the weirdest experience during this tour so far?

Adam says : The weirdest experience is always the moment the lemon opens. You always go, is this gonna work? Is this what it feels like to be Michael Jackson?

Patrick_M says: Adam: Did the huge success of the
“Mission:Impossible theme” – The most sucesseful U2-related single
on the US charts on this decade – give you & Larry the satisfaction of
proving you two can survive without the “other two” :-)?

Adam says : I don’t think either of us saw it as an opportunity to give
up our day jobs. We realized it was because of U2 it was received
so well. It was great to do something on our own without Edge and
Bono. Creatively it was easier to communicate between the two of

^BadCop^ says: Adam : If the Smurfs wanted to do a cover of one of
U2’s songs, would you let them????

Adam says : I guess we would, yeah.

upoo2 says: Have you ever noticed your bass is out of tune on Two
Hearts Beat As One?

Adam says : On the recording version on that it’s quite possible.
Back then I didn’t pay attention to tuning or timing. But I’ve learned to
count til 4 since then.

Shades says: Adam…if you had just one record to listen to for the
rest of your life…which would it be?

Adam says : That’s very veryhard. It might be a VanMorrison record.
Or a Bob Marley record. I couldn’t narrow it down any clkoser than
that. Could be a Miles Davis record.

LEKO says: Adam, in 1992 ZOO TV I was in front of you during the
Montreal concert, and I admire your standing, you looked proud and
very cool… This kind of behaviour comes from your mother or your

Adam says : My goodness this person must know my Mum or my
Dad. I don’t know where the good genes come in our family — maybe
from our grandparents.

Guybrush says: Adam : What exactly is the process during
songwriting where you come up with those basslines? Are the
songs built around your lines or is it theother way round?

Adam says : Each individual case is different. Sometimes Edge will
co me together with a chord sequence that just needs a bass part
added to it. Other times we’ll take a bass part that happens in a
rehearsal situation or a sound check and we’ll work some chords
over that. Please was a case where we put some chords over that.

deseree says: Adam, do you ever sing in the shower?

Adam says : Very, very occasionally.

godpart3 says: Adam, do you ever try on bono’s stage costumes
when he’s not around?

Adam says : Every band needs someone like Bono in it. When you
join a band you don’t know who’s good at what — I’m really pleased
that Bono took the job that he took and that I took the job that I took.

upoo2 says: Are you happier now than in 1987?

Adam says : I was pretty confused in 1987. I’m still confused, but
definitely happier.

Kelly says: Adam, has Larry sold his soul to the devil….is that why he
looks so young?

Adam says : It might look that way sometimes, it’s just that he’s
actually 2 years younger than the rest of us.

[23:40] Guybrush says: Adam : How do you feel when the
crowd responds so wildly to the memorable basslines like in New
Years Day or With or Without You?

Adam says : Everytime you get that great response in your head you
go I wish there were a few more where those came from. But I play
differently now. Back then you took an idea and played it for all it’s

Any truth to the tale that the lyrics to “Drowning Man” were
written to you?

Adam says : I don’t think so. I think one of the aspects of the way
Bono writes lyrics is he draws on a broad base of experience that’s
based on everyone he’s involved with. He takes little bits and we’re
all the same in many ways. We each have our own tragedies or
loyalties or successes and he just makes it universal.

Danie says: Adam—do you like to sit and listen to your own
records..or is it hard for you to listen to your own music?

Adam says : I listen to them sometimes. Usually the record that we’ve
just finished making I’ll listen to quite a lot because we’re trying to
learn how to play it live and I’m still moving things around in my head
with it. I go back to older records sometimes but you tend to hear
just mistakes. You realize that your initial instincts about it are
absolutely true.

Arielle says: Adam, which song do you feel is most changed by a live
performance vs. studio recording?

