U2 frontman Bono suffered a near-death experience just as the rockers were preparing to explore the subject of mortality for their new album.
The singer, 57, stops short of revealing specific details about the ordeal which almost claimed his life, but admits it gave him plenty to write about as he and his bandmates worked on Songs of Experience, which was released at the start of December (17).
“People have these extinction events in their lives; it could be psychological or it could be physical. And, yes, it was physical for me, but I think I have spared myself all that soap opera,” Bono explains to Rolling Stone. “Especially with this kind of celebrity obsession with the minutiae of peoples’ lives – I have got out of that. I want to speak about the issue in a way that lets people fill in the blanks of what they have been through, you know?”
The musician insists his access to top quality medical care allowed him to make a full recovery from the incident, but that alone has also given him pause when discussing what actually happened to him.
“People have had so much worse to deal with, so that is another reason not to talk about it,” he continues. “You demean all the people who, you know, never made it through that or couldn’t get health care!”
Bono claims the group had already decided to create songs reflecting on the idea of death, so it was the perfect creative outlet following the secret health scare.
“Strangely enough, mortality was going to be a subject anyway just because it is a subject not often covered,” he says. “And you can’t write Songs of Experience without writing about that. And I’ve had a couple of these shocks to the system, let’s call them, in my life.”
Bonos close friend and bandmate the Edge had previously touched on the singer’s “brush with mortality” in a separate chat with Rolling Stone back in September, but was equally as vague about the circumstances, simply stating, “He definitely had a serious moment, which caused him to reflect on a lot of things.”
It’s thought the incident occurred towards the end of last year (16), months after Bono was caught up in the Bastille Day terror attack in Nice, France in July, 2016. He had been dining on a restaurant terrace when a lorry driver slammed into a crowd of people watching a firework display on the nearby seafront, killing at 86 people, on the country’s national holiday.