U2 is gearing up for one of their most high-profile weeks in recent years — with their December 4th salute in Washington, D.C., when they’ll receive the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors. An edited version of the event will air later this month on CBS.
During a new chat with The Washington Post, Bono revealed some frank truths about the band, admitting, “We come close to breaking up much more often than you’d think. Usually after the really good albums, because they cost you in personal relationships because you’re pushing each other and get really at your elastic limit.”
Old friend, Boomtowm Rats founder and Live Aid organizer,m Bob Geldof explained how the Irish foursome has grown into their own skin over the past 45 years together: “It’s a band, so there have been arguments, hard arguments, not-talking-to-each-other arguments, of course there are. But for them, they realized that the band is worth more than any individual idea.”
Drummer Larry Mullen explained, “You only do this if you’re having the best time. And not everyone is going to make it because the price is so high. So I think the challenge is for more generosity. More openness to the process. I am autonomous and I value my autonomy. I don’t sing from the same hymn sheet. I don’t pray to the same version of God. So everyone has their limits. And you only do this if it is a great time you’re having, y’know?”
Regarding the future for U2, Bono said, “The country’s changed for a group like U2. But I have a feeling that we have something. That if we can distill it on these next sessions, this unreasonable guitar record that we all want to make actually, I just feel there’s a moment. . . I don’t know if you can capture people for a whole album. But what if it was just an EP or just one song that could burst through? We don’t need it on the pop charts. We don’t. But we need people to pass it around. I think we do want that.”
Bono feels that unlike many of their contemporaries, U2 has continued to grow with each new era, and has never felt their collective love for the band’s work diminishing: “There’s a certain contour that’s expected of a band or an artist — y’know, you do your best work very early on in your life, and then you kind of burn out. With our band, it doesn’t feel like we’re burning out. And if you were a photographer, or a screenwriter, or a poet, or a filmmaker, you might just be, y’know, getting the hang of it. But a lot of rock n’ roll bands have burned out by our age. And I’m not buying into that.”