Post-Accident Bono Says He Might Be Done With the Guitar

Photo: Vivien Killilea/Getty Images

On New Year’s Day, U2 front man Bono revealed that he might never play the guitar again, thanks to his nasty Central Park bike accident from last November. In an extensive, revealing — and seemingly painkiller-inspired — 2014-themed A-to-Z post published on his band’s website, Bono recalled what he could remember of the accident and said he’s pushing hard to be ready for his band’s next live tour, which kicks off in May.

He wrote:

On the day of my 50th birthday I received an injury because I was overindulging in exercise boxing and cycling, which was itself an overcompensation for overindulging on alcohol coming up to the big birthday. I promised myself I would be more mindful of my limits, but just four years on, it happened again — a massive injury I can’t blame on anyone but myself, mainly because I blanked out on impact and have no memory of how I ended up in New York Presbyterian with my humerus bone sticking through my leather jacket. Very punk rock as injuries go. 

The consequences of this freak accident are significant enough that I will have to concentrate hard to be ready for the U2 tour in fitness terms … as a result I have cancelled every public appearance and decided this missive is all the communication I can manage for the first half of 2015, beyond muttering and singing to myself of course.

When Rolling Stone reported on the accident, Bono’s doctor called it a “high energy bicycle accident,” which caused a facial fracture, shoulder blade fracture in three pieces, humerus fracture in six places, and a hand fracture. After multiple surgeries, the doctor said a full recovery was expected. But Bono added yesterday:

Recovery has been more difficult than I thought … As I write this, it is not clear that I will ever play guitar again. The band have reminded me that neither they nor Western civilization are depending on this. 

I personally would very much miss fingering the frets of my green Irish falcon or my (RED) Gretsch. Just for the pleasure, aside from writing tunes. But then does the Edge, or Jimmy Page, or any guitarist you know have a titanium elbow, as I do now? I’m all elbows, I am.

Aside from injuries, and among his litany of other topics, Bono’s post features a mini rant about capitalism; praise for both Jesus and Yeezus; lots of love for his bandmates and fans; confessions about agriculture (“Agriculture is sexy”); and more on his glaucoma and sunglasses (he said he used to be referred to as “old red eyes”). Of course, he also addressed that thing he did to your iTunes library:

Our album was to be like a bottle of milk dropped at the door of anyone interested in music and iTunes. As I understand it, the journey from the front door to the fridge and into what to some people felt was their bowl of cereal has something to do with a switch called “automatic download” — if you turn it on, you sign up for being pushed stuff. 

That’s about it . flagrant abuse of human rights, but very annoying to people who a) like being annoyed, and/or b) felt it was like someone robbing their phone in the pub and taking a couple of photos before leaving it back on the table … some kind of breach of privacy which was really not intended. I empathise with the b)’s, but for the a)’s I’ve started referring them to the philosopher Jimmy Kimmel.

Before signing off, he included a picture of his titanium elbow for good measure:


Elbows or no elbows, the man is primarily a singer, so, U2 fans, you’re going to be okay.

Bono Says He Might Never Play Guitar Again