Bono has really taken a run at being the most curmudgeonly rocker in the business with a rather dour new interview. 

During an appearance on the Awards Chatter podcast (as per The Times), the U2 legend revealed that he hates his band’s name, he’s “embarrassed” by most of their songs, and only “recently” learned to sing. That’s a lot of revelations to take in all at once.

“I really don’t,” he said about the U2 name. “But I was late into some kind of dyslexia. I didn’t realise that The Beatles was a bad pun either.”

He continued: “In our head it was like the spy plane, U-boat, it was futuristic — as it turned out to imply this kind of acquiescence, no I don’t like that name. I still don’t really like the name.”

They might have had a useless name according to their lead singer, but surely no one could dispute the quality of U2’s songs – they’ve made some of the best alternative rock hits in history.

Enter Bono again. ““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. I’m just so embarrassed,” he explained. While he did at least acknowledge “the band sound incredible,”, he noted that the issue was his “Irish macho” voice, which he felt comes across as “strained.”

It was listening to Joey Ramone that changed his viewpoint on his own voice. “The big discovery for me was listening to The Ramones and hearing the beautiful kind of sound of Joey Ramone and realising I didn’t have to be that rock and roll singer,” he considered. “I only became a singer like recently, maybe it hasn’t happened yet for some people’s ears and I understand that.”

Love Classic Rock?

Get the latest Classic Rock news, features, updates and giveaways straight to your inbox Learn more

When it comes to individual songs from the band’s discography, Bono named two in particular that he enjoyed. “The one that I can listen to the most is ‘Miss Sarajevo’ with Luciano Pavarotti,” he said. “Genuine, most of the other ones make me cringe a little bit. Although ‘Vertigo’ probably is the one I’m proudest of. It’s the way it connects with the crowd.”

For more on this topic, follow the Classic Rock Observer.

Check out ‘Vertigo’ by U2:

YouTube VideoPlay

Get unlimited access to the coverage that shapes our culture.
to Rolling Stone magazine
to Rolling Stone magazine