Whose U2 should return to the road in 2023, it doesn’t sound like drummer Larry Mullen Jr. would participate. Under a profile focusing on the band’s lifespan with Washington PostMullen alluded to taking some time off from the group.
During the chat with journalist Geoff Edgers, Mullen commented: “You only do this if you have the best time and not everyone will make it because the price is so high. So I think the challenge is more generosity. More openness about for the process. I’m autonomous and value my autonomy. I don’t sing from the same hymn sheet. I don’t pray to the same version of God. So everyone has their limits.”
Later, the drummer elaborated on his reasoning for wanting some time off, commenting: “I’ve got lots of bits coming off, elbows, knees, neck, and then during COVID when we weren’t playing, I got a chance to watch some of these things. So I want to take some time, which I will do to heal.”
That said, Mullen shared his reverence and continued creative spark of being a member of U2, commenting, “I really enjoy playing and I enjoy the process of playing and being in the company of creative people. I enjoy it. I’m don’t care if it’s big or small. … I really miss the audience. I miss that interaction even if I’m behind a drum kit. … My body isn’t what it used to be physically. Like next year I didn’t win the performance live next year. I don’t know what the band’s plan is. There’s talk of all sorts of things.”
Shortly after the feature appeared ahead of the band’s acceptance of the Kennedy Center honors this past weekend, Edgers revealed that he had been told by some in the U2 fan community that Mullens’ comments caused some unease, so Edgers elaborated on their conversation via a Twitter thread.
“I didn’t ask about [Mullen’s] physical problems,” the reporter said. “He volunteered them. He said he had previously been told to rest or get the job done and take time off. Instead, he pushed himself to perform. He doesn’t want that now. He wants to solve his problems. Because he wants to drum again. … He never said he was leaving U2 or retiring.”
Edgers added: “Larry has problems with his neck and elbows. We were talking about how sad it was to see Phil Collins so frail and damaged performing on the last Genesis tour. Larry is not, as he put it, “Happy clappy. “He likes a bit of excitement. He’s never said he’s leaving U2 or retiring.”
The reporter concluded, “So there you have it. Larry is dealing with the physical issues that many drummers deal with. He’s hoping to get better and play again. And he clearly chose to speak, which made it clear to me that he last did an interview for seven years.” You can check out that Twitter thread below.
Meanwhile, the profile was made to promote the band receiving the Kennedy Center Honor, which took place Sunday night (Dec. 4). The night’s other honorees included musicians Amy Grant, Gladys Knight, actor George Clooney and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and conductor Tania Leon.
Mullen Jr. was on hand with his bandmates as a host of tributes were paid to the band by Beyonce, Harry Styles, Billie Eilish and Finneas in a video presentation. After that Pearl Jam‘s Eddie Vedder took the stage to pay tribute to the band with performances of “Elevation” and “One”. After a brief speech by Sacha Baron Cohen in character as Borat, Brandi Carlile then continued the tribute, performing with Hozier on a rendition of “Walk On”. Footage of Vedder’s performance has surfaced online and can be viewed below.
The entire ceremony can be seen in a special broadcast on CBS in December. 28.
Eddie Vedder sings U2’s “Elevation” at the 2022 Kennedy Center Honors
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