Sunday, June 26, 2011

#268: Vertigo

An interesting little document.  I compiled these quotes from the various depositions that were filed in the Chris Lester v U2 court case.  In short Lester claimed that U2 stole his song, Nowhere Fast (the title of which is a steal from an utterly brilliant Jim Stienman song from the movie Streets of Fire) and released the music as Vertigo.  Naturally U2 fought this and I have no idea who won as the case petered out into the usual 'undisclosed settlement'.  What I do know is that I can't find Lester's song anywhere on the internet at all, released under the band name of Custom 500, which leads me to believe that he might have lost.

What was interesting was U2's own music expert, who found that the riff of Vertigo was anything but original, and could be traced back to the Kinks You Really Got Me and the Rolling Stones' Bitch, Stone Temple Pilots' Crackerman and Sex Type Thing, The Police's Roxanne, amongst other songs by the likes of Megadeth, Black Sabbath and Therapy.  The case was also hilarious for the testimony given by the plaintiffs, music experts who had never heard of the Kinks, and Lester himself, totally baffled during his deposition, who got his facts confused and was clearly out of his depth.  Of course U2 were shocked and outraged that anyone, ANYONE, could suggest that their music isn't anything but totally 100% original.

While I'm not surprised that U2 were sued for plagiarism, I am surprised it took this long.  Personally I've always felt that a-Ha could raise a case for Beautiful Day being a steal of The Sun Always Shines On TV or the Breeders, who could also raise a case for Elevation being a steal of Cannonball.  The list goes on.  In the 2000's U2 were all over everyone else's music, with the sub-par albums All That You Can't Leave Behind and Atomic Bomb.  It was only when U2 began to experiment again with No Line On The Horizon that they stopped stealing other people's music, either consciously or sub-consciously - take your pick - so hopefully they'll continue in that direction.   Until then, here's U2 telling the world how they created Vertigo!

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U2 completed its world “Elevation Tour” in late 2001. By early 2002, we decided that we wanted our next studio album to be reminiscent of the punk rock genre by   including up tempo, guitar driven, aggressive and adrenalized songs.
--Larry

In early 2002, U2 had already decided that our next studio album would an up-tempo, fast paced, adrenalized record, invocative of the energy of the era punk rock.
--Bono

In early 2002, I performed and recorded improvised drum tracks for potential new songs at our Hanover Quay recording studio in Dublin, Ireland. My intent was to assist Edge, who would otherwise compose music using machine made drum tracks. I also did this so that I would not be left out of the early creative process. Engineers
Chris Heaney and Leo Pearson, and drum technician Sam Sullivan, assisted me with the recording.

Chris, Leo, Sam and I selected what we considered to be the best parts of my improvised drum tracks. We used the selected parts to create drum loops, which we downloaded onto a CD and sent to Edge.  I understand that my drum loops inspired Edge to work on complementary aggressive, hard-driving guitar riffs, and that the two-bar guitar riff (which was ultimately used in Vertigo) came to him when he was playing his guitar while listening to my drum loops.
--Larry

The rhythm of the drums (or the groove of the beat) inspired me to create and play simultaneously, among other things, a two-bar guitar chord progression (the “Vertigo Guitar Riff”) that became part of a song that I composed and recorded over the course of a few days and called Hard Metal Jacket. When I created the Vertigo Guitar Riff, I was not following a preconceived notion of the way a song should be composed. The Vertigo Guitar Riff was the result of inspiration, instinct and happenstance provoked by my reaction to Larry’s drumbeats. I was deliberately trying to find something new, and to sort of surprise myself and uncover something fresh, which is why some of the chord changes I was playing were quite big leaps down the fret board on my guitar.

I recorded the Vertigo Guitar Riff using recording equipment in my home and Digital Performer software on my laptop computer. I also created and recorded other guitar parts for Hard Metal Jacket and a bass guitar part that essentially paralleled the Vertigo Guitar Riff (the “Vertigo Bass Riff”). The Vertigo Bass Riff simply reinforced the chordal Vertigo Guitar Riff. I created the Vertigo Bass Riff to fill out the sound without intending to overly influence what Adam U2’s bass player) might ultimately do to it.

