Boston Band Doesn’t Actually Think U2 Stole the Chorus to Their Song
Irish rock group U2 isn’t exactly on everyone’s “favorite band list” at the moment, after they sneakily inserted their latest album, Songs of Innocence, onto millions of people’s iPhones as part of a promotional partnership with Apple this month.
But the band’s unsolicited back-door approach to getting fans to listen to their music isn’t the only oddity that’s surfaced in the past couple of days. Strangely enough, the chorus to one of their new songs, Raised by Wolves, raised one local band’s eyebrows when they heard some similarities between it and a song they wrote two years ago.
“It’s pretty weird. It’s funny,” said Doug Harry, the vocalist and guitarist for the band Battle House, who wrote a song called Wolves in 2012.
Earlier this week, when U2’s album dropped, Harry posted a Facebook status about the eerie resemblances between Battle House’s song and the new U2 track.
His status—an off the cuff reaction—was quickly picked up by Boston.com, without anyone contacting him directly, he said, and was turned into a “matter-of-factly” debate about whether U2 truly did rip off the Boston-based indy group.
Despite news reports, Harry seems to understand that’s not the case.
“We listened to it and started cracking up, and we were like, ‘oh my God, this is crazy!’ Not because we think U2 ripped us off, but because it was pretty wild,” said Harry. “We were talking about the probabilities of things. This kind of thing happening is less likely than all four of us getting struck by lighting at the same time. The odds are probably similar, if not worse.”
Yet the similarities are a bit mind-boggling, he admits. In Battle House’s version, the chorus to their song Wolves repeats the lines “Like you were raised by wolves, raised by wolves.” Bono’s version is similar, and goes, “Raised by wolves, we were raised by wolves,” which is repeated in the same manner as Battle House’s song.
But that doesn’t mean Harry thinks “U2 has a team of interns scouring the Internet for obscure bands that no one has ever heard of, so they can steal their choruses.”
“Even if they did, what, are we going to be pissed at U2? We aren’t going to sue anyone over this. If anything, it would make us look like huge fucking dicks,” said Harry.
Harry, a full-time graphic designer, said the whole incident instead opens up a bigger conversation about the music industry as a whole, and how today’s “invasive” Internet culture can lead people down strange and unexpected paths.
Referring to the Boston.com story that plucked his picture, status, and opinion about the song,without further context, he said it all ties into this idea of “what the fuck is happening?” with people sitting behind keyboards all day long, and how those people consume media in different forms.
Specifically, he pointed out all the hateful comments that were the byproduct of Boston.com’s story, where users started slinging insults and making accusations that members of Battle House “probably don’t have jobs.”
“I think that when you post something on Facebook, the way you speak, you’re like, ‘Holy Shit! U2 ripped off my band!’ That’s not something I would say if I knew it was going to be in a publication without me knowing. It’s something from Facebook. I don’t calculate everything I say on the Internet, nevermind everything I say in general,” said Harry.
He said there are forces at play that are worth talking about which he considers interesting, and are tied to a larger conversation happening in the world about independent music, the future of bands in general, and how they work to distribute their songs—but the story isn’t about them being “pissed that U2 stole our chorus.”
“It’s a weird coincidence for sure,” he said. “But in the completely obscure, fucked up world where U2 maybe heard our song and said, ‘that’s good, let’s steal that,’ well, then, that’s cool. Thank you, U2, that’s a compliment.”