Skip to main content
CNN.com /TRANSCRIPTS
CNN TV
EDITIONS
SERVICES
CNN TV
EDITIONS


CNN PEOPLE IN THE NEWS

Profiles of Elvis Costello, David Bowie, Bono

Aired August 24, 2002 - 11:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ANNOUNCER: Next on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS, the surprising side of three veteran rockers. First, he has grown-up from his days as the angry young man.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELVIS COSTELLO, MUSICIAN: The minute I had a branded sort of sound, I tried to smash it up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: His styles have ranged from classical to country, collaborating with names like Bacharach and McCartney.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: ... to work with Paul, as an adult, was both strange, you know, and fantastic. Bells are jamming in victory.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: Get ready to pump it up with Elvis Costello. Then, he personified the glam rocker era.

DAVID BOWIE, MUSICIAN: The chameleon will change the color of its skin to fit into its environment. I think I've done quite the reverse. They got a message from the action...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: But times have changed and so was he.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOWIE: I do not live to hear the audience and all that. I'd rather be reading a good book.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: David Bowie, unplugged. Also, he's a full-time rocker and a part-time political activist.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BONO, MUSICIAN: It's an unhappy juxtaposition, I think, hearing rock stars talking about people starving to go death. (END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: From the streets of Dublin to the world stage, he has taken up court with some of the world's biggest leaders.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BONO: When I'm on these trips, you know, I don't feel I'm an entertainer. I'm an activist.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: The backstage and offstage life of U2 front man, Bono. Their stories and more now on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.

PAULA ZAHN, HOST: Hi, welcome to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS, I'm Paula Zahn. With Bruce Springsteen still rising and the Stones ready to roll again, it appears the rock world has saved the best for last this summer. Rock royalty is hitting the road from Aerosmith to Ziggy Stardust. This week, a look at some of those musical veterans still rocking after all these years. First up, Elvis Costello, music's true chameleon, on tour in support of his latest album, "When I Was Cruel." Here's Mike Meckler.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please welcome Elvis Costello.

COSTELLO: I don't want to make a record I've already made before. I don't want to look backwards. I'm not nostalgic. Why go back when you can go forward?

MIKE MECKLER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For 25 years, Elvis Costello has been looking for that next challenge, from rock to classical music, country to orchestral pop. He's explored virtually every musical genre. It's a journey that's taken him from being rock's angry young man to one of the most diverse and respected songwriters of his generation.

ANTHONY DECURTIS, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, "ROLLING STONE": I think Elvis Costello has produced work that ranks with, you know, Bob Dylan or Lennon and McCartney, and Jagger Richards, you know, the titans of popular music.

COSTELLO: I know the value of some of the record I've made. I think some of them have been overestimated and some them have been ignored unjustly, but that's just the way these things work out.

MECKLER: He was born Declan McManus in London, England and took the stage name Costello from his great-grandmother. The name Elvis was a dare.

COSTELLO: My ex-manager sort of suddenly announced that they were going to label me that because it would get people's attention. And the fact that you're asking me about it 25 years later proves that he was right. MECKLER: Costello first burst upon the music scene in 1977. His look was Buddy Holly. His music and attitude, pure aggression.

DECURTIS: He had an incredible degree of anger and bitterness and hostility that made him seem for all of his goofiness, a threatening kind of figure.

MECKLER: That reputation was only enhanced by a performance on "Saturday Night Live" in December 1977.

COSTELLO: I'm sorry, ladies and gentlemen, there's no reason to do this song here.

MECKLER: Costello went against network wishes and played "Radio Radio," a (UNINTELLIGIBLE) blasting the corporate music scene.

COSTELLO: That was just an example of I was doing something spontaneous that we had copied from Jimmy Hendrix, who did something similar on British television in the 60's. But, of course, they were totally horrified that we suddenly played this unscheduled number on a show that, you know, after all has the word "live" in the title.

MECKLER: Costello's lyrics also set him apart, wielding a deadly combination of wit and venom, he created songs, as he put, of "revenge and guilt."