Terry Lawless, a musician and digital audio technician who periodically works with U2, functioned as my recording engineer in Malibu, and assisted me in recording and engineering my work. Over the course of several days Terry helped me put the constituent parts of three or four songs together into three or four demo recordings, one of which was Hard Metal Jacket.  Terry burned Hard Metal Jacket and the other songs that I had composed and recorded (collectively, the “Malibu Recordings”) onto a CD and gave the CD to me. In November 2002, when Bono was visiting Los Angeles, I played Hard Metal Jacket, and the other Malibu Recordings, for Bono and a mutual friend Lian Lunson.
--Edge

In November 2002, Edge and I were visiting a friend in Los Angeles named Lian Lunson.  Edge played for us recordings of several songs he had been working on.  One of the songs, which he titled Full Metal Jacket or Hard Metal Jacket consisted bass and guitar tracks over drum loops.  In listening to Hard Metal Jacket, I was impressed with the guitar attitude and vitality, and I thought that the song had some potential to become a U2 song.
--Bono

In late 2002, at Hanover Quay, our recording studio in Dublin, Ireland, the band began the process of recording our next album, which was ultimately titled How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb.
--Bono

In December 2002, the band met at Hanover Quay to start work on our next studio album. Edge played some songs (or ideas for songs) that he had recorded. One of the songs, called Hard Metal Jacket, contained the two-bar guitar riff that was ultimately used in Vertigo.
--Larry

In December 2002, the band regrouped in Dublin to begin the process of writing and recording new songs for our next studio album. Edge came to our first meeting with six or seven pieces of music — ideas for songs — that he had recorded. I recall that the piece of music that ultimately evolved into Vertigo contained a guitar riff, some arrangement ideas, drum loops and a bass part. I assumed that the drum loops were created by Larry, and have since learned that my assumption was correct.
--Adam

The band worked on the studio album over the next two years. The song Hard Metal Jacket went through many changes on the way to becoming the song now known as Vertigo. The two-bar guitar riff, however, did not change in any significant way.
--Larry

Having agreed that Edge’s idea for the song that became Vertigo had some potential, the band then recorded the backing track (or musical bed) for that idea. The band had agreed that our next album should be reminiscent of the punk rock era, so naturally, for Vertigo, I played a bass line that paralleled the guitar. This is a classic punk rock technique that can be found in many punk rock songs, and a technique that I have employed in other U2 musical compositions.
--Adam

Around December 2002, the Malibu Recordings were played for all of my band mates at a studio called Hanover Quay, in Dublin, Ireland. The band then worked on Hard Metal Jacket, exclusively or primarily at Hanover Quay, for almost two years. We recorded at least 75 versions of the song. At the end of each week we spent in the studio, we would typically create a listening CD that included what we thought was the best version of the songs we had worked on that week.  The listening CD allowed us to listen to our work on weekends or holidays so that we could come up with new ideas or suggestions for improving our work.

Over the next two years Hard Metal Jacket went through many iterations on the way to becoming Vertigo. Sometimes in order to identify a particular melodic approach we attached different names to different versions of the song. The names included Shark Soup, Viva La Ramone and Native Son (which was actually the proper title for the song for a while).  Each iteration of the song that became Vertigo included the guitar riff composed by Edge in Malibu.
--Bono

As Hard Metal Jacket evolved, the music, instrumentation, title and lyrics changed many times. Over the course of time, Hard Metal Jacket had several working titles (for purposes of distinguishing between melodic ideas incorporated within its many iterations), such as Viva La Ramone, Shark Soup, Sopa de Tiburon, Native Son and finally Vertigo.
--Edge

As our song evolved, vocal melodies and lyrics were sung over the backing track. During this process, we identified the song by several titles, one of which was Native Son.  When Native Son was essentially a complete song, the band decided that we were dissatisfied with it.  Among other things, we felt that it was too politically motivated and not punky enough in its attitude. While Bono was away, Edge, Larry and I re-recorded (or re-cut) the backing track to get what we felt was a better attitude. After Bono heard the re-cut, he created the Vertigo melody.
--Adam

