Bono clarified that when it came to Songs of Ascent, the band, “Didn’t scrap it, just held it,” in favor of something with a little more oomph. “Over [their last] two albums, Songs of Innocence and [Songs of] Experience, our songwriting returned. Now we need to put the firepower of rock ’n’ roll back.”
He said, “I don’t know who is going to make our fuck-off rock ’n’ roll album. You almost want an AC/DC, you want Mutt Lange,” the famously exacting producer who worked with Def Leppard, AC/DC, and helped launch the career of his former wife, Shania Twain. “The approach,” Bono continued. “The discipline. The songwriting discipline. That’s what we want.”
Bono said he needed a “noisy, uncompromising, unreasonable guitar album,” to “put the part of me, the anger that hasn’t been managed, to good use.” He added that while he is “trying to make peace with myself and my maker, I have no intentions of making peace with the world. That’s not on the agenda. I like to think I have the freedom to be whatever I want. My anger at inequality became focused on a community far away from home. You know, you have to pick your fights.”
Bono is set to release his new memoir Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story, out November 1st via Knopf. In the book, he expresses a “mea culpa” for jamming Songs of Innocence on all those Apple products. In December, the band will be celebrated at the 45th Kennedy Center Honors alongside George Clooney, Gladys Knight, and more, and in 2023 they’ll open Las Vegas’ MSG Sphere.