Bono Thinks U2 Are Kind of Cringe Too
"I do think U2 pushes out the boat on embarrassment quite a lot, and maybe that's the place to be as an artist"
Published Jan 18, 2022To this day, many of us are still recovering from the breach in security and trust wherein our devices were suddenly infiltrated by that U2 album nobody asked for. Infamous marketing misfire aside, apparently Bono is at least embarrassed by the band's music — and their name too.
In a new interview alongside the Edge on The Hollywood Reporter's Awards Chatter podcast, the frontman admitted that listening to the band's music makes him "cringe." He blames it on his own vocal performances, confessing that he only recently learned how to sing.
"I've been in the car when one of our songs has come on the radio and I've been the colour of — as we say in Dublin — scarlet," Bono said. "I'm just so embarrassed."
The frontman added, "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."
If pressed to choose, the rocker is most proud of his vocals on U2's 2004 hit "Vertigo," but otherwise, hearing himself sing "makes [him] cringe a bit."
Another thing the artist takes no pride in is the band's name.
"I really don't, but I was late into some kind of dyslexia," he explained. "I didn't realize that the Beatles was a bad pun either." Love Bono or hate him, you have to commend the bravery it takes to admit to not getting the joke.
"In our head, [U2] was like the spy plane, U-boat," he said, likely conflating the Lockheed U-2 American spy plane with the German U-boat naval submarines used in the First and Second World Wars. "It was futuristic, as it turned out to imply this kind of acquiescence," the musician continued. "No, I don't like that name. I still don't really like the name."
It seems as if, back in 1978, the four-piece decided to go with U2 from a marketing perspective.
"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,'" Bono recalled.
And now they're stuck in a moment they can't get out of, with or without the T-shirt.
Last year, friendly neighbourhood Noel Gallagher was kind enough to explain why nobody likes Bono and U2 announced a deluxe 30th anniversary edition of Achtung Baby.