Saturday, 16 November 2013

U2's Fifth Member Is Leaving

The news of Paul McGuinness selling Principle Management to Live Nation and Guy Oseary taking over the helm as U2 manager is a couple of days old now, but I needed time to muse on the news and I'm still pondering!

The news came out publicly via The New York Times on November 12th. It is not a done deal yet, but going to happen when you consider the statement released by McGuinness in the same article:  “It could be seen as slightly poor etiquette for a manager to consider retiring before his artist has split, quit or died, but U2 have never subscribed to the rock ’n’ roll code of conduct. As I approach the musically relevant age of 64 I have resolved to take a less hands-on role as the band embark on the next cycle of their extraordinary career.

“I am delighted that Live Nation, who with Arthur Fogel have been our long term touring partners, have joined us in creating this powerful new force in artist management. I have long regarded Guy Oseary as the best manager of his generation, and there is no one else I would have considered to take over the day-to-day running of our business.”
The full New York Times article can be read here.

There's no two ways that this is a major event in the U2 camp, McGuinness has been manager to the band since 1978, and there's no doubt he did a good job during those 35 years. I know nothing about Guy Oseary, so can't comment on how well he'll do the job.  But it is a daunting task to try and fill McGuinness'
shoes. And what of the band, they are creatures of habit and it's a massive change for them. I find it very strange that there has not been a single word from them since this news came out.

I can't help but wonder if this is the beginning of the end for the band. There has been a feeling in me of things coming to an end for a while now.  My personal view is that U2 have lost the drive and creativity that made them the "biggest and best" rock band in the world for so long, they are more driven by money than art nowadays. They almost desperately  want to be relevant to the youngsters of today, well that's not going to happen guys.  Live, they still have it, they put on a great show, but even there the last tour ended up almost a greatest hits tour, it was wonderful to hear some of those songs again, but what about the new stuff?

 There's an article from The Irish Times blog here that makes an interesting read. I don't agree with everything written there but it brings up some good points.

A new album is due out in the Spring, apparently with some kind of launch happening during the Superbowl in the US. Maybe they will prove me wrong and blow my mind  and touch my heart and soul with brilliant music like they used to, and no one would be happier than me if they did!


  1. While I dont't agree with the "terrible run of albums in recent years" (most of them were decent enough albeit far from fantastic) I think the article raises some valid questions. I do agree with this comment: "The U2 brand may expand but the band must be suffering, Its very clear over recent years that money not artistic expression is the priority. As for the new album, I would love for it to be amazing, they are hugely talented guys, I just think the focus has been lost. If it's really about the music go tour the world in a van and play crap venues like Peter Buck, deliver a metal machine music album like Lou, or go do a small venue tour like Arcade Fire...rather than playing it safe to please the corporate overlords and saying they are playing 20 nights in the jumbo football stadium "for the fans".

  2. As usual Andy I completely agree with you! It's such a shame, they have become part of the corporate machine and it's suffocating their creativity. I think this will be the beginning of the end for them.