Killing Bono: I Was Bono's Doppelganger
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Longtime friend and reporter, Neil McCormick, reveals childhood and present day stories about Bono and his band, U2.
Some are born great.
Some achieve greatness.
Some have greatness thrust upon them.
And some have the misfortune
to go to school with Bono.
Everyone wants to be famous. But as a young punk in Dublin in the 1970s, Neil McCormick's ambitions went way beyond mere pop stardom. It was his destiny to be a veritable Rock God. He had it all worked out: the albums, the concerts, the quest for world peace. There was only one thing he hadn't counted on. The boy sitting on the other side of the classroom had plans of his own.
Killing Bono is a story of divergent lives. As Bono and his band U2 ascended to global superstardom, his school friend Neil scorched a burning path in quite the opposite direction. Bad drugs, weird sex, bizarre haircuts: Neil experienced it all in his elusive quest for fame. But sometimes it is life's losers who have the most interesting tales to tell.
Featuring guest appearances by the Pope, Bob Dylan, and a galaxy of stars, Killing Bono offers an extremely funny, startlingly candid, and strangely moving account of a life lived in the shadows of superstardom.
“The problem with knowing you is that you've done everything I ever wanted to,” Neil once complained to his famous friend. “I'm your doppelganger,” Bono replied. “If you want your life back, you'll have to kill me.”
Now there was a thought...
to see. I was almost embarrassed to listen to it. That’s the stuff you should be doing. Forget the pop music. You and Ivan are two of the best songwriters ever to come out of Ireland and nobody knows. Why? Because you’re not letting anybody hear what you can really do.” “We’ve played Wembley,” I said, defensively. Bono looked at me skeptically. “Wembley Coach & Horses,” I added. Bono laughed. “I don’t know what you think’s so funny,” I said. “It was a really good gig.” The gap between us now
as a king among his courtiers, yet he appeared oblivious to this effect, almost willfully unaware of the central part he played in so many lives. “You know, Neil, your life and my life are not so different,” he said to me, as we chatted about events in London, where I had bought a terraced Victorian house to accommodate the impending arrival of my first baby. I may have snorted at his comment. I felt in debt up to my eyeballs, in the midst of rapidly mounting domestic chaos, and couldn’t help
please read the following carefully: I wasn’t there and, even if I had been, any ambitions to become lead axeman in the nascent combo would surely have been hampered by the fact that I had only ever mastered three chords on my daddy’s Spanish guitar—and I wasn’t even sure which chords they were. But if something is printed often enough it becomes the truth, or at least the official version of events. I think the members of U2 actually believe it themselves at this stage. Certainly, that was the
animate him in front of the microphone, the line to Heaven must have been faulty. This represented a curiously inarticulate speech of the heart, with Bono supplanting his former “oo-ee-oo”s with the oft-repeated phrase “Rejoice!” After Boy, Bono had talked to me with typical ebullience about making an epic album about the struggle between good and evil—their Sgt. Pepper, he’d called it in a moment of particularly extravagant enthusiasm. Well, this wasn’t it. October ends with “Is That All?” in
a living,” Peter said to me one night, over a pint in the Abbey Tavern (recording always had to stop in time for last orders). “My first priority has to be to my home and my wife and my kids. But at least I’ve been making my living from music. I’m not on the dole. I’m not a civil servant. I’m a musician and I’m playing for my bread and butter. There are people sneering at that and they’re living in a run-down flat in Berkley Street, eating a tin of baked beans for their main course. But they’ll