Twenty years after Live Aid raised $160 million for African famine relief, Irish rocker Bob Geldof, 52, is organizing its sequel: the Live 8 concerts on July 2. PEOPLE’S Pete Norman talked to Geldof, who was given an honorary knighthood in 1986, about putting on a four-continent show.
I’m in the organization continuum. I don’t sleep. I’m sweating now. It is utterly vast. You’re talking about 1,000 artists on four continents and the organization around them, which is absolutely huge in each city. Basically it is me on my cell, borrowing offices, moving around—the tap dance around.
You initially opposed doing it. Why?
I’m loath to mess with Live Aid. It was a perfect day…. [And] the world has changed utterly since then. Twenty years ago there were no cell phones; the common form of business communication was telexes. The original shock of being connected with everyone on the planet is what made it work.
What changed your mind?
Bono thought it could work. We argued strenuously. We are really old friends, for 27 years. We talk very bluntly with each other. It’s corny, but we are like brothers. He’s not King Rock to me. I listen and he listens in turn.
What is Live 8’s message?
Fifty percent of Africans are under 15 and [have] AIDS, or no jobs and go to bed hungry. Get on the ONE Campaign Web site [www.one.org]. Call the President. To do nothing is intolerable.
And then will you take a break?
I go with the kids [Fifi Trixibelle, 21, Peaches, 16, and Pixie, 14, with ex-wife Paula Yates, and Tiger Lily, 8, whom he has had custody of since the deaths of her parents, Yates and INXS singer Michael Hutchence] every year to the Balearic Islands. They love it, but it’s not really relaxing because you have to do the whole family thing.