Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Alarm, U2, and Why Dave Marsh Does Not Write Fiction

I spent part of last evening revisiting The Alarm and thinking how '85-'86's Strength sounds like a combination of Bruce Springsteen and the Replacements. The opening three tunes -- "Strength," "Knife Edge" and "Spirit of '76" are killers -- they're just too long.

The Alarm was clearly trying to harvest a pop epic breakthrough and got a bit stuck. And yet, I always much preferred the Alarm to U2, whom I never really much cared for, and mostly don't care for now, either.

Then I received this email from the wonderfully contrarian Dave Marsh, whose rockrap listserv is an essential source of critique of all rock and roll pretention. He shares this note from Sean O Nuallian:

Got banned again from Wikipedia for putting the following attested true information;

Remarkably, Mullen is the only ethnically Irish member of the band; the name “Hewson” arrived in Ireland courtesy of one of Cromwell’s generals, and both Clayton and the Evans brothers are British. Clayton’s father was an RAF pilot; the manager Paul McGuinness was born on an RAF base, where his father worked . Rather famously, Bono failed Gaelic in his final High School exam, and was expelled from university for lying about this.

U2 gained much of their success by suppressing the competition in Ireland which comprised far more accomplished and sensitive artists and, in doing so, have ensured that their main legacy is the destruction of the Irish music industry – and Irish musical culture in general. In particular, their “label” Mother Records simply signed and warehoused many much better Irish bands than U2. Mother Records applied for voluntary strike-off on July 11 2011 http://www.cro.ie, having publicly claimed to “cease operations ” in 2000. Given that U2′s distribution “service” Record Services Ltd. traded for at least 6 years after dissolution http://www.cro.ie, that seems unlikely. RSL destroyed many independent bands.


And then (12-14-11) comes this addendum from Marsh's RRC Extra No. 23

HITS, RUNS, AND ERRORS… Dave Marsh writes: Because of an editing omission, the comment we circulated two days ago about Wikipedia censorship made it appear as if it were me that was censored. It was not.

The comments were written by Dr. Sean O’Nuallain, an Irish native presently working at Stanford. Sean has waged a long and bitter battle to tell the truth about U2’s adverse affect on the Irish music scene and industry. I deeply regret even accidentally stealing his thunder. What he wrote can be read here: http://davemarsh.us/?p=951 If you read the entire thread, almost all of it written by Sean, you’ll get an education in both the reality of U2 and the way that Wikipedia manages information.

For more along that line, check out “Wikipedia Questions Path to More Money”  http://web.archive.org/web/20080324155655/http:/physorg.com/news125243266.html
This article reveals the lurid truth about the role of Elevation Partners, the venture capital vulture  in which Bono is a principal. Elevation owners are responsible for at least $800,000 in Wikipedia investment (a/k/a “donations”). What wonder is it that Wikipedia  won’t countenance criticism of Elevation’s most public figurehead? (Thanks to RRC reader Evelyn Theodose for the tip on this article.) 

Yes, there is a link to the AP article cited above on the Elevation Wikipedia page.


Anonymous said...

In reference to Mr. Nuallian's Wikipedia submission. The Edge's parents were from Wales. BTW I've heard that both the Edge and Adam Clayton have British passports as well as Irish. For the second paragraph, it's mostly opinion, which doesn't belong on Wikipedia. Perhaps there's a quote from a source that can be referenced? Otherwise, I think you'd to just have to list referenced facts without the personal opinion. Anyway, I think there is more to the story for being banned from Wikipedia than you've told us.
FWIW I am a 30 year U2 devotee, but I understand that they are just humans, and I think that your information would be a valuable contribution - if it's true and you can validate it.

Administrator said...

Dear Anonymous (of Elevation partners? - go on, give us a hint!)

It is, I believe, fair to say that the Irish companies register www.cro.ie is fact rather than opinion. It is the motherlode for anyone who wants to find out what U2 actually IS. So please do some research there before making an idiot of yourself again. then again, being anonymous, you don't mind being an idiot?

For other readers,
I need to amplify one point; in 2000 we successfully sued a U2 company called "Record services Ltd" - as I make clear on Dave Marsh's website - for ripping us off in their "distribution" of our award-nominated CD "House of the Dolphins". Our understanding from other musicians is that they had a similar experience with RSL in that they were offered a honey distribution deal, but U2 never paid them a cent.

It is interesting that RSL was struck off the companies register in 1999 for failure to submit accounts, but was allowed by the Irish state to trade at least until 2005. In 2006, we handed over critical documents to the head of Irish corporate enforcement, Paul Appleby - having had a correspondence with his dept and its forerunner since 2000 in which copies of these docs were given to them - and he did NADA

My view is that it is time that Americans considered boycotting U2

Btw, we're still getting a lot of national airplay in Ireland despite our clearly limited budget for videos like this;


Happy holidays, and all the best for 2012 - Sean O Nuallain

Unknown said...

Hi Stephen! your "Stripes", Israel Edition buddy, Harold Messinger, now Hazzan in Philly, writing. Loved, the Alarm, loved U2. Always felt the Alarm were just shy of good enough, and as is the case, every generation throws up the charts one of it's own, and there simply isnt room for two U2's or two Adele's or whatever. Your point about the Alarms songs being too long is worth noting. They just miss in a way the Jungleland does not. And yet I saw them at a tiny theater on their 88 tour and it was top five concerts of all time. What I imagine the War Tour must have felt like in terms of passion and energy and sweat. I would love to see U2 return to smaller venues, but they seem only capable of imagining bigger and bigger, and so their music suffers. They will never be able to be small again, unless Edge and Bono pull a Nebraska, and do small venues like the Beacon and rework all their old tunes and new ones as well. Not holding my breath. Hope you are well.

Anonymous said...

Now that tout accusation about Mother Records had been dismissed as a false rumor in a book that sets out to ctiticize Bono nonetheless (The Frontman) maybe you can go back to making scrappy music that you think would rival U2 if the big Bsd machine didn't just keep you down. And insulting people who read your petty blog. Pathetic.