"A game like chess suited me because I was able to put everything from my mind and work with something abstract."
U2 Beyond the "Horizon": Plans for Next Album Take Shape
The band on "Songs of Ascent," Spider-Man music and U2 haters
October 02, 2009
ON FUTURE PLANS
The Edge: We're sort of spoiled for choice right now, because there's a bunch of amazing pieces that we didn't finish from the work we did in Fez, and there's the songs we started with Rick Rubin, some of which are amazing songs that I'd love to get back to at some point. Bono and I also have this Spider-Man [musical] project, which we're very happy about. So there are a lot of things on the stove, and they're all very exciting.
Now that this tour is kind of up and running, I'm really looking forward to getting into those projects, doing some listening back, seeing where they're all at, seeing which one is probably set to go first. The one thing is we'd love to follow this album up sooner rather than later -- I don't think we'll have over three years or whatever it was between the last two records. It's hard to say [about a U2 Spider-Man album]. There will be a Spider-Man album, but whether it's us or the cast, that's the sort of thing we're not sure about. There are some amazing tunes.
Larry Mullen: I definitely think we should do something good as soon as we possibly can, as opposed to quickly. I'm feeling that it's the unfinished songs from this record that we should be concentrating on. I think there's a part two of this record. That would be my instinct, would be to complete this. I think there is slower, meditative stuff on there, but I think there are other things, as well, and I don't think it will end up being that kind of record. I think it will end up being a mixture of a few different things. I would like to think that we would have a song that would end up on the radio.
Rolling Stone: Did you reconvene with Brian Eno to do any recording?
Larry Mullen: We've talked about it, and how we would do it. I think he went into the studio to have a listen to some things. We will get back together with him.
RS: Over the break between this year and next?
Larry Mullen: Absolutely, yeah. I'd also like to get back to the [Rick Rubin] sessions. I think there's some really good stuff there.
Bono: We certainly don't want to go away for a few years. [The next] album is called Songs of Ascent, and it's a very clear idea. If we're going to do another rock record, I want to do Spider-Man. I just haven't talked Adam and Larry into that.
I would like to have one of our songs on the pop charts. It's my only disappointment [with No Line on the Horizon] People love, love the album it's had rave reviews, not just in the U.S., but all over the world. But I would like a few pop songs on it. So I would like, even on Songs of Ascent, songs that have a shot at that. I would like to come back with a new single in the spring -- "Every Breaking Wave" was Jimmy Iovine's favorite song, and lots of people got upset when we took that off.
ON U2'S HATERS
Bono: It's almost like U2 come on and they start twitching. They're in the pub going, "I can't stand him look at his f**king head on him. Look at the head on him. Who does he think he is? F**king Jesus." It's not our music, we're writing better songs than [the bands some critics preferred in the Eighties] now, maybe back then we didn't, but it's very hard for them. The odds thing: Most careers in politics, they say, end in failure -- double that for musicians, double that for bands. And then as well as the fact that we're still around, we're having [laughs] more fun than anyone should be allowed. Yes, we work hard. Yes, we have the odd spat. Yes, it gets intense. But it's very hard for people to take it -- the joy of it, the joy of the life, and your families are here. It used to be when I went on the road, I had to say goodbye to them for three months.
ON ROGER MOORE AND JAY-Z
Bono: I had a great one where I was in Monte Carlo sitting in a pizza joint, and some very broad-shouldered men in suits with strong American accents came up and explained that Mr. Jay-Z and the lovely Beyoncé were in the grill room, if I wanted to drop by. I may have even recommended the grill room to them. I said it was a kind invitation, but I'm really not dressed for that kind of thing, it's a very posh place. He came back 15 minutes later and said, "Mr. Jay-Z has organized it so that would not be a problem."
I said, "I know the very strict dress code there," because I've come up against it over the years, "And tell him thank you very much for that, but..."
The third time he came back and he said, "He has the manager waiting." I then looked over and I saw Roger Moore, and he said, "Hello," and I said, "How are you doing?" and he said, "Great, what are you doing?"
I said, "I'm off to see a friend of mine called Jay-Z at the grill room."
He said, "Jay-Z?"
I said, "He's a great rapper."
His wife said, "What is a rapper?"
"Well, it's hard to explain in a moment, but it's kind of about words and rhythm," I said. Then I asked them if they'd like to say hello, knowing that if I arrived with Roger Moore, there's no way, even if it all went wrong, there's no way they're going to throw me out. He's the sharp-dressed man of sharp-dressed men, and he's with his beautiful wife. So we walk up, and sure enough, there's the manager: "How are you doing?"
I walk up, we go up to the room, which I love, this beautiful room. The roof opens there, and it's where Ava Gardner and Frank Sinatra used to hang out. I know it very well, and sometimes I go there, but I'm here now in a vest and jeans, looking like Jay-Z's mechanic, and I walk in, and there's a whole bunch, there's Beyoncé, Lyor Cohen, and I just hear, "It's motherf**kin' James Bond! It's James Bond, I'm hanging out with James Bond!" I just think, "What?" Then it just all starts to make sense to me. Hip-hop is so James Bond -- the cars, the planes, the suits, the dresses, the guns, and I had no idea. It was like bringing Picasso to a bunch of painters.
© Rolling Stone, 2009.