A little over a year ago we published a piece titled Bono named on Glamour magazine’s Women of the Year list. So the following piece by Neil Johnston in yesterday’s Times is ironic, if nothing else:
Festival stages continue to be dominated by blokes with guitars and women still struggle to break into the music industry — Bono, however, thinks music has become “very girlie”.
The frontman of U2, one of the most successful bands, claimed that angry young men are lacking a place to vent their feelings. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Bono, 57, said: “I think music has gotten very girlie. And there are some good things about that, but hip-hop is the only place for young male anger at the moment — and that’s not good.”
The singer and songwriter, who did not explain what he meant by “girlie”, [J4MB emphasis] said that his son Elijah believed a “rock’n’roll revolution is around the corner”. He went on to reveal that when he was younger he found music the best way to express his rage: “When I was 16, I had a lot of anger in me. You need to find a place for it and for guitars, whether it is with a drum machine — I don’t care.”
Bono added: “In the end, what is rock’n’roll? Rage is at the heart of it. Some great rock’n’roll tends to have that, which is why the Who were such a great band. Or Pearl Jam. Eddie [Vedder] has that rage.”
His comments come after a study this year which said that about six in seven headline slots across Britain’s top music festivals were by all-male acts.
In the interview Bono was also enigmatic about a “near-death experience” that the magazine said happened during the making of his band’s latest album, Songs of Experience, which recently topped the US charts, giving the band a No 1 in every decade since the 1980s.
He said: “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.
“Especially with this kind of celebrity obsession with the minutiae of people’s 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?”
He added: “People have had so much worse to deal with, so that is another reason not to talk about it. You demean all the people who, you know, never made it through that or couldn’t get healthcare.”
Last month, the Paradise Papers revealed that Bono had used a firm based in low-tax Malta to invest in a shopping centre in Lithuania, even though his band had never visited the country.
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