excruciating | 

Bono reveals how his charity work 'sometimes caused tensions within U2'

“It was very difficult for the band to see me in certain company,” says Bono

Bono reveals he has another brother that he didn't know in an interview with Lauren Laverne on BBC Radio 4 this morning. Picture by BBC

Aoife Breslin

Bono’s activism often lead to tensions within U2, he revealed as part of his BBC Radio 4 Desert Island Discs interview.

The U2 frontman joined Lauren Laverne for this week’s podcast and spoke about his family life, his childhood and life within the band.

Bono has worked with charitable causes worldwide, saying he was inspired to get involved in helping others after seeing The Secret Policeman’s Ball in 1979.

Now, he has revealed how his activism often lead to tensions within the band due to some of the people he associates with.

“It was very difficult for the band to see me in certain company,” says Bono.

“It was excruciating for them, but they gave me their blessing.

“I do remember Edge very early on saying to me, ‘but please not Senator Jesse Helms,’ who was a sort of right-wing firebrand,” explains Bono.

At the time the late US Senator Jesse Helms had introduced legislation to prohibit the use of the central government funding towards HIV/AIDS educational materials.

Later he revoked his statement and went on to support AIDS education and care in Africa.

“He was really helpful,” explains Bono “And Edge said, ‘But you'd never invite him to a U2 show,’ and I said, ‘I have,’ and he came with his wife.

“He had given me the blessing as he said, he'd repented for the way he'd spoken about AIDS publicly on the steps of the Senate.

“There's a picture of Edge dodging him in the backstage area. But you don't have to agree with everyone and everything, if the one thing you agree with them on is important enough.”

When asked how they have stayed as a group for so long, Bono admitted that the band doesn’t always get on and often threatened to split from one another.

“I mean we break up all the time, after usually the good albums.

"It is trying for the male ego to suffer a kind of introspection that writing great songs takes and the extrospection of your mates criticising what you do.

“So, we have broken up many times and it’s also a good thing to say to yourself ‘you know we might be done,’ but the thing that has kept us there is unfinished business, a sense that we still haven’t maybe got to that sound we hear in our head.

“If you are going to serve the song you might as well do it with the people that understand you and can tell you where to go.

"And we all have moments where someone has stepped on our toes and I have been in a huff and a puff, but in U2 presently we are okay with that, but I don’t know for how long.”

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