A little late on the uptake on this, I know, but I just read David Fricke’s excellent/interesting interview with Jimmy Iovine in the April 11, 2012 issue of Rolling Stone. It was good, and a portion was about his work with U2, but one question and response in particular made me sort of laugh. (Out loud. On a plane. Where everyone else was sleeping. But whatev.)
As the head of their record company, what was your opinion of U2′s last album, “No Line on the Horizon”?
Jimmy Iovine: It wasn’t finished. The way they record — they don’t go, “OK, we have eight songs. Now we’re up to the ninth.” Forget it. The end of one song is the hook in the next one. The Edge comes in upside down, at the last minute. Bono is in five studios. [Shrugs] They didn’t finish it.
The reason the above made me laugh is just because:
A) we’ve already used the “it was not finished” excuse for POP.
B) I thought Bono was going with the “we put out a really difficult record”, oh yeah we so art house baby, excuse.
and… C) how in the eff can these dudes not finish records in five-year time spans?
also… D) I guess it’s mostly funny because it’s maybe true. I ain’t gonna pretend I know more about U2 than Jimmy Iovine does.
But…. was the album really not finished? Or was it too finished? Hmmm.
A couple of other questions and answers from the Iovine article:
Did U2′s 360 Tour mark the end of something for them — or rock in general? How do you get any bigger than that?
Iovine: It’s almost as if you can’t build certain types of bridges anymore, because that labor is gone and that kind of steel is not there. I don’t know how you build a U2 again, because of all of the things that came together then: punk, the club scene, CDs.
But those guys are the most resourceful in rock. U2 have an extraordinary future. They have been through everything and still want it more than most bands. They’re current, and they care. They’ll easily be doing this as long as the Stones. Mick and Keith created incredible stuff together, but the whole world knows their dynamic affected their writing. Bono and Edge’s dynamic has not fallen apart. They finish a three-year tour. They go on vacation, and their houses are next door to each other. I mean, you can barely do that with your wife.
Have you talked with them about the next U2 record?
Iovine: That’s all we talk about.
What have you told them?
Iovine: Don’t book a tour till the album’s done. I know that sounds simple, right? But there’s nothing else they’re missing.