COSTELLO: I think I was disappointed by a number of things the ideal -- the romantic ideal has consistently seemed to me to be not to measure up and that people settle for a lot of lies and I'm still saying that thing now in a different way.

MECKLER: During the late 70's and early 80's, Costello turned out a series of brilliant albums, including hits such as "Alison..."

COSTELLO: Alison.

MECKLER: ... "Watching The Detectives..."

COSTELLO: She is watching the detectives.

MECKLER: ... and "Pump It Up."

DECURTIS: It was, you know, as strong a run of music as practically has ever happened. The level of writing, the level of musical inventiveness, the range of musical styles that he was able to explore, it just seemed like there was nothing that he couldn't do.

MECKLER: And he quickly showed there was no musical genre he wouldn't try.

COSTELLO: The minute I had a branded sort of sound, I tried to smash it up and turn it upside down and inside out. But by 1982, I already was on the sort of road that I'd been on more -- in a more pronounced way in the last eight or nine years.

MECKLER: That road has included collaborations with everyone from opera singer, Anne Sofie von Otter, to country singer, Lucinda Williams, experiences that claim the Costello's love of all types of music.

COSTELLO: And I tried to investigate some of them and tried to learn from them and use them as my guide to write my own songs and just the same way as I've -- you know, all pop music is creative theft, you know, and -- or borrowing or a tribute, as they say. It's a tribute. I'm influenced by -- it means you shamelessly stole it.

MECKLER: Among Costello's most notable partnerships, his work with Paul McCartney in the late 1980s, which yielded the hit single, "Veronica."

COSTELLO: I was a fan of the Beatles when I was nine years old, so to get a call to work with Paul, as an adult, was both strange, you know, and fantastic. Quite often, we exchanged roles and then quite often, he was bringing the word content into the songs where I was going for the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) cadences.

MECKLER: In the early 90's, Costello explored classical music, composing and touring with the Brodsky Quartet and along the way, learning a surprising new skill.

COSTELLO: It was a very thrilling experience and during it, I learned to write and read music, which I hadn't been able to do prior to that. I'd written maybe 200 songs at that point, but had never had the real need to write music down.

MECKLER: More recently, Costello hooked up with Oscar-winning composer, Burt Bacharach.

COSTELLO: And we were offered the opportunity to write a song called "God Given Strength" for a movie. And I think it's as good a song as it's ever been in movie in the last 30 years.

MECKLER: The pair won a Grammy for their work together, but not all of Costello's detours have found critical or commercial success.

DECURTIS: With any sort of experimentation, there's an element of risk involved. That's the whole point of it. And not all of Elvis Costello's risks had panned out.

MECKLER: However, Costello's aim remains true, to follow his own musical muse.

COSTELLO: A lot of people that -- who had listened to the things I was doing in the late 70's and 80's and maybe even into the early 90's, didn't follow me in the other collaborative work that I've done in the last seven or eight years and I didn't expect that they all would.

DECURTIS: There's still an aspect of the punk in Elvis Costello and that is in his desire not to please, you know. He likes it when people like his work as long as it was the work he wanted to do.

MECKLER: Costello's most recent venture, a return to rock-n-roll with "When I Was Cruel."

COSTELLO: Bells are jamming to victory.

MECKLER: The album debuted in the top 20, his highest ever, as Costello put a fresh spin on a familiar genre.

DECURTIS: There's a sense with him still that he will surprise you, a sense that you can't take it for granted and you don't know what he's going to do. That gives him kind of artistic surprise that many people lose very early in their career and he's still got it after 25 years.

COSTELLO: How are you? Well, maybe it's just a good case for the -- retaining your curiosity. If you're protecting a brand name, which a lot of people do by making extensively the same record over and over again and it can go stale. But I think it would make it for a double world and it makes a double life for me, so I'm happy to do what I do.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: Elvis Costello is expected to resume his U.S. tour next month. He's also lending a celebrity voice to the season premiere of the "Simpsons." Costello joins Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Tom Petty and others as Homer attends a rock-n-roll fantasy camp.

