Thursday, November 27, 2014

Bono: Comic Super-Hero

New comic book details Bono's life and career

A new comic book chronicles U2 front man Bono's life in vivid color.

The life of U2's front man Bono is the subject of the latest edition of Bluewater Production's Fame comic book series. The glossy tracks the Irishman's boyhood, his music career and humanitarian work. It also features Bloody Sunday, the 1972 shooting of protesters in Northern Ireland, which later inspired the U2 single, Sunday Bloody Sunday. "Fame" is available in print and digital form on November 19.

Written by  Michael L. Frizell with artists, David Frizell (cover), Gary Scott Beatty(letterer), and  Jayfri Hashim (colourist, penciler).

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Bono out of action for `three months'


Bono will be out of action for "at least three months" following his bicycle accident in New York last week which saw him undergo five hours of surgery after he suffered serious arm and face injuries.

The Sunday Independent reports that the singer's injuries could postpone U2's world tour, which they plan to kick off in the US next year.

Bono sustained multiple fractures to his left arm, shoulder blade and injuries to his face after he came off his bicycle as he tried to avoid another cyclist in New York's Central Park.

He underwent a five-hour operation on Sunday night and had three plates and 18 screws inserted.

"The injuries will take at least three months to recover," a source told the Sunday Independent. "Bono plays guitar a lot, and his arm and shoulder will need extensive physiotherapy if he is going to be ready for the tour. It all depends now on how quickly he can recover."

U2 have hinted that their new tour, their first in three years, will see the band play smaller, more intimate venues to suit their new album, Songs of Innocence.

However, there have been suggestions that the band's Irish dates will be played at either Croke Park, where they have appeared ten times, or a possible debut show for the band at the Aviva Stadium.

Bono: Ebola is What Happens When Promises Are Broken

Diseases do a lot of different things, all vicious, but there's one thing they've got in common: they find our vulnerabilities and exploit them.
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa -- and the world's inept initial response to it --shows how fragile we are on all fronts. Because the epidemic isn't just a failure of health systems in poor countries, or of leadership and coordination by wealthy ones, it's also a failure of our value system. If governments the world over had kept their promises to fight extreme poverty and diseases, the three countries most affected would have had stronger national immune systems.
The grand promises our elected officials make on our behalf become our grand betrayals when they don't follow through. I've been witness to a lot of despair over the years, but the photograph of a lonely child dying in her own excrement on a concrete floor of a clinic in Monrovia while untrained staff are too scared to hold and comfort her will stay with me forever.
I started writing this last week and find myself finishing it from a New York hospital where I've just had surgeries for getting smashed up in a bike accident. The quality of care is excellent ... for a jumble of broken bones that are a long way from life-threatening. The contrast with images like the one above couldn't be starker -- or more jarring.
Ebola is what happens when promises are broken. More than 14,000 people hit, more than 5,000 dead. While the numbers are starting to go down in some places, we should have no illusions. Ebola is a killer playing a long game. If we take our eyes off it, if we get bored, we'll get punished. As US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said, as Ebola moves locations and changes shape, the world's response has got to change with it.
"The world" in this case means not just governments, but everyone who has a responsibility to hold governments accountable -- i.e., citizens, i.e., you and me. The policy geeks at ONE have just released an interactive "Ebola Response Tracker" that shows the good the bad and the ugly when it comes to promises made and kept, or promises made and not kept, since Ebola started to spread.
This tracker isn't just a tool, it's a weapon. It's a sharp one, too, and it's meant to be wielded at governments.
But let's be honest, it's hard to get something like an Ebola Response Tracker trending. It's a lot easier to get Matt Damon trending. So ONE has also released a short film with Matt Damon as well as Ben Affleck, Ellie Goulding and Angelique Kidjo, and, most importantly, Ebola-fighting health-care workers from Liberia, the real heroes in this fight. This film seethes in silence at the initial slow response to Ebola, and demands we sort out the root causes of this disease. As we set our sights on Ebola -- whether through the brilliant Africa Stop Ebola project, which tells people how to protect themselves, or the revamped Band Aid 30, or the rumored African We Are the World -- we have to think not just short-term, but long. Not just about ending this crisis, but preventing the next one.
It would of course be a crime if we funded our efforts against Ebola at a cost to other diseases. When GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance -- which inoculates children -- meets for its replenishment next year, it's really a meeting to decide if the world will accept that the solutions to these problems are very much in our hands, decided by economic priorities. Wonkish talk, statistics, and debates about aid aside, the dead honest truth is that focused investments like these can really create a tipping point.
We've got to see the underlying causes of the Ebola crisis -- extreme poverty and a lack of investment in basic health, and health systems -- as every bit as urgent as the painful images on TV, and the realities they represent.
The answer is certainly not just songs and PSAs, though they can help. It's not just more doctors and nurses going to West Africa, though that's essential, or just governments doing more to step up, though we have to make sure they do. The answer is leadership to tackle the structural causes, the big issues of poverty, corruption, injustice. These problems are tenacious, but yield to our efforts -- we've seen that already. Extreme poverty has fallen by half since 1990 and could nearly reach the "zero zone" by 2030. If the world really gets focused, we can have not just an absence of Ebola and other killers, but an abundance of opportunity, good governance, economic growth, and brighter futures, even in the places that today are the poorest.
In the next month the United Nations will give the world a first look at the update on the new Millennium Development Goals -- the old ones have been our marker for progress in the fight against extreme poverty over the past 15 years. The goals for thenext 15 years will be agreed upon in 2015, at an historic summit of world leaders. You'll see numerical targets and thresholds, but what these goals will really communicate is our generation's value system and our aspirations for the next.
When you see the fanfare and hear the rhetoric, the sound of world leaders knowing they're making history (and rather enjoying it), try not to roll your eyes. Instead try to picture a world where the sort of images we've just seen in West Africa are shocking because they are so rare. Or better yet, a world where there are no images like these at all.
Ebola has taught us that our value system needs a shot in the arm. The real villain is not a virus or microbe, it is when good policies, well thought-out, are not funded or followed through.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

