Every month we put an U2 fan in the spotlights, the fan of the month September 2009 is user Stu. Stu is most familiar here for making some wonderful front and back covers for almost every show that has passed now. Want to know more of him and how he can make such beautiful things? Read along!
Tell us something more about yourself, who are you and what do you do for a living?
Well, where do i start? My name is Stu, not just my user name but my actual name, as most would know, i'm an Aussie, born & bred in Melbourne, i'm 39 [an old fart], am currently living about an hour from the city in Mornington where i live with my lovely better half [Naomi], dog [Timo] & cat [Icarus], Timo was named after one of my favourte DJ's Timo Maas & Icarus has no tail, and no, i didn't swing it from it's tail!.
I am currently working as a window cleaner, none of that high rise shit, i am shit scared of heights and like my feet firmly planted on the ground, and try & do a bit of painting in my spare time, i have a portrait of bono i drew up and want to paint it on a large canvas one day [when i pull my finger out basically].
How did you become a fan of U2, tell us how it happened?
I was about 13 or 14, 1983'ish, i had a school mate who had this copy of a record, i have always been into music in a big way, started off with Abba as a 7 or 8 year old, then went onto Kiss, yes from one extreme to another, had all the posters on the wall etc etc, then i branched out somewhat as i grew into my teens, but this mate had a copy of Under A Blood Red Sky on vinyl, i thought it was the best thing, i also watched alot of music TV and radio, a music show on tv used to air late at night, they played clips from the Red Rocks video and i just had to tape what i could on VHS, from that time, i was hooked as a U2 fan.
I also remember asking the parents...oops i mean Father Christmas for a copy of their new album "The Unforgattable Fire", and sure enough, i found a copy stashed away in the parents wardrobe safe & sound, but not being able to wait until Christmas Day [which is also my Birthday], i waited for the folks to go out, and open up this new record, play on the old mans Hi Fi, and taped a copy on cassette, they were none the wiser, and i fell in love with this new record, and to this day, is one of my favourite U2 records, Homecoming, Bad & Wire being my favorite tracks.
Did you ever have a special U2 experience like a live concert? Can you tell us something about it?
I have been to 4 U2 concerts, the ZooTv [Zoomerang] concert at the MCG, awesome just AWESOME concert, the massive stage etc, but the sound was terrible, being an open area with massive grand stands, being on the turf, the sound just bounced all over the shop, was a great experience though, still have the t-shirt, the Popmart gig at VFL Park [Waverley], i loved it, went with my current better half & a mate, took us something like 2 hours to get out of the car park afterwards, if anyone went to an Aussie rules football game there, the worst car park of all time.
Then the big one, Vertigo at the Telstra Dome, first of all, lining up all night for tickets near where we live, then getting an appartment at Docklands right near the Dome itself, once again, with Naomi, my same mate & his new squeeze, we got there on Thursday morning, checked into the appartment, went for a walk to see if there was any info regarding the concert, there were 4 or 5 people already lining up, we looked at one another, and said SHIT, quickly got out stuff together and also lined up, we planned to do shift work in the queue.
Anyway, 33 hours later, the gates open up, and we get front row, and the concert, best experience ever! Was even given one of the song lists used by the film crew that filmed crowd shots for the U2-3D film, the next night we rocked up about 30 minutes before U2 came on stage, and got close enough, was just the best ever weekend.
What anticipation do you have for the 360 Tour in Australia?
Having seen footage on Youtube, and downloaded the audio bootlegs, i pretty much know what to expect, will it come down to Australia? I bloody well hope so, i'd imagine it being at the Telstra Dome now known as Edihad Stadium with the roof open, in fact this time around if things goto plan, i'm thinking of trying to get to most if not all gigs in Australia, i'm saving my biccies.
What has it been like watching/listening to the new tour knowing you have so long to wait to see to and that it might not even happen at all?
It's been great, i am one of those people that has to know whats going on, has to listen & watch whatever i can, i just cannot wait, if it doesn't happen at all, i'd be very disapponted, but not much i can do about it, we didn't get the Elevation Tour down Under, so i'm not holding my breathe in the economical times we are experiencing.
In a house fire, which one of your U2 items would you save?
Well, first i'd make sure the miss's was ok and my pets, just thought i'd get the priorities right..lol, but as for U2 items, i'd try & grab everything, if one thing though, maybe my Vertigo Tour photo album i made up from the Melbourne concerts, everything else is replaceable and my mate has copies of the 18th playlist, i can get more copies.
What motivated you to create covers (or do designs) in the first place?
Having always been into design, did a Visual Merchandising course for 2 years as a 17/18 year old, always been pretty creative i guess, i got a copy of photoshop one time, and just started playing around with it, i make up alot of cd's / dvd's myself, so i have made a few covers here & there, i also started making up bootleg covers for an INXS forum, another one of my favourite bands, and one of my mates Jay, who is also a U2Starter, making up a shitload of covers for him, i got dvd boots in return, a bit of a win/.win situation.
As for the covers i have made up for this tour, i never really thought, i'll make up a cover for each & every concert, but i did the first one, the secong, third etc etc, and just kept on going, i just love making them up, alot of people get to print them out and use my covers, which is an ultra cool feeling, and so many people on here have been very kind in thanking and being very respectful, which is also a very good feeling, it's also something i like to do in return, alot of people do alot of work to keep this site going, the people that tape the concerts, upload them etc etc, i'm just doing my bit, there are quite a few that also make up great covers, i see someone making up a really cool cover, it inspires me to keep up the quality.
What sorts of programs do you use to create the designs?
What does your U2 collection look like? What kind of stuff do you have and how is it organised?
My U2 collection takes up one full bookshelf with 6 shelves, all the cd albums & re-issues, all dvd's & vhs videos released, most cd singles from Desire - Boots, including cd 1 & 2 of what was released here in Australia, all vinyl albums from Boy - Rattle & Hum, 12" singles from Two Hearts - Mysterious Ways, about 12 or so books & 12 or so magazines with either U2 on the cover. 3 U2-3D posters, Vertigo Tour poster, key ring, cap, Popmart & Vertigo Tour programs, NLOTH & JT box sets and around 200 audio boots & 30 or so dvd's, a few t-shirts as well.
What are your hobbies and interests away from U2, musical or otherwise?
Always been into music as i earlier stated, used to always record everything on VHS, the weekly top 40 on radio etc etc, i also used to do some radio work, first at school over the PA system during our lunch break, then a community radio station down the coast in Victoria for 4 years or so, one of my mates i did that with, we worked as mobile DJ's on & off for 6 or 7 years making a few extra bucks on a Saturday night, also a year or so DJ'ing in a Melbourne Nightclub [Salon Kitty] beatmixing the latest dance tracks, that was pretty cool, and still own 4 crates of 12" singles, 2000 or so cd singles & my two Technics 1200 turntables..
I also love my sport, played cricket for 25 seasons or so from the age of 7, and love my AFL [Aussies Rules Football], am a massive Footscray [Western Bulldogs] member & supporter, i go most weeks and watch my team play at the same venue U2 strutted their stuff, the Telstra Dome [Edihad Stadium], we are just about to play finals and hopefully win our first Premiership since 1954 [waaaaay before i was born].
Thanks for this interview Stu!
Note: Our crew members randomly pick fans of the month, you can't sign up for it.