ANNOUNCER: Still ahead on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS, David Bowie gets lost and found again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOWIE: And he was lost in the wilderness, as your kind of programs would have it.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: A candid conversation with one of rock's most experimental innovators later on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER: Now back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.

ZAHN: He's the godfather of glam-rock, Ziggy Stardust, the thin white duke. Coming up, David Bowie talks music, Bill Murray movies and why sometimes he'd just rather read a good book, but first, here's this week's "Passages."

ANNOUNCER: It's bigger. It's trashier. It's an opera? We couldn't believe it either, but "The Jerry Springer Show" has turned into highbrow entertainment in Scotland. The opera complete with a chorus line of Klansmen and crackheads opened at the Ettenborough Fringe Festival to rave reviews and full houses. And while it is customary for fans to throw roses on stage after regular operas, fans of Springer have taken to throwing chairs.

The original "Survivor" made headlines for a naked guy on the beach, but the fifth installment is making waves for a naked guy on film. CBS has confirmed that "Survivor: Thailand" contestant, Brian Heidik, appeared in soft-core porno movies under the stage name, Dave Roth. A Web site TheSmokingGun, first broke the story and showed pictures of the film, such as "Pleasure Cove" and "Sinful Obsession," which appeared on the Playboy Channel and Cinemax. Heidik had also appeared on more mainstream shows like "Doogie Howser, M.D." and "Days of Our Lives."

Who is the greater Englishman, Winston Churchill or Boy George? Well, they're both on the BBC's list of "The 100 Greatest Britons of All Time." The list taken from a poll of more than 30,000 people has John, Paul and George but not Ringo. Princess Di is in, Prince Charles is not. Richard Burton in, Liz Taylor not. Other notables, David Bowie, Margaret Thatcher and of course, Johnny Rotten.

Most former presidents have their own libraries, but this one may have his own talk show. "Variety" reports preliminary talks are under way between CBS and former President Bill Clinton to start a weekly syndicated talk show. The show, said to be a cross between "Oprah" and "Nightline" had been previously discussed with NBC, but talks broke down. No word if Al Gore will play the Ed McMahon role on the show.

For more on the state of the celebrity union, pick up a copy of "PEOPLE" magazine this week. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER: Now back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.

ZAHN: David Bowie has always wanted to rock our minds as well as our bodies and he's been doing just that for more than three decades. It's been a funky ride in and out of the mainstream for Bowie, who seems more comfortable on the fringe than front and center.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BOWIE: Being an artist -- ever since I was a kid, the one thing I really wanted to do was to affect the medium, you know, that was like very important to me. In the back of your head, you're thinking this might affect people in a certain way, you know, this might have some ripple effect.

I think for the vanity of an artist, especially a creative artist is the idea that you might have changed the vocabulary of the medium that you're working in. The chameleon will change the color of its skin to fit into its environment. I think I've done quite the reverse.

I don't want to hear information I know already and I kind of greedy for something that kind of really sparks me off and gets me thinking. And I -- you -- one tends to find that on the outside of the mainstream. There's nothing in there, in the mainstream, that I want in my life. It's tyrannical in there. It's despotic, you know, and I don't want to be ruled by that blandness.

I can't say the whole 80's were bad for me because -- and frankly, they weren't. I mean, through '84, I had the ride of my life, I mean with the whole "Let's Dance" kind of thing, being shoved into, you know, that kind of out of a cult status into this kind of, you know, oh, the new Phil Collins, you know. It's like what is this. I'm on the radio, mum. And then, two or three years where I really felt like -- and he was lost in the wilderness, as your kind of programs would have it.

(LAUGHTER)

BOWIE: Found himself lost in the wilderness with only his drugs for companionship. So it was like, you know, that kind of thing and it really took me a long time to get back on feet again and realize that what I really enjoyed doing was the creative process of making imaginative music not reaching the expectations of an audience.

I do not live for the stage. I do not live to hear the audience and all that. Hey, I'd rather be reading a good book. I like devising shows. I like putting them together and I like the first, say, three or four nights, and then, I get bored beyond belief of having to same the damn thing every night.

