A day-by-day history of U2, now in its second edition.

Contest #2: Win a Free Copy of

By on December 3, 2008 in Promotion with 40 Comments

As promised it’s time to give away another copy of U2 – A Diary. Ready to win?? Hope so.

October’s contest was mainly for bloggers and web site owners. I invited those folks to do a 5-question interview with me, post it on their blog/site, and then everyone voted on which interview was best. Beth M. was the winner, and she’s reading through her copy of the book now from what I understand. And enjoying it, too. 🙂

This month’s contest is for anyone and everyone — you don’t need a blog or web site. You just need to have a curious mind and be willing to take part in a “Community Interview.” To enter the contest, all you have to do is ask me a question about U2-A Diary in the comments of this post.

How It Works

  1. You ask a question about the book in the comments of this post. You have until end-of-day next Monday, December 8. Please use your real name and correct email address so I can contact you if you win the book. (Note that comments are moderated and your question won’t appear immediately.)
  2. I’ll take all the questions and combine them into a single Q&A interview, write out my answers, and post the entire Q&A as a new post on this blog.
  3. At the same time, I’ll select one question as the winner and that person gets a copy of U2-A Diary.

If you’re wondering what my criteria are for the winning question … hard to say. If your question is particularly unique or challenging, that might be a winner. If it’s particularly funny, that might be a winner. My best advice is to try to avoid repeating any of the questions that were asked during the October interviews.

So … ready to try winning the book? Leave your question in the comments below and cross your fingers! I’ll approve questions as quickly as I can so they show up below.

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There Are 40 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Rachel Shattuck says:

    Which member of the band would you be most likely to “burn at the stake,” so to speak, following the research and writing of your book, U2 – A Diary? Alternately, or in addition, which member of U2 would you most likely want to be best friends with after your experience of extensive research into the life of the band? Why?

  2. Lisa Zeitlinger says:

    Hi m2! My question:

    I am placing items in a time capsule for a future generation to see. I want to put something in there that will show them the impact U2’s music had and what made them so special in our time. Why should your book, U2-A Diary, be the one chosen to go in?

    Thanks!

  3. Andrew says:

    If Bono were to get the christmas he deserves, will your book be under his tree?

  4. Arlene Pelayo says:

    This was obviously a huge undertaking which I’m guessing consumed quite a bit of your personal and family life, Matt! Was there ever a point in which you felt overwhelmed and thought about abandoning the project entirely?

  5. Jeremy says:

    In writing U2-A Diary, what is the funniest/most surprising thing you learned about one of the band members?

  6. OptimaX says:

    Someone is going to write a book. It will be called -“Matt McGee” A Diary-. The book is about you and covers a diary for all (and only!) those days you have worked on -“U2” A Diary-.

    Who would YOU want to write that book?

  7. Erica says:

    Bono’s reputation for recall is a bit notorious. Did you find in your research that this reputation is justified? And if so, how much extra time and effort did it cost you?

  8. Jason says:

    Do you plan to maintain your notes as the band’s career continues and release updated versions of your book in the future?

  9. Keir DuBois says:

    Hi Matt— since I haven’t said it yet, congratulations on the book! I look forward to it, no matter how it arrives in my hot little hands.

    My question is:

    Does your Diary concern itself at all with U2’s torturous way of making sausages? The band has stated numerous times in their career that the studio recording process is often a trying time for them, to varying degrees. Did you get any insight into what seems to be a familiar progression by now?

    By that process I mean: 1) U2 chooses to step outside the Eno/Lanois/Lillywhite production team (i.e. during the initial “Pop” or “Atomic Bomb” sessions), 2) Something “difficult” happens during those sessions with “Random Unfortunate Producer” (Nellee Hooper, Chris Thomas, etc.), and 3) U2 calls in the Eno/Lanois/Lillywhite cavalry to save the day.

    Long roundabout way of asking “Did you find out anything about why they nearly always take so damn long to make a record?”

    Keir

  10. Harry says:

    Did you enjoy writing this book,
    or did it become more like a job after some point?

    With hundreds of U2 books out there,
    only if the author enjoyed writing it,
    will the reader enjoy reading it.
    …and U2 fans can tell… 🙂

    All the Best.

  11. Cristiano says:

    What has changed in your perception of the band after doing research for the book? Is there any aspect of U2’s history that you learned to appreciate that you didn’t before you started?

