Interview: U2


Kyle Meredith flew to Chicago recently for the very rare chance to get to talk with one of the biggest bands of all time, U2. Below is both the audio and transcript of his interview with The Edge and Adam Clayton, as well as a Spotify mix of songs he used for his Wednesday Worship Service. Enjoy!

Kyle Meredith: I’m here on the front line of rock and roll with The Edge and Adam Clayton from U2.

Adam Clayton: If this is the front line, we’re pretty comfortable, I guess.

Kyle Meredith: I don’t know if that’s true. It seems throughout your entire career, no matter how good the record is or what’s going on, you’ve always had to defend yourself. Like there’s always been some defense with what’s going on with you guys. It must be exhausting to be in U2.

Clayton: I guess it means we must be irritating someone somewhere. Maybe that’s a good thing. It’s good to be an irritant.

The Edge: The worst thing to be is unobjectionable.

Clayton: Unnoticed.

Edge: It’s just part of what we seem to generate in the audience, a type of extreme response in a positive or negative direction. Thankfully, still a lot of people really love what we do, but even from the very beginning there were always people who just couldn’t take it. Weren’t open to it. Our music is very up front. It’s not a detached music. It’s passionate. It’s kind of in your face and if you’re open to it and you want to accept it then I think it’s an amazing thing. But some people are just not ready for that. My attitude is that if you don’t like U2 you’re just not trying hard enough.

Meredith: You guys have made it pretty easy for a lot of people like you. There have been so many diffrent sounds through the years anyway. With this new album, Songs of Innocence, I know a lot of the theme is about looking back or celebrating your youth. When you’re doing that, and maybe it’s more lyrical with what Bono is doing, do you find that there is any kind of closure when you have to relive your teenage years over and over every night on tour? It would seem to me like there would be a point where you could close that door.

Edge: I think the songs take on a different meaning the longer you live with them. It’s funny how a song like I Will Follow started out as a quite an abstract lyric. No one really knew quite how it had come from or what it was about. Looking back now you can see exactly, that was the moment Bono lost his mother and became as he’s now saying during the show, became an artist. Certainly it was probably the spur that gave him the ambition he has and the sense of having to use music as a way to make sense of the world and define himself. That song kind of grew in depth and our understanding of it over the years. I think this album is no different. There’s a lot of songs that are very personal, but there’s nuances and lyrics that we’re still figuring out. The songs are really taking on a life of their own live in a way that always happens, but they are becoming really powerful in the live context. The show is very weighted towards the new songs and it’s holding up. That’s what’s really kind of exciting. These are new songs, but they’re standing alongside our best work. We’ve created with this show really new, unique live moments where the songs really start to come through in a very powerful evocative way.

Clayton: I think in some ways being in U2 is like having a living diary, because every time you look at those early songs, you are reminded exactly what your experience was, what you were thinking at the time, and what you were doing. And now, when you go back to those songs and you play those songs with a different perspective, it’s like, “Ah, ok. Now I know why I’m here. Now I know what it’s about.” And in some ways we play those songs better now than when we first wrote them. Certainly with a different energy.

Meredith: It unfolds like a play on the live show, and it looks like it was meant to do that. With that in mind, musically, if you’re going into the album thinking this may be what we’re going to be doing thematically, I look at a song like Every Breaking Wave that kind of harkens back to older sounds of U2. A little bit of Joshua Tree in there. I know it doesn’t have to be like that because there’s the acoustic version which sounds nothing like that. Is that part of it? Do you say lets’ do those fun little tricks?

Edge: I think we actually quite mostly do the opposite. We try and avoid direct references. But it is the same four guys and the music that turned us on, and so formative for us means that we’re always going to move in a particular direction in songwriting and production. We like to try and keep things as fresh as possible. If things start to sound like previous albums, it’s almost against the grain of what we’re trying to achieve mostly.

