‘I Still Find It Difficult To Surrender,’ Bono Says In New Yorker Festival Interview About His New Book
You may recognise Bono as the frontman of one of the greatest rock bands of all time, U2, but the rock star is much more. While being a 22-time Grammy Award winner, the 62-year-old Irishman is an activist in the fight against AIDS and campaigns for Africa.
Bono, known for his social justice philanthropy and distinctive voice, opened the New Yorker Festival on Friday (Sept. 7) with performances of “With or Without You,” “City of Blinding Lights,” and “Vertigo.”
Then, in advance of the November release of his debut book, Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story, Bono spoke with renowned New Yorker journalist David Remnick about the upcoming memoir about his life. He discussed his mother’s death, how he came up with the title of the book, his bandmates reading the book, U2 almost breaking up, and other topics.
Here are six key takeaways from Bono and Remnick’s conversation ahead of the release of his memoir.
He turned to music after losing his mother.
Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story, Bono’s upcoming memoir, recalls his mother, Iris Hewson, dying from a brain aneurysm four days after collapsing at the funeral of her father, Gags Rankin, in 1974. The U2 frontman, who was only 14 years old at the time, turned to music to cope with his tragic death.
“It turned out to be a gift.” This wound in me just turned into this gap that I had to fill with music, and it’s a very unscientific theory I have. “However, I believe that in the passing of someone you care about, there is sometimes a gift,” he said.
The significance of the name ‘Surrender’
The 62-year-old stated that “surrender” is a necessary word for him but does not come naturally to him.
“It’s still difficult for me to surrender to my bandmates,” the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer said. “As I get older, it becomes more difficult to surrender to my wife, to surrender to my maker.” I’m a defiant character, but David, I’m working on it. That is the reason I wrote the book.”
Did his band members read the book beforehand?
Bono revealed that his bandmate Adam Clayton had some thoughts on his upcoming book. “He thought I had drawn him as a caricature,” Bono explained.
When Remnick asked if he was correct, Bono responded, “For a few reasons.” Perhaps I didn’t want to fill in some details because I feared it would be too personal for him. It was my autobiography.”
In that sense, it’s not a traditional rock and roll memoir,” he explained. “It’s also a love story and a pilgrimage.” A better title would be the pilgrim’s lack of progress.”
U2 nearly disbanded due to a spiritual crisis.
During the conversation, Remnick inquired of Bono when David “The Edge” Evans, U2’s lead guitarist and backing vocalist, was experiencing a spiritual crisis and was about to leave the band.
Bono responded that the two were attending a non-denominational school (Edge and Bono went to school together at Mount Temple Comprehensive School). They weren’t forcing religion down their throats, but they were deeply religious.
“We meet this — I guess you could call them first-century radical Christians, punks.” And, you know, they didn’t require many material possessions. “They were very strict in that regard,” Bono explained. “At first, we thought they accepted us for who we were. They began to spy on us after a while. ‘Perhaps this music thing is — you should just write it down.’ And if the world is truly broken, and it is truly broken. And if you want to help fix it, perhaps music is something you should put away and sing these praise songs.”
Bono went on to say that he and The Edge began to believe these people, and that his bandmate felt terrible. “He calls and says, ‘I don’t think I can solve this.'” ‘Well, yes, I’m having some issues with this, too,’ I said. I want to be of assistance. I want to be useful in my life and to the rest of the world. ‘You know, the world is f—.'”
The key to 40 years of marriage
The key to Bono and Ali’s 40-year marriage is simple: friendship.
“Friendship can sometimes outperform romantic love.” “And I have a friendship with Ali,” Bono said. “But I don’t want to give you the impression that we had it easy. But if one of us got lost, the other would be there to get the other back home. And I’m extremely grateful,” he concluded.
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