is a Toronto-based U2 tribute band made up of members
Shawn Brady (as Bono), Kevin Strom (as The Edge), John
Johnstone (as Larry Mullen Jr.), Mick Barnard (as Adam
Clayton) and Interference's Jessica Cunningham as Elevation?s
very own belly dancer.
piece is based on an interview conducted by BP Fallon,
all of the questions and U2's answers are from BP's original
interview, the entirety of which can be viewed at http://www.bpfallon.com/u2_interview.html.
What turned you on to rock'n'roll?
T Rex and Slade and when I saw those guys playing and saw
drummers I said I wanna be able to do that.
JOHN: I never went through the phase of disliking girls,
so I'd have to say that when I saw all the girls screaming
for the Bay City Rollers, I knew I had to be a rock n roller.
My question is: Where are the screaming girls?
Yeah, it was seeing Stiff Little Fingers in The Laurence
Hotel in about '78 when I was about 18. I loved the energy,
the excitement and the noise.
MICK: Hearing Peter Gabriel singing "Dancing With The
Moonlit Knight. Also, Steve Hackett's incendiary guitar solo
in that same song. Did you know he was doing all that tapping
stuff on the neck years before Eddie Van Halen? It still
has an effect on me thirty years later.
My first guitar, my first records from David Bowie records
to Taste records. The Beatles obviously were huge.
KEVIN: Well it's either my brothers playing the stereo at
ear piercing volumes, cranking out Rush and Kiss every morning
before and after school, or it's hearing them jam the Smoke
on the Water riff in the basement a million times!!
There was a few incidents - seeing Elvis, seeing Tom Jones
- yeah! - and realising I fancied Marc Bolan and he wasn't
a girl and I thought this rock'n'roll was quite a potion
if it can do that to me 'cos I'm very heterosexual.
BRADY: Seeing The Cult when I was 12 years old in a small
arena. I'll never forget the rush I got from that show (which
looking back, could have been from the "funny smelling
smoke" that filled the arena). Afterwards I practiced
my guitar 4 hours per day instead of the usual 4 hours per
week. I would play along to "Sonic Temple" and
try stage moves by jumping off my bed. My parents thought
I was nuts. That show was LOUD. My ears are still ringing.
What was the first record you actually bought?
The re-released version of 'Space Oddity' by David Bowie.
JOHN: I bought the single for Ebony and Ivory. (Stevie Wonder
and Paul McCartney) I told my friends it was a birthday gift
for my sister.
John Lennon's 'Happy Christmas (War Is Over)'.
BRADY: Bryan Adams "Reckless." There are some
great tunes on that record that have passed the test of time.
I really believe "Run To You" and "Summer
of 69" are definitive moments in Canadian rock history.
I was given a lot of Beatles records and then probably
the first record that I could afford to buy, which is when
I was about twelve, was 'Jesus Christ Superstar.
MICK: "Selling England By The Pound," secondhand,
for the princely sum of one UK pound. Arguably Genesis' finest
album. However, I would like to apologise to your readers
for almost everything they recorded after Gabriel left and
Phil Collins started singing.
'Mama We're All Crazee Now' by Slade.
KEVIN: I'm not totally sure but I believe it was the 45 single
of "Sultans of Swing" by Dire Straits. This song
has the catchiest chorus and one of the best solos ever!
What was the first concert you were ever at?
There was a cabaret band that played our primary school,
the Ink Bottle in Glasnevin. I was 8, and I never quite
got over the sound of the drums. When we made our first
album I would have dreams about the bass drum. Drums got
me into rock'n'roll. I mean, it was Larry who put together
U2, he was the only one who could play and it was enough
just to listen to his drums.
BRADY: Tom Cochrane and Red Rider with opening act Glass
Tiger at the Sudbury Arena in 1986. I was 10 years old but
I still remember the vibe of that show. I went to see Glass
Tiger but I was much more impressed with Tom Cochrane's showmanship
and ability to connect with a crowd. His experience really
Rory Gallagher in The Carlton. I was into the 'Tattoo'
album, I liked that and 'Irish Tour 1974'. I went to a
gig in 1974, I was fourteen.
MICK: The Stranglers in 1978 on the Rattus tour in Hamburg,
Germany. They were brilliant. It may still be the loudest
gig I have ever seen, including the utterly deafening Motorhead
the following year.
A blues concert in Trinity College.
JOHN: A Canadian band called Triumph. New Years Eve, in the
Horslips in Skerries in '75 or '76. Then I saw Thin Lizzy
in Dalymount Park, The Jam and The Clash in theatres around
town, it was a great time for concerts really. Stiff Little
Fingers, just great artists, Elvis Costello, The Ramones...
