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Enhorabuena Dennis Sheehan!

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Dennis Sheehan, Tour Manager de U2, recibió el "Parnelli Lifetime Achievement Award" en la gala celebrada el pasado 24 de Octubre en Las Vegas.

U2 envió un mensaje desde los estudios de grabación en New York. Robert Plant presentó el video.

Entrevista a Dennis Sheehan en U2.com

'Lifetime Achievement'

Congratulations to Dennis Sheehan, U2's longtime Tour Manager, who last night received The Lifetime Achievement Award at the 'Oscars of Live Production' - the Parnelli Awards in Las Vegas. We caught up with Dennis to talk about the award - and find out what he's been up to with the band since the last tour.

Dennis got into rock'n'roll as a teenager playing guitar in bands across Europe. The turn into tour management came when he was working with the Jamaican band Jimmy James and the Vega Bonds - when their tour manager had to suddenly return to Jamaica. ?I had driven my own band around, so I got the job,? he says. ?I decided that this was a bit of a break, and that I wasn?t going to miss playing very much.? Other groups he worked with in the early days included Lulu and Stone the Crows but before meeting U2 in 1982 he's best known for working on many of Led Zeppelin's biggest tours...

Were you surprised to get this award ?
I was, yeah, in my part of the industry, you?re behind-the-scenes, it?s not like you?re the pop star. You might be well-known in what you do but it?s a pretty small group who really know what we do. Many people start out as tour managers but then end up managing bands or venues or promoting shows, there?s not so many who hang around for such a long time as a tour manager.. and those of us who do keep a low profile.

You like to keep out of the limelight ?
I do, I?m a background person, a quiet person, I try to have a smile on my face particularly on the road - the last thing the band need to see before going on stage is someone who looks like they've got problems going on! I did receive Tour Manager of the Year? in 1987, for The Joshua Tree Tour, so I come out of hibernation every twenty years or so!

What exactly does a tour manager do... when there's no tour.
I suppose most would go from band to band but with U2 this is slightly different, there?s always something going on, even if they're not on the road. I get involved in a lot of those projects, like at the moment we?re trying to finish the album. When they're in Dublin I don?t need to be around, nor in France, but if they go, say, to New York, as they have for the past few weeks, I'll set it up and then manage it while they are there.

So when the band were recording in Morocco last year, you had to set it up ?
Good example! I?ll get a call to say the band are thinking of writing songs in Morocco?could I take a look? I was in Fez within two days - it?s three flights from Cork - and spent four days looking at thirty eight properties from run-down riads to run-down mini-palaces. I?m thinking of the engineers, the producers, the tape operators, the crew, as well as the band ? and of how we make a noise without disturbing lots of local people. And how we park a forty foot truck in an ancient holy city and where we find a translator and how to work with the local police on security. With the crew out for four weeks and the band for three, it?s not what a tour manager might traditionally do? but it shows how my role has evolved over a quarter century.

Your job description has changed a lot over the years.
Not just my role with U2, it's changed for everyone in live music over the years - it's become a career in a way most people couldn' have imagined when guitar players in the fifties carried their own guitars to the gig or set up their own amps. For me though, working with U2, I can remember sitting with a promoter in a Dutch venue at 4am one morning in the early 1980's, working on the settlement after a show and I can still recall thinking that I had to be up at eight to make sure we all got on the plane as we were all heading back to Ireland. That's when I realised it was becoming too big a job for one person and as the band developed we took on more people and my role changed. I think my previous experience with acts like Zeppelin helped us make the right decisions.

How have the band changed ?
Certainly their expertise at songwriting has changed dramatically, and they are wiser now than at the beginning. They no longer jump at things but take the time to think carefully about how and why and what they will do. When we talk about touring and the production we will take on the road, there's no longer a hundred ideas flying around the room, they are much more focussed. It comes with experience.

What marks them out ?
First and foremost they are incredibly down to earth and respectful of the people who work with them and are around them. They look on their vocation in music as their career, there is no pinnacle that they are trying to achieve, there is no top of the mountain, every time they tour or write an album, they are striving for the ultimate. Other bands can be complacent, younger bands might strike a deal on their first album but then find it difficult to go beyond that once they have made some money. They can't look to the future, can't see what they want to achieve in music as their career.

You're one of the few people who have heard the music the band have been making for the next record.
And I still get exited when I hear their new music. Until we were in America I hadn't heard anything since Fez and I was very excited by a number of the songs - some of the sounds that Edge is getting on his guitar took me way back and some of the songs took me into another place I'd never heard them in.

I can't wait to hear them live again, I love their ability to play live as they're one of the greatest ever live bands. They put so much of themselves into it - all four of them, their heart and soul is really in the music. It's my love for live music which explains why I'm still in the business after all this time. I had no idea it would last this long but then the jazz greats keep going and rock'n'roll should be no different...