U2‬'s 5th Member: Paul McGuinness

He's the man Bono often called the 'fifth' member. 
Music legend Paul McGuinness managed U2 into international super-stardom for over 35 years and he joins us live from the ARIA masterclass.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Bono: “I’m Working On My Apology… For The Apology”

U2 by Mattia Zoppellaro for MOJO magazine

SHORTLY BEFORE TAKING HIS tumble in Central Park, Bono tendered an unapologetic retort to recent criticism of U2 and the free insertion of their latest album into 700 million iTunes subscribers’ music libraries.

“I mean, come on,” insisted the U2 singer in an exclusive interview in the latest MOJO magazine. “Of the great crimes against mankind…? This is an honest mistake, and we’re just not going to lose sleep about it.”

MOJO 254, featuring U2 exclusive and Best Of 2014 CD, on sale in the UK from Wednesday, November 26.

In a recent video Q&A, Bono appeared to say sorry to Facebook user Harriet Madeline Jobson, who described as “rude” the unasked-for intrusion of the Songs Of Innocence album. But in MOJO’s interview, the singer restated the group’s conviction that they’ve done nothing wrong.

“I’m already working on the apology… for the apology,” said Bono. “Because I’m very proud of what we did. It’s one of the proudest moments in U2’s history.”

In the course of MOJO’s 11-page, in-depth interview, Bono grapples with the repercussions of the iTunes furore, and delves into his past to talk about U2’s formative years and the impact of his mother’s death on his 14-year-old self, a seismic event that informs the self-exploratory theme of the new album.

“We don’t remember much about it,” he says of his mother’s shock passing. “The way our family was, and the way Irish males tend to be, you don’t talk about that. It was too painful. So we lost the memories that we had.

“I started trying to see what I could remember about my mother, and it was things like her burying me in the sand on the beach up to my neck. Being told not to be afraid of the dark. That thing that Dublin mums all say: ‘You’ll be the death of me.’”

Meanwhile, the other members of U2 recount the flashes of inspiration and rivers of perspiration that have made Songs Of Innocence one of the most direct and engaging albums of their career. With refreshing candour, they look back on the compromised recording of previous album, No Line On The Horizon (“f***ing *miserable,” declares drummer Larry Mullen Jr) and look forward to taking their honed new songs on the road in 2015 – Bono’s latest surgery permitting.

Films of Innocence

U2: Films of Innocence

11 of the world’s most acclaimed urban artists unveil their work through a collection of art films, inspired by U2’s Songs of Innocence. Taking the political murals of Northern Ireland as a reference point, U2 pioneered the project to celebrate the unique democratic power of urban art. Oliver Jeffers, Robin Rhode, D*Face, Mode 2, Chloe Early, Ganzeer, Vhils, Maser, ROA, DALeast, and Todd James make up this global multidisciplinary group project. Chosen for their undisputed ability to capture the imaginations of their audiences, the artists were given complete creative freedom to showcase their personal responses to U2’s music, through a series of part-animated, part live action films. The result is an exhilarating display of diversity in approach, style and commentary. Powerful and cognizant, their works scale the globe, play with time, and weave between heightened reality and animated dreamscapes. United for the first time in film, the eleven international artists have taken their work from the streets to the screen. These original works of video art transpose their visions from the physical to the digital and are collected here together as a visual counter-point to the album, a set of unique and compelling Films of Innocence.

Available on I-Tunes.

'The Show Must Go On...'

How rock'n'roll is Jimmy Fallon ? 

How talented are The Roots?  

When Bono's cycling accident meant the band couldn't make their residency on The Tonight Show this week, one thing was sure, as Jimmy told viewers: 'The Show Must Go On...'

They came up with the next best thing: Jimmy Fallon with The Roots performing 'Desire'. 
How sensational is this performance? 

Bono Treated With Metal Plates, 'Intensive Therapy' After Bike Injury

Three days after U2 revealed that lead singer Bono injured his arm in a "cycling spill" requiring surgery, the grim details of the singer's accident and prognosis have been disclosed to Rolling Stone. 

