Bono Says He Hates U2’s Name, Songs, Singer

Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

Bono Says He Hates U2’s Name, Songs, Singer

Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

U2 are one of the most successful rock bands in history, but — thanks to factors like their intense earnestness, Bono’s presumed messiah complex, and that whole “forcing the album on everyone’s iPhones” stunt — they’re also one of the most fiercely reviled. Everyone knows this; polarization is central to the U2 experience. What may surprise you is that one of the band’s haters is Bono himself.

As The Irish Times points out, Bono shared some inflammatory U2 takes on Scott Feinberg’s Awards Chatter podcast. Bono and U2 guitarist the Edge were guests on the Hollywood Reporter pod because “Your Song Saved My Life,” U2’s song from the Sing 2 soundtrack, is getting Oscar buzz. Their episode contained a surprising amount of self-deprecation.

For one thing, Bono is no fan of the name U2:

I still don’t. I really don’t. But I was late into some kind of dyslexia. I didn’t realise that The Beatles was a bad pun either. In our head it was like the spy plane, U-boat, it was futuristic — as it turned out to imply this kind of acquiescence, no I don’t like that name. I still don’t really like the name. Paul McGuinness, our first manager, did say, “Look, it’s a great name, it’s going to look good on a T-shirt, a letter and a number.”

Relatably — but surprisingly for Bono — he also cannot stand to listen to most of his own vocal performances. Although he believes his bandmates sound great, Bono described his own voice as “Irish macho” — that is, not very macho at all — and noted that Robert Palmer once critiqued U2’s vocals to bassist Adam Clayton. “The one that I can listen to the most is ‘Miss Sarajevo’ with Luciano Pavarotti,” Bono said. “Genuine, most of the other ones make me cringe a little bit. Although ‘Vertigo’ probably is the one I’m proudest of. It’s the way it connects with the crowd.”

Bono says he only recently learned to sing properly and that his lyrics on early albums like Boy were not properly sketched out. “I’ve been in the car when one of our songs has come on the radio and I’ve been the color of, as we say in Dublin, scarlet. I’m just so embarrassed.” On the other hand: “I do think U2 pushes out the boat on embarrassment quite a lot and maybe that’s the place to be as an artist, you know right at the edge of your level of embarrassment.”

So now we know why U2 have been trying to remake “Vertigo” for the last two decades, I guess? Hear the full podcast below.

more from News

Hi. It looks like you're using an ad blocker.

As an independent website, we rely on our measly advertising income to keep the lights on. Our ads are not too obtrusive, promise. Would you please disable adblock?