Bono and the Edge have done their bit to shape popular music, and save lives with tunes. Now they’re helping guide the fortunes of Fender.
The U2 founders have joined the board of directors for Fender Musical instruments Corporation, the company behind the legendary Fender guitar lines.
According to a statement, Bono and his talismanic guitarist will play a role in helping the storied U.S. firm as it pursues new growth strategies built on fan-engagement. Fender’s co-chairman Mark Fukunaga reckons the pair make ideal candidates for the job, but for different reasons. The Edge brings to the board an impeccable track record as a guitarist and as an “innovator of unique sounds through his use of technology,” he says, noting Bono is “a visionary in the music world who also has business acumen and creativity that will help Fender thrive.”
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This is “something of a kid in a candy store situation for me,” comments The Edge in a statement. “I’ve been a fan of Fender guitars from the beginning, playing them on all the most important U2 tours and albums. But I’m most interested in working with the Fender design team on some new ideas.”
U2 and Fender have an association that goes back some time. The veteran Irish group’s founding bass guitar player Adam Clayton collaborated with the company to build a Fender Custom Shop limited edition signature “Precision Bass” back in 2011.
The Fender gig should keep Bono and the Edge busy in a year that isn’t expected to produce a new U2 album. The group had been diligently working with producer Danger Mouse (aka Brian Burton) on a 13th album, described as “unfinished” in mid-February to The Hollywood Reporter. However, Billboard and the Hollywood Reporter noted in March that the album has now been pushed back until 2015.
Bono isn’t short on words to describe the latest arrangement with Fender. “Wherever you go in the world Fender is a standard bearer, not just for excellence in technology and craft, but for the influence of American culture. This made-in-USA company has at its heart innovation…the iconoclasm of Jimi Hendrix, the subtle sweet murmurings of Bill Frisell, as well as the most roadworthy loudspeaker on earth,” he says in a statement.
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Bono adds, “When a festival-goer wears a Fender t-shirt, they are saying a lot about themselves. They love music, they’re independent-spirited, they’re proud of this truly American company, a nexus of technology and culture which, in the end, can’t be copied no matter how hard the giants try. I’m excited to be part of developing newer technologies with Fender, as well as helping protect the jobs and commitment to excellence of their age-old craft.”
The appointment of Bono and the Edge to the Fender board follows the company’s April announcement of Bob Roback as president and member of the board of directors. Roback, who joined from Dashbox where he was CEO, is driving the development of Fender’s digital strategy.