Q: What made you want to profile a tribute band, as opposed to a band that does their own stuff?

A: I guess I had more questions about tribute bands.  I wondered why a tribute band would pay tribute as opposed to a band that is trying to “make it”.  I have also seen many documentaries about original bands and their journey to the top or their spiral downward.  Unforgettable Fire in particular, stood out in my mind as the tribute band I wanted to profile since they made me like and now love U2.

Q: How would you describe the artistry and musicianship of the band? How is it different from a band that does its own stuff?

A: A tribute band usually plays songs that everyone has heard thousands of times on the radio. So for a completely different set of individuals to match that sound exactly is extremely difficult.  The fans that come to a tribute show are also fans of the original band so they will know when something is off. There is a lot of pressure to get it perfect.

Q: What about the music of U2 drew the band in?

A: Each of the band members have their own connection with the music of U2.

Q: What do you think leads a musician to focus on the work of one group rather than several?

A: Being able to put on a tribute show where everyone that comes to see you perform knows what they have signed up for must be a huge incentive.  Thededication of their fans is a huge part of it.  The audience acts as if they are at a U2 concert instead of at some random bar where a cover band is playing.  Some dedicated fans have seen Unforgettable Fire perform hundreds of times while they have only seen the real band perform a handful of times.

Q: What would you say a tribute band has in common with a band, and how are they different?

A: The bonds between members and problems that exist in an original band also exist in a tribute band.  Members get sick of each other but also think of each other as brothers.  Both types of bands have to figure out scheduling and have to leave their loved ones and friends while on the road.  While tribute bands don’t have the pressure to create new music they do have the pressure to keep up with the new albums and performance look and style of the band they are paying tribute to.

Q: Bands like U2 devote themselves to their work and the rewards are so obvious that no one questions them. Bands like Unforgettable Fire have less obvious rewards but are no less devoted to their work. How do those around the band react to this less-obviously rewarded devotion?

A: Indeed U2 has plenty obvious rewards but there are also plenty of negative attributes that come with being one of the most famous bands in the world.  I’m sure Bono can’t walk into a bodega, down the street or into a restaurant in most cities in the world without being spotted and bombarded by either paparazzi or fans.  The members of Unforgettable Fire can live their normal everyday life 6 days out of the week.  However, when they get on stage you can be sure that the excitement and energy of the crowd rivals that of a U2 concert but in a smaller more intimate setting.

 As a final note: You do not need to like U2 to like this film, the fact that Unforgettable Fire plays U2 music is really secondary to the stories of these four guys.  I have had audiences from all walks of life enjoy this film.  Once someone has given the film a chance they usually end up loving U2, if they hadn’t before, or reinvigorating their love of U2 music, loving Unforgettable Fire, loving each of the guys in the film, and loving the film itself. If you erase from your head what you think this movie is about and give it a chance I can assure you that you will not be disappointed.







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