 While riding his bike through New York's Central Park on Sunday, the singer attempted to avoid another rider and was involved in what doctors have called a "high energy bicycle accident." 
Bono was rushed to New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center's Emergency Department and underwent "multiple X-rays and CAT scans" followed by five hours of surgery. The singer suffered numerous serious injuries, including a "facial fracture involving the orbit of his eye," three separate fractures of his left shoulder blade and a fracture of his left humerus bone in his upper arm. The latter injury was particularly damaging, with the bone shattering in six different places and tearing through his skin. 
 According to orthopedic trauma surgeon Dean Lorich, MD, "[Bono] was taken emergently to the operating room...where the elbow was washed out and debrided, a nerve trapped in the break was moved and the bone was repaired with three metal plates and 18 screws." 
On Monday, Bono underwent a second surgery to repair a fractured left pinky finger. While it's still unclear how long the singer will be recuperating, Lorich tells Rolling Stone that Bono will "require intensive and progressive therapy," but "a full recovery is expected." 
 It remains unknown if Bono's injury will affect the band's upcoming tour, details of which have yet to be revealed. When guitarist the Edge spoke to Rolling Stone in September, he outlined the group's plan for heading back on the road. "The tour is still in the planning stage so it's too early to describe what it will be like," said the guitarist. "I think we will start small. We certainly can't get any bigger than the last tour." 
 The injury forced the group to postpone a planned weeklong residency on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon this week. "It looks like we will have to do our Tonight Show residency another time — we're one man down," the band wrote on their website the day of the crash. 
"Bono has injured his arm in a cycling spill in Central Park and requires some surgery to repair it. We're sure he'll make a full recovery soon, so we'll be back! Much thanks to Jimmy Fallon and everyone at the show for their understanding." 
 After working on Innocence for two years, the group surprised fans in September by releasing Songs of Innocence for free to anyone with an iTunes account. "We wanted to make a very personal album," Bono told Rolling Stone. "Let's try to figure out why we wanted to be in a band, the relationships around the band, our friendships, our lovers, our family. The whole album is first journeys — first journeys geographically, spiritually, sexually.And that's hard. But we went there." 

 Full Statement From Dean Lorich, MD on Bono's Condition

 On November 16th, Bono was involved in a high energy bicycle accident when he attempted to avoid another rider. Presented as a Trauma Alert to New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell's Emergency Department, his Trauma Work-up at that time included multiple X-rays and CAT scans showed injuries that include: 

1. Left facial fracture involving the orbit of his eye. 
 2. Left scapula (shoulder blade) fracture in three separate pieces. 
 3. Left compound distal humerus fracture where the bone of his humerus was driven though his skin and the bone was in six different pieces. 

He was taken emergently to the operating room for a five-hour surgery Sunday evening where the elbow was washed out and debrided, a nerve trapped in the break was moved and the bone was repaired with three metal plates and 18 screws. 

 4. One day later, he had surgery to his left hand to repair a fracture of his 5th metacarpal. He will require intensive and progressive therapy, however a full recovery is expected. 

 Dean Lorich, MD Orthopedic Trauma Surgeon New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and Hospital For Special Surgery

Monday, November 17, 2014

Latest News: Bono sent to hospital posted this piece of news:

From Edge, Adam & Larry:

"It looks like we will have to do our Tonight Show residency another time - we're one man down. Bono has injured his arm in a cycling spill in Central Park and requires some surgery to repair it. We're sure he'll make a full recovery soon, so we'll be back! Much thanks to Jimmy Fallon and everyone at the show for their understanding."

What an awful week for Bono! Hope he recovers soon.

"Do They Know It's Christmas?" 2014 Version

Disclosure, Jessie Ware, Chris Martin, Bono, Underworld, More on New

Bono is one of a couple dozen artists to gather this weekend in London to record as Band Aid 30 for an updated version of "Do They Know It's Christmas?"

This version of the song is a fund raiser to help fight the Ebola outbreak in Africa. The song should be available on iTunes and other online stores tomorrow/Tuesday, and a physical CD is due to be available in a few weeks.

The music video of this year's "Do They Know It's Christmas?" premiered Sunday night on the UK version of The X Factor.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Bambi Awards, Berlin

Bambi Awards, Berlin
Great reception in Berlin , as the band were honoured at the Bambi Awards.

And another wonderful performance of 'Every Breaking Wave', complete with string section.

Monday, November 10, 2014

'Swept Off Our Feet...'

U2 salva los MTV EMA 2014 con su interpretación de Every Breaking Wave

'Swept Off Our Feet...'
'Summer I was fearless
Now I speak into an answer phone
Like every falling leaf on the breeze
Winter wouldn’t leave it alone...'

Powerful performance of Every Breaking Wave for the 2014 MTV EMA in Glasgow last night. 

 'Bono took to the stage with the band’s guitarist, The Edge, who played piano during the performance shortly after the show’s host, Nicki Minaj, accepted the award for Best Hip-Hop.

 'The band silenced the SSE Hydro with Bono showing off his incredible vocal ability dressed in a black leather jacket, jeans and wearing his signature sunglasses.'

Universal Italy has called "Every Breaking Wave" U2's next single. The label announced that Sunday on its Facebook page.

