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Bono Calling

A while back, my intrepid colleague Keith Hammonds described his attempts to get U2’s globe-trotting front man and philanthropic crusader to talk about Third World poverty in our annual social capitalist issue. Bono didn’t return the call. But last week I read about a call he did place — to the Chicago Tribune’s music critic Greg Kot. “You’ve offended us,” Bono said. “We need to talk.”

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A while back, my intrepid colleague Keith Hammonds described his attempts to get U2’s globe-trotting front man and philanthropic crusader to talk about Third World poverty in our annual social capitalist issue. Bono didn’t return the call. But last week I read about a call he did place — to the Chicago Tribune’s music critic Greg Kot. “You’ve offended us,” Bono said. “We need to talk.”

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What prompted Bono to call Kot’s cell phone between concerts here in Chicago? He objected to Kot’s criticism of U2’s recent albums and its shilling for Apple. In a lengthy interview, Bono defended the ads: “OK, associating our music with a product. You’ve got to deal with the devil. Let’s have a look. The devil here is a bunch of creative minds, more creative than a lot of people in rock bands. The lead singer is Steve Jobs. These men have helped design the most beautiful object art in music culture since the electric guitar. That’s the iPod.”

It’s not the conversation we were after, but it’s fascinating just the same. Bono reveals himself to be more thin-skinned than you’d expect and one savvy marketer.

About the author

Chuck Salter is a senior editor at Fast Company and a longtime award-winning feature writer for the magazine. In addition to his print, online and video stories, he performs live reported narratives at various conferences, and he edited the Fast Company anthologies Breakthrough Leadership, Hacking Hollywood, and #Unplug

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