- 28 Dec 17
Bono has said that he feels like he's "the f**king luckiest man on Earth" after enduring a major health scare.
Bono made the comment in a cover story interview in the latest edition of the American music magazine Rolling Stone.
However, he told the magazine that he didn't want to go in the specific details about the illness. He said it was because he didn't want it to be sensationalized in the tabloids, which is understandable.
But he did open up about how it influenced U2's new album.
"It's one thing if you were talking about it in a place of record like Rolling Stone, but by the time it gets to your local tabloid it is just awful. It becomes the question that everyone is asking," he explained.
"People have had so much worse to deal with, so that is another reason not to talk about it," he continued. "You demean all the people who, you know, never made it through that or couldn't get health care!"
When asked about the illness, Bono told the magazine: "It's just a thing that... people have these extinction events in their lives; it could be psychological, or it could be physical. And, yes, it was physical for me, but I think I have spared myself all that soap opera. Especially with this kind of celebrity obsession with the minutiae of peoples' lives – I have got out of that. I want to speak about the issue in a way that lets people fill in the blanks of what they have been through, you know?"
Talking about how it influenced the new album, Bono said: "This political apocalypse was going on in Europe and in America, and it found a perfect rhyme with what was going on in my own life. And I have had a hail of blows over the years."
Regardless of the near death experience, Bono said that mortality was always going to be a major theme for the new album anyway.
He explained: "Well, strangely enough, mortality was going to be a subject anyway just because it is a subject not often covered. And you can't write Songs of Experience without writing about that. And I've had a couple of these shocks to the system, let's call them, in my life. Like my bike accident or my back injury. So it was always going to be the subject. I just didn't want to be such an expert in it.
"I met this poet named Brendan Kennelly. I have known him for years; he is an unbelievable poet. And he said, "Bono, if you want to get to the place where the writing lives, imagine you're dead." There is no ego, there is no vanity, no worrying about who you will offend. That is great advice. I just didn't want to have to find out outside of a mental excursion. I didn't want to find out the hard way."
In the new song, 'Lights of Home' Bono sings: "I shouldn't be here 'cause I should be dead. I can see the lights in front of me."
Bono also told how he no longer feels invincible.
"You get warning signs, and then you see that you are not a tank, as my wife Ali says. Edge has this thing that he says about me, that I look upon my body as an inconvenience."
Bono also said that when facing the illness it ran through his mind that he still wanted to make a "few albums" with Larry, The Edge and Adam.
He said that making a full recovery has literally given him a new lease of life.
Bono told the magazine: "I am the f**king luckiest man on Earth. I didn't think that I had a fear of a fast exit. I thought it would be inconvenient 'cause I have a few albums to make and kids to see grow up and this beautiful woman and my friends and all of that."
Bono appears on our latest cover. You can read the story in full at RollingStone.com. In the new interview, the U2 frontman opens up about the state of his band, the state of the world and what he learned from almost dying. "I used to think that my insecurity was humility because I don't throw my weight around, because I try to treat whomever I meet with respect," he says. "But I am not sure if it actually was humility. I think that might have been just good manners." Photograph by Mark Seliger (@markseliger)