Friday, November 7, 2014

U2 are heading for the Glasgow MTV EMAs

Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen were announced as performers via MTV EMAs official Twitter account today.
The group released their 13th studio album Songs of Innocence via iTunes back in September.
The release made the album available to over 500 million iTunes customers for free.
This will be the fourth time U2 have been part of the MTV EMA, having performed in Rotterdam in 1997, Stockholm in 2000 and from Berlin's Brandenburg Gate in 2009.
On Sunday hip hop superstar Nicki Minaj the award show and also perform on the night joining a cast of other confirmed performers including Enrique Iglesias, Calvin Harris, Ed Sheeran, Ariana Grande, Charli XCX, Kiesza and Royal Blood.
Rock legend Ozzy Osbourne will also be honoured with the Global Icon Award.
Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, said: “Today’s exciting announcement that U2 – one of the biggest names in music – is to join the incredible list of acts already confirmed to perform at the MTV EMA this weekend will come as welcome news to music fans across the city. In a little over 48 hours’ time, this year’s EMA will showcase Glasgow to more than half a billion households through MTV’s global network of channels, reinforcing our enviable reputation as a world-class music destination.”

U2 Announce Weeklong Residency on ‘The Tonight Show’

U2 have announced they’ll come to The Tonight Show for a full week later this month.
Show host Jimmy Fallon made the announcement that Bono and co. will come to the late night show for a week starting Nov. 17, Stereogum reports. They’ll sort of contend with Metallica for attention that week, though the shows are in different time slots — allowing rock fans to get a full taste of both of rock’s elder statesmen throughout the week.

Currently, there’s no word on if the band will appear on the show in any other capacity that week. 
U2 will be promoting their surprise new album Songs of Innocence, which was uploaded to Apple accounts the world over in September in an unprecedented move that saw the record distributed for free — and saw many irked at the release rollout. Songs of Innocence is now out in a physical format as well.

 Kevin Rutherford

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The BAMBI for Music International goes to U2

The BAMBI for Music International goes to U2

U2 will be presented with the BAMBI for music international (c) PAOLO PELLEGRIN
U2 are one of the world’s most successful rock bands. For almost four decades the four Irishmen have been topping international charts and filling stadiums. They have received 22 Grammys – more than any other band –and been firmly established in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame since 2005. And this is why, in the ceremony in Berlin on 13 November, U2 will be presented with the BAMBI for music international. The band will be on the BAMBI-stage with a special live performance.
Their albums, such as “The Joshua Tree” and “Achtung Baby”, have sold more than 150 million copies. Their U2: 360° tour from 2009 to 2011 was the best-selling tour of all time and their latest album “Songs Of Innocence” reached 30 million iTunes downloads within just four weeks. The band’s worldwide humanitarian engagement is exceptional.
The BAMBI-jury explains: “Since their early days in Dublin, U2 knew how to channel their fans’ emotions through their music and to combine them with impassioned statements. They tackle the mistakes we make as we grow and youthful outrage at an imperfect and unjust world. U2 create rock music with attitude and poetic texts that Bono, their charismatic singer, verbalises with his unique voice. Guitarist The Edge, bassist Adam Clayton and drummer Larry Mullen, Jr. provide the unmistakeable U2 sound of strong rhythms and melodies.”
Every year, the BAMBI awards put German and international celebrities and other exceptional people in the spotlight, attracting a TV audience of more than six million people in Germany alone. The worldwide media attention, covering all six continents from South America to Asia, generates an annual total of more than 3.5 billion media contacts.

Bono spoke at the Web Summit in Dublin. He participated in a panel on Movies & Music in the 21st Century.


Bono drops more clues about U2’s music partnership with Apple: ‘They let us into the labs’
In a conversation on the main stage at the Web Summit in Dublin today, U2 lead singer Bono provided some more tantalizing hints about how the band is collaborating with Apple.

“They let us into the labs,” Bono said.

To illustrate the kind of concepts U2 and Apple might be exploring, Bono told the story of being in a house in France with Steve Jobs a decade ago. Bono looked at a version of iTunes being displayed on a TV screen and asked Jobs if he liked design so much, then “why does that look like a spreadsheet?”

Bono said he had wondered why the album covers displayed on iTunes weren’t interactive or why they didn’t display archival photos, lyrics, or 3-D versions of band members: anything that would make for a more engaging visual experience with fans to complement the music.

Jobs replied that the operating system and the technology didn’t quite exist yet for such an experience.

“But it does now,” Bono said.

So earlier this year, U2 proposed the deal with Apple that led to its new album, “Songs of Innocence,” being released for free. While discussing the deal, Apple chief executive Tim Cook asked, “Is there more?” To which Bono says he replied, “Oh, yes.”

He said the band wanted to work with Apple’s designers and engineers to develop new music formats and new experiences that would create more engagement with fans and customers, while also inspiring them to pay for music and support artists. While Bono remains optimistic about the future of music, he’s concerned in that short term that musicians are losing their leverage and their ability to make a living.

“We wanted to work with the creative people at Apple,” Bono said. “Jony Ive is a guy I’d like to be in a band with. He’d be like a bigger Edge.”