Each version of the song that ultimately became Vertigo included the Vertigo Guitar Riff, which did not change musically from the time I composed it in Malibu to when Vertigo was commercially released. Over time Adam did make adjustments to the Vertigo Bass Riff from what I had initially composed and recorded in Malibu. Although I, alone, composed the Vertigo Guitar Riff, Bono, Adam, Larry and I collectively composed the rest of the musical backing track for Vertigo. Bono and I wrote the lyrics for Vertigo.
--Edge

All of us participated in the song writing process to one degree or another in that we generally create our songs by improvising while we are recording.  Larry, Adam, Edge and I composed the music for Vertigo. Edge and I composed the lyrics for Vertigo.
--Bono

Paying tax is for arseholes
Each band member participated in the creation of Vertigo. Edge wrote the guitar parts, including the guitar riff in issue. He also had a role in the creation of the bass part, some of the over-dubs, and the melodic development of the song. Bono contributed to the musical development of the song and, along with Edge, wrote the melodies and lyrics. I made some adjustments to the bass part, and Larry created the drum part. We shared our musical ideas in a collaborative, consensual process. We
constantly re-evaluated the ideas and collectively decided how to proceed as new ones emerged.
--Adam

In September 2004, U2 released Vertigo as a single recording. In November 2004, U2 released the album How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, which included Vertigo.
--Edge

Monday, June 20, 2011

#267: Two Fools a Minute

If you could be a rock star then who would you be?  If you answered David Lee Roth then you’re in a shit load of trouble.  Sure, Roth has talent, he can sing (if you doubt the latter listen to Me Wise Magic by Van Halen, or any of his jazz material), he’s fairly attractive, gets loads of women, is rich and hangs around guitarists like Eddie Van Halen and Steve Vai.  He travels the world, is known wherever he goes and can sleep in every day if he wants to.  He doesn't have to work anymore, in fact he can probably hire someone to wipe his arse if he felt the desire to do so.  So what’s the downside?

The downside is lunatics like this one bringing legal action against you.  According to this nut case Roth engages in some shady antics indeed, from spiking hot water containers at a local homeless shelter, to spiking Hillary Clinton and her staff, to controlling both the Democrats and Republicans at the executive level and being caught in ‘compromising positions’ with (now ex) President G.W. Bush.  That is when he’s not threatening to kills his father for bringing porn into the house whilst moonlighting as a paramedic.  And if you think that’s insane, try reading these court documents.  Roth is a Russian and also provided the Russians with the launch codes to the US nuclear arsenal, has cancer and often talks to himself.  And therein lies the price of fame – every screwball in the woodpile comes out to sue you, or claim that you’ve fathered their baby, slaughtered their pet budgie or eaten their hamster in a sandwich.

Keep the cash and fame Dave, I’ll be happy remaining poor and unknown.  However this case is one of the reasons why the US legal system is so clogged up – this cracker has kept this in front of the courts now for years, despite it being thrown out, the last time hopefully for the last time.  You can’t go past descriptions such as “…case-using-large-stomach-obvious-alcoholic Kenny Naatz”.  I’ve written stream of consciousness before, mainly as an experiment to see how it’d go, but nothing I’ve ever seen comes anywhere near this stuff, which reads like a Salvador Dali painting might – exhilarating, insane, confusing, vivid and, ultimately, not making any reasonable sense at all.  But, unlike Dali, this material doesn’t rise to the same heights as say The Persistence Of Memory, but, for fear of being labelled David Lee Roth, I wonder if this person is now getting the help she clearly needs.   

The entire saga was dismissed in December 2008, but the author has her own web-site.  Seek it out if you dare, remember, she’s being watched and her computers are being hacked by people in high places.  Like Vince Neil and some dickhead from Warrant.  Or even this fucking guy on the right.  And I'll be happy to give anyone a cookie if they can make any sense of out this shit and explain just what this idiot is saying.

And you thought your ex-girlfriend was a fucking looney - trust me, I've got ex's that are known for running me over, punching me out, braking bottles on my head, smashing windows, breaking into my houses, ripping me off - all kinds of crazy crap, but I'd have any of them back over this freak.