Bono: 'U2 Are On the Verge of Irrelevance'

Meanwhile, band's new charity single raises over $2 million.

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Discussing the band's latest single "Invisible," U2 frontman Bono noted that the Irish act is in fact struggling with becoming irrelevant.

Chatting with BBC Radio 1, the singer noted: "We're on the verge of irrelevance. You have to make stuff relevant to you and where you're at, make an honest account of what you're going through. If that's relevant to other people, great. But we don't know."

Bono then focused on the group's desire to go back to its roots, adding (via NME), "We went back to why we wanted to be in a band in the first place. We were listening to the Ramones and Kraftwerk - you can hear both on 'Invisible.' It opened up a whole valve for me writing, it was like a dam burst of sorts."

And the same goes for venue sizes. "We love those big outdoors shows - we've had some of the best nights of our lives [playing those]," the vocalist said. "For this album, we're going to start indoors. We'd like to play the O2 [arena]. Sometimes it's nice to play intimate things like that."

Meanwhile, Spin reports that "Invisible" has managed to successfully raise over $2 million for charity. Thanks to U2, (RED) nonprofit organization and the Bank of America have provided over five million days of HIV pills. Check out the teaser below or download the track here.

76 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Finnferno
    O2 Arena intimate? since when is an Arena intimate. Don't try to be Black Metal, Bono.
    powachord
    Dunno if its just me, but his comment sounded really arrogant.
    dewparijat
    Well, it's Bono. What were you expecting? Humility? His charity and humanitarian work is amazing though, and we should respect him for that.
    shwilly
    I get where you're coming from but if U2 plays just one London gig at the O2, a lot of people are going to be disappointed. Even if they toured each year like Metallica (which I don't think they do) they'd still keep selling out Wembley for years to come, despite the ridiculous ticket prices So yeah, even though the O2 is the kind of place you might consider bringing your binoculars to if you're sitting in the back, he's still got a point. That's just how big they are. Whether they're 'relevant' or not doesn't even matter at this stage (the Stones haven't been relevant since the late 70's: doesn't seem to affect their ticket sales one bit)
    The Spoon
    "I miss the days when we were starting out as a struggling band playing sold out arenas."
    clegtr
    I understood that as sarcasm, but I guess it's hard to tell :p
    Mr Winters
    Playing for 100 people in some bar or small club is intimate. Playing for multiple thousands in a fu cking arena is not.
    Samhuinn
    Considering that they are U2, arguably one of the biggest bands in the world, playing for thousands is relatively intimate, especially compared to their 360 tour.
    azrael667
    tanman
    How the **** is this not the highest rated comment on here? I'm willing to believe this guy does mean well, but I can't ****ing stand him. He is all the douchiest characteristics of a rock star rolled up in one tidy package, without any of the cool badass shit.
    DickHardwood
    They were on the verge a decade ago.
    INstaNt-RocK
    You mean the year they released How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb, which would go on to win 9 Grammys? Yep, definitely on the verge of irrelevance...
    pepelong
    OMG they won 9 grammys! Black Sabbath only won two... that shows how much of "relevant" the grammys and U2 really are
    fras1788
    Yeah its easy to win Grammy's if you're giving head to those that vote. Bono fits the bill for that.
    UncleBluck
    Probably the single most OVERRATED band in rock history. lousy musicians as well....haven't done anything relevant since the late 80's...
    metallicmud
    I think you will find if you read it right he his talking about what they are doing as a band is becoming irrelevent and they needed some inspiration. Not that the band is irrelevant That's how I read it.
    Jubilee13
    Their last album No line on the Horizon was a great album. What he means is that he and his band mates are so wealthy that he does not know if what they write can still connect with the ordinary person, and if they can still write music that means something. They want to write music that is not contrived. I am sure that's hard to do when your worth over 500 million dollars. Give the guy a break,at least he's being honest and not saying our new album will be the best thing we have ever done like every other older artist out their does.
    musicman721
    I understand that this site is mostly metal fans. But why all the hate for U2? say what you will about Bono but you cannot ignore the fact that U2 has made INCREDIBLE music. They've evolved and touched on every genera of music like no other band i can think of and i personally love the new song. The Joshua Tree is a perfect 10, not a bad track on the entire album, same with Achtung Baby and those two albums sound nothing a like. They're done everything from blues to dance music. Edge is a virtuoso with the guitar, maybe not in a way that most people would consider "great" but he blends every riff and melody to make the song better, not to bring the guitar to the forefront. I love U2 and i always will, i just wish people on this site would give them some of the props they deserve. this is just my opinion of course.
    Genrecore
    Bitch please get out of here. You very well know this is a metal oriented site. This is like going into McDonalds and expecting something healthy. Your expecting opinions from the wrong crowd. If you go to a "rock" oriented website, you'll see most users have no respect for obscure metal shit that people here on UG know and fellate.
    N7Crazy
