Bono has said that he may never “play guitar again” following his bike accident in New York last November.
“For the last few weeks I haven’t been able to move around physically so I have more than made up for it by leaving my mind to wanderlust, untethered except electronically,” states the 54-year-old, who said that his on-going rehabilitation had given him the opportunity “to look back and review the year in a way I’ve never had time to do before.”
Bono goes on to say that as a result of his “freak accident,” in which the singer broke his arm in six places and fractured his eye socket, he would “have to concentrate hard to be ready for the U2 tour in fitness terms.”
“I broke my hand, my shoulder, my elbow and my face but the real injury this year was to my Irish pride as it was discovered that under my tracksuit I was wearing yellow and black Lycra cycling shorts. Yes, LYCRA. This is not very rock ‘n’ roll,” Bono writes, adding that “recovery has been more difficult than I thought.”
“As I write this, it is not clear that I will ever play guitar again. The band have reminded me that neither they nor Western civilization are depending on this,” he goes on to say, later revealing that he now has a titanium elbow.
“I personally would very much miss fingering the frets of my green Irish falcon or my (RED) Gretsch. Just for the pleasure, aside from writing tunes. But then does the Edge, or Jimmy Page, or any guitarist you know have a titanium elbow, as I do now? I’m all elbows, I am,” deadpans the singer and activist.
In addition to discussing his biking injury, Bono’s humorous, at times moving “Little Book of a Big Year” covers a wide range of topics, including U2’s headline-making decision to release its latest album Songs of Innocence as a free download on iTunes.
“Our album was to be like a bottle of milk dropped at the door of anyone interested in music and iTunes,” he states under the heading “I Is For iTunes.”
He continues: “That’s about it…no flagrant abuse of human rights, but very annoying to people who a) like being annoyed, and/or b) felt it was like someone robbing their phone in the pub and taking a couple of photos before leaving it back on the table… some kind of breach of privacy which was really not intended. I empathise with the b)’s, but for the a)’s I’ve started referring them to the philosopher Jimmy Kimmel.”
The singer adds: “That Apple remains a music company is the best news for anyone who wakes up with a melody in their head or wanting to hear one. Apple is unique in big tech in trying to get artists paid. That they would agree to pay Universal for Songs of Innocence, and then gift it to all the people who still believe music is worth paying for, both makes sense and is a beautiful thing.”
Bono also pays tribute to bandmates Adam Clayton and Edge, calling the latter “one of my dearest friends.”
“Though he is U2’s lightning conductor, he moves like a very calm breeze…you might not notice it but for the ripples in the sand, the subtleties in his playing, his songwriting hooks… some of them not obvious at first turn out to be eternal. He is the only one who doesn’t know that he is the most influential guitar player in a quarter century,” says Bono of Edge.
Under “G is for Glaucoma,” the singer discusses the chronic eye condition, which he revealed earlier this year that he has had for over twenty years.
“It certainly surprised the band that I’d gone public, but maybe it is time to be honest about such things,” says Bono. “I remember the agony of flashbulb staying permanently in my vision for the rest of the day after I’d been photographed. I had many eye checks over the years but one of the sly things about this ‘silent thief’ is that you can have 20/20 vision straight ahead for some years even after your peripheral vision goes.”
Other topics covered in the lengthy article include Jimmy Fallon (“the second coming of the late show – not just a friend of the famous he is everybody’s friend”), Kanye West (“a real innovator”), Noel Gallagher (“one of the truly great British songsters”) and U2’s long-time manager Paul McGuinness, who stepped down from handling the band’s affairs in late 2013.
“U2 is like the mafia. You can never really get out. Don McGuinness may be in the back garden petting his cat but he still whispers in our ears,” says Bono of the band’s so-called fifth member.
Speaking about the group’s upcoming live tour, Bono says: “U2 is a live band. Live is where we live or die. The songs continue to grow night after night. We have some extraordinary ideas up our sleeve for this tour I’ve just got to be rebuilt by 14th May.”
He also addresses the issue of streaming services stating: “songwriters are getting a poor deal right now,” but “the reason I respect for-fee services like Spotify is that they are slowly turning people who are used to getting their music for-FREE, into paying ten dollars a month for a subscription model.”
“These payments don’t add up to replacement for income from physical or digital sales at the moment – but I think they can if everyone sits down — record companies, artists and digital services — to figure out a fairer way of doing business,” Bono goes on to say.
He continues: “I’m proud of Universal group, not least because Lucian Grainge took at big risk with our Apple release, but David Joseph, CEO of the UK, encouraged by his boss, is beta-testing a fresh approach to transparency … a Universal artist will be able to find out weekly, maybe even daily, on their cell phones, how many plays they’ve had and where in the world they’ve had them; also they can be direct-credited the payment. U2 can survive without these changes, but we can’t live with ourselves if other artists cannot.”