U2 have had the same four-piece lineup since 1976, but according to drummer Larry Mullen Jr., that could change in 2023. In a new interview with The Washington Post, Mullen said he probably wouldn’t join the band on the road if they decide to tour next year, since he requires surgery from years of performing.
“You only do this if you’re having the best time,” Mullen stated. “And not everyone is going to make it because the price is so high. So I think the challenge is for more generosity. More openness to the process. I am autonomous and I 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. And you only do this if it is a great time you’re having, you know?”
That said, Mullen’s statement seems more like a pragmatic pause than a threat of quitting U2. In a Twitter thread written after the Post profile was published, journalist Geoff Edgers addressed concerns about Mullen’s health by sharing other quotes the drummer said in their interview.
“I have lots of bits falling off, elbows, knees, necks, and so during Covid, when we weren’t playing, I got a chance to have a look at some of these things,” Mullen said. “So there’s some damage along the way.” Still, the drummer said he missed performing for audiences, and Edgers reiterated the drummer never actually said he was retiring or quitting U2 altogether.
“So I’d like to take some time, which I will do to get myself healed,” Mullen said. “And I really enjoy playing and I enjoy the process of playing and being in the company of creative people. I enjoy that. I don’t care if that’s big or small. It’s a bit like the sprout looking for water.”
Read U2’s complete Washington Post story here, and see Edger’s thread on Mullen’s comments about touring below. The band just accepted the Kennedy Center Honors, and if Bono has his way, will next record a “noisy, uncompromising, unreasonable guitar album.”
I’ve been told (okay, by Chris, the fan) that there is unrest in the U2 community about what Larry said in our profile. As a fan of many, I understand. It seems fair to share a few more details. https://t.co/qT2Fs0dfC0
— Geoff Edgers (@geoffedgers) November 29, 2022