w ' Americans took an awful long time to accept. because it was out of focus. which was great for us. because everybody was putting out polished stuff and our record was nearly impressionistic'. The main architects responsible for that change were Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno. The latter. former Roxy Music synthesiser doodler and deviser of ‘Ambient‘ music. had origially turned them down. a decision (‘hris Blackwell was quite relieved about.
‘I thought it was about time they worked with a commercial producer. Eno had worked on some brilliant records. but they had never sold millions. However. in hindsight. I understand why they wanted to work with him so much. 'l‘hey need his intelligence and his approach.‘
On July 13 1985. [52 appeared before the largest audience ever. at Live Aid. where Bono once more let his impetuosity get the better of him and dragged two spectators out of the first rows to hug and dance with them. That spontaneous gesture became one of the most lasting images of Live Aid. but the singer thought he'd ‘made a terrible mistake. I looked like I was coming down from my pedestal. Seeing it again on tape I thought I was really ridiculous.’
The following week the whole L'Z discography was back in the top 100. [12‘s success has been incredible.
Not in the sense of magnitude (though that as well). but in the way they‘ve broken all the rules. The Beatles had to get matching suits and clean up their act. Most groups have to rely on a big-name producer. Not so L12; they‘ve succeeded despite themselves. doing it their way. with the hippy naivcte of reaching out to touch their audience. believing that alone would suffice. And it has. People respond to their genuine openness.
Their latest album. T/tt’Jm‘huu Tree. has shot them up to the top rank ofstardom. ‘With Dr Without You' has already brightened up our charts. which pleases Bono no end. ‘I love the idea that we can put on the airwaves something a bit more subversive than the average muzak put out by most of the stations. I wanted to write a song about how violent love can get. I was influenced rather a lot by Scott Walker. and I wanted to write something as tragic as some of this stuff.’
It is the ease with which they drop in a snatch of Bob Marley's ‘Exodus‘ during ‘1 Still Haven‘t Found What I‘m Looking For” which provides definite proofof the musical growth ofthe outfit.
The last title also confirms that they are still moving on. As Bono says. ‘Just because I believe in (iod doesn‘t mean I have the solution to every problem. In fact the more I go on. the more questions I have. Maybe it‘s just as well.‘
UZ appear u! the SIX ‘( '. Glasgow on 30 J uly and .l'lurruyﬁdd. Edinburgh on I August.
The List 2-1 July — (1 August 5