Meredith: It seems like it’d be so hard. You’re known for innovation. By the technology, by the style of music. I had an argument with a friend talking about U2 as arguably the greatest band of all time, in the sense that if we’re going to put you up against another band, it’s gotta be The Beatles who changed the world twice, with their first record and Sgt. Pepper. But you guys did it with Joshua Tree, with Achtung Baby, and then with All That You Can’t Leave Behind. To have that on your shoulders, to constantly try to innovate forward musically, and there are so many new sounds on here like the song you do with Lykke Li, and the castoffs Lucifer’s Hands and Crystal Ballroom. How do you do it? How do you go into that and go “Alright, we’ve got to come up with something new. We’ve gotta be U2.”

Edge: First of all, to compare us to the Beatles is an unbelievable idea and I don’t think anyone could ever be a comparable band to The Beatles. They, for me, they stand in a different sort of a universe to anything else, but to even be in the same sentence is like just amazing to me. But in terms of the drive within our group, we always sort of seek out that feel new and fresh. It’s almost the only time we really start to get very excited in the studio or live is when we feel like we’re doing something unique and different. That’s just, we’ve had that from the very beginning I suppose because we came through in that era of punk music where everything was being reinvented. We’ve never relied on a knowledge of traditional forms within rock and roll. We’ve actually tried to avoid them most of the time at all costs. Few exceptions like on the Joshua Tree, we definitely were playing around with some blues ideas and Rattle and Hum, but it’s most of our work is dedicated to trying a new point of view that hasn’t been explored before and that goes through to our live productions and a lot of other things that we do.

Meredith: It seems with the idea that there are only so many notes, it becomes more about what new sound can we put on those notes. It’s just mind blowing that you’d have 30 some odd years in that you’re going, “Alright, no we can still do this different. This can be done different.”

Clayton: I think we’re very lucky because we can get very excited about the potential of those notes and that we think we can find another note in there amongst all of them.

Edge: And I think we can. I really genuinely think we can. Rock and roll as a form is pretty simple. When I listen back to our early records, Boy album particularly, hearing these nuances and compositions, I think “Where did that come from? That’s so out of the box of rock and roll.” I can’t think of a reference for it. I remember at the time a lot of it was we would just be in the room trying out some ideas. We knew so little about music composition that we would try a lot of experiments. It was through that playfulness, trial and error, that we would hit on these new compositional ideas that were coming from some complete different world and yet they sit on that album quite easily. I think it was that moment where music was really, everything was up for grabs. The rulebook had been torn up, so it was like just see what you can do.

Meredith: With all that’s been said about Songs of Innocence, reviews, great, bad, all of it, do you think now that it’s directing or re-directing how you’re looking at Songs of Experience as you go into that?

Clayton: I don’t think so. We’re very happy with what this record is and what these songs are. Songs of Experience will obviously be from a different perspective. We’re trying to make it a little rawer as a sound, the production a little rawer. But until it’s done, it’s really hard to comment on.



Waterfront Wednesday – June 24


June’s WFPK Waterfront Wednesday features Pokey LaFarge (9pm), Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn (7:30pm) and T. Hardy Morris (6pm). The WFPK Waterfront Wednesday® Concert Series is a monthly free concert on the Big Four Lawn in Louisville Waterfront Park, located next to the Big Four Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge. The Big Four Lawn “opens” at 5pm, and the music begins promptly at 6pm.

Waterfront Wednesday – Frequently Asked Questions


When is WFPK Waterfront Wednesday?
In 2015, Waterfront Wednesdays will be: April 22, May 27, June 24, July 29, Aug. 26, and Sept. 30.

Is there a Waterfront Wednesday every Wednesday?
Sadly, no. Waterfront Wednesdays are a monthly event April through September and typically fall on the last Wednesday of the month (occasionally it shifts to accommodate Derby and holidays).

How much are tickets?
Waterfront Wednesday is a ticketless event and free to the public! We are extremely grateful to our sponsors and our members for making it possible to keep Waterfront Wednesday free. For more information on becoming a member, click here.

Who’s playing?
This July, Waterfront Wednesday will feature Fantastic Negrito, Strand of Oaks, and American Aquarium. Check back here for future lineup announcements.

What kind of music?
Waterfront Wednesday has a great variety of bands over the summer. Check out songs from this month’s bands here.

