U2 Say ‘Achtung Baby’ Showed Fans the Band Wasn’t Taking Itself ‘As Seriously As People Thought We Were’

To celebrate the release of their Disney+ documentary Bono & The Edge: A Sort of Homecoming, With Dave Letterman, U2‘s Bono and The Edge reflected on their illustrious career with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe, premiering Thursday (March 16) and previewed exclusively on Billboard below.

The Edge discussed the release of the band’s 1991 album, Achtung Baby, which incorporated more alternative rock and electronic dance music into their sound. “We started to become caricatures on that basis, like the Joshua Tree period had way overexaggerated this sense of earnestness and responsibility,” the guitarist explained. “We just had to own up and say, ‘Actually… we’re very silly, we’re not those characters.'”


While The Edge noted that the group “absolutely” wanted to help society through their music, the public seemed to have the wrong impression about who they were as people. “We were also not taking ourselves nearly as seriously as people thought we were, and we were able to laugh at ourselves,” he shared. “Achtung Baby was that antidote for us as much as for music fans to that overly sanctimonious, pious and earnest sort of image that had grown up around us. We needed to flesh out the truth about who we were and give ourselves the freedom then to be in both. Because that was the thing we loved about Bob Marley. He was able to, without any issues, blend the spiritual into the political and sexual. To him, these weren’t different baskets. These were all part of who he was.”

Directed by Academy Award winner Morgan Neville, the A Sort of Homecoming documentary will debut Friday (March 17) on Disney+ and showcase Bono and The Edge‘s special concert performance in Dublin.

Check out The Edge’s thoughts below — plus another exclusive clip of Bono talking about considering himself a songwriter first and foremost — and catch the full interview at 1 p.m. ET. on Apple Music 1 at apple.co/_Zane.

Rania Aniftos