Adam says : In the show that we’re doing at the moment I think Velvet
Dress would be a candidate for that. Discotheque is a different live

Cyrelle says: adam, what profession would you be involved with were
it not for u2

Adam says : I think about this one every couple of years and I always
come up with something pretty good. Maybe a truck driver or
something. I like being on the road. It’s a very confusing bundle of
emotions. Playing one night is bad enough in as much as it’s much
easier to pose in front of a mirror than in front of your friends and
family. Adam says : The show is the easisest part of the dayin your
hometown because you come home and everything catches up with
you. Playing two nights just kind of doubles trouble. But Irish
audiences are fantastic and well worth it.

JOEJOEJOE says: Any comments on Princess Diana?

Adam says : I heard the news this morning at 10:00 and it kicked me
sideways and I don’t really know why. She represented a change
within Britian and the aristocracy. And that’s been swept away. It
was also such a senseless thing. I understand what happened in
being chased by the paparazzi. They’re risk-takers. There were
motobikes involved and it’s quite likely someone pulled in front. It is
senseless. It’s a complicated issue because we all like to read the

Omar says: ADAM: Which is your favorite writer?

Adam says : I haven’t read a book for a while! I like the Flannery
O’Connor books, things like that, they’re an influence on what we
were doing around the time of Joshua Tree. I really like The English
Patient — it was a bewitching book. The film was great as well.

POPsickle says: Adam, U2’s videos are pretty striking.. do you enjoy
being involved in making music videos?

Adam says : I absolutely hate being involved in the making of music
videos. I abhor them. The visual presentation of music is upon us — I
never know what the videos are about, but hey, if you can’t beat ’em,
join ’em.

Greg says: A D A M: Have you ever played a porno on your
awesome HUGE Popmart screen for fun?!

Adam says : It’s an idea that has aome up a couple of times! But it
hasn’t been done as yet, maybe sometime in the future.

salome269 says: Adam: how do you feel about performing for the
mtv awards?

Adam says : Kinda looking forward to it becvause we’ve never really
performed at those things before. Doing TV shows can be fun. We
used to do it a lot a few years back. I think it’s better to be performing
at these things than in the audience.

Patrick_M says: Adam – A question about remixes. Some of them
are great and really take the song a step further – Lady with the
spinning head being a fine example. Others, like Lemon – Version
Dub – are produced with hardly anything from U2’s original
encarnation of the song. What is U2’s real involvement with the DJ’s
that remixes the song?

Adam says : Our involvement with the Djs is you tell them how great
the track is, and normally they only really want a vocal so you send
them a DAT and then they build up the rest themselves. It’s always
interesting to us to get them back and see what they’ve done with
them. It’s kind of nice that they’re a surprise because it’s never what
you expect to hear. That’s the nature of a remix — you want to be

How do you feel about bootlegs?

I think bootlegs are something that’s very difficult to stop. There are
fans out there that want to buy them. I don’t like overpriced bootlegs
that are ripping the fans off. If they’re good quality recordings of a
show then I’m happy enough that people have access to those
things. I know there’s a culture out there that listens to these things
so I sort of tolerate it, providing no one’s getting ripped off.

Leia says: Adam-Who are your major influences?

Adam says : Again this is a question that comes up every so often . .
. I think Peter Hook who used to be in Joy Division was an influence
in that he showed me something different he could do with a bass.
And then James Jameson who played bass on a lot of Motown
records in the early days, electric bass playing, showed me how you
could funk it up with rhythm and melody. I aspire to move between
those three spirits when I’m playing.

MichaelW says: Adam: What are your (as well as the band’s)
feelings towards ‘overzealous’ fans at shows? Also, do you think the
Internet has made fans more overzealous, or does it just seem that

Adam says : It depends what you mean by overzealous. I think
people being excited or moved by an experience — that’s what it’s all
about. But there is a tendency for people to be obsessive. Certainly I
don’t mind meeting people who love the music and if there’s an
opportunity to talk about that I’m happy to take it. There was a time
people were just looking for an autograph and I’m happy to do that as
well. But there are people taking it to extreme — an autograph, a
photo, a video recorder, and could you fill this bag up with old

Guybrush says: Adam : Was it a pleasant experience hanging your
willy out for all to see on Achtung Baby?? 🙂

Adam says : I had to be talked into it, I have to say. I was very
nervous and apprehensive about revealing myself in such a way. But
I got into the spirit of wickedness, I suppose. I objected to the
censorship that happened in some countries. I think nude
photography is absolutely appropriate and shouldn’t embaraass
anyone. I think the photos Robert Mapplethorpe took of male nudes
helped me look at myself as a man and looking at penises. It’s a
hard thiing to overcome but it’s good. I only wish I had an erection at
the time.