KEVIN: Kiss at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto in 1980 or 81
- I can't remember I was only 6 or 7. Those guys were so
cool with their makeup and pyro. I remember dressing up for
Halloween as Peter Chris, although I used to play my plastic
guitar with "ACE" written in black marker across
If there was an extra six hours per day, what would you
do with it?
JOHN: Learn to play guitar at a high level.
KEVIN: Too many things to list! There are so many things
that I neglect due to work every day plus music on the weekends
and some weeknights.
BRADY: I love to nap, so that would take up 2 hours. With
the remaining four hours I would do some song writing of
my own, possibly some extra running, help out with a good
cause and visit with friends and family...can I please have
more than 6 hours?
I'd get everything done that I never get done normally,
like checkin' in with people, gettin' my life together.
I'd actually get my life together - I wouldn't need music!
MICK: I'd just sit on my... OK, I'd spend it with my children.
What's the best thing about you?
BRADY: I am very determined and dedicated and when I put
my mind to something I accomplish it. Oh, and my cheekbones
- I should specify - the one's on my face.
The way I might look at you.
MICK: I can't hold a grudge for long (is that a strength
or a weakness?)
JOHN: When I like someone, I'm very loyal.
I don't snore.
KEVIN: I'm a good-hearted person. I treat people with the
respect which, I feel I should be given in return.
And what's the worst thing about you?
BRADY: I love eating chicken. Anytime - breakfast, dinner,
lunch, 3:30am....whenever. It is my Achilles heel. If there
is a Swiss Chalet or KFC within smelling distance I will
likely be found minutes later scarfing down a piece of chicken.
Don't interrupt me while I am eating chicken because bad
things may happen to you. It is a good thing I run competitively to
keep my weight down because otherwise I may have ended up
in a Meatloaf tribute.
I'm black and white.
JOHN: If I don't like someone, I can't hide it.
I'm so single-minded on some things that I find it hard
to keep other things together. When I'm really concentrating
on an album or tour or something, a lot of other things
in my life get shelved.
I'm stubborn, can't say "no" and I give people way too
many chances and get burned.
I'm very bad in the mornings, grumpy. I don't say very
MICK: Given the choice, I'd just sit on my arse and look
out of the window. Obviously this is a great ability to bring
to a marriage involving small children.
If you were an animal, which animal would you be?
A giraffe. Why? 'Cos then you'd meet other giraffes.
MICK: A cat, obviously. My cats live lives of pampered luxury.
They just sit on their arses all day and look out of the
One of the big cats, so I could just s-t-r-e-t-c-h out
in the sun, a panther or a cheetah.
KEVIN: Without question a dog. If you were a dog in my house
growing up you were treated better than the kids. Ok so maybe
that is an exaggeration but not by much!
Aaah! A fly. Because Bono wrote about a fly and what's
good enough for Bono is good enough for me.
JOHN: I agree with Mick. A cat. What a life!
A wildebeest. You'd have to have a sense of humor with
a name like that.
BRADY: A lion - king of the jungle baby! Pardon the pun but
cats are pussies (did you hear that Mick and John?)
What is the most vulgar thing you own?
Julian Cope's Peggy Suicide and Jehova Kill.
JOHN: Fart Spray. I think my wife hid it on me though.
A Mexican sequined whiskey bottle.
KEVIN: I don't own anything vulgar, I'm a good boy!
A 1973 canary yellow Ford Cortina with fake leopard skin
interior complete with nodding dog and furry dice and me driving
it, having to explain to people that I won it in a poker
I don't own anything vulgar - unless "Poison" CDs
count? I have a weakness for glam rock from time to time.
A 1993 yellow suit.
MICK: Everything I own reflects good taste, though Brady
did leave a pair of his underpants at my house once. Does
What's your favorite method of transportation?
MICK: I've always liked the idea of having a glider. But
you have to get them up in the air first, don't you? So I'm
nominating a red London bus.
Train or fast car.
KEVIN: A plane. I love flying, besides there's no traffic!
Nothing beats the feel of the plane on the runway picking
up speed and then the feel of falling back as the nose goes
up and you sail into the sky.
JOHN: I love driving, but there can be absolutely no traffic,
and a great stereo helps also.
An angel's back. No, make that blindfolded.
BRADY: Running. There is nothing more satisfying than reaching
a level a fitness that allows for coming back from a long
30 kilometre run, cruising through various terrains and weather
systems, barely out of breath. Those who run competitively
would understand this. Those who don't will think I am mad.
Have you ever slept in the open?
Yeah, quite often actually. Well, I once slept on a roundabout
in London in Camden, no sorry not as glamorous as Camden,
it was Catford. I'd been to see Thin Lizzy play the Wembley
Arena in their 'Live and Dangerous tour' so it would have
been about '76. This time I'd been in the West End in a
few clubs and didn't have any money to get home so I started
walking. And I just walked as far as I could go before
I fell asleep and I chose a roundabout and woke up at rush
hour. It was a bit disorienting because I couldn't find
my glasses so all I knew was I was on this patch of green
and there were cars driving round me, so it was a bit of
a strange way to wake up.
