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U2 press pause on new tunes while Larry Mullen Jr recovers from neck surgery

Written by on November 22, 2023

U2’s new album has been put on pause due to drummer Larry Mullen Jr’s health battle.

The 62-year-old sticksman is currently recovering from neck surgery and was forced to sit out the group’s ongoing Las Vegas residency at the MSG Sphere.

And his inability to perform right now means the ‘With or Without’ hitmakers can’t pen new tunes.

Speaking to MOJO magazine, frontman Bono, 63, said: “Starting work on new songs is somewhat tied to Larry’s situation.

“Could he commit to an album project? I don’t know.”

The lead singer says new music without him wouldn’t feel the same as he brings a “psychic force” to U2.

He said of him and guitarist The Edge, 62, having to play without him: “It’s beyond the beyond of ‘tough’.

“It was the late ’70s, the last time we played without Larry. I think a motorcycle fell on his foot, and he couldn’t play, and we had a drummer called Eric [Briggs]. That wasn’t a great feeling, but Eric was very good-looking, and Larry hurried back – he hopped behind the kit! But it’s not just that, you know, it’s a psychic force that Larry brings.”

Bono put a planned acoustic album called ‘Songs of Ascent’ on hold because he wants U2 to release a “noisy, uncompromising, unreasonable guitar album” first.

Guitarist The Edge previously said he’s been busy working on lots of different tunes.

Asked if he’s working on new ideas with the guitar, he told Guitar Player magazine: “I know the answer to that. [laughs] I’ve been working a lot on new guitar music, and I’m very excited about it. It’s at that prototype stage where … who knows? But the answer to the question is ‘yes.’ I’m finding myself for the first time in a little while getting very excited about the electric guitar again. Maybe it’s something to do with the lockdown, having the time to not do very much.

“For me, that was such a creative opportunity.”

He teased: “We have a lot of great material in the pipeline.”

Bono revealed in October that the upcoming record – which the group have been teasing since 2009 – won’t be their next LP because he is keen to drop a rock record first.

He told The New York Times in October: “We all make mistakes. The progressive-rock virus gets in, and we needed a vaccine. The discipline of our songwriting, the thing that made U2 – top-line melody, clear thoughts – had gone.

“With the band, I was like, this is not what we do, and we can only do that experimental stuff if we have the songwriting chops. So we went to songwriting school, and we’re back and we’re good! Over those two albums, ‘Songs Of Innocence and Experience’, our songwriting returned. Now we need to put the firepower of rock ‘n’ roll back.

“I don’t know who is going to make our f***-off rock ‘n’ roll album. You almost want an AC/DC, you want Mutt Lange. The approach. The discipline. The songwriting discipline. That’s what we want.”

However, they can’t complete anything until Larry is well and ready.


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