Mike Ragogna: Bob, what advice do you have for new artists?
Bob Geldof: Well, famously, when John Lennon showed up in New York one of the journalists said, “What’s the Beatles’ message?” and John said, “The Beatles don’t have a message, but if they did, it would be ‘learn to swim.'” Which is absolutely meaningless, but frankly in the days of climate change it takes up a whole new resonance. I think they’ve got lesser ambition–that’s my view. My daughters’ boyfriends are in bands, and they’re fantastic bands. Let me be clear: I don’t think the music is any less adventurous, any less galvanizing, any less exciting. Peaches’ husband is a great singer writing properly great songs. Pixie’s boyfriend is a drummer in an amazing band called These New Puritans, beautiful, beautiful music. I go to their gigs and I’m able to talk to these guys who hang with my daughters but get into deep conversations and they’re just as impassioned as before and they want to strike out and do new things. This little minor art form, rock ‘n’ roll, allows you to be endlessly elastic. But where does it go? Who’s listening? Who’s paying attention? It doesn’t have to be about anything. Just by definition rock ‘n’ roll suggests change. It always does. That’s why it’s powerful. Of course when it goes to number one it’s a bit more powerful, but nowadays a number one record is meaningless. How many tracks do you have to sell to get there? I just think it has a different function now. In a way you can argue that that culture succeeded because of its ubiquity, but conversely because of its ubiquity it’s failed. That’s sad, but there will be something else. There will be a Sistine Chapel of the web, we just have no idea what it will be.