Episode 214: U2 Pat and Co-Host Murray Valeriano are joined by U2 super fan Erin Gould to discuss the entire career of Dublin's favorite sons... Paul, Dave, Adam and Larry. From August 20, 2015
With your hosts:
Pat welcomes us to the show. This is a restart recording because something screwed up. Murray knows the pain quite well. Today we are joined by a very special guest. He's the creator of the Rock Solid logo as well as one of the artists behind the Facebook artwork, it's Erin Gould! Erin also made a fictional webseries about podcasting called Casters. His favorite filmmaker is Steven Spielberg.
The boys list off their favorite movies. Pat likes One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest, The Graduate, Psycho, and Stripes (even the second half!). Kyle's favorite is The Dark Knight (obviously), which Murray mixes up with Dark Knight Rises. Erin is a transplant from New York City. He was originally from Queens, then he moved to Saudi Arabia for 8 years, then he moved to Ft. Lauderdale, then to L.A., then back to New York, and now back in California. The man is a world traveler. Erin's son also has had an interesting life because he has viral pictures with Chris Evans and Tom Hiddleston (Loki) from the set of The Avengers. He was wearing a Spider-man shirt and a Captain America shield and stumbled onto the set of The Avengers with his mom.
One thing led to another and Erin's son got a picture with Loki while sitting on his shoulders. Then he got a picture with Chris Evans and then the pictures eventually blew up on the internet. Keep in mind that Murray has zero idea what anyone is talking about. Paul Stanley arrives to list off Marvel actors because, well, you know the Starchild and his S's.
"It would be so awesome to have your picture taken with a member of Kiss in full makeup, or having your picture taken with David Lee Roth with hair."
"Or having your picture taken with Paul Stanley and talent."
- Murray, with the line of the episode
The Starchild lists off a few names including Mister Mxyzptlk, who can only go away if you trick him into saying his name backwards. "How do you say this conversation backwards," mutters Murray. Anyway, what's going on with young Kyle? His girlfriend was in the ER last night with a kidney infection, but she's okay. Murray is greatly concerned for her wellbeing. He came to Pat's 4th of July BBQ alone and bonded with the happy couple, while his wife and son went to a parade. Pat hates parades, while parades make Murray cry. There's something about seeing a giant Bart Simpson float that just lets the waterworks flow.
Kidney infections and emotional floats aside, we are here to discuss the career of U2 because they are Erin and Murray's absolute favorite band and Pat loves them too. They are going through the studio albums and playing their favorite songs from each.
When did they become aware/fans of the band? "Never," says Kyle. Yeah, this is gonna be a really fun show for him. Murray most likely listens to Achtung Baby and forward, but his first concert was The Unforgettable Fire tour. What was Kyle's first concert? Neil Diamond and Christopher Cross. And we wonder why he's such a misanthrope. Pat became aware of U2 with "I Will Follow" on MTV, then got into them with War. Erin hated the band in high school, but listened to The Joshua Tree on a school trip and liked it. Then he went back and bought the previous albums.
Murray likes U2 more than his other favorite band The Beatles because The Beatles broke up before he was born, whereas he's seen U2 grow and grow over the course of his life. His Unforgettable Fire show was fifth row, TWENTY BUCKS! Pat's first U2 show was also on that tour. It was the Zoo TV tour for Erin. Before we play some music, Murray has an intro for us:
And that's it for the intro. Murray is no technical wizard, after all. But we love him anyway, dammit, so let's play some music. We start with their debut album, 1980's Boy, produced by Steve Lillywhite. Murray plays his pick called "Out of Control". Kyle likes it, but he hates the early album covers with the shirtless adolescents. "Would you like it better if that boy was on Chris Evans' shoulders?" asks Murray.
Erin plays his pick from the first album called "A Day Without Me". Even on that first album, The Edge was showing his signature guitar sound.
The next album is 1981's October, again produced by Steve Lillywhite. Murray's pick is the opening track "Gloria".
Erin's pick from October is a song called "Rejoice". The album was actually released in October. Murray is digging Adam Clayton's bass-work.
Pat's pick from the album reflects his growing senility. It's called "I Fall Down".
U2's third album is 1983's War, their first classic album and their biggest album at the time. Murray plays his song, the album closer ""40"". At the end of Murray's first concert, U2 closed the show with this song and walked off the stage one by one, with the crowd still singing along. Erin notes that this was the beginning of the band putting in religious themes in their music.
The song that Erin picks from War is a big one, "New Year's Day".
Pat plays another song from War that was a single called "Two Hearts Beat as One". The first three albums are clumped together because of Steve Lillywhite's involvement. Erin has a theory about this. He believes the albums are made in trilogies. There's the Boy to Man trilogy (Boy to War), the Discovery in America trilogy (Unforgettable Fire to Rattle and Hum), then the next three and so on. It's quite interesting to think about.
The band's fourth album, 1984's The Unforgettable Fire, gave the band a new producer in Brian Eno. Murray plays one of his favorite U2 songs ever, "Bad".
