Now look. I have no idea if this is true. But based on everything I’ve ever heard about Bono, or experienced first-hand myself, it sure has the ring of truth, doesn’t it? Remember, it’s U2′s management who were going around complaining about digital music sales and how Apple was getting rich and the artists were getting shafted. Our response, which I think was extremely fair, was that artists should not expect to make any money from their recorded music — that money should go to us, since we’re the ones doing all the heavy lifting, running the store, buying the servers, paying for the bandwidth. Especially in the case of “legacy” acts where they’ve already made money on the vinyl and tape and CD versions of their albums. When I meet with those guys I have a hard time not going totally ballistic. Because, like, what the hell is wrong with you people? You’ve already been paid three times. And now you want more? You musicians have spent decades exploiting distributors and taking advantage of record companies and treating everyone around you like shit. Well, those days are over. This time around the businesspeople aren’t going to sit here and be star-fucked by your rockstar aura. No. This time time we’re going to get paid our fair share, which is 30 percent of everything we sell. Plus allowances for returns and breakage. You want to make money, get out on the road and play some concerts and sell some T-shirts. Yeah. That’s right. Work for a fucking living.
But anyway it doesn’t take much imagination to picture Bono and his manager going to these venues and saying, Well, Apple is taking all our money from music sales, so we need to squeeze every last penny out of these concerts, and we do mean every last penny. Food and drink sales? We get half. Toilet cups? Check.
One thing to know about the U2 boys in particular. They’re Northsiders. If you know anything about Ireland, or Dublin, you’ll understand. But it’s like this. Sure, they’ve made millions. Sure, they have houses in the south of France and fly around in private jets. Sure, they talk about helping those poor starving babies. But the truth is, down deep, they’ll always be Northsiders. Which means they’re the kind of guys who send their girlfriends to England for abortions with instructions not to forget about the duty free on the way back. The kind of guys who propose marriage by saying, “You’re fookin wha?” The kind of guys who who sit down at a Denny’s and pocket the tip that the last patron left on the table, and steal the sugar packets at the end of the meal. It means that the only “cause” they really care about is this: “Cause I grew up in fookin Ballymun, mate, and if you don’t fookin like it I can fix yer face for ya.”