Thank you. I was born and raised here in Manassas. I was educated at the Manassas University for existentialism.

I would rather be in Philadelphia.

(LAUGHTER)

BOWIE: The trouble is it seems like you're in Philadelphia every damn night, you know. It's like it's Groundhog Day. I would like to feel that, you know, that I retain some kind of buoyancy in my life, but I must be honest. When I go into the stillness of my quieter hours, I am fairly driven by spiritual searching, a sense of anxiety about our times. These are the nights. These are the darkest hole.

Even prior to September of last year, there was a kind of a low- level anxiety in the air, about the century. It wasn't particularly cool. You know, it wasn't feeling right. I really don't want this world to be like this for my daughter, you know. What have I brought her into? How worse can this get, you know.

This broth seems to kind of stir away in my soul and has done all my life. I've been a very questioned person. Questions that I just can't and never have been able to resolve and I never will until the day I die, you know. At the very end, I'll be saying, "But." Following my last words will be, "but." Samuel Beckett's last words -- oh, it's so sad -- just before he had his heart attack, he said, "Oh, what a morning."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: David Bowie is currently on tour with techno-pop sensation, Moby. They are co-headlining this year's Area 2 Music Fest.

ANNOUNCER: Coming up on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS, what's bugging Bono?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BONO: When I'm on these trips, you know, I don't feel I'm an entertainer. I'm an activist.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: Bono on the road from concerts to campaigning. That's next on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Hi, welcome back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. Usually, when Bono of U2 has something to say, he puts it to music, but recently Bono has been doing as much sounding off as singing. Bono has become an outspoken advocate for debt relief in the Third World. It's just the latest cause for this rocker with a conscience. Here's Daryn Kagan.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DARYN KAGAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He's the charismatic and often controversial lead singer of U2. In whatever he does, Bono demands your attention. He certainly demands it at his concerts and his fans seem happy to comply. And world leaders listen too. They give him VIP access to voice his message -- reducing the debt of Third World countries.

BONO: We want the rich countries to drop the debts that they're owed to them by the poorest countries.

KAGAN: It's an abstract message, but Bono helped give it a human face when he traveled with U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill on tour of Africa this past May. Our CNN crews followed the unlikely duo as they traveled across the continent, seeing for themselves the tragedy of children with AIDS and the ravages of poverty in countries battled with debt.

(on-camera): This is not the kind of issue that most rock stars are drawn to.

BONO: Right.

KAGAN: Why are you drawn to it?

BONO: The relationship between the so-called First and Third World is just so screwed up. We give the tiniest percentage of our GDP and -- every year toward the problem. I mean it's a shocking statistic when you tell Americans or Europeans that the richer they get, the less they give.

One life with each other, sisters...

KAGAN (voice-over): For Bono, his life's work is all about the possibility, a theme that can be heard in the songs he sings.

BONO: ... we get to carry each other, carry each other. Music is more about soul and spirit than it is about, you know, anything concrete like politics. In order to be able to perform the way I perform, I have to kind of step inside the songs, you know.

Give peace a chance.

KAGAN: Yet to truly step into Bono's world, you have to know where and how it began, in the Irish neighborhood of Ballymun, wedged between countryside and city.

BOB GELDOF, MUSICIAN: He was brought up in an area of Dublin that's a fairly normal area. It's beside a pretty crap area, but Dublin's quite like that.

KAGAN: Number 10 Cedarwood Road. As a child, he wasn't Bono but Paul David Hewson, the youngest of two boys. His father was a postal worker delivering the daily mail, while his mother took care of the home.

From very early on, the youngest Hewson was a dreamer, emulating his distant heroes -- King, Dylan, and Ali, cultural icons who fought for social change.

BONO: And, you know, when I was younger, used to kind of throw rocks and stones at, you know, the bad guys, as I saw them, you know, in the political establishment, the people who were -- you know, they were -- you know, they were, it turns out, quite easy targets.

KAGAN: But that all changed in 1972, when Paul Hewson entered the very progressive Mount Temple High School, a place where your religion, the color of your skin, and what your father did for a living had no consequence.

