Anton Corbijn lives the life every rock fan wants, hanging out with Bono and The Edge and making videos with Depeche Mode.
Part of the newly released Director's Series, he's also just released a book, U2&i, documenting his 22 year relationship with the band, and as its coinciding with their Madison Square Garden performances, they are expected to stop in to support their longtime friend and collaborator.
I asked the London based, Dutch director (who has worked with Miles Davis, Tom Waits, Keith Richards, David Bowie, Clint Eastwood), ten questions about being Anton.
HG: What led you to photos of musicians? How did it all start?
AC: Music was my first love and the camera was just an excuse to get closer to that love. Way back in 1972.
HG: Anton, 22 years with one band? Fess up, aren't you sick of hearing Pride, One Man In The Name of Love?
AC: You are so right and that is why I also work with Depeche Mode and U2 writes new songs every year. So I don't get bored.
HG: Quick, check, what's the most played song on your MP3 player?
AC: It is a toss up between "Miss Sarajevo" by Passengers and "Rebellion" by the Arcade Fire.
HG: Fill in the blank. Dave "The Edge" Evans - the edge of what?
AC: the edge of many a rooftop and sometimes the edge of reason.
HG: What do all U2 fans have in common?
AC: They both bought my book "U2&i" and coming back to get it signed.
HG: Are you wearing Edun?
AC: Not yet - I am either too hip or not hip enough, and being Dutch, I am still waiting for the freebees.
HG: What does your vicar Dad think of Keith Richards?
AC: Not much but that is due to the fact that he will have never heard
of Keith Richards. He is more of a church organ man but he met Bono and Adam about 5 years ago.
HG: 75 music videos? Tell us about the craziest one.
AC: The worst one was for "Pride" with U2 in 1984. I had to shoot it in 2 hours near an airport and it was terrible. It took them another 8 years before they dared to ask me again for a video. That video was for "one" in 1992 and got subsequently rejected by the band and remade by someone else!! Eventually, 4 months later, they released my version to MTV and everyone was happy in the end. Not a real shocker but emotionally it was. I only do one video every 5 years for them and next one is in 2007.
HG: Best and worst to photograph and why. And don't say no one for worst!!!
AC: I liked shooting Sean Penn, Bono, Miles Davis, William Burroughs, Nelson Mandela amongst others. They are the best people you can work with because they are real in every sense of the word. My worst shoot ever was with Duran Duran - I had drank something that didn't agree with me... at least not in the amount that I took in. Long time ago fortunately!
HG: Cmon, give us some scoop. What's Bono's deep dark secret?
AC: He likes me.
Exhibition runs October 10-15.
Stellan Holm Gallery, 524 West 24th St, Manhattan.
If you aren't in NYC to check it out, I recommend the book , which has texts by Michael Stipe, Bill Clinton, Wim Wenders, Salman Rushdie, Helena Christensen about Anton's work.