Bono said he remained convinced that giving away the new album was the right thing to do, even knowing about the resulting backlash from some Apple users that prompted him to apologize.

“We got a lot people who weren’t interested in U2 to be mad at U2,” Bono joked. “I would call that an improvement in the relationship.”

Bono noted that 100 million people checked out at least a few of the songs. And he said 30 million people had listened to the whole album after three weeks.

“It took us 30 years to do that with ‘The Joshua Tree,'” Bono said.

Web Summit 2014 Day Three

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Hang out with Bono backstage and help RED

Hang out with Bono backstage, where he’ll give you his (RED) Gretsch guitar!Plus flights, hotel, and VIP tickets for two.Every entry helps fight AIDS with (RED)

(EN) In an effort to support (RED)'s fight to deliver an AIDS free generation, I'm offering the chance to come to a U2 concert, meet me backstage, and I will give you a guitar. The guitar is yours to keep. Any songs you write with it are yours to keep. I will even sign the guitar in case you want to hang it over the mantel or use it as collateral in a card game.To collect the guitar, you will come backstage at one of our shows and be ushered past the diplomats, journalists, fashion models, economists, talk show hosts and actors and straight to my secret rendezvous room where we will toast each other and I will hand over the guitar. All those VIP’s will want to know why YOU got to cut the line. I won’t tell them if you don’t. To add to the excitement, I’m not going to tell Adam, Edge and Larry about this contest. When you show up, I’m going to tell them that you are a United Nations ambassador and they should address you as “Your excellency.” Let’s see if they fall for that one again.

Donate here.

Monday, November 3, 2014

U2: Waiting for God to walk through the room

Five years of standing in a room with three other men to try and make a more emotional album than your last one can be hurtful and brutal, U2 tell Brendan O'Connor. But when you dig back deep into grief and adolescence, God walks through the room and brings the opera.

We are talking about Bono's late mother, who died when he was fourteen and set him on the path to becoming an artist, because after grief, he says, comes rage, and rage led him to punk which led to U2. We are talking about her, because she, and grief, pop up a bit in U2's brilliant new album Songs of Innocence, along with friendship, mortality and love.

We are talking about her because one of U2's mentors, Jimmy Iovine, told Bono some time in the difficult five year gestation of Songs of Innocence that he needed to go back to the roots of why he started doing this in the first place. And so Bono looked at first journeys, and made an album about the forces that shaped him 40 years ago. A 54-year-old man, having a crisis of the relevance of the greatest rock and roll band in the world, made a teenage angst album, an album about home. A friend joked to him in an email recently that it took U2 all this time to make their first album.

One of the strongest tracks on the album, Iris, an instant U2 classic, is about Bono's mother. She also appears in another song. I wonder if Bono thinks his mother knows what happened to him, how his life turned out.

"I have no idea", he says, "But I have a deep sense that, you know, I will see her again and death has no real fear for me, though I do think it would be inconvenient right now because we've a few more albums to do and I'm rather enjoying hanging out with my kids - and the missus - so it's not that, but I do have a very real sense."

And then he tells me what happened the week they finished the album in Malibu. Unlike previous U2 releases, this album was going out the week after it got finished, instead of two, three or six months later. "Towards the end of the week I wake up, and I think that's the song I regret [Iris]. Fuck! Shouldn't have done that to myself. Very un-punk rock singing about your mother. And I started to think … Well God, that was how long ago? 40 years ago.

When did she die? September? September 40 years ago. So I texted my brother to ask when did our mother die and he didn't know because we didn't talk about this kind of stuff in our family. So he texted my uncle Jack and then it came back to me.

She collapsed at her father's graveside on the 8th of September, the day I asked the question, and her spirit left us in the couple of days that followed, when we were standing at Apple. We were putting out this song, Iris, 40 years to the day, and that did make me think 'woah, that's interesting'. Though I'm not superstitious."

He conjures Iris in her song. Trying to hold on to the dead person, trying to conjure them up again, is a feature of grief. And it may have been 40 years since Iris died. But as Bono sings in California, another stand-out track from the album, "There is no end to grief", the upside of that being that "there is no end to love." And Bono went right back there for this album. Adam tells me before the interview that in the last few months of the creation of the album Bono returned to the past and dug deep.

Bono has very few memories of Iris, who died when he was 14. And he says he put them all in the end of the song:

"Iris standing in the hall,

She tells me I can do it all,

Iris wakes to my nightmares

Don't fear the world, it isn't there,

Iris playing on the strand,

She buries the boy beneath the sand,

Iris says that I will be, the death of her,

It was not me"

He conjures her too in another song, The Crystal Ballroom, which is one of the extra tracks on the physical release of the album. This time he conjures rather more literally. "It turns out McGonagles [a legendary Dublin rock venue where U2 played as young men] used to be called the Crystal Ballroom," he says. "Lots of our mas and das did their courting there. And there's the idea that we are the ghosts of our parents' love, that we are the vestiges, the remnants."

So The Crystal Ballroom is set in McGonagles when U2 are kids, "and we're playing, and in the back of McGonagles are my mother and father, at my age, making out, which is a really, really upsetting and slightly sick idea. It's just a wild thing."