CyberMoon says: What is your favorite song off Pop?

Adam says : Again it kind of changes on a weekly basis. Maybe my
alltime favorite is Please, which we’ve just rerecorded for the single.
Playboy Mansion always brings a smile to my face.

adamsgirl says: Adam: You are, arguably, the best dressed man in
rock. How do you do it?

Adam says : That’s definitely arguable if you talk to me other three
mates. I don’t really operate on that level very often but I’m glad
somebody notices that I’m well turned out.

adamsgirl says: Adam: How well do you get on with your bandmates
after a few months on the road?

Adam says : It’s not really a question of months, it’s years at this
stage — 20 years together. Every so often you look at that and go 20
years, it’s like being married. How many people really have
friendships that have survived 20 years. I value it and think it’s an
amazing achievement.

Guybrush says: Adam : Do you feel you’ve toned downed on stage
during the concerts over the years?

Adam says : I certainly have. You get a little wiser. I remember being
very enthusiastic and active — a lot of that came from fighting for our
lives, living hard to mouth. We didn’t know if we’d get to release
another record and every tour and ever performance counted. I was
fueled up on adrenalin. Now the music has become a lot more
important to me — the playing of it. Listening to Larry, supporting
Bono — that’s important. Now my concentration is more on 1-2-3-4
here we go rather than any athletic ambitions I might have.

may says:Adam,what do you want that you don’t have?

Adam says : Gosh, again, one of those things you can think of
something really insightful to say . . .I suppose nowadays I wish I
didn’t have to work nights, but that’s not very rock ‘n’ roll.

POPsickle says: Adam, do you ever plan on writing an

Adam says : No I don’t. I’m not sure if the world would be that
interested in my inner thoughts and feelings and if I was to write
something that’s what it’d be about because I would not write
something that would compromise relationships and loyalties.

Gurt says: ADAM, where do you think U2 will be in 2010?

Adam says : I don’t know. Again it’s something that you think up and
wonder if there’s a time limit — you wonder if you can plan for that
eventuality, whatever that is. I think probably U2 will be making
music and performing in some stage and theatre somewhere. It’s
kind of the only thing we know how to do.

rick says: Adam tell us about your experience in Kansas with W.S:

Adam says : William Burroughs is an amazing man. I don’t really
know that much about him. I’ve read some of his work and I know
he’s got a feisty attitude about some things.He seemed to have a lot
of spirit and a lot of youth and we sat and talked nad he was very
switched on to what was going on. It was an amazing experience
and his subsequent deathmakes it even more precious.

Shades says: Adam…do you feel any sort of competition with the
Rolling Stones new tour?

Adam says : I don’t think we think in terms of competition with other
tours. The Rolling Stones do what they do very well and they have an
amazing history. It’s amazing that at this stage they want to get up on
stage and is a real testament to their friendship. I think it’s about
more than how much they’ll have in their bank account at the end.

salome269 says: adam: how do you feel about bands like spice girls
and hanson taking over the radio waves?

Adam says : There’s always been pop music and pop bands and
every couple of years there’s a new band comes up with a different
sound. I don’t know what’s going to happen to Hanson when their
voices break. I certainly like looking at the Spice Girls. They get
people into record shops and talking about music.

mofo says: Adam,do u ever go sightseeing in the citys that you tour?

Adam says : No. Very very rarely. You end up really seeing the inside
of the hotel and the inside of the gig and usually we have the same
furniture that travels so I don’t think I’ve been going anywhere for the
last year, I’ve been in the same place going backwards and

deseree says: Adam, do you see U2 working with any rap artists,
such as Dr. Dre?

