Bono reveals he may never play guitar again

U2 singer cancels all appearances for half of 2015 as he recovers from bike accident

U2 frontman Bono has revealed he may never play guitar again following a serious cycling injury in New York in November.

Writing in a post on the band's website,, Bono admits his recovery has been more difficult than he expected.

“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... 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."


The U2 singer crashed his bicycle in Central Park in mid-November breaking his distal humerus (long bone in his arm) in six places. He subsequently underwent five hours of surgery at the Presbyterian/Weill Cornell hospital where three metal plates and 18 screws were inserted into his arm.

Bono also fractured a bone around his eye socket, his left collar bone in three places, and broke the little finger on his left hand.

In a post entitled ‘Little Book of a Big Year: Bono’s A to Z review of 2014’, the singer says his over indulgence in exercise, boxing and cycling led to his injury in November.

“On the day of my 50th birthday I received an injury because I was over indulging in exercise boxing and cycling, which was itself an overcompensation for overindulging on alcohol coming up to the big birthday,” he writes.

“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.”

As a result of his injuries, Bono writes he has decided to cancel all public appearances for the first half of 2015.

He says he is on strong medication for the pain which make him feel like he’s in “a kind of fluffy land floating until you wake the next morning with a bump.”

Despite his serious injuries, he says the real damage he must recover from is his Irish pride.

“I broke my hand, my shoulder, my elbow and my face but the real injury this year was to my Irish pride as it was discovered that under my tracksuit I was wearing yellow and black Lycra cycling shorts. Yes, LYCRA. This is not very rock ‘n’ roll.”

Writing in the post, Bono uses the letter H (for Hewsons) to give the public a rare glimpse into his family’s private life and the pride he feels for his children.

He applauds his eldest daughter Jordan for "fighting for the world's poor" as founding editor of the Global Citizen movement, and congratulates daughter Eve for her success on the screen in Steven Soderbergh's The Knick.

His two teenage boys, John and Eli, are men now, he says.

“I refuse to admit John at 13 is taller than me. I still clip his ear to make him laugh while I can... he’s a natural comedian whose heroes are graffiti and street artists like JR,” he says, adding that 15-year-old Elijah Bob is “already a guitar shredder”.

In December 2014 U2 announced their upcoming Innocence and Experience world tour which will play 19 venues across Europe, the US and Canada. The band will also play a number of "special shows" in Dublin at the end of 2015 in aid of the State's Music Generation education programme for children around Ireland.

For now, however, Bono says he will have to “concentrate hard” to be ready for the U2 tour which is set to kick off in Vancouver, Canada in May 2015.

“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...We have some extraordinary ideas up our sleeve for this tour I’ve just got to be rebuilt by 14th May.”

Sorcha Pollak

Sorcha Pollak

Sorcha Pollak is an Irish Times reporter and cohost of the In the News podcast