Bonos Criminal Friends

With a new album set to drop in March one would have to presume that most of Bono's energies will be devoted to music for the foreseeable future, and that will suit U2 drummer Larry Mullen Junior just fine. In a revealing interview with Britain's Q magazine - one of countless U2 pieces we'll be seeing in the run-up to the March 3 release date for "No Line On the Horizon" - Mullen didn't attempt to hide his frustration over the company Bono keeps when concentrating on his humanitarian work - namely, President George W. Bush and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who he calls "war criminals" for planning the invasion of Iraq. Bono, of course, has worked with both leaders to promote debt relief and increased aid for Africa. And though Mullen supports the cause, he's no fan of schmoozing with politicians. "My biggest problem really is sometimes the company that he keeps," Mullen says. "And I struggle with that. Particularly the political people, less the financial people. Particularly Tony Blair - I mean, I think Tony Blair's a war criminal. And I think he should be tried as a war criminal. And then I see Bono and him as pals, and I'm going, 'I don't like that.' "I understand why people find it really offensive," Mullen added. "On the other hand, I think it has made people understand where Bono's coming from, in that he's prepared to use his weight as a celebrity, at great cost to himself and his family, to help other people. I don't think there's much of an upside for him and I don't think he chooses where he goes and who he meets. But as an outsider, looking in, I cringe." None of this is news to Bono, apparently. And Mullen really let rip when it came to our outgoing president. "(Bono) would know how I feel about Tony Blair," said Mullen. "George Bush has been very generous to his cause ... the difference between him and Tony Blair is that Blair is intelligent. So he has no excuse for what he did. Whereas I think George Bush could find a few excuses for his behavior." Though some performers need to drum up controversy to sell a new movie or album or whatever, that's definitely not the case with U2. All the band members are especially proud of "Horizon," and they feel that their fans will agree. "(You'll) hear a band that has got to a stage in its life where it can genuinely hold its head up and say, 'We like where we are.' I think it's great we've actually said, 'We're not going to rush this release,'" said bassist Adam Clayton. "We're not going to apologize like we have for every other bloody record and say, 'If we'd had more time this would have been better or that would have been better...' We've really got into these songs and they've been finished to the best of our abilities." There were reports last week of an online ticket sale for bogus U2 concerts supposedly confirmed for Ireland this summer. No tour dates have been announced, though the band is planning to hit the road this year. Check back on U2.com for the latest and most reliable information.

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