Wednesday, October 01, 2008

5 questions for Matt McGee re: U2 Diary

Matt McGee,
(not to be confused with "Where the Hell is Matt"),
is mastermind of the amazing U2 site, @u2.
@U2 on Twitter
@U2 on Facebook
@U2 on Flickr
@U2 on YouTube

His upcoming book, "U2 Diary," will be amazing as well:

"U2 are the biggest band in the world and this diary is the single most
comprehensive resource that details allHome of the relevant day-to-day events that
have shaped U2 into the band
it is today. It provides the important stories
behind the 'who, what, when and where' including insights about key moments in
U2s development that have never been told before"
-Amazon Product

So in an act of shameless promotion for the book; I took Matt up on his offer to any blogger of a five question interview with him. Heck, I would have done this even if I wasn't elgible for a prize)...I bet the same is true of Beth (see her helpful interview here).

Here you go below; thanks to Matt for his graciousness. Since "what the church can learn from U2" is one of the stated purposes of this blog/our church/my life, how could I not ask #4...but I am sure you will enjoy the other answers as well..

Enjoy the interview, conduct one yourself if still time, and head on over and buy the book! You'll also enjoy the book's blog here, its FAQ page here...and of course check out, which we have linked to and loved since day one of this heteroclite site.

1) Tell us about your favorite U2 concert moment.

Matt: You mean, like, a single moment at a single concert? Did I have to be at the show? Hmmmmm. Okay, if I had to be at the show, I'd say it was  the October 3, 2005, show in Boston. I was there with my son, who was about to turn 8 years old and was at his first U2 show. It was emotional enough just to be able to share this amazing experience and part of my life with him. But when U2 started doing "Sometimes You  Can't Make It On Your Own," I pretty much lost it. That song kills me because my dad has had his share of health scares, and I cherish every
day he's still around. So to hear that song, think about my dad, and have my son with me ... it was one of those corny "circle of life" things.

2)In what ways do you feel U2 is most often misunderstood/

Matt: I've never met any of the band members personally, so this is only what I understand based on having interviewed many people in theirimmediate circle and people who have worked closely with them ... but I'd say the fact that they're normal, humble people. For example, one of the people I interviewed during the research is a guy named Shane Fontayne. He was the guitarist with Lone Justice in 1987, and also played in the band for the MusiCares tribute to Bono in
2003. He described the band as the most down-to-earth, approachable, normal people you'd ever meet in 1987 ... and said Bono and Edge hadn't changed a bit when they met at the MusiCares event.

Same story from Steve Reynolds of World Vision; I traded a few emails with him. He's the guy who met Bono and Ali in 1985 and gave them their assignment in Ethiopia. Then he didn't see Bono again until the"Heart of America" tour in 2002, and said nothing had changed -- same normal guy, big heart, etc.

So the answer to your question is that I think Bono can be such a prat sometimes -- such a larger than life character when a camera is stuck in his face -- that it masks the normalcy underneath.

3)What was the biggest surprise in your research?

Matt: How much I didn't know about the band. I even started a category on the blog called "The Things You Learn" to keep track of all the fun discoveries, big and small, that happened while I was researching and writing.
4)What can the church learn from U2?

Matt: Oh, goodness. I don't know that I'm qualified to take a stab at something like that. How about this: That "we're one, but not the same" and "we get to carry each other." But really, I'm blessed to be
part of a wonderful church in my hometown that, though they certainly don't think in terms of learning anything from a rock band, has that"we're one / carry each other" attitude in the community and world
around us.

5)Name and comment on some U2 songs that to you are deeply spiritual/prayer..especially those not as obviously so ("40," "Yahweh" etc)

Matt: I understand and agree with Bono when he talks about God walking in the room when they play "Streets" in concert. There's no song that moves me and touches me like that one, and it's very reminiscent of what a moving spiritual moment is like in my life. "Walk On" also does it for me, especially the live version from the 2002 Grammys when Kirk Franklin's choir sings the "hallelujahs" at

the end. "The Wanderer" gets me sometimes, because it reminds me of my flaws. And for reasons
I haven't explored, "Original of the Species" hits real close to my heart and soul ... something related to my wife and six-year-old daughter, I think.


  1. Nice one! I like that you didn't just ask about the book, but about Matt's own experience of fandom.
    It's fun to read everyone's interviews--I found yours through Beth's site. If you want to check out mine, it's at my Jeremiah's Aunt blog.

  2. Angela


    What a great idea Matt had, huh?

    I am fan of yours, keep up the good work



Hey, thanks for engaging the conversation!