In the late 1990s, while researching my biography of Captain Beefheart, I was amused by accounts of when Bono tried to lure the Captain out of retirement in the early ’80s. With typical dismissiveness Beefheart would disingenuously ask friends: “Man, who is this Bongo?”
Beefheart had become ill and a complete recluse, and my requests to speak to him were all declined. Hence my horror, in 2002, when I saw the cover of MOJO’s April issue proclaim: “Beefheart Speaks… To Bono.”
Bongo’s part in the phone conversation felt contrived, over-verbose, as if he was trying to match Beefheart’s own verbal facility. But even that offered scant comfort.