It was a very emotional night when Murray saw them at the Forum after U2's longtime tour manager died. They only play "Bad" on special occasions and they certainly played it on that night. Erin and his dad saw Rattle and Hum in the movie theater when it came out and everyone in the audience shut up for "Bad." Erin plays the opening track from the album for his pick, "A Sort of Homecoming".
It's a different, more experimental sound, which is no surprise given Eno is behind the board. Interestingly, the band still hadn't had a top ten hit in America. Erin plays another track, "The Unforgettable Fire" because Murray wanted to hear it. Murray is unashamed to admit that U2 is one of the only bands that can make him cry.
Three years after releasing Unforgettable Fire, U2 put out 1987's The Joshua Tree, another masterpiece. Pat plays U2's first number one single in the US, "With or Without You". Murray hated this song when it first came out, but now he looks forward to hearing it in concert. Pat feels like the album is front-loaded, then tapers off. Murray disagrees immensely; the second half has some of the album's shining moments.
Murray gives an example with his next pick, "In God's Country". The three note that Bono's voice is maturing.
Murray is fed up with Setlist.fm. He couldn't find the setlist from his first U2 concert. Meanwhile Pat finds his concert setlist in ten seconds and reads it off. Oh Murray. Then Kyle finds Murray's setlist. OOOOOOOOOh Murray. Erin takes the throttle and plays his next pick, "Running to Stand Still". It's a very mellow song, which Ted Nugent does not like.
1988's Rattle and Hum, produced by Jimmy Iovine, is a strange album. It's a mixture of studio and live stuff. Pat plays a great song from the album called "Desire".
Erin considers his pick "God Part II" an indication of what was to come. Let's have a Kyle update. He hates this, there can be no doubt, BUT he does not hate this episode as much as the Dire Straits episode. He H-A-T-E-D that episode. Don't tell Christy.
Murray's pick from the album features the late great B.B. King. It's "When Love Comes to Town". Some of the songs on the album were recorded at Sun Studio in Memphis. Erin once took a tour of the place and afterwards met a sound engineer, who took Erin to see the soundbooth. Erin mentioned he was a big U2 fan, and the engineer gave him two shirtsleeves that Larry Mullen Jr. had cut off his shirt years ago. Maybe they are Larry Mullen Jr.'s shirtsleeves, or maybe they're leftover cloth from his kid's first grade play. Who knows. Murray closes the 80s with a clip of Bono from the live album Live from Point Depot. Bono makes an announcement about the band going away. They did go away, if only to work on their new album.
Achtung Baby would become the most difficult album to record for the band. The band couldn't find a sound or direction; they almost broke up. Soon they were jamming in Berlin and, oh look, they came across "One" and "Mysterious Ways." Achtung Baby is an album that Pat came to later on. Murray plays his pick from the album called "Ultraviolet (Light My Way)".
Erin plays a song that inspired Bono's alternate stage persona called "The Fly".
By this point U2 is taking the world by storm. Murray notes that when he saw them on the Zoo TV Tour, they would play six or seven songs from Achtung Baby first before even touching a previous album. The confidence in that decision. Pat plays his song called "Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses". The song barely charted and the band admitted that they never got it the way they wanted it.
The eight album in U2's canon is 1993's Zooropa, with The Edge, Brian Eno, and Flood producing. It was an album heavily influenced by the Zoo TV tour. Murray was going to play "The Wanderer" with Johnny Cash on lead vocals, but the silly goose forgot to put it in his song list. Instead Murray plays the title track, "Zooropa". Murray picked the live version.
Erin's pick from Zooropa is his favorite U2 song, "Stay (Faraway, So Close!)". Erin managed to see the band on the last Zooropa show in Dublin.
Pat's pick is an interesting one because it features The Edge on lead vocals. The song is called "Numb". Update on Kyle: He's huddled in the corner like a prisoner-of-war. He would have talked looooong ago. There's brief album cover talk due to Zooropa's childlike drawing of a cover. Pat hates Van Halen's 1984 album cover, while Murray is unnerved by the naked siamese twins on Balance.
The final album of the 90s for U2 was 1997's Pop. Pat can't really get into it, while Erin and Murray love it. Erin remembers when Matt Belknap thought of U2 as being the Village People when he thought of this album, but Erin states this isn't true. Pat does like this song from the album, "Staring at the Sun". Erin describes it as a response to the Britpop explosion with Oasis, Blur, and other such bands. The album wasn't a big hit and was quite dancey.
The 90s was quite experimental for the band, as they also released an album under the pseudonym Passengers called Original Soundtracks 1 that was songs for fake movie soundtracks. They also did a song for Batman Forever. Erin's pick from Pop is a song called "Gone". He thinks that Pop is U2's most punk rock album ever because there's a lot of anti-God, anti-commercialism sentiment.
Murray's pick from Pop is a song called "Do You Feel Loved".
