LOS ANGELES BONO, the front man for U2, fears that he may never play the guitar again because of severe injuries he suffered to his hand, elbow and shoulder when he tumbled from a bicycle in New York.
Speaking from his home in Dublin, and describing himself as “clearly delirious in places” — possibly because of the strong pain medication he was taking — the musician described in a blog post his recovery from an accident that left his “humerus bone sticking through [his] leather jacket”.
“Recovery has been more difficult than I thought,” he said. “As I write this, it is not clear that I will ever play guitar again.”
The blog post, formatted as an “A to Z” of his year, and written in part because he had been confined indoors, remained humorous. Though he may never again strum his beloved Gretsch, he said, “the band have reminded me that neither they, nor western civilisation, are depending on this”.
Bono is known more for his vocals than his guitar riffs. He thought the chief impact would be that he would “personally very much miss fingering the frets of my green Irish Falcon … just for the pleasure, aside from writing tunes”.
Thanks to his injury, and the fact that he was, he says, unable to move around much, he had “an opportunity to look back and review the year in a way that I’ve never done before”, he said.
He had cancelled every public appearance for the first half of 2015 and had decided that “this missive is all the communication I can manage … beyond muttering and singing to myself”.
On Friday a spokeswoman said that in spite of his injury, which required a titanium implant in his elbow, (Bono posted an X-ray image online), he had been able to write the post himself.
One of his conclusions was that “I am not an armoured vehicle”, he wrote. Speaking of U2’s principal guitarist, Bono said: “Edge says I look at my body as an inconvenience.”
When he fell from a bicycle in Central Park in November, the New York hospital treating him said he had been involved in “a high-energy bicycle accident when he attempted to avoid another rider”.
Bono cannot recall the accident, saying it was a mishap “I can’t blame on anyone but myself, mainly because I blanked out on impact”. He said that the sight of a bone poking through his jacket, which greeted him when he awoke, was “very punk rock as injuries go”.
If this seemed appropriately rock and roll, he suffered a devastating blow to his pride when doctors looked beneath his jacket. “Under my tracksuit I was wearing yellow and black Lycra cycling shorts,” he said. Bono is 54.
Returning home to Ireland, he watched events in which he would have been taking part on television, sometimes wondering if the painkillers were causing him to hallucinate. “These Percocets are pretty perky until they are not,” he wrote. “You are in a kind of fluffy land floating till you wake the next morning with a bump.”
His post recounted episodes from a life less ordinary, and he reflected on the strangeness of the band’s “air- conditioned life”. He remarked when discussing a trip to Davos that he had “never had a job” besides working “part-time in a petrol station, a warehouse, and … a summer selling cowboy boots.
“Artists chase the zeitgeist like dogs chase cars … often we don’t really want to catch up to the speeding wheels, we just want to bark at them,” he said.
He also offered this pearl, from the producer Quincy Jones. Standing beside Jones in a French seaside garden, a friend commented that it was “great to be alive”. Quincy “looked puzzled”, Bono wrote, and replied: “Great to be alive? It’s crucial, man!”