    I think it's you who needs to get your head out of your ass - You know very well this isn't a specifically metal-orientated site. You seemingly have forgotten that the majority of traffic on the site are from beginning guitarists, and ordinary people who want to learn the basic guitar chords to whatever song is popular on the radio, hence why the majority top-100 most viewed tabs are from contemporary pop-musicians. Futhermore, the majority of people who create an account actually have very broad taste in music, generally centered around rock, not metal. Just looking on the most recent news articles mentions artists like Rolling stones, Beck, RHCP, NIN, The Cure, Muse, Foo Fighters, The Who, Daft Punk, Queen, Allman brothers, Prince, Pete Seeger, Lorde, Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, Phil Collins, QOTSA, Eminem, Neil Young, Radiohead, etc. Metal is not the center of majority for most users here, it's simply, together with rock, the second genre most people have in common here.Also, most people on "rock orientated" sites have just as much respect for obscure metal as the big rockbands like those I mentioned previously.
    yojimbo9999
    personal musical tastes aside, you need to look at actual album sales and tour grosses. whether or not you're into U2 personally doesn't matter on the "relevance" scale. It's whether or not people still buy their music and go to their shows. Way back in the day i was a fan....that was a long time ago. Love em or hate them now - personally - they sell a helluva lot of tix and music compared to MOST acts out there.
    Ibeanez
    No argument with your point of view, but it was Bono who said they were on the verge of irrelevance, after all of those sales. So, when a commenter says U2 were already irrelevant, that commenter isn't stretching much past what Bono already said.
    thenextkirk92
    On the verge? When was the last time U2 released a song that didn't sound like it belonged in a Chevy truck commercial? (Yes, I stole this. It's accurate though.)
    seance
    But Chevy truck commercials are really in right now, what with the Superbowl just happening and all.
    Astralmoses
    You have to give them credit, they are still expecting their best work yet. They are still innovating new sounds and new ways to see live shows.
    mrmckaid
    "I have an opinion like everyone else that I'd like to share on a comment board....F ME, RIGHT?" Geez people, easy on the downvotes.
    Abacus11
    On the verge? I think that the last quality album they put out was Achtung Baby and that was in what, 1992? They still write a good song here and there but they've been few and far between. U2 were a great band for a long time but they've been kind of a novelty act for about two decades now.
    aelkeris
    U2 - Ramo, Ramo, druže moj (mashup)
    I know people wont get this because it is in another language , but i had to put it up.
    PuckMugger
    We're U2 and we're going to play in intimate places like 30k seat arenas.
    LivinJoke84
    O2 Arena, intimiate? What a c.u.n.t
    RichieJovie
    Verge? OK..
    metallicmud
    I think you will find if you read it right he his talking about what they are doing as a band is becoming irrelevent and they needed some inspiration. Not that the band is irrelevant That's how I read it.
    -LAW-
    Christ above... Bono bloody sucks bollocks.
    guitarist41
    U2 is music for people that don't really like music.
    buddy1991
    Honestly one of the most dumb statements I have ever read in my entire life.
    morbidguitar
    FINALLY they realize almost 20 years after that POP music BS they decided to pump out, they are STILL irrelevant. Keep it 80's U2 or don't bother.
    sn00ze
    Did The Edge ran out of effects he can use?
    bifteksupernova
    U-Who? I actually can't even remember the last time I heard that name mentioned, anywhere.
    dial-a-death
    Good.
    surginweirdo
    Please leave it that way.
    ndrummerc
    On the verge of being a step past irrelevant maybe
    jpk6044
    Say what you want about the music and its relevancy but Bono has done more for worthy causes (hunger, world debt, HIV...) than than any other musician in history. He deserves respect.
    SlimeyGrimey
    Where's the bellend guy when you need him?
    joee75
    ...who cares...if you like them...go and re-line their pockets with your cash...if you like me can't stand their music then ignore the over-hype.
    Jehuty
    I guess that's the danger for being number two.
    musicman721
    Genre*
    Rands2113
    Foofighters did intimate before Walking light came out. They did tiny concert bars. O2 arena, these guys (U2) sound cocky about what "intimate" means.
    glpledzep145
    If they really wanted intimate, they would book a tour of small 50-200 person venues under a different band name for each place and pay the booking manager at each club to keep their mouth shut but promote the hell out of the shows so they can get people in. That would mean playing for free essentially but at least they could get the intimate feel. Bono is a douche. So is "The Edge." That was proven in It Might Get Loud. Jimmy Page's and Jack White's parts were so cool and then the Edge would be like, "check out this G chord with 50,000$ worth of effects on it.... Thats all I do in our hit song [insert shitty U2 song here]... bunch of wankers.
    christianonbass
    One great thing about learning U2 covers...if you ever join a worship team, they let you play their early songs in church! Seriously, U2 is a great band; but South Park had some good Bono moments! Yeah, yeah, yeah
    glpledzep145
    If they really wanted intimate, they would book a tour of small 50-200 person venues under a different band name for each place and pay the booking manager at each club to keep their mouth shut but promote the hell out of the shows so they can get people in. That would mean playing for free essentially but at least they could get the intimate feel. Bono is a douche. So is "The Edge." That was proven in It Might Get Loud. Jimmy Page's and Jack White's parts were so cool and then the Edge would be like, "check out this G chord with 50,000$ worth of effects on it.... Thats all I do in our hit song [insert shitty U2 song here]... bunch of wankers.