Last November, Bono had a nasty bike accident in Central Park, fracturing his eye socket, shoulder, elbow and left hand. He underwent five hours of surgery, and U2 was forced to cancel its weeklong residency on The Tonight Show.
And now, five months later as the band is preparing to launch its Innocence + Experience Tour, Bono still hasn’t recovered fully, and he might not know whether he’ll regain all of the feeling in his left hand for another 13 months.
“I really used to think that my head was harder than any surface it came in contact with, and I don’t anymore,” said Bono. “I didn’t come off a Harley-Davidson. I came off a push bike and smashed myself to bits. There is no glory here.”
The U2 frontman offers an update on his recovery to The New York Times in a preview story about the tour. Most of the lingering damage is concentrated in his left hand and forearm, it seems. Bono explained that he can’t bend his curled fourth finger and pinky on that hand, and another part of his left hand “is like rigor mortis.”
“It feels like I have somebody else’s hand,” he said. “But they say that nerves heal about a millimeter a week, so in about 13 months, I should know if it’s coming back.”
His forearm is “all numb” and his elbow is “titanium,” although his shoulder and eye socket are “better,” he added.
Although The Times noted that Bono is able to grab the microphone with his left hand and point one finger skyward, he “can’t play guitar.”
With its tour, U2 will find out if its experiment to give away millions of copies of its latest album, Songs of Innocence, for free to Apple users actually worked and whether some of those who were given the album really listened to the music.
The band faced a swift backlash after people noticed that the album automatically showed up in their music libraries. The band apologized repeatedly, and Apple offered a way for people to delete the album.
Bono said the backlash might have reflected something bigger. “I think Apple and we got a lot of the backlash that was headed to Big Tech for knowing too much about us. 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,” he said.
The socially conscious frontman also offered a bit of perspective for people who are still bothered that a free album showed up in their collection of digital music.
“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.”
This article originally appeared in THR.com.