What order/What time are the bands playing?*
6pm: American Aquarium
7:30pm: Strand of Oaks
9pm: Fantastic Negrito
*Please note that all times are approximate and all Waterfront Wednesdays follow this 6pm/7:30pm/9pm schedule.

What time can I get there?
The lawn opens at 5pm.

Can I watch the concert from the bridge?
Absolutely! It’s a great place to listen and has a beautiful view. Be sure to tag any of your photos on social media #wfpk and #waterfrontwednesday.

What time is the concert over?
Set lengths and start times are approximate, but usually the festivities are winding down between 10pm and 10:30pm.

Where is Waterfront Wednesday?
Waterfront Wednesday is held every month at the Big Four Lawn at Waterfront Park, located next to the Big Four Pedestrian Bridge.

I’m coming from out of town – how do I get there, what should I put in my GPS?
The Waterfront Development Corporation folks have exact GPS coordinates and directions from every, well, direction.

What about parking? Can I ride my bike? Will the construction for the bridges ever be done?
Due to the bridge construction, we strongly suggest parking West of I-65 in the Witherspoon, Humana and surface lots. There’s a free trolley sponsored by Republic Bank, that runs from Witherspoon to the Big Four Lawn between 6-10:30pm. Increased bicycle parking will also be offered in the event area, courtesy of Parkside Bikes.

Is there handicap parking?
All of Waterfront’s parking lots (green, orange, Lincoln, silver, tan, red and turquoise) offer 4-6 handicap parking spaces . The red lot is closest to the Big Four Lawn, but used for production, and is full by 5pm . If you desire you can have someone pull in and drop you at the entrance to the red (production) lot, then find another place to park.

There is also a free golf cart service provided via Wheel Fun Rentals that goes to every parking lot in Waterfront Park, as well as up on the bridge. No set schedule, but you can call Jeff for a ride at 502-751-1117. (Tipping the driver is greatly appreciated)

Can I bring kids/Is this a family-friendly concert?
Absolutely! Waterfront Wednesday is an all-ages event.

Can I bring my dog/ferret/parrot?
No pets allowed, sorry. Please leave the furry and feathered kids at home.

What else can’t I bring?
Outside alcohol is prohibited. No coolers, no glass, or pets allowed in the event area of the Big Four Lawn and the adjacent park areas.

Is there food and/or beer and/or alcohol and/or nonalcoholic drinks at Waterfront Wednesday?

I’m interested in being a vendor at Waterfront Wednesday. Where do I find more information?
Festival Cuisine is a member of the Louisville Independent Business Alliance and regularly works with farmers, etc. and features KY Proud products. For more information, contact Adam Nugent at Festival Cuisine.

Can I bring my own food?
As long as you don’t bring it in the aforementioned and prohibited glass or coolers, sure thing.

Can I bring my own beer?
I see what you did there. Still nope.

I see rain/wind/tornadoes from Oz predicted in the weather report. Is there still a concert?
Waterfront Wednesday is a rain or shine event, and we’ve typically had beautiful weather over the years! But occasionally especially heavy rain or lightening has caused us to run on a delayed schedule, and in the event of a particularly bad storm, cancel. The safety of our attendees as well as our bands and workers always takes priority, and in the case of inclement weather, keep an eye on our Facebook page.

I lost my keys/sunglasses/credit card/license/sweater/water bottle/you get the idea/ at Waterfront Wednesday, help!
You can check to see if anything was turned into WFPK by stopping by their booth or calling 502-814-6500 the next day.

You can check to see if anything was turned into the Friends of the Waterfront by stopping by their booth or calling (502) 574-3768 the next day.

I want to book a band to play Waterfront Wednesday.
Please email our program director Stacy Owen, at

I wish I’d gotten one of those awesome t-shirts you were selling!
And you can! Stop by our studio during regular business hours (Monday–Friday, 8:30am to 5:30pm, cash only please) or check out our online store!

Sample WFPK Live Volume 9!


It’s time for our spring membership drive, and you know what that means. We’ve got a brand new edition of the WFPK Live series, which is available when you make a pledge of at least $15 per month or $180 annually. Check out the track listing below to see what’s in store for you on WFPK Live Vol. 9, which has been made possible thanks to Murphy’s Camera.

