U2 Open Up About ‘Songs of Innocence’’s Release, Bono’s Bike Injury + Upcoming Tour
U2 are gearing up to take their much talked-about Songs of Innocence album on the road during their upcoming Innocence and Experience arena tour, which kicks off May 14 with a two-night run in Vancouver. During a recent rehearsal for their live show, the Irish rockers opened up about the forthcoming tour, frontman Bono’s recent bike injury and the controversial release of their most recent full-length.
“Just to puncture the public consciousness at this time is really, really hard,” U2 guitarist the Edge told the The New York Times, “so we were trying to think of ways that would get our album through to people. The prospect of putting it out and have it just disappearing down a rabbit hole, which seems to happen to so many albums now -- that would be soul-destroying.”
Their release method -- slipping the album into listeners’ iTunes free of charge -- certainly earned the band attention, but perhaps not the kind they were seeking. Now, Bono says they may be playing for arenas filled with concertgoers familiar with the album's release but unfamiliar with its actual content -- which according to the frontman isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
“The idea that there may be a whole swath of audience out there that don’t yet know they like the band is really turning us on,” Bono said. “It makes us want to go out and find them if they’re there. They may not be there.”
“I think Apple and we got a lot of the backlash that was headed to Big Tech for knowing too much about us,” the singer added. “But in fact, Apple is not interested in every search you ever made – it’s only interested in your music, so it’s not fair to tar them with that brush. And as a person who’s been a lifelong member of Amnesty International, of all human-rights crimes I think that this kind of unwanted mail, if it’s at the top of your list or even halfway up it, your life is really fantastic.”
Bono also discussed his bike accident in Central Park last fall, which has since left him unable to play guitar.
“They say that the nerves heal about a millimeter a week, so in about 13 months I should know if [movement is] coming back,” he explained. “But this is the hard bit because I can’t play guitar.”
While the band is currently focused on orchestrating their upcoming tour -- which will be divided into two sets marking both elements of "Innocence and Experience" -- they’re also already working on a follow-up to Songs of Innocence.
“At the very end of an album you’re at the height of your powers in terms of writing, arranging and performing,” the Edge said. “It’s a shame that you have to stop then and start the other phase of what we do, which is playing live. This time we haven’t really stopped. Bono is trying to capitalize on that momentum and that sharpness.”
Read U2’s complete interview with The New York Times here.