Bono, God, and Wake Up Dead Man – Mainly just a message to my friend Tim.

You may remember me mentioning Tim from yesterday’s post regarding the hockey game. At the end of the evening as I was pulling into my driveway, we got into an interesting conversation about Bono because the song “Wake Up Dead Man” was playing. Tim mentioned something to the effect that he wanted to know the words of this song. I told him a little something about it, but told him there was a good Rolling Stone interview of Bono talking about this song and I would get back to him. I think I also mentioned something about Bono being asked by his father about his faith and I was impressed by his answer.

I know I could have simply sent him an email, but I found some interesting stuff I thought I would share with all my readers in hope that it would provide a little insight about Paul ‘Bono’ Hewson and maybe a little something about Christian faith in general.

So this is a two part post regarding the song ‘Wake Up Deadman’ and a small excerpt from the book ‘Bono In Conversation with Michka Assayas.” I really hope you take the time to read this.

Wake Up Deadman

This comes from a Rolling Stone interview.

The music that really turns me on is either running toward God or away from God. Both recognize the pivot, that God is at the center of the jaunt. So the blues, on one hand — running away; gospel, the Mighty Clouds of Joy — running towards. And later you came to analyze it and figure it out.

The blues are like the Psalms of David. Here was this character, living in a cave, whose outbursts were as much criticism as praise. There’s David singing, “Oh, God — where are you when I need you?/You call yourself God?” And you go, this is the blues.

Both deal with the relationship with God. That’s really it. I’ve since realized that anger with God is very valid. We wrote a song about that on the Pop album — people were confused by it — “Wake Up Dead Man”: “Jesus, help me/I’m alone in this world/And a fucked-up world it is, too/Tell me, tell me the story /The one about eternity/And the way it’s all gonna be/Wake up, dead man.”

I don’t think he is saying having anger with God is the right thing to do or that it is just, but it is valid because some people are genuinely angry with The Almighty, and unfortunately this is how some expresses his or her anger. Kinda like Lieutenant Dan in Forrest Gump. The individual in this song uses the F-Bomb towards God to express wordly anger just as Lieutenant Dan used GD a plethora of times during that hurricane. And yes, I know Bono curses on a regular basis.

Listen to the song here or you can read the lyrics.

Wake Up Dead Man (lyrics)
Jesus, Jesus help me
I’m alone in this world
And a fucked-up world it is too.

Tell me, tell me the story
The one about eternity
And the way it’s all gonna be.

Wake up, wake up dead man
Wake up, wake up dead man.

Jesus, I’m waiting here, boss
I know you’re looking out for us
But maybe your hands aren’t free.

Your Father, He made the world in seven
He’s in charge of heaven.
Will you put a word in for me?

Wake up, wake up dead man
Wake up, wake up dead man.

Listen to the words they’ll tell you what to do
Listen over the rhythm that’s confusing you
Listen to the reed in the saxophone
Listen over the hum of the radio
Listen over the sound of blades in rotation
Listen through the traffic and circulation
Listen as hope and peace try to rhyme
Listen over marching bands playing out their time.

Wake up, wake up dead man
Wake up, wake up dead man.

Jesus, were you just around the corner?
Did you think to try and warn her?
Were you working on something new?
If there’s an order in all of this disorder
Is it like a tape recorder?
Can we rewind it just once more?

Wake up, wake up dead man
Wake up, wake up dead man.
Wake up, wake up dead man.

From the book “Bono In Conversation”
On page 25

My father said: “You do seem to have a relationship with God.”
And I said: “Didn’t you ever have one?”
He said: “No.” And I said: “But you have been a Catholic for most of your life.”-“Yeah, lots of people are Catholic, It was a one-way conversation…You seem to hear something back from the silence!”
I said: “That’s true, I do.”
And he said: “How do you feel it?”
I said: “I hear it in some sort of instinctive way, I feel a response to a prayer, or I feel led in a direction. Or if I’m studying the Scriptures, they become alive in an odd way, and they make sense to the moment I’m in, they’re no longer a historical document.” He was mind-blown by this.

So . . . did he find you pious?

I wish I could live the life of someone you could describe as pious. I couldn’t preach because I couldn’t practice. It’s plain to see I’m not a good advertisement for God. Artists are selfish people.

Feel free to post your thoughts or share with others. Just food for thought for all.

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