Grab a cocktail, sit back, and I’ll tell you a true story about when I met Bono…

In 1983, I was in college and served as a delegate to the National Association for Campus Activities (NACA). My school sent me to Chicago for a convention which was set up for all of us college activities programmers to review and potentially hire speakers, comedians, bands, lecturers, magicians, and musicians to perform on our campuses. The big draws that year were Larry Bud Melman, a regular on Late Night with David Letterman; Meatloaf, fresh from throat surgery; and U2, a relatively unknown Irish band trying to make it big in the U.S. They had a couple of minor hits the year before, but were still trying to gain traction on American mainstream radio.

Well, U2 didn’t score a showcase performance on the main stage due to the Copernicus Magical Extravaganza Experience taking all the attention from the college delegates.

Flash forward three hours to the unofficial party at Big, the Hyatt Regency’s famed “longest bar in the world.” Bono showed up in a motorcycle jacket, jeans, and Beatles boots. Of course, I knew who he was, so I bought him a drink. Jesus Christ, he had bad breath!

He accepted the drink—I think it was a Pina Colada—and then turned his back on me and began to dry hump a female co-ed. To make matters worse, he continued to put drinks on my tab for the rest of the night. And then, just before the bar closed at 4AM, he asked to borrow money. So I loaned him $50. It was a lot of money to me at the time and I really thought he would repay me by the next day. Shit, I still want it back.

About five or six years later, I was working for a concert trade publication called POLLSTAR and regularly worked with Paul McGuinness, principal in the management organization representing U2.

One afternoon, Paul called me up and asked me for a favor. I can’t remember what it was, exactly, but he was asking for a report or something like that to be generated and faxed to him. And it was clear that he wanted it for free. In return, he told me that he’d make sure that I was on the guest list for passes to a U2 concert of my choice.

I told him that when the band would be at the Concord Pavilion in a few weeks, I’d drive up there to see the show.

Two weeks later, on a Friday after work, a buddy and I traveled two and a half hours north to see the show. But when we got to the Will Call window, we were told that Bono personally asked that my tickets NOT be given to me. As it turns out, Bono routinely looks through the guest list to see who is expected at their concerts. The box office manager told me that when Bono saw my name, he slammed his fist down and said “not that fucking fuckhead fucker, he’s probably just here to try to collect on a $50 loan from five years ago! As long as I’m alive, and even after I’m dead, that asshole will NEVER see a cent from me. EVER!”


The next chapter in my dealings with Bono came almost a decade later. It was December 31, 1999. New Year’s Eve. I decided to throw a party at my house and invited about two dozen friends. Most everyone brought food and/or booze, and a few threw in some cash to cover the cost of a band that I hired.

As midnight drew close, the band played a dead-on rendition of U2’s “New Year’s Day.” I would have forgotten all about this silly, tiny detail if it wasn’t for the letter I received on January 11, 2000. It was from BMI, one of the two biggest music licensing companies in the world.

The letter stated that the song “New Year’s Day” was used “for the purposes of commerce and/or commercial activity.”

I had no idea what any of this meant. So I asked my buddy Brian Bradly, who is an intellectual property attorney and who was present at my party.

Brian explained that this was “legal extortion.” But what we couldn’t figure out was why BMI claimed that my party was a commercial venture. Also curious was how BMI knew anything about my party at all.

A week or two later, Brian told me that by accepting money from any of my guests, the party was a “business with the goal of profiting from the sale of tickets, or entry fee.”

As it turns out, one of my friends had brought a date, who used a video recorder to capture the highlights of the party. She then uploaded the video to a site called, an early video hosting service that allowed users to upload clips or full videos in a variety of file formats.

Additional research and investigation showed that the video of my party was tagged with my first and last name. Apparently, Bono found the video and thought he’d use BMI to slap me with a copyright infringement suit.

We fought it for over a year and a half and I ended up winning by default when’s owner, Chase Norlin, closed the service in 2001 due to budget and bandwidth problems. It seems that since this type of video hosting site was so new, nobody thought to make a copy of the online evidence. So it disappeared with the death of the site.

Shortly after my legal victory, Bono began calling my house, trying to disguise his voice as he asked if my refrigerator was running and if “Mike Cock” was home.


In 2004, Bono was at it again. On the California leg of a tour, the Irish bastard drove three hours out of his way to shit in a paper bag, place it on my porch, light it on fire, ring my doorbell, and run away.

My neighbor caught most of this little prank on his video surveillance equipment. We watched and clearly witnessed Bono park his black 2002 Kia Sedona with personalized license plates that read “GOD” in front of the neighbor’s house. He then pulled down his pants and took a shit into a used Taco Bell bag, wiped his ass with his hand, smoked a cigarette, and crept across my driveway. Then, about 12 seconds later, he ran back to the car and sped away.

Funny thing about it was that I wasn’t even home at the time. But the burning shit bag did melt my welcome mat.


In 2006, I purchased a great little 1,300 square foot rambler home on a nice old street. It was built in the mid-1960’s and many of the neighbors were original owners. I loved that place. Somehow, Bono found out that I bought the house and he purchased the residence next door. But he never moved in or rented it out. He simply parked a couple of old cars on the lawn, let the landscaping die, and played a continuous loop of Mexican Ranchera music through very loud speakers. I was told by his realtor that he bought the place for the sole purpose of running down the value of the rest of the neighborhood.

I no longer live there. The neighbors learned about the weird one-sided beef I had with Bono and ended up siding with him! Probably because he IS Bono.

I sold the house for a loss.


Besides a few hang-up calls, strange junk mail, and occasional spam, I haven’t heard anything from my old pal for a little over 15 years.

But as I tell this story, and prepare to hit the “submit” button, it occurs to me that I will be hearing from him very soon.