Adam says : Well, I wouldn’t rule out working with Dre. We’re big fans
of his and we’ve met him a couple of times.It’s a question of tempos
‘cuz those guys work at slower tempos. We met up when we were
mastering our album in New York with Aza because we wanted to
get him to a remix of Discotheque at the time but in the end he said
that the speed of this is too fast for rap or hip hop. I think we’re going
to give him a go with If God Would Send His Angels.

adamsgirl says: Adam: Does being on tour tend to make one a less
responsible citizen?

Adam says : Yes, unfortunately. It’s very corrupting. You do kind of
forget the values of the real world because your values tend to reflect
what you’re doing which is the show is the most important thing and
the show happens at roughly the same time every night and there
can’t be a problem that can’t be gotten over. When you get back in
the real world you have to negotiate a little more with the citizens.

salome269 says: Adam: would you rather be invisible or be able to

Adam says : I’d like to be able to fly.

salome269 says: Adam: what do you wish to achieve in the coming

Adam says : I’d like to get to the end of this tour feeling fulfilled from
having accomplished something that has been very hard and has
taken a lot of hard work. I’d like to have my sanity. I’d like to feel
creatively stimulated to kind of go back in there and make another
great record.

Patrick_M says: Would U2 ever release an Anthology-like box-set?

Adam says : Maybe at some point it would be interesting to people. I
was there when some of that first stuff was recorded and I’m not sure
how interseting it is. At the moment I’d prefer that people didn’t get
access to the bottom drawer.

Ai says : In one word, what is popmart to you?

Adam says : It’s the next century.

ariel says: Adam, when you are being interviewed, can you tell the
difference between a journalist who has simply researched your
history and one that is truly a fan?

Adam says : It is a contradiction. People who are truly fans ask
certain kinds of questions that sometimes you haven’t thought about.
A journalist who’s really reserached your history is a lot more
academic in their approach and you tend to respond more

SpanishEyesU2 says: ADAM: Do you think U2’s music is reaching
out to the younger audience?

Adam says : Definitely. It wasn’t so apparent in America and I guess
that’s because a lot of people don’t really like going to stadiums. But
since we’ve come to Europe and are playing general admission
we’ve found we’ve gotten a younger, more aggressive audience
that’s ready to party. Our music has stayed relevant to people who
are just getting turned on to music. If we’d stayed oding what we
were dong on the Joshua Tree I think we weould’ve gotten older
musically. We still have our Joshua Tree fans but we also have other
fans who come at us different musically and every other which way,..

Cambot says: What’s your favorite food?

Adam says : Sushi.

Anne says: Adam would you mind it if the band i’m in played some
U2 cover tunes?

Adam says : Not at all. Maybe she’d be able to figure out what i”m

CyberMoon says: How was the concert tonight?

Adam says : It was amazing. The audience is what the concert’s all
about because we’re the same every night, so for us it’s how the
audience reacts. Concerts this size very often are about what’s
happening in the audience and the music is a catalyst for that to

Gurt says: adam, in the early times (1975…) did you ever think to be
where you are now?

Adam says : Well, back then you had to have blind faith and
absolutely self-belief, which I had in those days. In reality, it’s a
surprise and a wonder to me that we actually have achieved the
things we have achieved and there’s still more to come. I never really
accepted it. Be careful what you set your sights upon because it just
might happen.

from_Chile says: Adam: if you were in my chair, Who would you like
to be asking questions?

Adam says : I guess I’d be interested in asking questions to Tony
Blair, this guy who just got in with the Labour government.
In America, Bill Clinton represents the changing generations. I think
it’s very important coming at the end of this century, people who have
control over our lives are people you’d actually like to sit down and
talk to.

Thanks so much for talking with us, Adam. And thanks to
everyone for joining the chat. Don’t forget to come back to the site
for tour updates, live chats, and live show cybercasts.

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