Friday, October 28, 2005

Bono's Pentecostal roots

On the impact Pentecostalism had on him:

There was also my friend Guggi. His parents were not just Protestant, they were some obscure cult of Protestant. In America, it would be Pentecostal. His father was like a creature from the Old Testament. He spoke constantly of the Scriptures and had the sense that the end was nigh -- and to prepare for it. ...

I'd go to church with them too. Though myself and Guggi are laughing at the absurdity of some of this, the rhetoric is getting through to us. We don't realize it, but we're being immersed in the Holy Scriptures. That's what we took away from this: this rich language, these ancient tracts of wisdom.

On "music that turns me on":

The music that really turns me on is either running toward God or away from God. Both recognize the pivot, that God is at the center of the jaunt. So the blues, on one hand -- running away; gospel, the Mighty Clouds of Joy -- running towards. And later you came to analyze it and figure it out.

On songs as prayers:

It gets back to the songs I was listening to; to me, they were prayers. "How many roads must a man walk down?" That wasn't a rhetorical question to me. It was addressed to God. It's a question I wanted to know the answer to, and I'm wondering, who do I ask that to? I'm not gonna ask a schoolteacher. When John Lennon sings, "Oh, my love/For the first time in my life/My eyes are wide open" -- these songs have an intimacy for me that's not just between people, I realize now, not just sexual intimacy. A spiritual intimacy.

On the spirituality of rock and roll:

Here's the strange bit: Most of the people that you grew up with in black music had a similar baptism of the spirit, right? The difference is that most of these performers felt they could not express their sexuality before God. They had to turn away. So rock & roll became backsliders' music. They were running away from God. But I never believed that. I never saw it as being a choice, an either/or thing.

From this month's Rolling Stone cover story.


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