Adam Clayton Q&A: ‘U2 Innocence and Experience’
“That was a very, very scary time. It was a terrible thing to happen in Paris, which is a great, hospitable city,” says U2 bassist Adam Clayton as we chat via webcam (watch above) about the terrorist attack last November that postponed the final show of the band’s tour for several weeks. That concert — “Innocence and Experience Live in Paris” — was filmed for HBO and is eligible at the Emmys for Best Variety Special.
As Clayton explains, “Immediately after the attacks, Paris closed down for a week of mourning. Eventually we went back to the mayor’s department and said we’d really like to try and do this show this year. We’d like to reschedule it for within a month of when we were supposed to do it. And the mayor was really keen that we put on the show and it was seen that Paris was back open for business again.”
U2 has been one of the most popular bands worldwide since the early 1980s with all four original members — Clayton, Bono, The Edge, and Larry Mullen, Jr. — still at it. Clayton attributes part of that staying power to the fact they were friends as teens in their native Ireland before they joined together professionally. Because they began so early, they are among the youngest-ever inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In the past three decades, they have also become the most rewarded band at the Grammys with a record 22 wins from a staggering 47 nominations.
Clayton recalls, “My most significant awards show memory is the Grammys for ‘The Joshua Tree'” in 1988. They prevailed twice that night for Album of the Year and Rock Performance by a Duo or Group. He adds, “We were still very young. We were 27 and it was our fifth album. That was when we had the cover of Time magazine. It was when music changed around that time. A lot of new bands were replacing the hair bands of the day; that soft rock metal sound had been a staple of American radio for so long. There was a sea change of bands like us and INXS being played on the radio.”
In addition, U2 has won two Golden Globe for songs in films: “The Hands That Built America” from “Gangs of New York” (2002) and “Ordinary Love” from “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” (2013). Both tunes also went on to compete at the Oscars but lost to “Lose Yourself” from “8 Mile” and “Let It Go” from “Frozen,” respectively. Clayton predicts they have more movie songs in their future and would like to be back at the Academy Awards.