1. Broken Bells – “Holding On For Life”
2. Bahamas – “All The Time”
3. Sarah Jaffe – “Lover Girl”
4. David Gray – “Back In the World”
5. Martin Sexton – “You (My Mind Is Woo)”
6. Joan Shelley – “Something Small”
7. Asgeir – “King And Cross”
8. Glass Animals – “Gooey”
9. Steelism – “China Plate”
10. Fly Golden Eagle – “Far Out”
11. Nicole Atkins – “The Worst Hangover”
12. St. Paul and the Broken Bones – “Like A Mighty River”

Donate now to get your copy of WFPK Live Vol. 9!

Watch Sold Out NYE Bash Online!


Join us for an electrifying James Brown revue as we say goodbye to 2014 live from Headliners, 1386 Lexington Rd! WFPK DJs Matt Anthony and Woodrow on the Radio will be spinning wax, joined by Thirty Spokes for a live set. Carly Johnson, Butch Rice, Skyscraper Stereo, and The Tunesmiths will be there to help make James Brown proud! We’ll also have a photo booth and balloon drop; all for just $10 in advance, $12 at the door. We’ll also be video streaming live right here via Leocast!

This event always sells out, so order your tickets soon! They go on sale this Friday.

Holiday Specials 2014



Listen for special holiday programs from Little Steven, Sound Opinions, your favorite WFPK hosts and more! And tune in New Year’s Eve day for our “Top 100 Albums” of 2014 Countdown sponsored by Music Go Round, buying, selling and trading used musical instruments and equipment, for 19 years. Full details below!

Host Kyle Meredith takes some time to look back at favorite editions of the show. This week listen for interviews with The Black Keys, Conor Oberst, and the legendary John Cale.!

Steven recommends all kinds of cool affordable gifts and shares music from Keith Richards, Darlene Love, the Kinks, and Cheap Trick!

Jim and Greg welcome back their favorite bearer of holiday music cheer, collector Andy Cirzan, to share his latest compilation of eclectic and eccentric seasonal tunes. This year, it’s a “Holiday Pop Parade.”

Holiday music from Louisville’s own Greg Foresman, Danny Flanigan and Alan Rhody!

Host Kyle Meredith takes some time to look back at the most worthy songs of the year and shares favorite interviews with  Sean Lennon, Dwight Yoakam, and Deltron 3030!

Matt sprinkle in some holiday music on this edition of the Sound Clash with a special tribute to James Brown in the 11 O’clock hour.  The “Godfather of Soul” passed away on Christmas Day in 2006.

— RELICS CHRISTMAS W/Duke Meyer (4-7pm)
Holiday music from the Relics era featuring the holiday messages The Beatles sent to their fan club members.

It’s our favorite time of year in the Underground Garage. It’s time for our annual Christmas A Go-Go show, the wildest Christmas party in town, baby.

Holiday blues you can use from BB King to Charles Brown!

From Otis Redding to Bob Wills, Woody will be spinning the Christmas platters that matter!

Join WFPK jazz hosts Danny O’Bryan, John LaBarbera and Matt Anthony for holiday jazz greats old, new and in-between! Plus, Dick Sisto reveals more picks for best albums of the year on The Inner Ear at 11am!

Christmas edition with Ibuka and Benny!

Listen for Christmas songs from contemporary Americana artists, stars from country music’s heyday, and singing cowboys of old.

A Bluegrass Christmas Special with The Country Gentleman, Berk Bryant.

–e-Town Holiday Special (8-9pm)
Husband-and-wife team Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist return to eTown as the Ohio-based duo Over the Rhine for this special holiday show. Also joining us is up-and-coming country/rock singer, songwriter and musician Max Gomez.

–A WINTER’S TALE  (10am-noon)
WFPK Program Director, Stacy Owen, hosts two hours of wonderfully chilly weather songs. Listen for music from Fleet Foxes, The Rolling Stones, White Stripes and more!

