U2 Drummer Says a 2023 Tour is Unlikely — At Least with Him Participating

U2 Drummer

Photo Credit: Paul Jones / CC by 4.0

U2’s drummer says a 2023 tour is unlikely — at least with him participating.

U2 drummer Larry Mullen Jr. said in a recent interview with the Washington Post that if the band toured next year, it would be without him — he will undergo surgery and expects to be out of commission for a while. The band was interviewed for a profile piece tied to the group’s acceptance of a lifetime achievement award at the Kennedy Center Honors this weekend. 

Although Mullen is paraphrased and not directly quoted nor elaborated upon — the piece was reportedly his first interview in seven years — as Washington Post staffer Geoff Edgers explains, “he’s blunt.” If the band plays live in 2023, “it will probably be without him, as he needs surgery to continue playing.”

Even if fans should temper their expectations for a tour next year, the band has been plenty busy with two albums in the works that are either completed or very close.

The first is an album of all-new originals, the long-discussed Songs of Ascent, described as “nearly finished” by the Washington Post. The second album is the heavily-rumored Surrender, said to feature 40 “stripped-down” versions of U2 songs written about in Bono’s new memoir of the same name. Neither album has been given a release date, however.

“Bono and Edge aren’t sure when to release (Ascent),” the article says. “They aren’t sure about a lot.”

“We come close to breaking up much more often than you’d think,” Bono says. “Usually after the really good albums, because they cost you in personal relationships because you’re pushing each other and get really at your elastic limit.”

U2 hasn’t toured since 2019, but Bono has stayed busy even when the band isn’t recording albums. Most recently, he’s been doing a limited number of solo tour dates to promote his book, Surrender, from which he recites passages and sings snippets of relevant songs. The US leg of his limited-run tour has wrapped up, and the singer is currently on its European leg.