Bob Geldof's Boomtown outlook

Bob Geldof's Boomtown outlook

Bob Geldof isn't afraid of failure. Of course, as a famous, fabulously wealthy singer-songwriter with a 40-year track record and an alternative career as a high-profile champion for the poor in Africa, that's easy for him to say.

To hear Geldof tell it, he has so many creative threads running through his head that some will inevitably fall by the wayside - and that's just fine. "For every one idea that works there're 29 that don't - failure is nothing, it's success that's waiting to happen," says Geldof, or Sir Bob as he is sometimes known (he has an honorary knighthood to go along with a truckload of awards and honours, including a Nobel Peace Prize nomination).

Among some of his more successful ideas of the past few decades are the cross-continent charity concerts Live Aid to raise funds for African famine relief, the charity supergroup Band Aid that recorded a hit song for the same cause and - oh yes - a 1970s Irish punk rock band called The Boomtown Rats. Geldof, who will perform in Singapore with his own band during the F1 weekend in two weeks, is still busy raising money for Africa, most recently in the form of his private equity fund 8 Miles. He also has a media company that produces award-winning shows.

However, Geldof isn't one to reflect on past - or even present - glories. "I don't do that stuff (reflecting on the past)," says Geldof, who turns 62 next month. "Somebody might remind me of something that happened in my life but I don't think about it. Things tend to happen in 10-year cycles - my life is like a (bleep) television series." He adds, "There's not a moment that I personally cherish. It's boring but it's the truth - it's just a function of living."

As one one-time music journalist himself, Geldof eschews self-censorship, remaining passionate about injustices in the world and causes that interest him.

He's also a publicist's nightmare because he doesn't hold back on anything, including the liberal use of expletives during interviews - but that's merely Bob being Bob. During a telephone interview from his London home earlier this week, he spoke passionately and intelligently about music, business, politics - and the endless torrent of ideas that pours from his mind.

That's particularly useful in the music business. "I can't stop melodies and songs happening in my head," he says. "It's a natural process - sometimes some of the songs are good and some not so good, but the process is the same." He adds, "That's what excites me, the culture of ideas - in music those ideas occur all the time, and it's deeply satisfying."

London is particularly conducive for creative thinkers and the ideal place for him to live, says Geldof. "It gets your mind sharp - an idea will pop into your head at 10am, I'll make a few calls to people for advice and by 6pm you'll know if that idea has a chance to survive."

The priority these days is music. After a 26-year hiatus, he's touring again with The Boomtown Rats and next week the band will release a greatest hits album. He is also focused on his solo singing career. His last album, How to Compose Popular Songs That Will Sell, was released in 2011. "I'll start work on another album next year," he says.

"I tour all the time, I love doing it because it also clears my head - it's instinctive and I've been doing it for 40 years." He adds, "It sounds ridiculous but I'm excited to be going to Singapore to play music."

Before heading here he will play three concerts in Holland next week, plus he has business obligations to attend to. "Board meetings are 50,000 times more boring than being on stage," he says.

Geldof spends every August on holiday with his family in a small village on Mallorca. He enjoys the downtime and reads religiously but still feels jittery if he isn't on the phone, talking business and potential ideas. "Weekends are nice but on Friday I'm always thinking about who to call on Monday," he says.

Africa remains high on his agenda but with the European economy in dire straits he's also quick to bemoan the situation in his native Ireland. "The Boomtown Rats came out of the punk movement - together with bands like The Sex Pistols and The Clash - and we were entirely politically engaged," says Geldof. "The unfortunate truth is I could have written those songs yesterday, because nothing's changed."

Just like in the old days, music is still an effective way to convey a message, he says. "It's a minor art form but a powerful medium, this rock 'n' roll thing." And as long as those ideas keep on coming, he doesn't see himself stopping anytime soon. "You're in this world - therefore you should be of this world," says Sir Bob Geldof.

Bob Geldof performs with the Boomtown Rats on Sept 21, 8-9pm at the Village Stage at Zone 1, Marina Street Circuit

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