Bono Believes U2’s Rise Coincided With America’s Aim To Recover Its Identity

Bono recently sat down with Zane Lowe for a chat with Apple Music, discussing U2’s first arrival to the U.S., rediscovering the country through books and poetry, and how the Irish act learned from America’s search for identity while admiring the landscapes of the great Californian desert.

Lowe chose the perfect place to interview Bono and the Edge, driving through the unmarked country roads until the trio settled in a quiet place where they could have an intimate chat without any distractions. It was then the singer couldn’t help but admire the sublime beauty around him as the desert’s brownish hills slowly took on a copper-ish tone with the sun setting.

U2 frontman, amazed by the landscape, started recalling their first arrival to the States, landing in a country trying to discover itself through art. The rocker then noted how he was already familiar with the country through music but signified how books and poetry also helped him to reestablish America in his mind.

From the poems of Alan Ginsberg to the tell-all lyrics of Patti Smith, books helped Bono and his bandmates to grasp the meaning behind America’s search for identity and aim of rediscovering itself in the 80s. This fact also helped U2 establish itself on the American scene, as the band became what most Americans were looking for at the time.

The singer on the U.S.’s search for identity and discovering the country through books:

“So, when you were gonna put this [the interview in the desert] together for us, we were like, ‘Well, that’s never happened before. We’ve never done this before.’ So, it’s a magic landscape, and you know, we came to America to look for America at a time America was looking for itself. America was trying to discover who it was in the 80s again.

It got a bit lost, and so it was an amazing time to arrive in America, and for us, a lot of our versions of America were from music but also from books… City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco, reading the plays of Sam Shepard, Patti Smith… Poems of Alan Ginsberg brought us to the… I mean Joshua Tree… his [Ginsberg’s] America was really an owl; these were important tracts for us.”

The States has always been the place where anyone could reestablish themselves and find the new identity they’ve been searching for, or at least, that’s what the American Dream had been telling people all around the world, anyways. So, when the country searched for an identity, U2 landed in the middle of it and used it to its advantage.