MICK: Yes, at various rock festivals, etc. while under the
influence... it was fun at the time but I'd rather not these
When I was a kid camping I'd occasionally sleep outside
the tent but not since I was about fifteen or sixteen.
KEVIN: Not that I know of... just kidding... no I haven't.
A couple of times I went to some bike weekends and pitched
an old tent and when I was younger I used to go camping
with my girlfriend. I was at a bike weekend last summer
in Waterford, the Freewheelers Festival. A weekend of debauchery
basically. Anyone can go down, you don't have to have a
bike and it's just looking at bikes and hanging out and
just basically having a blast for a weekend.
JOHN: When I was a teenager, I waited in line for tickets
to see a hair band. You'll have to torture me to tell you
what band it was
Yes. More than a few times. When I was sixteen, myself
and the Village which was Gavin, Guggi, all those, it was
like a street gang, I talked them all into going over to
this old seaside town in Wales to try and meet my summer
love from the year before whose name was Mandy. The only
problem was it was November so when we got over to this
place Criccieth in North Wales, absolutely beautiful seaside
town, great place to fall in love, we pitched the tent
on the seaside on the strand. They had record gale force
winds that year and the tent was taken away in a tornado
and thrown about a mile down the beach and I remember curling
up in a puddle and trying to get the puddle warm! It was
then I discovered the great invention that a women's toilet is
when they have those air heaters, to dry your hands vibe.
We slept in a lady's toilet, taking turns keeping on the
dryer to keep warm.
On a few occasions, the most memorable occurred in 1998,
when I traveled around Europe with two good friends. While
in Scotland, we arrived in Edinburgh much later than planned
and much to our chagrin all of the hostels were booked.
We took a long walk and ended up climbing "Arthur's
Seat" behind Holyrood Palace and slept under the stars
overlooking Edinburgh and froze our asses off. Life was
good. Morleigh [Steinberg] stole my dream life, but I'm
stealin' it back!
Cunningham -Elevation's belly dancer- talks to Interference
What got you into U2?
JESSICA: The first time I clapped eyes on U2, I was staying
at my brother's apartment taking ballet summer school in
July 1987. I was just starting to get into music at my brother's
urging by watching MuchMusic morning noon and night. There
were two bands that battled daily for the most attention,
Bon Jovi and U2. My first view of U2 was the "I Still
Haven't Found What I'm Looking For"
video. At first I couldn't understand why MuchMusic was making
such a fuss about this band, but something about that guitarist's
sad eyes and that singer's passion intrigued me! Then I saw
the "A Sort of Homecoming" video and then the "Streets" Video,
and I was totally blown away. I had to see that band live.
I still didn't know their names or any of the songs but it
didn't matter. Tickets were sold out, but I went to a scalper,
emptied out every last cent I had and sat in the back of
the back of the stadium but it didn't matter. The feeling
was indescribable. That experience transformed my life, and
began an odyssey of U2 mania that has not subsided to this
When did you join Elevation?
JESSICA: Well, the night of the band's very first show, Brady
came up and introduced himself to me. Right then and there,
I blurted [out], " I don't suppose you'd like to have
a belly dancer in this band would you?" and to my amazement,
he said that sounded like a great idea! "Oh great..." I
thought, now I'm going to have to learn to belly dance! But
I was very excited. Up to that time I had done 15 years of
ballet, and in my teens I had done Flamenco, Jazz and Modern,
but never anything like belly dancing. So I rushed off to
a Lebanese teacher, bought the most ZooTV-ish costume I could
find, and took a crash course in belly dancing? to make a
very long answer short, my first show with Elevation was
on April 4, 2002, in a seedy bar in which I made my appearance
via the kitchen!
What era do you think Elevation pulls off the best?
JESSICA: Well, there is one more era they are doing this
weekend for the first time, so it's hard to say for sure,
but based on what I've seen so far, it's ZooTV/Zooropa. The
attention to detail is just amazing!
What's your favorite thing about being part of a U2 Tribute
JESSICA: Well this really is the ultimate chance to live
out two of my favorite passions; dancing for a live audience
and performing with U2! That and the fact that I have my
cravings for live U2 satisfied on a regular basis!
Any other comments you'd like to add?
JESSICA: I think it's so great that Interference, my "cyber
home" is featuring this band. I am tremendously proud
of them and it's a much deserved tribute to how far they
have come in the past year. They welcomed me into their band
and put their faith in my abilities without even auditioning
me (they first saw me dance at rehearsal)! I am an extremely
shy person but when I put on that costume, I feel like Clark
Kent changing in the phone booth!