He has few visual memories of his mother on which to base his conjuring up of her. The ones he has are mainly from Super 8 footage that a family friend discovered once, of Iris aged 23 or 24 playing rounders in Rush. "Looking at her whack the ball and run in that slow motion thing, it was so beautiful. See, you forget that your parents had this other life before you."

So Iris, collapsing at her own father's graveside - with a cerebral aneurysm, is why we are here now. Because something happened to Bono in puberty. "Just as I'm discovering girls, this woman, who brought me into the world, departs, and you're left living with two men shouting at each other most of the time," by which he means his father and his brother. Hence rage, hence punk, hence U2.

This grief was also what brought Bono to Larry Mullen's door when the latter's mother died too young. "There was something that we shared that was not usual", Larry says, "so when my mother died and Bono came to my door, he was able to say, 'I get it, and we should talk about this', and we did, and that was a big moment, because when that happens to you, there's nowhere else to go; for me there was no other place to go. I kind of knew that, in my head, home no longer existed and home was gone and I was looking for somewhere else to call home. There was nowhere else for me to go."

I'm sure he doesn't mean it literally but Larry says he never went home again and now this is his home and that's another reason we are all here. Because this is where they put their faith. As Bono puts it, "I had a kind of inchoate faith at that time which is challenged by this kind of tragedy, which is common in a lot of families. This is not the worst thing to ever happen anyone . . . Then you put your faith in your friends, in your band and in the ability of that band to get from A to B and eventually to Z."

So this is home for these four 50-something men, who do this strange thing of standing in a room together for years on end waiting, as Bono puts it, quoting Quincy Jones, for God to walk through the room. But God, as Bono told Quincy, is unreliable. So while U2 can improvise and make lots of very good music at will, they prefer to wait for greatness. Hence five years of waiting on this occasion.

Bono says there could have been an album after a year. "The first version of the album, the one that we could have released a year in was really very good, very, very good, and quite cool, and the question we asked then was: 'does anyone really come to us for, like, cool music? That's not what we're about. That's not what U2 exist for. We're the opera. We're much more hot-blooded, and sticking our head over the parapet is what we do.'"

So they waited for the opera. And this time, the stakes were high. As the Edge puts it, "if this and another album hadn't been competition standard we probably would have opted to go into that semi-retirement of just doing the shows or whatever."

While Bono appeared at times during the five years to question the very existence of the band, Edge says they did not really come close to splitting up.

But you get the feeling it has not always been an easy five years for these four men standing in a room waiting for God and opera. Firstly there is the fact that their last album, in their terms, did not connect - the "connectivity" of the new songs is a phrase you hear mentioned more than once when you talk to them.

Larry, who seems the most critical of U2's more experimental moments, doesn't take any prisoners on the album he has referred to as No Craic on the Horizon. They were good ideas, he thinks, but they weren't completed. Good ideas do not make good songs. "We never got to the place" is a phrase he uses more than once about that last album. Crucially, the songs also didn't work live, and the idea this time, and the excitement they feel around these new songs, is that they will tour well.

So back to the room then and waiting for God. It gets tense at times. Songs are rewritten three or four times but they still wouldn't be what the Edge calls, "the absolute highest iteration in terms of pure songwriting." And there are times where, he says, you have to ask yourself some hard questions about what you are doing. People get hurt in this process, he says.

"It can be brutal", Larry says, "We try and be diplomatic and we care about each other but it can be brutal . . . but you have to give up and let it go. It's not an easy thing to do and it's humbling."

Ask Bono if the band have been humbled, in the true sense of the word, by the last half a decade and he will laugh, "You mean humiliation. There is some humiliation in discovering that you're not as talented as you thought you were."

Ask him when he realised that and he says, "Every single album and especially the great ones. Achtung Baby was the most humiliating experience of them all. It's just when you run out of road in your own talent, you learn the lesson that craft and talent are not going to get you to that place, that it's much more magic and alchemy, and you're turning your shite into gold if you're lucky."

And presumably, if you are at the point in life where a lot of rock artists have ceased to produce good work, you must worry, and think, "Fuck. Maybe it's gone"?

Bono has a kind of mantra in the back of his head which is that you can't solve a problem if you don't know what the problem is, so he gets the people around him to tell him what the problem is. "It has puzzled me that some of the most prolific imaginations all of us have appreciated over the years suddenly stop, in music, but they don't in literature, film and painting." There are artists he used to love, whom he won't name, who haven't produced a song in 20 or 30 years that he cares about.

"And you wonder if you're next," Bono says starkly. "But the thing that seems to be common to all these artists when you get to meet them, as we are lucky enough to do, is that they don't know that their last album was shite. Because they have no one around them. They might later. But they don't have an argument in the studio, because they are these, you know, great artists." But U2, he says, "surround ourselves with some of the best arguments you can find, and have done since we were children, and the best of the best arguments I have found are my three bandmates. And that's before you get to the beautiful assholes in our community like Gavin Friday, Guggi, Simon Carmody, who delight in being dismissive and challenging us with their eyes and ears."

