David Corio was born in London, England, in 1960. He began his professional career in 1978 taking photographs for New Musical Express. David has lived and worked in London and New York City, and his work has been published in the New York Times, The Times, the Telegraph, The Face, Rolling Stone, Q and Mojo. Corio’s photographs have been exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Photographer’s Gallery, and the Special Photographers Gallery in London; the Brownwyn Keenan Gallery and the Jack Shainman Gallery in New York; Number One Gallery in Dublin and in Italy, Japan, Malaysia and Hong Kong.
What has inspired you to follow such an unknown band?
I was commissioned by New Musical Express (NME) to go over to Cork in Ireland where U2 were playing and going on tour. So I was lucky that I was invited to go as I hadn’t heard of them before that. I was on the road with them travelling round Ireland for three days in Cork, Tullamore and then one night stayed at Adam Clayton’s mum’s house near Dublin sleeping on their living room floor.
Which feelings and sensations did you feel during the shows and the shooting?
The first show in Cork was really exciting and they had a few hundred enthusiastic fans crushed right up to the stage and even then some of the songs sounded like big anthems. The second show was very different. It was on a Sunday in a small club called the Garden of Eden and they were the support act for a local band who played all the top 20 hits of the day. The audience were not interested in U2 at all and only about 10 people bothered going down to the front of the stage. Everyone else stayed at the bar and talked through their set. Backstage afterwards Bono was really upset that they hadn’t managed to convince the crowd that they were good and they didn’t think their own performance was good because of that as well.
Do you still follow them?
I still look out to see what they are up to and listen to their new releases but don’t follow them the way I did at the beginning.
In your opinion have they changed during the years?
I think they must have done. Fame and fortune has got to have an effect on you especially if you start from a humble background. Although I heard that Bono remembers all the dates and venues from all the early shows as they are probably more memorable than the big stadium shows.
Do you have some funniest stories to tell about the backstage?
The Edge was the comedian in the group and I think the rest of the band were respectful towards him as he is such a good musician too. We did the shoot on the roof of the hotel on a typically cold, grey and damp Irish morning. The rest of the band were quite serious but maybe because of his name The Edge kept standing right on the edge of the roof leaning over and looking down which was freaking the others in the band. Backstage the band were concentrating before they went on stage but were relaxed and cheerful and had a few beers afterwards although a bit depressed after the Tullamore show.
How do they work in front of the camera?
Bono and The Edge are the visual ones with the most presence. You can see that in most of the photos of U2 taken by any photographer. It is just natural personality really. The singer and guitarist usually are the most photographed in most bands as well as they tend to be at the front of the stage. Larry Mullen is (or was) very shy and almost hid behind the others when I was trying to photograph them.
Is there some special request you received from the members?
No. I think everyone likes to look good in their photographs so I don’t give out photos where people have accidently got a strange expression on their faces.
How does the members grow up during the years?
I think just looking at their image consciousness that has grown a lot as their music has grown too. Bigger music venues have made them put on bigger visual shows. Some bands are overwhelmed by the stage visuals but I think U2 have dome a good job of still being the main focus onstage even when they have films etc showing on the back of the stage.
Are they proactive during the shootings?
Not when I was shooting them. I had to direct them a bit just to look at the camera – but that was very early in their career when they were less image-conscious. You can see that just by the clothes they were wearing in those early shoots. As the group became more well known and they started to create more of an image then they would have become more pro-active.
Are they vain? Who is the most egocentric?
I think most musicians like to have themselves portrayed well but that does not mean that they are necessarily vain. I think Bono is probably the most egocentric of the group – he is in the limelight much more than the rest of the band and does most of the talking for the band. I remember he talked a lot about David Bowie and what an influence he was for him the first time I talked to him.
How many shooting sessions you did to the band?
The session on the roof at Cork Country Club Hotel and backstage at two shows in Cork and Tullamore, Ireland in 1980, then live shows and backstage in London at Acklam Hall in 1980, live at The Lyceum, London in 1980 and live at Hammersmith Odeon, London in 1983 and at Giants Stadium on the Zoo Tour in 1992.
Does U2 take any decision on the pictures selection?
Not for the exhibition or when I have had them published in magazines but the band chose the cover and all the images for the book ‘U2 By U2’ so I was pleased they chose my photo for the cover of the book and cover of the U218 Videos and U218Singles.
We know you worked with the band also during the ZooTv tour, which are your Best memories of That tour, From a graphic point of vue?
I only shot the one live show. They were image conscious then. Bono looked very good with slicked back hair in shiny black leather and wrap around shades.
Have you been in some way influenced by big novelties of the ZooTv?
David Corio’s official website: link
And here some link to listen the concert of the shooting: