Every month we put a U2 fan in the spotlights, the fan of the month July of 2022 is user marik. Read along for the interview we had with this U2 fan.
"I met Bono before my first ever show as well. It was so meaningful to me, that I've spent the next 20yrs of my life dedicated to chasing that feeling and following this band for 68 concerts all over the globe. My life has been largely defined by my travels to see this band, and I still feel that rush every time I see them again. "
Tell us something about yourself, who are you and what do you do for a living?
First and foremost, I'm a proud GirlDad of my 2 daughters aged 10 and 5. They are the centre of my life, and everything revolves outwards from there for me. I just turned the big 4-0, and live and work as a Firefighter in Edmonton- Canada. Here we have what must be one of the widest temperature swings. From summer to winter we get anywhere from +35 degrees to -35 degrees Celsius (that's 91 to -31 F, if I did the conversion correctly). So that makes my job quite challenging, and interesting to say the least. It's a very rewarding job, and I was drawn to it as my own little way in helping make a difference in this world.
How did you become a fan of U2, tell us how it happened?
I discovered U2 at age 16 in high school, when I flipped thru a friend's older sister's Cd collection looking for songs to make a mixtape. I ended up selecting 4-5 songs off of Pop and Zooropa (Babyface, Numb, Lemon, If God Will Send His Angeles, Playboy Mansion), and then soon noticed the Sweetest Thing music video getting massive play on MuchMusic (Canada's MTV channel). I have quite an obsessive personality, even to this day, so from that I got hooked on this band and dived deep into quickly collecting every album and single I could find on CD. I started using various U2 songs in high school projects, and for a Creative Writing assignment, even selected Bono as my topic and wrote a 20page biography on him. I was reading every book on them I could find, looking at every picture, soaking in the songs and lyrics. I was at such an impressionable age, discovering who I was, what I valued, and what I thought about the world, that U2/Bono entering my life at this stage without a doubt was the defining factor in who I became and still am to this day.
You have seen U2 many times over the years. Can you tell us about your first U2 show?
With my fandom being born in 1998, I realized I had just missed out on the PopMart tour by a few months, and my obsession grew and grew as I waited 4 yrs for my first chance to see them live. 2001 was probably the most defining year of my life. Fell in love for the first time, away from home at University, bought my first guitar, and had my mind blown wide open by what a live music experience could feel like -at the Calgary Elevation shows in April of that year. To top it off, I actually met Bono before my first ever show as well. It was so meaningful to me, that I've spent the next 20yrs of my life dedicated to chasing that feeling and following this band for 68 concerts all over the globe. My life has been largely defined by my travels to see this band, and I still feel that rush every time I see them again.
What has been your favorite tour and why?
I am a proponent of believing that one's entry point to them, will always hold a special place. So for me, I cherish the Elevation tour as perhaps my favorite. I do think we will look back in hindsight at the 2015-2019 period as a hey-day of touring we were very fortunate to have. Some of my stand out live moment memories are Out of Control with Bono kicking his cup of water all over us in the heart, acoustic Please at the post-9/11 Elevation shows, attending the City of Blinding Lights music video shoot in Vancouver, the week of shows in Toronto 2005 and the surprise of the Pop Encore, Bad at my first Dublin shows in 2009 at Croke, the massive rain storm that Montreal 2011 ended with, my first opening night for I+E in Vancouver, the filming video crew asking me before the San Diego 2017 show to hold up a flag at a specific part of show (wonder if that shot will make the DVD!), hearing Wild Horses at the Tulsa opener in 2018, the Berlin Suite of songs at Dublin 2018 and specifically the surprise of Landlady (my fav from that album).
What is your favorite band member? Has this changed over time?
I've been fortune enough to meet every band member, and always had positive experiences with all of them. I always say I love Bono - not just the musician, but the man, and how he lives his life. And I could proudly say that about all 4 of them. They've influenced me on so many levels, and as I grow and change thru life, I always find new elements of their music that speak to me. Whether it was those impressionable years as a teen finding my identity, becoming socially conscious and forming my views about the world, politics and religion, inspiring me to make a positive difference in the world via my career, falling in love, becoming a father, enduring a martial breakdown. Happiness to Heartache. There's always something different in the music that speaks to me thru life's events. And I look forward to keep finding strength in the songs as I go thru my future life stages- children eventually blossoming out into the world, losing my own parents one day, and inevitably one day face my own mortality. This is a band for life.
In your opinion, what has been U2's defining moment and why?
I often entertain myself with questions like, which one tour do I wish I had seen? It always comes down to ZooTv vs PopMart. And although I see ZooTv as their shining moment and definitive of the live show, I sometimes lean towards PopMart because I am such a Pop lover and it features more songs that I have never seen live before (MOFO, and that full band performance of Please, are the two I drool over the most!). As for actual individual shows that I wish I could time-travel back to see- it comes down to NYE at the Point Depot, Slane 2001, or maybe the NYC MSG shows in 2001. Although my dream would be to see current U2 in a small club playing early songs like 11 O Clock and Out Of Control.
What does your U2 collection look like? What kind of stuff do you have and how is it organised?
My U2 collection is obsessive as well. I have over 200 U2 t-shirts (some never even worn yet), a few hundred vinyl and Cd's that cover every release in a least one version. I have a man-cave covered with framed posters, and a separate U2 room for all the collectables like Bono sunglasses, Joshua Tree harmonica, Achtung Baby condoms, Clay Calloway figures, etc.
What do you expect from U2's next album with new songs? Do you think it will be their last?
I'm really looking forward to the memoir book and the 40 re-worked songs. It interests me what they did with these, and I'm thankful for every release at this stage of their career. My opinion is that they owe us nothing at this point, they deserve to enjoy the lives they've earned, and should only keep working if they are enjoying it. And with rumblings of a new album in 2023, it sounds like they are. So I'm ready for what's next.
How different is U2 compared to other artists that you like?
In addition to U2, I have a handful of other bands I've enjoyed over the years. I taught myself guitar to Blink 182 songs and still love their summertime riffs and juvenile sense of humor. I followed Tom Delonge to his other band Angels & Airwaves, and have even talked to him about how much U2 influences them. For those that want to hear their most obvious U2 influences I would recommend their songs The Adventure, Heaven, Surrender, or Tunnels (epic intros, inspirational lyrics, delay guitar).
What are your hobbies and interests away from U2, musical or otherwise?
This summer I'm looking forward to seeing Machine Gun Kelly with my 10yr old for her first ever concert. She can sing all his songs, and wants to wear his t-shirts, so I think she inherited a bit of her daddy's obsessive nature. I can't wait to see her eyes blown wide open by a big arena show. It'll be a good warm-up till the day I can take her to see U2 with me. They both loved Sing 2 and luck for me I now regularly hear them singing "Your soooongs saved my life" and "I stiiiiiilllll havent found what I'm loooooking for".
Thanks for this interview marik!
Note: Our crew members randomly pick fans of the month, you can't sign up for it.
"I took off my glasses and tried to be you know sincere folks, that's when people go I don't like that guy or trust him. I am not so sure if we are a rock'n'roll band anymore, but whatever we turned into, it would be able to take anything it wants to."
- Bono, 1993
did you know
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For started out as something completely different, a jam called "Under The Weather Girls". U2 kept the drums for the song it ended up as.