In fact the process has given birth to an album that is better than anything the band have done in at least ten years.

And in a way, the five years standing in the room is the easy bit. Because then it comes out and the fact that this is a stunning return to form for those who like the heart of U2 rather than the head (as represented in the more cerebral, ideas-based No Line On The Horizon), all that gets drowned out initially in a big discussion on the method of distribution.

Bono is a great advocate of technology, obviously, but do I get the impression he thinks there is perhaps too much democracy on the web?

He says that the people who used to write abuse on toilet walls are now in the blogoshere. "And they must not set our agenda."

He pauses and then comes out with a great line on it.

"The problem with discovering what people think", he announces, "is that you find out what they think."

Presumably the answer is not to look at this stuff, I say.

"I'd visit the toilet much more than I'd go cruising for trolls", he says, "I'm not interested. But I do know other artists who can't get out of bed cos they read that stuff."

But none of the furore can take away from how pleased they are with the reception to this record, how pleased they are that 30 million people chose to take it onto their devices, though, as Bono points out, you can't know that all of them took it to their hearts.

They did Later With Jools Holland the night before. I wonder how it feels to be out in that kind of competition. Are there younger, more energetic bands there that make them jealous? Does the competition phase them?

The only other musician Bono can think of whom he feels vaguely threatened right now by is Hozier. "That song Take Me To Church put the fear in me," he admits. "Such a great lyric and a great melody and a great voice. That's a reason for me to get out of bed. Most things don't have that effect."

The one thing that keeps cropping up is how much U2 are enjoying playing these songs for people. They seem particularly enthused about starting to play the songs from their new album acoustically. If you haven't heard the acoustic versions of the songs you should check them out. After the relative aloofness of their last album, they are clearly enjoying now their capacity to, as Edge says, "hit people between the eyes".

It seems a shame to bring up tax. It has been such a nice long lunch of fishcakes and white wine in a booth in the back of a nice pub. The four of them couldn't have been more polite, Bono is charm itself, despite the fact that he is suffering from a migrane. Adam and the Edge are both gentlemen with cut-glass manners, and Larry is a gracious host and really sweet.

But of course we had to talk about tax. I actually have no moral issues with it. I mainly wondered if the tax issue, whereby a part of U2's business is housed in Holland to avail of better tax rates on royalties, had become an issue that has dogged them and distracted from talk of the music, certainly in Ireland, to the point where they thought about moving it back, just to shut people up.

Turns out they are game to talk taxes.

"As it happens", Bono says, "It wouldn't have made that much difference to the taxes we pay because we pay millions in tax and this is a hook for people who don't like our band to hang us on, and while we can understand people's annoyance about that matter at first glance, at second glance, that Ireland can have a tax-competitive culture as a country but that Irish companies can't is an intellectual absurdity. It just is. So the intellectual argument is cobblers, we understand that."

As to what he calls the "emotional question", Which he frames as, "The country's hurting. Why don't you bring that back as a sort of act of solidarity?" He says, "That the country's hurting is indeed something that played upon us, and we have each had to respond to that because we love our country and we feel that we wouldn't have existed outside of it, that there is something uniquely Irish about us. But that's about helping out when people are having hard times.

That's a different thing from trying to run a business. So we have responded; each of us has responded privately, and we sometimes respond collectively. But it's very hard for us, having had a 30-year history of confidentiality on our philanthropy, to ever come out.

The only time we've ever done it which was Red or Music Generation, is when we're looking for match money and we have to declare. And it's annoying. People would say in America, 'but you should declare your philanthropy', but that's just something that doesn't sit well with us."

Ultimately Bono says it is a point of principle now. The difference in bringing it back would just be showbusiness.

But are they not in showbusiness?

"We consider ourselves artists who deal with showbusiness. We're in it but not of it."

Larry interjects: "But isn't it ridiculous that we get into this situation? We're doing this for a long time . . . and that the nature of interviews now, and this is no reflection on you, is that we're on the back foot; we've got to defend things. We do what we do. I don't give a flying fuck what anybody thinks. We have got to, within ourselves, make decisions about what we've got to do. We have got to get up and justify it to ourselves . . .We are creative people, we are artists. We don't have to do this; we choose to do this . . . we could go and do greatest hits tours. Why would anyone do this to themselves, put themselves in this position unless they really wanted to do it?"

Bono concludes: "We're not politicians. We don't need the popular vote. Our audience is a minority. It's a very tiny minority. We just need to speak to them, and they know through the songs who we are. It's people who don't know the songs, who don't sit on trains with earbuds plugged in to our hearts and minds, who don't know who we are. We don't really need them."

Which brings us back to what matters, to U2 pouring their hearts and minds down headphones to people, this time out in a rawer fashion than ever. And it brings us back to the journey Bono took, the closest thing to therapy he ever did, a journey back to poor Iris collapsing at her father's grave, the reason we are here.

The deluxe version of 'Songs Of Innocence' is out now, containing an acoustic session of select songs from the album plus four additional tracks, including 'The Crystal Ballroom'

Sunday Independent

Bono: 'I Need A Row To Get Out of Bed In The Morning'

The U2 singer says he is unfazed by the controversy over Songs of Innocence. 

