Adam Clayton: "It took a long time to realise what a mess I'd made"

U2 bassist Adam Clayton has admitted that the band's 2000 album All That You Can’t Leave Behind was the first time he recorded "stone cold sober" and that he is one of "the lucky ones" after coming through battles with drink and mental health. Speaking on the Tracy Clifford Show on RTÉ 2FM to mark the 20th anniversary re-release of the record, 60-year-old Clayton said, "It took a long time to realise really what a mess I'd made. "Eventually, when the penny did drop, I was just fed up of making excuses to myself and other people. "I had to face that actually instead of thinking that drinking was the thing that got me through life, it was actually the thing that was holding me back. [This record} was a new departure, it was the first time I think I'd recorded a record completely stone cold sober, and to a degree, I was white knuckling it. "The songs really do mean something coming from that period in my life. Particularly in the light of Michael Hutchence's story, I really feel like I was one of the lucky ones."   INXS frontman Michael Hutchence, who died in 1997, was a friend of U2 and the band wrote Stuck in A Moment You Can't Get Out Of about the late singer and consummate rock star. "On Stuck in A Moment, I think most people know this is about our friend Michael Hutchence, the singer in INXS," Clayton said. "He was someone who we used to always see in the summers. I suppose it can happen to anyone, one small mistake, and his life started to veer off in a direction that was somewhat out of control. "I don't think any of us realised how alone and how vulnerable he was. He lost his life right before an INXS tour, and as fellow musicians and minstrels and performers, that cut very deep in us and I suppose it made us feel very grateful that in our band, it really is the four of us that look out for each other. Clayton added, "I think what it underlined is that very often, you just don't know what's happening in people's lives. "If there's anyone listening to this going through something similar, and I know these times are very difficult, if you can reach out to someone, tell them what's going on. If you can just not go through it on your own, there are people out there to help."
"My father is the only surviving father of the U2 family at this point, so I really do feel like I've gone back 20 years."
Clayton, who has two children, one from a previous relationship and a daughter named Alba with his wife, former human rights lawyer Mariana Teixeira de Carvalho, also discussed fatherhood during the interview and said that the ATYCLB track Kite brings him back to memories of his children and his own father. "I think it was a time for both me and the band where it was 'OK, let's get serious now, let's get serious about where we are going here," said Clayton, the only member of U2 whose father is still alive.

"U2 had had The Joshua Tree, we had big stadium tours...this time it was like 'let's get intimate, let's get into a small space and let's really focus on writing songs that actually mean something to us. "I think that's what we have there, we have an amazing collection of songs that really mean something to us. I'm particularly drawn to Kite at the moment because when Bono was writing that song, he was writing about his children and I now have children, I was a bit of a late starter...I'd been practicing for a while... "I now have two kids, and when I listen to Kite, it takes me right back to that time and what he was writing about. I think what made the song more complex for Bono was he was also addressing his father's illness...we didn't know how long he had left. "My father is the only surviving father of the U2 family at this point, so I really do feel like I've gone back 20 years."