COLIN MACKENZIE, FORMER HIGH SCHOOL MUSIC TEACHER: I think only in a school like Mount Temple could they -- these four fellows have met, because they were from four totally different backgrounds. And I feel only here they would have jelled, they would have met. They couldn't have met in -- probably in any other school.

KAGAN: Yet Paul's happy teen years would be tempered by tragedy. On September 10, 1974, Paul's mother died. He adored her, and according to a friend, Bob Geldof, his mother's death tore Paul apart.

GELDOF: His mum died, I think, when he was 13 or 14, and I think that had a very profound effect on him, as it does on us all.

KAGAN: His senior year was pivotal. He fell in love with a girl, Allison Stewart, and he signed up for an audition to join a rock band.

BARRY DEVLIN, FRIEND: You know the story of how they started. Larry Mullen put a notice up on the notice board in their school, and they were all schoolmates, so Bono always refers to Larry as the man who gave us all a job. BONO: Yes, Larry started it all, you know, and he hasn't really let us forget it.

DECURTIS: The idea of being in a band was a bigger thing than whether or not you could play your guitar or you could sing or you would -- had any reason to think you could be in a band. Just the very idea of creating music was something that gripped people.

KAGAN: And that's all these four Irish boys had, the idea of creating music. Paul couldn't sing or play the guitar, but he was given a stage name, Bono, likened after this Dublin hearing-aid store. Early names for the band included The Hype and Feedback, for their distinctive sound of music.

(on camera): If you go back to the early days of the group, even before you were U2, names like Feedback...

BONO: Ooh, I hate when people do the research. Yes, we were just a bunch of kids really, you know, at school. I mean, Larry was 14, Edge was 15, Adam was 16. I was 16, just kind of hanging around with each other. We formed a band before we could play our instruments. It was really like a street gang, you know, people who are joined by the sense of humor and their sense of, you know, what they're against more than what they're for. And, yes, we were a pretty crap wedding band, actually.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KAGAN: When the story of Bono continues, the band dreams of getting discovered.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL MCGUINNESS, MANAGER, U2: It was very hard to get a record deal, because, quite honestly, there wasn't -- it wasn't like everyone wanted to have them. No one did.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER: We now return to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KAGAN (voice-over): By 1978, the band had a new name, U2, recalling an American spy plane shot down over Soviet air space during the Cold War.

Dublin band manager, Paul McGuinness, went to review the newly named band. What he heard was a blend of spiritual rock and a call for political healing. McGuinness understood stage performance and talent, and he saw great potential in its lead singer, Bono.

MCGUINNESS: It's the primary colors of rock and roll, guitar and bass and drums and vocal. And four guys on a stage making an enormous noise and producing something very exciting.

KAGAN (on camera): We found a little photo album for you.

BONO: Oh.

KAGAN: Take us through these, OK? Who's that?

BONO: Nothing's changed, really. Wow. That's a photograph taken just before we caught the ferry to go to the U.K., coming out of Dublin. We're all kind of 16, 17. We're going off to try and get a record deal.

KAGAN: Could those kids have any idea what was in store for them?

BONO: Oh, yes. No, megalomania did start at a very early age with us. But you know it's your head that's filled with songs and dreams and big ideas. And you're young enough and wet behind the ears enough to believe that everything's possible.

All is quiet on New Year's Day.

KAGAN (voice-over): Two years later, in 1980, U2's dream had come true. After much practice and polish, the band had a record deal.

BONO: I want to be with, be with you night and day.

KURT LODER, HOST, MTV: I think it's his voice which is just this soaring instrument, and the band really has a lot of punch and wallop to it, and it was just their punk background. And The Edge's guitar playing is very full, and it doesn't sound like anything else, and it's just -- it's rousing, you know, it's inspiring to hear it. It's a great sound.

PAUL SHAFFER, ENTERTAINER: BONO is like a motivational speaker of rock-and-roll, isn't he?