U2’s Bono has told Hot Press that he’s totally immune to the begrudgery of internet keyboard warriors.
Speaking to Olaf Tyaransen about the social media storm that followed the controversial iTunes giveaway of Songs of Innocence last month, the singer explained: “I have an umbrella. I've had it with me for 30 years now. When the shit-storm comes, as it continually does, I just put it up. You know, the thing about [song] 'Cedarwood Road', I realised that a lot of me still lives there. I'm still on that street. Still need an enemy. The worst ones, I can't say."

Not only is he unbothered by the critical slings and arrows, but he claimed to almost enjoy the hostility.
“I almost like all this. I must just need a row to get up out of bed in the morning,” he said, "because I keep finding myself in them. If you repeat behaviour, then you must like it. It's like a bad relationship: 'I don't know how that happened! I met that girl and she ran off with all my best friends… but it happened to me three times'. You might have something to do with it. So I've just gotta accept that that's who I am.”

However, Bono does acknowledge that his ability to wind his critics up can make life difficult for his bandmates: “I feel sorry for the band because I do tend to get them into these controversies. But isn't it great to be part of the conversation? In the zeitgeist. People talking about you. People arguing about you. It's kind of a great compliment.”

U2 Take On the World: Inside Rolling Stone's New Issue

U2, the biggest band left on Earth, make their latest appearance on the cover of Rolling Stone in our new issue. In the cover feature, senior writer Brian Hiatt trails the band to Dublin and the French Riviera, where he shares pints of Guinness and a long, boozy dinner with Bono; watches an intimate full-band rehearsal in a Monaco basement; and hangs out in Bono and the Edge's oceanfront houses. At our cover shoot, photographer Mark Seliger captured a stunning video of Bono and the Edge playing "The Miracle (of Joey Ramone)" acoustic, with Bono pounding out drum parts on Edge's guitar.

The band is highly aware of what Bono calls the "shitstorm" over the iTunes giveaway of their new album, Songs of Innocence. Bono says he didn't understand that the album would automatically download itself onto some people's phones. "It's like we put a bottle of milk in people's fridge that they weren't asking for," he says. "It is a gross invasion!" He smiles. "But it was kind of an accident. The milk was supposed to be in the cloud. It was supposed to be on the front doorstep."

Among the other revelations in the 6,000-word story, which offers a definitive chronicle of the making of Songs of Innocence:

U2 have big plans for the next few years. 

Bono is already promising a follow-up album to Songs of Innocence, called Songs of Experience, that he'd like to have out as soon as 18 months from now. "We're hoping Songs of Experience will be less about intimacy," says bassist Adam Clayton, "and more about a celebration of sorts." The band's tentative plans are to take the indoor Songs of Innocence tour outside once the second album comes out. And there's another twist: In 2009, Bono promised that U2 would quickly follow up No Line on the Horizon with a more meditative companion album, Songs of Ascent. There has been no sign of it since, but Bono now sees it as the third part of the trilogy. "Songs of Ascent will come," he promises. "And there are some beautiful songs."

U2 interrupted their relationship with Apple – and had Blackberry sponsor their 360 Tour – after Bono had an argument with the late Steve Jobs that included the words "go fuck yourself." 

"I had a tantrum, like a child," Bono says, "and went to the competition." To Jobs' great credit, he adds, the company kept up its partnership with Bono's (RED), and the two men reconciled well before Jobs' passing. 

Last year, the band had a fully Danger Mouse-produced version of the album that could have been released. 

"But then we realized, 'OK, we've actually not delivered what you might call the hallmarks of our work – the big music," says the Edge. With Danger Mouse off working with his duo Broken Bells, the band reached out to other producers, including OneRepublic frontman Ryan Tedder (who's collaborated with Adele and Beyonc√©). "I have the utmost respect for Danger Mouse," says Tedder. "Bono was very straightforward. He was like, ‘This is how we work. You're going to do whatever you do and get it as good as you can and then more than likely your stuff is going to get messed with by somebody else.' So I hesitated for like five seconds and then Edge was like, "Man, tear it apart. Do what you want." Adds Danger Mouse, "They're not my tracks. They're U2's tracks. I'm not happy about a song if they're not happy."

Bono rewrote the lyrics of "Iris," an intimate song about his late mother, after being deeply moved by the late ISIS hostage James Foley's letter to his family. 

"I realized," Bono says, "that we will all be remembered, and we remember our loved ones, by the least profound moments. The simplest moments. In the letter he says to his brother, 'I remember playing werewolf in the dark with you.' If I make a swift exit, stage left, my family and friends will not be thinking about debt cancelation or, you know, fighting for HIV/AIDS medication, or U2 being on the cover of Rolling Stone, or 50 million people listening to Songs of Innocence.  They might remember some stupid face I made at breakfast."

Bono loves the fact that his silhouette has been on the iPhone's Music app (over the "Artists" icon) for years. 

"I've hacked into you before you even knew," he says. "I've been looking at you every time you pressed 'Music.' Like, every time you're pressing on my head. How do you think that feels? It's a bruising encounter for me."