How does Pop rank with U2 fans? It depends on who you ask. There are people who hate it, people who love it, and people who feel like it is a secret album that you aren't supposed to love, but do.
Entering the 2000s, the band released Pat's favorite U2 album, All That You Can't Leave Behind. He plays the triumphant opening track "Beautiful Day". Murray notes that this tour was his favorite.
Murray plays a song from the album called "In a Little While". The band was working on the song, but couldn't get the right vocals. After a heavy night of drinking, Bono slunked into the recording booth and sang the song. They eventually played it for Joey Ramone when he was on his deathbed.
The album came out when Erin moved back to New York, so his next pick "New York" is quite fitting. He listened to the song while standing on top of the Empire State Building.
Between the first and second legs of the tour, 9/11 happened. The band listed off the names of the people who died during their gig at the Super Bowl, which was an incredibly powerful moment. ATYCLB is the first album that Erin didn't care for because they leaked the song list before it came out, then afterwards rearranged the order of the songs for the official release. But there are songs he loves on it, though.
Four years later, the band release 2004's How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. At this point, the band is firmly back on top. They even have their own iPod, for Pete's sake! There are a lot of producers on the album. It's also the only U2 album that Kyle owns because someone gave it to him. Word to the wise: He is not a fan of the back half of the album. Pat plays his song from the album, "Miracle Drug".
Erin likes this album about the same as ATYCLB. He plays his pick, "Love and Peace or Else".
"I love this album."
"Do you like 'Origin of the Species,' that piece of shit."
- Kyle, with a very close runner-up for line of the episode. Trust me, the way he said it. Hoo boy.
The Vertigo Tour was Pat's first U2 show since Unforgettable Fire. It was also Murray's brother's first U2 show. Pat does a brief Bono impression which either sounds like Paul McCartney or Quint from Jaws. This was the last tour Erin has seen. He was with his pregnant wife. The lights went down, and Erin braced for impact from the nearby swelling crowd. The impact never came, thanks to a very large man who held them back. Later on the show, Erin noticed that his son was kicking in the womb in time with Larry.
While Pat urges Erin to see U2, Murray plays his pick from Atomic Bomb. It's a leaked track that never made it on the album called "Mercy". Around this time the band also did a few tracks for a compilation album with Rick Rubin.
Erin tells his story about meeting Bono. He was working at the U.N. in New York where Bono was giving a speech. Erin got to meet him, take a picture, and that was supposed to be it. Then a little later, Erin ran into Bono again, this time with Bob Geldof.
Erin got Bono and Geldof's autographs, then walked away. THEN, Erin saw that Bono was alone and walked up to him again. They chatted for a bit about when new U2 music is coming out. Erin told Bono that if U2 released a new single, he would either give him a dollar or one of his wife's cookies. Bono laughed. He made Bono laugh!
Erin eventually got his wish and U2 put out a new album, No Line on the Horizon, in 2009. Pat listened to the album all day long while painting his house. The three agree that, while the songs are good, it doesn't work as an album. It peters out as it goes, and the album has the only U2 song that Erin skips, "White as Snow."
Erin plays the title track, "No Line on the Horizon". This tour, the 360 tour, was massive. Murray saw them at the Rose Bowl with 100,000 people.
Murray plays his pick from the album, "Magnificent".
Pat plays his pick, "Moment of Surrender". Again, these are good songs, but they don't work as an album.
After another five years, 2014 marked the release of the band's thirteenth and most recent studio album, Songs of Innocence. Remember, it wasn't given away for free. U2 sold it to Apple for a SHITLOAD of money. All three really like the album. Pat likes the download cover better than the physical release cover (with a shirtless Larry Mullen Jr. low-hugging his also shirtless son). Murray agrees, but he doesn't buy physical albums anymore so why bother. Pat told Murray about the album coming out after Murray finished surfing. Typical Murray, it took him half an hour to actually find the damn thing.
It's a very cohesive album and Murray was excited to hear it live. Erin plays his song called "Cedarwood Road". What does Kyle think now? He likes the music, he just doesn't like Bono's ethereal omnipotent lyrical bullshit. I think that's as good as we're gonna get, folks.
Pat's pick is a cool song called "Raised by Wolves".
As a gift to Murray, Pat printed out the lyrics to "Every Breaking Wave" and had them nicely framed. Awwwwwwww. Murray thanks Pat by not playing that song; instead he plays "Song for Someone". This is the longest episode ever, by the way. Longer than the Tom Petty episode with Geoff Tate, longer than the Best of 2014 episode, even longer than the Kiss episode with Jimmy Pardo. Should Pat trim it down? I imagine Kyle would want him to trim it ALL down.
Thank you very much for Erin Gould for being here and laying his U2 fandom on the table. You can find him on Twitter @iameringould. We end with the question of favorite U2 album: Achtung Baby and Songs of Innocence for Murray, Achtung Baby and Pop for Erin, and All That You Can't Leave Behind for Pat.
Murray takes us out with a live version of "Where the Streets Have No Name" from The Joshua Tree.