Bob Geldof and his band The Boomtown Rats are in Malta this week to close off their 2018 European tour in style.
To the younger audience, the name Bob Geldof might not immediately strike a chord, though you’ll definitely be hearing his songs during Christmas lunch with the family. Geldof is the man behind Do They Know It’s Christmas?, which was written in 1984 in reaction to the famine in Ethiopia at the time and brought together music legends such as Bono, Sting, George Michael and Phil Collins to raise over £8 million for the cause.
The song’s success inspired Geldof to organise the iconic Live Aid concert in 1985, which had key performances by the likes of David Bowie, Elton John and most notably Queen. If you watched the film Bohemian Rhapsody recently (do it if you haven’t done so already), it’s the beautifully shot scene at the end.
Geldof formed The Boomtown Rats in his native Ireland in 1975. The band had a string of successes until the mid-eighties, when they went on hiatus for for almost three decades. Geldof took this time to focus on philanthropic work, setting up the Live Aid Trust which has managed over $150 million in donations and focused on poverty in Africa. His efforts also inspired another charity single, We Are The World, as well as several other charities.
Ever the public critic and social commentator, we had the chance to get a few comments from Bob earlier this week
LM: What do you think is the biggest concern for the world right now? Climate change, populism, poverty?
BG: Poverty. It is a root cause for all the other issues.
LM: When you came to Malta in 2006, you publicly commented about the dire situation in Africa and its effects on migration into Malta and Europe generally. It feels like not much has changed since then. Doesn’t that make you feel the issue is just a reality we need to accept?
BG: Poverty remains a fundamental issue. What has changed is that what I warned against back then continues to happen. I had mentioned that the answer was to invest in and build the economies of the south so that they could provide their people with a life. This still applies today.
LM: In 2014 you had said Bitcoin “is nice but simply won’t work”. You had also called out the banks as the reason capitalism has failed. What are your views on blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies today?
BG: Bitcoin hasn’t worked and is simply a punt. Blockchain is an interesting and important technology with myriad potential applications. It will soon be in standard usage.
LM: We can’t not ask you about Brexit. You are a very vocal Remain advocate. Do you think Brexit will happen? What are your thoughts in general?
BG: Yes unfortunately I think it will happen, but not before much political drama has unfolded further. It is a tragedy.
LM: You’re coming to Malta wearing your musician hat, but you’re obviously known worldwide for your philanthropic work. What do you identify with the most: musician or activist? And if you had to choose only one, which would it be?
BG: Musician and musician.
LM: You’ve obviously met many artists in your life. Who is the most eccentric artist you’ve ever met? And the most remarkable in terms of having left an impression on you?
BG: Van Morrison. Definitely Van Morrison.
LM: Will we ever see another Boomtown Rats album?
BG: Just finished. Its called MEGA – because it is. Released on BMG around April ’19.
The Boomtown Rats re-formed in 2013 and have since been playing a number of gigs. Tonight, they’ll playing at San Ġwann’s Aria Complex
Local legends Airport Impressions will be opening for the Irish new wave royalty, and it all kicks off tonight at 7pm!