GQ’s August 2009 issue features an interview with the Edge, Jack White, and Jimmy Page, who sat down with Will Welch to discuss the new electric guitar documentary, It Might Get Loud. Edge discusses the inspiration behind the un-commercial nature of “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and the experience of playing it live for the first time.
“When you’re writing a song, it can’t just be a nice idea; it’s got to be something that’s important to you at a gut level. Even when ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ was in its rough, early stage, it was cathartic for me. As a band, we decided not to release it as the first single on War, not because we didn’t think it was a great tune but because it would’ve been embarrassing for it to have become a commercial object to be exploited. The first time we played it live, we were in Northern Ireland, and without telling the rest of us, Bono goes, “’We’ve got a song about what’s going on up here. If you don’t like it, we’ll never play it again. Ever.’”
“‘Oh shit. Oh shit.’ Then Bono said, ‘This song is called ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday,’’ and the place went nuts. Two or three people headed to the exits, because from the title alone, you might think it’s a nationalist anthem. But of course, it’s just the opposite: It’s a pacifist anthem. My hands were shaking as I played the guitar.”
“I think the three of us all reverted to type. Jack is the showman—the brassy frontman and the snake-oil trader. Jimmy is the sartorially elegant guitar god. And I’m the sideman. That’s my gig. The sideman has to make it all happen and make everyone else look good.”
Find the complete interview here.