IRC Interview with Willie Williams

U2News by Prarit Bhargava (1997-07-20)

Willie on audience taping shows: “I don’t suppose the production crew mind, but
the band and management aren’t so happy about it. With bootlegging, it’s not
the individuals that are the problem. It’s when companies mass produce bootleg
items for mass product that pisses them off.”

Willie on how much longer he will be with U2: “…my release papers haven’t
come through yet but I’m ever hopeful.

Willie noted that the video screen cost a whopping $7 million US, and that
there is only one.

Willie on the Setlist for POPMart: “The set list develops over the course of
the tour and it’s very much a collaboration between me and them, though of
course they have the final say because I can’t play the songs.”

Willie’s job while the tour is on: “Unexpectedly getting laid.”

European/North American crowds: “The biggest difference in Europe is that the
venues aren’t seated which means it’s a less comfortable experience, but the
audiences are far more animated.”

“In America, people like to know they have a seat and can buy popcorn, whereas
Europe people come to party come rain or come shine.”

What’s next for U2: “As for what U2 do next, I’ll do what I always do which is
watch and wait and see where they go. The only thing that makes the question
of how do we follow PopMart easier is that they asked the same question about
Zoo TV.”

Willie on the name of the tour: “I made it up.”

Willie on the Extasy tablet : “The extasy reference came from an English
journalist and I think this is his problem rather than ours.”

Willie on Raliegh rescheduling: “…I don’t know. Like I say, I just design

Willie on Rolling Stones rumour: “The Rolling Stones album is really called
Bridges to Babylon and I don’t recall a U2 song by that name. Although Bob
Marley perhaps ought to take credit.”

Willie on Gianni Versace: “The band were obviously quite shaken up by the
Versace killing, but I was even more shaken up having seen wanted posters for
his killer in San Francisco only last week.”

Willie on the Squeaky Nun: “The Squeaky Nun came from a store called 431 in San
Francisco but a different store (Uncle Mame) has the Rolling Stone clip in the
window. I guess they thought it was them.”

Willie on Books: “A Brief History Of Time (the illustrated version is the only
one that’s possible to understand). And The Shipping News. Oh, and Andy
Warhol’s Popism.”

Willie on how to get a job with the crew: “Write your resume on a thick wad of
$100 bills and send them to my address. No promises, but I’ll consider any

Willie on being a ‘minor celebrity’: “I am not a minor celebrity. I am over
21 years of age.”

Willie on the next single: “Yes I do know about the band’s next single although
if I told you they’d beat me to death. Although I did hear a rumor it might be
about “Shadows and Tall Trees” remixed by Ringo Starr.”

Willie on the best song live: “Until tonight, it might have been Discotheque but
they did quite an astonishing version of Please in this show which I think has
topped it.”

Willie on U2 entering through the audience: “It was Bono’s idea to enter through
the audience and yes our security people had a fit. But it is so effective it
is worth the risk.”

Willie on the worst episode during POPMart: “The worst thing had to be the
monsoon in Washington DC. We are hoping never to have to deal with anything
like that again.”

Willie on Bono saying “Turn the lights off…turn this shit off, Willie”:
“Usually I laugh and do what he tells me to do. But sometimes if I have a
headset on I’ll miss him saying it which is very embarassing.”

Willie on a hidden message in “Daddy’s going to pay…”:
“Speaking of backward messages, the only backward message I know of in a U2
song is “Daddy’s Gonna Pay For Your Crash Car” because I made that one myself.
All the radio static at the beginning is a DAT machine playing backwards of
Bono’s voice saying “Four jerks and a police escort — now that’s funny.” And
that’s a true story.”

Willie on the Dancing Queen during the Lemon Remix:
“The dance set during Lemon is a performance artist called Leigh Bowery who is
sadly no longer with us. He was a great character in the London club scene for
many years and would frequently go out in public like he appears onscreen.
Frankly he makes Boy George look like an accountant.”

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