Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Killing Bono


My Uncle Brian gave me Neil McCormick's book for Christmas and I'm surprised it took me this long to finish it, since I never wanted to put it down.

The autobiography is startling, to say the least. McCormick went to high school with all four members of U2 and watched them go from a lousy cover group playing in the youth center to the greatest band of our generation. Trouble is, Neil was in a band too.

Usually these memoirs have a clear turning point. That moment where the reader goes, "You moron! You're blowing everything! You deserve to fail!" That's what VH1's Behind the Music is based on; Schadenfreude. We see it coming a mile away and we know down deep in our hearts that we'll never make the same mistake. Because we're so much smarter than the author.

This book has none of that. Throughout the story, we see the sacrifices, dedication and strategy Neil puts into a dream that won't come true. Drugs don't take him down. Women don't distract him. And, as he shows on his website, he doesn't suffer from a lack of talent. His only problem was a fatal case of wrong place, wrong time. And to top it all off, he's had to watch his friends become not only successful in his field, but more successful than any musician in the history of Ireland.

I look at my writing career and I recall getting published six months out of college, writing five comics, four magazine articles and a host of greeting cards which saw print, a screenplay showcased at a film festival, a long career in advertising, and more projects going now than ever. Musically, I've played CBGB's twice. Hell, this blog is more popular than my last band's website.

But that doesn't matter. You should play music because you love it, not because you expect something from it. Music is a fragile, fickle thing, and nothing can make it collapse faster than pressure. It's probably why so few bands last. The moment is you force music to do your bidding, you strangle the life out of it. When I was 15, music was the only thing that got me out of my room. It gave me an my identity in high school and carried me through college all the way to my mid 20's. Some of the happiest moments of my life have been with a guitar in my hand. What more could I possibly ask of it than that?

4 comments:

malo vox said...

Bono needs to shut the fuck up. How about spreading some of the 90 mil you made last year into artist development. Change the world,start by changing a video. let's try one without your giant ugly face two inches from the camera. shupshun!

The wife said...

Rock on.

I know you won't be Keith Richard's for the World when you are 60....but when I am 60, you will be mine. :)

cromely said...

I found life got easier once I realized the world isn't fair. And it never was. And it's not supposed to be. Luck happens when preparation meets opportunity, but sometimes is never meant to be. Does fate really interfere in these matters, or is it a rol of the dice? Are we destined to travel a path and become a Jedi Knight, or are we destined to avoid a fight with a Norsican and become a lowly engineer?

How often is the choice about the red pill or the blue pill? Or when do we choose to follow the path of Admiral Cain or Commander Adama?

I suppose the path really is about trying to find the passion and live it. Maybe not live on it, but to live it.

I'm not really sure what that means so I'll go to be now.

Jon Clarke said...

Wow, Bill. You took a post about something cool and immediately turned it nerdy.

Thanks!