Bono’s First American Television Interview
In the winter of 1981, I was host and producer of a television show on Channel 3 (KYW-TV) that aired
the last Sunday of every month called “The Rock and Roll Show.”
We had a segment on the show called “New Artist Pick of the Month.” I had received the debut album by a band from Ireland called U2 along with a lot of favorable articles written about them in England. I liked the first single “I will Follow,” and it was getting airplay on the rock stations in Philly.
I decided to name U2 the New Artist Pick of the Month on the March show, and lined up an interview with their singer with an odd first name: Bono.
Ellen Darst was working for Warner Brothers at the time and brought the 20-year old singer to the TV station
at 5th and Market in center city Philadelphia. We set up in a room on the ground level, I had booked a cameraman, and off we went.
Our talk was about ten minutes in total. I found Bono to be very soft spoken with a lot of conviction. His hair was a mullet; mine, a perm; Signs of the times.
After the interview, Bono needed a ride to his gig. The rest of the band was waiting for him at the Bijou Café around 16th & Lombard streets, and so, I gave him a ride there. It was late in the afternoon and the their show was hours away, so he invited me in to meet the band. Then they asked me to go have dinner with them. I declined. This is my biggest regret of my life!
After playing that night to a small crowd, they returned to Philadelphia about six months later and played a larger venue – The Ripley Music Hall on South Street. I was able to go backstage afterwards to say hello, and join in the excitement that this band was really going places.
But by the time U2 reached the level of the Tower Theater (3,000 capacity), all access to them became
limited, and I was never able to stop backstage to say hello until many years later. U2 reached new heights very quickly, and I suppose if I had continued in television, and reached a higher level such as a
national show, I could have kept up with them and continued to have access. But I chose not to follow television as a career move, and have remained on rock radio instead.
Fast forward 25 years, and I went to see Bono on Independence Mall to introduce his ONE campaign, and afterwards, WMMR’s Pierre Robert and I met with Bono to get some words on tape, and he
remembered our time together. “I can’t tell you who I had breakfast with yesterday but I remember
to this day, those who helped us in our early days,” Bono told us.
See some of my television interviews on my Classic Rock Archives You Tube Channel