KAGAN: But by 1982, the dynamic of the band was changing. There was dissension over U2's direction. Bass player Adam Clayton threatened to leave the group, indicating the band's religious overtones as the reason.

THE EDGE, U2 GUITARIST: I think we value what we have pretty highly, and we realize how fragile it is, you know. A band is a very difficult thing to keep going. And when you're in a good one, you try and kind of make it work whatever way you can.

KAGAN: But the band's strong commitment to one another turned out to be greater than their spiritual divide. U2 remained intact.

THE EDGE: You know, I don't think any of us would have imagined we'd still be together after so many years when we first put the band together, but it's great that we are.

BONO: You're going to make me cry. Blue-eyed boy, brown-eyed girl...

KAGAN: Meanwhile, on a personal note, Bono settled down with his long-time love, Allison Stewart.

DEVLIN: I just remember that the wedding was tremendous fun. There was a lot of dancing. There was a lot of people bumping into each other. There was a lot of high spirits. And it was a kid's wedding, you know, but it was a great day.

KAGAN (on camera): You're married to your high school sweetheart.

BONO: That's true, that's true. I'm lucky. I have an extraordinary friend that I've been married to for a long time, seems like since we were kids.

KAGAN (voice-over): Back on the road, back in the studio. By 1985, U2 had released three more albums, but failed to increase its following.

DECURTIS: The group had become kind of frozen in some way, you know, after the first three records. Particularly after "War," I think, you know, the group felt that they had become just this big guitar band.

KAGAN: Later that year, an event at Wembley Arena in London took U2 to another level.

GELDOF: Every band could do what they liked, but I, basically, said, "Look, lads, it's the global jukebox. You do your hits."

KAGAN: The band, and especially Bono, gave an electrifying performance at Live Aid, the humanitarian concert played to audiences around the world.

GELDOF: Then I remember them going into the audience and start hugging the girl. And of course, it was a great theatrical thing. And so what everyone was feeling on that day, he articulated visibly by going and just taking one person out of this sea and just cuddling her.

BONO: It's hard to describe for me what U2 is all about, and when it becomes U2. But I think it is probably when the band is playing live. I think we've always -- that's the moment when we discover what it is that makes us special.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And can you move just out a little there?

KAGAN: A fortuneteller reportedly once told Bono's mother that she would have a famous son. In 1987, U2 released its seventh album, "The Joshua Tree."

BONO: With or without you, oh.

KAGAN: The record went platinum in just two days. As foretold years before, Bono had arrived.

DEVLIN: People have asked me, When you met them, you know, what was it like? Did you -- you know, they were kittens. How can you say that you could see something there?

BONO: In the name of love.

DEVLIN: I didn't know how big they would be, but I could see that they had this sense; a belief in themselves and a belief in what music could be that was different from anyone I'd met.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KAGAN: When we return, fatherhood ignites Bono's political pursuits in a big way.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BONO: It's made me more militant. You think about the world that your children are about to inherit, and you want it to be different from them, so it's made me more angry.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: Bono isn't the only Irish rocker who's made a name in social and political causes and he's certainly not alone when it comes to stirring controversy, think Sinead O'Connor, which leads us to this weeks' "Where Are They Now?"

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SINEAD O'CONNOR, MUSICIAN: I put my arms around every boy I see.

ANNOUNCER: In 1990, Irish songbird, Sinead O'Connor hit big with the ballad, "Nothing Compares To You." The bald crooner used her new startup to preach her political beliefs, occasionally creating a tremendous backlash. Her career was almost crushed when she ripped up a picture of Pope John Paul II on an infamous episode of "Saturday Night Live."

O'CONNOR: Fight the real enemy.

ANNOUNCER: So where is Sinead O'Connor now? She's tried her hand at acting in such films as "The Butcher Boy" in 1998. She's remained on tour and had a minor hit in 1999 with "No Man's Woman."

