Bono Opens Up About New Memoir: 'I Felt I Should Explain Myself A Bit'
By Taylor Fields
December 2, 2022
U2's Bono recently released his memoir, Surrender, and kept the celebration going during the exclusive "iHeartRadio ICONS with Bono: Celebrating his Memoir, Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story" where he opened up about the new book and more.
Surrender takes fans through Bono's life, and covers a range of topics including growing up in Dublin, the sudden loss of his mother at just 14 years old, U2's journey to become the rock band they are today, his many years of activism, and so much more. Containing 40 chapters, each named after a U2 song, the book also comes with 40 original drawings created by Bono and an animated video narrated by the rock icon based on some of those drawings.
Speaking to iHeartRadio's Jim Kerr, Bono explained the 40 chapters as "short stories." He said, "It works as 40 short stories. If people want to dip in and dip out of it, I've designed ... it has a beginning, middle, and end, but each chapter's kind of circular, and works as a short story. It's, I think, worse than a confessional, it's atomical in ways. You know, the anatomy of an artist, an activist. Actually, I came up with the word 'actualist,' which I thought I'd made up, then I found it in the dictionary. People that actually want to make s*** happen rather than stir the s***. I mean, I realized I've become a different kind of activist, and I felt I should explain myself a bit."
And although each chapter of Surrender is named after a U2 song, they are not necessarily about that same song, but rather, "They're in and around the songs. They're ideas and people, places that helped form the song, or that I discovered subsequently after singing the song with the band. It's episodic. It's not a linear chronological telling of my life. There's some very important people to me that are not even mentioned in the book. I let the songs tell me what to do. The songs are like portals into the story. And as to the intimacy of it all, I wanted to give people a chance to see me and my work, more importantly, our work as activists up close. You know, just out of curiosity, what is the life of an activist? What is the life of an artist? What is the life of, you know, somebody's trying to keep their family together whilst being on the road. And also, I suppose, and this is selfish, I have to accept that if you've had a fairly famous face for a long period of time, you inevitably can become a bit of a caricature. At the very least you become a big character, but at the worst, kind of a caricature. And so I wanted to fill in some details through some shading on my caricature. Nobody wants to be a caricature. I mean, there's some great ones out there, but I, and I understand some people don't love U2, or me. Well, at least they all know what they're not loving better."
In between hearing Bono talk about Surrender, fans also got to hear iconic U2 songs including "With or Without You," "One," "Pride in the Name of Love" and "Sunday Bloody Sunday."