David Byrne Has a Beef with Bono, Writes Bicycle Diaries

While David Byrne is taking his elaborate show all over Europe, he is a little ticked off about the way Bono is running U2’s tour.

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While David Byrne is taking his elaborate show all over Europe, he is a little ticked off about the way Bono is running U2’s tour. In a recent post on his blog, Byrne berated the supposedly charitable rocker over his lavish tour spending:

Thank You U2!

Mark E pointed out as we prepped for our show last night in Warsaw (at a not so big club/venue called Stodoła) that these undersized dates are in effect being subsidized by U2’s world tour. The promoter of these dates, and of much of the U2 stadium tour, is Live Nation, the global conglomerate. A venue like Stodoła could not possibly afford to pay for us, the catering, or even their local crew given the relatively small number of tickets to be sold here — and it’s not even an “exclusive” VIP-type venue. It’s not like they can charge $200 a seat and make up their losses that way — this is a standing room club… with a floor made of plywood. So in order to book our date, they must (we figure) be losing money now, then making it up with what they expect to earn on the upcoming U2 stadium dates.

Those stadium shows may possibly be the most extravagant and expensive (production-wise) ever: $40 million to build the stage and, having done the math, we estimate 200 semi trucks crisscrossing Europe for the duration. It could be professional envy speaking here, but it sure looks like, well, overkill, and just a wee bit out of balance given all the starving people in Africa and all. Or maybe it’s the fact that we were booted off our Letterman spot so U2 could keep their exclusive week-long run that’s making me less than charitable? Take your pick — but thanks, guys!

We are looking forward to Bono’s response.

When David Byrne isn’t gracing obscure Polish nightclubs with his presence, he’s probably preparing for the release of his new book, Bicycle Diaries. Byrne has long been a regular on New York City’s bike paths, and has proven himself a dedicated bicycle advocate. He recently designed a series of nine bike racks for the NY Department of Transportation that are both imaginative and utilitarian- a guitar for the hipster Williamsburg neighborhood in Brooklyn, an oversized high heel for the fashion district, and even an elaborate dollar sign for Wall Street.

Bicycle Diaries follows Byrne on his newest two-wheeled adventure, a world tour with his folding bike in tow. According to his website, the book “chronicles David’s observations and insights — what he is seeing, whom he is meeting, what he is thinking about — as he pedals through and engages with some of the world’s major cities.Some of Byrne’s international stops include Beunos Aires, Istanbul, Berlin, and Manila. Here his focus varies, covering everything from politics to art and fashion. Back stateside, Byrne hits Detroit, Pittsburgh, Columbus, and New York, where he is “more concerned with history in the urban landscape.” As is the case with all his projects, Byrne’s book will deliver an ethereal mix of everyday life and otherworldly diversions, “all conveyed with a highly personal mix of humor, curiosity, and humanity.”

Bicycle Diaries, a Viking/Penguin publication, will be available at booksellers in the U.S. September 17.


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