But her off stage life has been fodder for tabloids. In June of 2000, she declared herself a lesbian. Then married a male journalist, Nick Sommerlad, just a year later. She is also a priest ordained by a break away faction of the Catholic Church in 1998. We'll be right back.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER: Welcome back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KAGAN (voice-over): In the 1990s, the idea was, bigger is better. Concert tours like Zoo TV took U2 to stratospheric heights. Gross revenues topped $1.5 billion. Still, Bono fought to stay grounded, always mindful of his beginnings and of the musical influences along the way.

The 2001 Elevation World Tour would be different and far more intimate, so close you could reach out and touch them -- 113 shows in 64 cities, playing to more than two million fans, a personal triumph.

BONO: This has been the best year of our musical life and maybe my personal life actually with it.

KAGAN (on camera): A new baby.

BONO: And a new baby.

KAGAN (voice-over): But in the midst of that, person tragedy for Bono.

BONO: I lost my father also. But, you know, he had a good life and we gave him quite a send-off. And I still think about him every day.

KAGAN: When Bono isn't on tour or in the studio, you can find the three-time Grammy Award winner spending time with his four children at their Dublin home.

DEVLIN: He's a good dad. You might come into the house and discover him wearing a conductor's uniform, bus conductor's uniform, and giving out tickets for outside. He's a mad dad. They get in cars and go strange places, and -- but he just loves to spend time with his family.

KAGAN: Bono continues to be on the front lines to drop the debt of Third World countries even if that means a little friction among friends.

(on-camera): Because there are members of U2 that would just assume say, "Can we just play the music?"

BONO: Yes, there is a bit of that. They fully support what I'm doing. They just wish it wasn't so unhip. And they just wish that some of the people that I'm hanging around with weren't so uncool.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You'll never be an outsider here. You will always be a friend here.

BONO: Thank you.

KAGAN: But you just can't let it go?

BONO: It's worth our time and effort. And it's an everyday holocaust. We must always remind ourselves of the situation in Africa, because I think history, and indeed God, will judge us very harshly if we continue to ignore it.

One life with each other...

KAGAN (voice-over): In November of 2001, Bono's lobbying paid off. He convinced Washington officials to write a check for $435 million. That money was sent to the World Bank to help relief the debt.

(on-camera): There are those like the treasury secretary of the U.S., who says, "Debt relief is not economic reform, it's not economic development, these countries need more."

BONO: He is right. He is absolutely right. The treasury secretary here in the United States is very interesting because he has had experience in Africa.

KAGAN (voice-over): This past spring, Bono went with U.S. Treasury Secretary, Paul O'Neill, to some of the most economically ravaged parts of Africa. It was a firsthand display of aid dollars in action and a heartbreaking tour of continued need.

BONO: Why I like them is he's annoyed, I think, by -- he's...

PAUL O'NEILL, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: Angry, actually.

BONO: ... getting angrier by the day as he sees the great potential of this continent and how it's not being used, is that fair?

O'NEILL: That's fair.

BONO: That's fair. I believe in the kingdom come.

KAGAN: It's a far cry from stadium rock concerts. In the developing world, Bono is relatively unknown.

BONO: My name is Bono. I'm a rock star. We aim to serve. When I'm on these trips, you know, I don't feel I'm an entertainer. I'm an activist and I may appear friendly and I may, you know, try to turn on what little charm I have, but deep down, I'm very, very serious about these things and I'm very angry.

Only to be with you. Only to be with you.

I don't know why I sang there. I just saw these people who really, I'm sure, had no clue who I was and I just felt for them. You know, some people say to me, "You're being used." I say, "I'm here to be used and I can't change the world, but I know people who can." That's probably the deal here.

But I still haven't found what I'm looking for.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: Bono says despite his political involvements, music has always been his first love and he has no interest in becoming a politician. That is it for this edition of PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. Next week, remembering Princess Diana.

I'm Paula Zahn. Thanks again for joining us now and be sure to join me every weekday for "AMERICAN MORNING" right here on CNN. And coming up this week, Kennedy cousin, Michael Skakel faces sentencing. We'll have an exclusive interview with the family of Martha Moxley. That's this week on "AMERICAN MORNING." Again, thanks for joining us.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com





 
 
 
 


 Search   

Back to the top