  12. Matthew Atkin says:

    In your research for “U2 – A Diary”, what rumour that commonly circulates among the online U2 community did you find the hardest to verify?

  13. Marcy Gaston says:

    As a Larry Mullen admirer (I’m female, can you blame me?), I have a question for you. Did you ever get to the bottom of why he grew his hair out for Vertigo? This is an important question because for years we’ve seem Mr. Mullen with the same hair style (short, clean cut, sometimes spiky), which he wore oh-so-well. And then he decided to grow it out? Bad idea, Larry, bad idea. Getting to the bottom of this is important for the future of the band. I hope Larry learned his lesson but I want to know why he did it.

    Congrats on the book.

  14. Carly Thorpe says:

    If you were stranded on an island:
    a) and if you could have only 1 U2 album to listen to what would it be?
    b) after all your research, if one U2 member was stranded with you, who would you want it to be?

  15. Kaitlin Ann says:

    Now that you’ve spent countless hours researching the band, what are three questions that still stick in the back of your mind that you want to ask them?

  16. Matt Stanley says:

    U2 is one of those bands where, much like one of their heroes Bob Dylan, They are always changing. Sometimes it’s Bono’s vocal style, sometimes it’s a new sound Dallas found for The Edge. So what era of U2 is your personal favorite?

  17. Curt Murdy says:

    As a grandfather who grew up with U2 in my college days (’79-83) and then stuck with them at every step in their/my journey through life, is there a sentence or paragraph in “U2-A Diary” that my granddaughter could someday read and say “I now understand”?

  18. Javier says:

    Hello Matt.

    My question is in regards to the separation of your own deeply entrenched love for various thing U2 and putting that aside to create an even handed, objective telling of their history. Did you find at times you had difficulty with certain eras or events in particular? And how did you deal with your own bias’?

  19. Claus Brinch Sørensen says:

    You just put me through an hour long creative, philosofic, metaphoric, mindexpanding process, hoping to end up with a qustion that would put you through a similar process.
    All I ended up with, was wondering, what might have been your intention and reason for this kind of contest?
    (Squezze me, if my english is not correct!)

  20. Robert Perry says:

    Q magazine’s review opens with two citations from your book – the first, historic and rock-‘n’-roll-related (the band’s first ever meeting with REM); the second, less so (Bono playing Pac-Man with two local radio personalities). When reading Bill Flanagan’s ‘U2 At the End of the World’, I was interested to notice that it was the less historic, more everyday events that fascinated me (for example, Bono leaving the studio to play husband and Daddy). These excerpts made possible a deeper insight into the band members as people, rather than simply as musicians. Which of these two aspects of your book – the historic or the less historic – did you find more intriguing, and which do you think will be more intriguing for the reader?

  21. Christie Ritter says:

    I wrote a book last year and let me tell you, the worst part was sitting on my arse for 12 hours a day trying to make my deadline. The best part was the education I gained in doing the research for my book. What was the best and worst part for you in writing your book?

  22. Robyn says:

    Now Matt,
    I have been reading your blog covering the development of this book for the past couple of months, and I am impressed with the level of dedication that you were able to maintain on such an epic quest.

    My qiuestion would be (If this question has not already been asked in another form):

    What do you hope the band thinks of such a book?

    However, this leads to the other questions:
    Do you expect some kind of Thanks from the band, or do you feel that this book was to show then how much you appreciate them?
    In that similar vein, do you hope that U2 read this book, and do you know if they have read your (brilliant) website already? Do you think that you have created the Ultimate Fan’s version of U2 by U2?

    I hope that is not considered a lot of questions, as I feel that all of my questions are thematically one question. I just couldn’t resist asking the others!

  23. Dermot Lucking says:

    Matt

    By all accounts you have done an excellent job in compiling the diary. My question to you is more personal in nature. When compiling the diary did you find youself relating major events in the history of the band back to events in your own life be they major or minor, highs or lows? In a way I am asking could you say that the ‘life’ of U2 has had a direct influence on the course of your life in any way?

  24. Sean says:

    I’m not really entering this contest i already have a copy! if you were on the tonight show with Jay Leno what member of u2 would you want to be on with you?

  25. Joel Conlan says:

    What kind of compliments and or criticism do you think U2 would give you after reading your book?

  26. Zigune says:

    What do you think about all soundboards bootlegs appearing in the U2 community ? Don’t you think it’s Edge who release them ?

