We conducted the interview over two sessions at the kitchen table of my New York apartment, around the corner from Bono's own place in the city.In person, Bono is warm, engaging and thoughtful, even while discussing difficult subjects.I remember meeting Björk, and she said that in Iceland, making a chair is a big deal. And I went, "Well, depending on the chair, Irish people know that to be true." So if that is true, then stop this nonsense that an artist is an elevated person. That was the amnesia; I have no idea how it happened. And I never wanted to surrender to that, so punk rock, the tempo of some songs, suddenly became really important. The person who wrote best about love in the Christian era was Paul of Tarsus, who became Saint Paul. He is a superintellectual guy, but he is fierce and he has, of course, the Damascene experience. He starts to preach, and he writes this ode to love, which everybody knows from his letter to the Corinthians: "Love is patient, love is kind. That is when we see ourselves clearer – when there is no light. Chance the Rapper, who has a beautiful soul and a mind to match it, has no record label. if the record labels don't share out what they're receiving from Spotify, artists will bypass the record labels and go straight to Spotify or Apple. We gave away our last album; or rather, Apple gave it away. But the album before that, No Line on the Horizon, was very adult, not of the demographic that are interested in streaming. " And he said, "Well, you know, we were a rock & roll band, but to get good gigs we had to do weddings. We had to learn Gershwin, all that stuff." And I went, "No, I didn't know." And Paul says, "Oh, yeah, we got better-paying gigs." And I went, "Ah! And there are some good things about that, but hip-hop is the only place for young male anger at the moment – and that's not good. You need to find a place for it and for guitars, whether it is with a drum machine – I don't care. It could be something like "The Showman," something unexpected or, you know, "Red Flag Day," "Summer of Love" . Certain songs have a feel he's copped from someone else. It's like he's walking through the art market and always looking for something interesting.One thing this record seems to be about is survival. That left me a little uneasy, but the other stuff has just finally nailed me. "You are making the album and then all of a sudden you had to deal with your health issue. Well, strangely enough, mortality was going to be a subject anyway just because it is a subject not often covered. But the second verse is the key, and it has the best line in the album, which is this: "It is what it is, it is not what it seems/This screwed up stuff is the stuff of dreams/I got just enough low self-esteem to get me to where I want to go." I wish I could say it was mine, but it was Jimmy Iovine who said it. He is doing it himself, and he is successful to the point where he can give a million dollars to the Chicago school system. " It was like, "Note to self and Edge: Let's get into musical theater. He believes that a rock & roll revolution is around the corner. The moment something becomes preserved, it is fucking over. I am not sure Larry knows what to make of the album.Now, I would say to my younger self: "Experiment more and don't let people box you in. But I knew that some people who have regular jobs are just as valuable as the artists, maybe more valuable. It's one thing if you were talking about it in a place of record like Rolling Stone, but by the time it gets to your local tabloid it is just awful. But let's talk about it in an elliptical sense. Edge has this thing that he says about me, that I look upon my body as an inconvenience. A few years ago, I visited you in the hospital with your arm in some kind of George Washington Bridge structure. There is comic tragedy with a bike accident in Central Park – it is not exactly James Dean. I mean, how about this: "The Showman" – that is a light song, a fun song, and it became a really important song. Love bears all things, love believes all things" – you hear it at a lot of weddings. It is amazing."Now, it doesn't cure him of all, of what he thinks of women or gay people or whatever else, but within his context he has an amazingly transcendent view of love. The charts these days are dominated by younger acts. But artists that have a connection with you and your life, you pay for the subscription service. We're back to the Fifties now, where the focus is on songs rather than albums. We started to get into what you might call formal songwriting. And therefore you think that there is space still available. I can't think of another artist in their fifties who is on the radio. I would like it to have famous songs, so that when we play them in our live show people don't go, "What is that? I think "Get Out of Your Own Way" is going to be one of them. What is the hardest part about being in U2 right now, in 2017? Bono on How U2 Began Inside Larry Mullen Jr.'s Kitchen in 1976 "Kids started coming from all around the place," frontman tells Jann Wenner in 2005 interview about band's teenaged origins in Dublin For example? And, of course, our band could tour for the rest of its life just on what we've got. Coming down here in the car, on one station we heard "You're the Best Thing About Me." On another station, called the Wave, I heard "Bullet the Blue Sky." Quite a ride . I was calling it punk Motown, but I was the punk and he was definitely the Motown.
While he still finds it difficult to talk about his "extinction event," as he calls it, Bono opened up about its profound effect on both his life and on the new album.
So there were no old Super 8 films or anything to give the sense of that time.
We felt that its strength was that it had meaning, maybe even more meaning now than it did then. I am not making this up – this is in the Holy Scriptures. He could just kill the king, but he goes, "No, he is the anointed.
I thought about it, and then I said, "Stop second-guessing yourself. I took that hesitation as a clue that maybe I wasn't comfortable with where I am now. You're not just singing love songs; these are deep meditations about the power of love. When we sang "Pride (In the Name of Love)," that was an excruciating thing for a young male to sing, if you think about it. I don't think it is given much credit, but when people work through their problems and stay together – "Ordinary Love" is that. Not the hundreds of thousands of songs about passion and losing your mind to love.
You're right."And then the person asked what the younger me would say to the older me. I was starting to realize that I had lost some of that fierceness. But if you are asking what side of love this is, you know, the English language is so rich, but it is limited in this word "love." There are many other words. Isn't it interesting to write cold, measured, how-we-got-here songs?"I said, "But if you are an artist, you must go there." You and I have had the conversation over the years: What can the artist do? Especially with this kind of celebrity obsession with the minutiae of peoples' lives – I have got out of that. That was the most frightening thing that could happen to me because I am in pain. She said I wouldn't notice if I had a knife sticking out of my back. " But this time last year, I felt very alone and very frightened and not able to speak and not able to even explain my fear because I was kind of . but there's a bully on the bully pulpit and silence is not an option," says the U2 frontman When you felt like you were suffocating? But, you know, people have had so much worse to deal with, so that is another reason not to talk about it. I thought it would be inconvenient 'cause I have a few albums to make and kids to see grow up and this beautiful woman and my friends and all of that. The Edge on U2's ' Songs of Experience,' Bono's ' Brush With Mortality' The guitarist explains how the political climate and a major scare in the singer's life caused the band to rethink their upcoming album Let me ask you about "Summer of Love," which is about Syria and the refugees. There is a guy working with Ryan Tedder, who wrote a beautiful little guitar part. When you move from an ad-based model to a subscription model, a funny thing happens. If you are a teenager and you are listening to whatever the pop act is, you're probably listening to them 100 times a day. I can see what you can't see, and I can see that the audience is younger." I asked him how did he know it was related to the Apple experiment. That's why U2 go after selling our wares the same way we did for our first album. How does the rest of the band feel about the new songs?