The wildcard in U2’s return? Larry Mullen’s back problems

When U2 started recording the Pop album back in 1996, things progressed slower than everyone would have liked because Larry Mullen Jr’s back was giving him difficulty. Unable to sit and play for hours, he took up drum programming, which went a long way to setting the rhythm vibe of that record.

Fast-forward a quarter century and Larry’s back is still giving him problems. U2 wants to tour in 2023 along with staging a Las Vegas residency beginning in September. But all that is up in the air because Larry faces surgery.

Even more alarming is this story that contemplates a future for U2 without him. This is a band that hasn’t had a single lineup change since 1978. And the four guys in the band have been playing together since they all met in Larry’s parents’ kitchen in September 1976.

Drummers often have to deal with bad backs. Perching on a drum throne whilst moving all four limbs plays hell on the lower back and hips. It can also really mess up your shoulders and neck, leading to chronic pain, nerve issues, and arthritis. Phil Collins is a prime example and Neil Peart’s issues brought Rush to an end.

This isn’t good. Here’s hoping that the surgery is successful.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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