  27. J.P. Fleming says:

    entering contest
    +
    question:
    I would imagine that — during the process of formulating the book — there would have been a lot of material which didn’t make the cut (whether because of length restrictions, publisher’s legal advice or your editor’s decision). What are three things that you would have liked to have included that didn’t make the published version? and, do you see a future avenue for publishing the info — or “is what’s done is done.”
    JPF

  28. Chris Hunter says:

    Over the years, U2 (primarily Bono) Have done some interesting things, ranging from eccentric to flat out bizaar (giant lemon mirror ball, uno dos tres catorce, and even a seductive crawl by Bono a quarter of the way around the Chicago oval with a mike in his crouch. How will your book help us U2 apologists engraciate the band to our skeptical friends who don’t know what to think about such behavior?

  29. Scott Lackey says:

    Edge is often credited as originating much of the original, very rough musical grist to initiate the writing process (although perhaps not on NLOTH).

    True? If so…describe his process. What does he bring to the group? How is the work then further developed/refined by U2 the group as a whole?

    Is there a typical songwriting/lyrical development plan. Or has musical/lyric development varied with each record or era. For example, the was there a difference between the JT/AB period and the ATYCLB/V period?

    Thanks Matt for your great site. It’s invaluable. Happy Holidays.

  30. Carly Griffen says:

    Matt, which diary entry/U2 event did you wish you could have witnessed/been a part of the most?

  31. tim marsh says:

    Is there a part of you that longs for the time when the U2 fandom wasn’t plugged into cyberspace?

    When ticket buying meant sleeping outside the outlet on concrete, when each song played live sent a shiver down the spine as you had no clue they would play “that” song, when once in a blue moon a fanzine arrived and every article was news to you, when pen pals shared musings on the band, when “fans” didn’t demand a setlist that dropped the classics, when you stumbled on a live bootleg and got nervous playing it for the first time rather than downloading it less than 24 hours after the gig?

    Do you every just wish you took the blue and not the red pill and unplugged from all this? Or are U2 and technology happy bed fellows..

  32. Rajiv Udani says:

    Did you ever think you were going ‘too far’ with details of their personal life?(dates describing family members or band members’ illness, Edge’s relationships with his wives, Bono’s dealing with death, etc).
    Did the publisher censor any of your entries related to these (or other events)?

    Just finished reading it last night – amazing journey!

  33. gerry gillespie says:

    How do you equate the u2 who started out driving about and sleeping in the back of a van trying to get a fanbase in the usa with the u2 who are now charging fans money to find out about their latest movements on U2.com?

  34. Elisabeth Deaton says:

    Now that you have completed this book, how would you explain the significance of U2 to a class of six-year-olds? Also, what would you tell them that you learned about being a writer as a result of this experience?

  35. Matt says:

    Hey everyone — first, thanks for the great reply and a collection of great questions. I’m looking forward to putting this Q&A together and picking a winning question.

    At the same time, some of these questions have nothing to do with the book. No disrepect intended here, but questions about bootlegs, the fan club costs, etc., aren’t what I’m looking for. The post above says — in bold letters — that I’m looking for questions about U2-A Diary.

    I’ll be skipping over those questions when I put the Q&A together. If you haven’t asked a question yet, please keep this in mind. Thanks.

  36. Katie Joyce says:

    When you were writing U2- A Diary, what was the most surprising fact or instance that you learned about. Also, which was the hardest to find. Is there anything that you felt you needed to edit out for the sake of U2’s reputation?

  37. Anna says:

    To what other (U2) book would you compare U2 – A Diary?
    You may also compare it to Harry Potter if you like…

    PS
    Did you find out anything more about the Bono, Gary Kasparov match?

  38. Richard Lamberti says:

    Hi Matt,

    What did you learn most about whilst writing the book – U2 or U2’s fans?

    Regards,

    Richard Lamberti

  39. Liron Hallak says:

    Hey Matt,
    As U2 fans we read a lot about them and accumulate many bits of information that probably don’t mean anything, but one thing I’ve never really encountered is something that shook me. U2 are good people I guess. Was there anything that you’ve seen/read/heard during your research that completely took you by surprise/made you upset/amazed you? What was it?

  40. Matt says:

    Thanks for all the great questions, gang — about three dozen here! I’m gonna close this thread and will work on the Q&A this week. Stay tuned for all the answers and the announcement of the winning question. 🙂

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