.

U2's Call to Disarm

The Edge explains Elevation Tour footage

July 3, 2001 12:00 AM ET

On their recently wrapped tour, U2 used their nightly podium to powerfully address the issue of gun control. During their performance of The Joshua Tree's "Bullet the Blue Sky," the band screened a disturbing video montage created by artist Catherine Owens that included images of victims of gun violence and children toting firearms.

"The song needed something that would contemporize it," says the Edge. "We're treading a very fine line between being artists and wanting to lecture Americans about issues that are important. It's basically turning the mirror on the audience."

During their June 21st performance at the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey, Bono stood at the end of the heart-shaped catwalk, illuminated only by the flashlight he held in his hand. At the song's climax, Bono turned the flashlight toward his face as he repeated, "What's my name? Mark Chapman!" over and over again, referring to John Lennon's assassin.

In the past twenty-one years, 676,000 Americans have died as a result of gun violence - a total higher than the death tally from the Vietnam War. "It's so surprising to people who come from Europe and anyone who's come from Ireland that in the U.S. guns are so available," says the Edge. "It has always mystified us."

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

prev
Music Main Next
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.

X

We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“American Girl”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

More Song Stories entries »
 
www.expandtheroom.com