It’s our favorite time of year in the Underground Garage. It’s time for our annual Christmas A Go-Go show, the wildest Christmas party in town, baby.

This special encore features holiday music from Louisville’s own Greg Foresman, Danny Flanigan and Alan Rhody!

Listen for Laura’s mix of vintage and new holiday music to wrap presents by or cook your holiday feast to.

A performance and interview with Judith Owen and Harry Shearer. They’ll play songs from their annual holiday sing-along tour, newly renamed “Christmas without Tears.” In the second hour, it’s a rebroadcast of Tracey Thorn’s 2012 holiday performance and interview surrounding the release of Tinsel and Lights.

Jim James and Dave Givan take you on a holiday trip through time and space…

UnwrappedTHURSDAY, DEC. 25
— “CHRISTMAS UNWRAPPED with Michael Young (6-10AM)
Wake up with Michael Young’s crazy collection of Christmas tunes from the ridiculous to the sublime. All styles, all genres. Anything goes!

–RELICS CHRISTMAS w/Duke Meyer (10am-1pm)
Holiday music from the Relics era featuring the holiday messages The Beatles sent to their fan club members.

–A WINTER’S TALE (1-3pm)
WFPK Program Director, Stacy Owen, hosts two hours of wonderfully chilly weather songs. Listen for music from Fleet Foxes, The Rolling Stones, White Stripes and more!

–THE SOUL OF CHRISTMAS with Matt Anthony (3-6pm)
The host of WFPK’s Friday Night Sound Clash and Jazz Pulse brings you a holiday mix as only he can!

A holiday performance and interview with Over The Rhine focusing on their new album, Blood Oranges in the Snow. In the second hour listen for mini-interviews and live songs from several artists who appear on New West’s new compilation, An Americana Christmas.

Jim and Greg look back at 20 years of the groundbreaking alt-country label Bloodshot Records. Plus a review of the long-awaited new album by hip hop artist Divine Styler.

Ready for something other than holiday music? We’ll flash back to summer and sample performances from this year’s festival from Shovels and Rope, Nickel Creek, Dawes and Band of Horses.

Kyle takes some time to look back at favorite songs of the year and features some of his favorite interviews of the last few months including Damien Rice, Cage the Elephant, & Les Claypool.

Little Steven sums up all the wonderful things that happened this past year; including Steven’s list of the “coolest movies and books”.  We’ll also run down the Top 20 Coolest Songs In the World 2014 and then some!

Dick Sisto shares more of his favorite jazz releases of the year.

Michael Young shares his top Americana albums of 2014!

–TOP 100 ALBUMS OF 2014  (8am-6pm)
WFPK music hosts spend the day counting down WFPK’s favorite albums of the year! (Sponsored by Music Go Round, buying, selling and trading used musical instruments and equipment, for 19 years.)

Highlighting Best of Year album/song picks, some of the music you may have missed, some picks for the year to come, and David will pay tribute to some of the musicians that passed away in 2014.

DJs Woodrow On The Radio and Matt Anthony live from Headliners with Thirty Spokes taking the stage at 10:30 for a live set on the radio to ring in the New Year! You can attend this event…more info here.

It’s a two-hour tribute in song and story to the Man in Black. We’ll hear from his family, friends and associates on the contradictions–preacher, outlaw, loving family man, rockabilly rebel–that made the man. Voices include Rosanne Cash; son John Carter Cash; sister Joanne Yates and more!

–“HANK WILLIAMS, SR. SPECIAL” with Berk Bryant (Noon – 3pm)
New Year’s Day tradition honoring the great Hank Williams, Sr. with rare recordings, interviews, and the expertise of Mr. Berk Bryant on the day Hank died.

Tune in for the Underground Garage New Years show, where we sum up all the wonderful things that happened this past year; including Steven’s list of the “Coolest movies and books”.  We’ll also run down the top 20 “Coolest Songs In the World” this year and then some. Come join us for the world’s only Rock n’ Roll dance party on the radio!

Kyle takes some time to look back at favorite songs of the year and features some of his favorite interviews of the last few months including Damien Rice, Cage the Elephant, & Les Claypool..