Re: U2's mistakes?

Robbie Robinson ([email protected])
Wed, 05 Aug 1998 22:33:09 -0700

Elizabeth Platt wrote:
> Another "oldie but goodie", and my two cents' worth....
> On 26 Jun 98, "Mr.Beanerd" <[email protected]> asked:
> > What do you think U2's biggest mistake was? (if any)
> Off the top of my head:
> --> Hiring Eamonn Dunphy to write the "authorized" bio of the band.
> --> Signing with Michael Kohl & TNA to do the PopMart tour.
> --> The K-Mart press conference.
> --> Appearing on the cover of Time magazine.
> --> Enforcing a ban on "professional" (35mm) still cameras at concerts.
> --> And banning tape recorders at concerts, now that I think of it...
> I guess it all depends on what you consider a 'mistake' - something that
> makes sense in terms of the band's career or pocketbook (e.g., working
> with TNA) may not be such a good idea in terms of more ephemeral things,
> stuff you can't put into your bank account. You know--not just image or
> reputation, etc., but even things like personal and/or long-term
> relationships, can be negatively affected by otherwise "successful" deals.
> As for conforming to the recording/concert industry's hostility towards
> fans being able to take pictures and/or tape shows for personal use--this
> doesn't benefit the band either professionally or financially, and only
> serves to alienate and antagonize their most loyal audience...
> Slan,
> Elizabeth Platt
> [email protected]

Oh Elizabeth, I didn't notice that any "ban" on 35mm cameras or
recorders stoped them from being there in sufficient numbers
to have lot's of video bootlegs, great photos(I prefered to
give another fan that can take good photos a $1 for a copy that
distract myself for enjoying the show while taking crummy photos)
and good CDRs of most of the shows. I know there are over 30 Popmart
video boots. Several of some of the shows. Most acts ban them, but
anybody that half way tried to get them in got them in. I think the
band knows that, too. Maybe they were just trying to keep the damn
flashes down to something standable for those on stage:)

Some of Dumphy's book was ok. I think he got lazy and didn't do
much research after the first 5 chapters or so. That's an unforgiveable
sin for any author. You just have to take everything he says with a
grain of salt. They never said the whole thing was crap.

The K-mart conference was ok. No big deal.

The Time's cover was great. It kicked them right over the
goal post;) They had to face a scary ride to the top but they
were strong enough to survive it and thrive.

I think the Kohl/TNA situation was the biggest problem.
It looked great on paper and was a very good business move.
It provided them with the money to pay for the tour up front
so they didn't have to worry about it during the tour.
However, Kohl proved to be a real snake in the grass.
He contracted out the promotion job to other people.
He upped the amount of the money he could keep by paying
the local promoters as little as possible and not giving
them any bonus. They were more or less on salary and it
didn't matter how little they worked to promote the band.
I'm sure he was doing other things the band didn't approve
of, but they had already sold the promotion rights to him.
Then he took on the promotion of the Rolling Stones' tour
in the middle of U2's tour. These were competing tours!
He even ocassionally bad mouthed U2 in articles about the
Stones' tour.
I did read that the band ended up hating his guts after a
while. The tour was still great, but it might have been greater
without Kohl. They may have to take care of the promotion
themselves next time to get the quality they want again.
Kohl was the biggest mistake, but not a disastorous one.
Very few of the fans that went to the shows knew anything
about the deal anyway, only a few on Wire. So, it had no
effect on how they felt about the band anyway.


This archive was generated by hypermail 2.0b2 on Wed Aug 05 1998 - 22:38:59 PDT