April 20, 2010

Bono's Tips on Being a Frontman

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Taken from the great folks at @U2, and Q Magazine.

He's been U2's sunglasses-sporting chairman of the board for 35 years. If anyone knows what this front man lark is all about, it's him.

Q Magazine, April 18, 2010
By: Bono

(The April edition of Q magazine features a list of the 100 Greatest Frontmen, with Bono coming in at Number 2.)

1. Front is important but so is back. Get the right people to watch yours -- band, missus, management, your mates.

2. Lie about your height, even if you're 5'10" like me.

3. Don't imagine the audience doesn't know who you really are -- they really do...in a very intimate way. You live in their ear after all, just next door to the brain, down the hall to the bedroom of their heart. Especially if they sleep with earphones. Very, very intimate. They have heard the sound of your spirit snap and stretch. (Truth is, you probably don't know who you are.)

4. Remember who pays your wages but don't tell them.

5. A messianic complex is essential. Don't hold back, but realise at some point you will find yourself riding to a gig on a donkey. (I know this because my Father in heaven told me so.)

6. If you have another frontman onstage, give him your microphone immediately. And you use the spare.

7. Be reasonable in your expectations of yourself and your audience.

8. Never tell a journalist that you're really shy underneath it all.

9. Understand that fame doesn't blow up the ego, it implodes it. The emptiness that follows is a great thing to try and fill...especially if you fill it with a hit. This is what your record label will call finding yourself again. They don't know that... [see next tip]

10. ...You need just enough low esteem to get where you need to be. The plane doesn't fly without petrol.

11. The blogosphere -- like a Saturday night in A&E -- can put you off like democracy. Use it sparingly. And never be sure if you're the doctor or the patient.

12. Red wine is the poetic drink -- the only real drink for singers. Even if you're not drinking, it should be red wine you're not drinking. If you've never had a drink in your life, it's the chateau bottle that is at the centre of its own absence. Except for champagne and Tom Jones, who lives on the stuff.

13. You will meet Ronnie Wood at some point. You will also meet Mani. They both have a lot to say. Listen to them! They are troubadours. They can teach you things. What's weird is that it's sometimes difficult to remember what they say, which might mean you're taking rule 12 too far.

14. History is made at night and electrically. Generally speaking all encounters with your audience will occur by the light of the moon or some artificial equivalent. Live at night when you are performing. But try the morning for writing.

15. Be careful.

© Q Magazine/Bauer Media, 2010.

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