Bono: what use would a rock star be without a messianic complex?

The U2 front man has just published Surrender: 40 Songs. One Story in which he uses forty U2 tracks to tell his story and the story of the band.

Appearing on RTÉ Radio 1’s The Brendan O’Connor Show, he was asked by the host if his decision to write the book was based on a messiah complex.

“Look, what use would a rock star be without a messianic complex?” the singer said. “One thing that is great about U2 is that we didn’t play the `Oh! How did we get here’ card?

“`I’d rather be anywhere else then be being interviewed’ or `what a bummer! We’re on Top of The Pops… how did that happen?’

“We never did that but at the same time as enjoying making a show of yourself, which is what I do for a living, it’s worth asking where does that come from? Why do you need 25,000 people a night screaming `I love you’ to feel like a normal person?

“That’s surely not normal. I wrote the book because it was the right time to ask those questions and I discovered these incredible insights.”

During the interview, Bono also spoke about the moment when he was aged just 14 that he found out that his mother Iris had died.

“It was my father and mother’s wedding anniversary and we’d all been out; it was a big occasion, and we took a room in a pub. We came home, my grandfather had a brilliant time, he danced with all his daughters, but he had a heart attack and died.

“The next morning, I wake up to this news, my mother tells me, and she’s the eldest sister so she goes off to organise everything.

“The next time I see her is at the funeral and my grandfather, Gags Rankin, is being lowered into the ground, my mother faints, we think, but she had an aneurysm and the last conversation I had with her was that morning.”

He added, “We were a very close family and I remember the grief of that family and it made a mark on me for sure.”

Surrender: 40 Songs. One Story is out now on Penguin. Bono will be at the Olympia, Dublin with his Stories Of Surrender: The Book Tour on Monday 21 November 2022.


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