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.”
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.
“It’s one of the proudest moments in U2’s history.”
“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.
The new MOJO magazine also features the 50 Best Albums Of 2014, a 50th birthday celebration of The Who’s breakthrough, a daunting encounter with Ginger Baker, the inside story of the Buzzcocks‘ punkpop heyday, PLUS an astonishingly definitive Best Of 2014 covermount CD starring Beck, Jack White, Robert Plant, The War On Drugs, Caribou, Sharon Van Etten and more.
PHOTO: U2 by Mattia Zoppellaro for MOJO magazine