Bono: Drummer Larry Mullen ‘played up a storm’ on U2’s latest single

Larry Mullen Jr on the drums and Bono of U2 perform in Trafalgar Square, London (Nick Ansell/PA)
Larry Mullen Jr on the drums and Bono of U2 perform in Trafalgar Square, London (Nick Ansell/PA)

U2 frontman Bono said drummer Larry Mullen “gave it all” on the band’s new single amid his surgery announcement.

The new track comes as the Irish rock band prepare for the first night of their Las Vegas residency, which is going ahead without Mullen as he takes time out to “undergo and recuperate from surgery”, the band previously said.

Dublin-born singer Bono, real name Paul Hewson, said Mullen “played up a storm” in the studio when recording their new single Atomic City.

The 63-year-old told Zane Lowe on Apple Music: “It’s really tricky for him. He came in the night before, we recorded it in Sound City, so many stories in that studio and Edge (U2 guitarist) wanted us to go there.

“Larry went the night before to just make sure, he didn’t know if he could play for an hour or he didn’t know if he could play for 15 minutes and he just played up a storm.”

The Edge, whose real name is David Evans, said: “John (Mullen’s drum technician) was saying that he loved the sound of the room so much, he ended up playing for, like, three hours.”

However, Bono confirmed recording the single and filming the music video “took its toll on Larry”.

“He’s miming and we’re doing the video and he’s like, ‘Ow’, but he’s going to get back to fitness,” he said.

In Mullen’s absence, Bram van den Berg will fill in as drummer during their residency at the Sphere.

Larry Gogan death
U2 drummer Larry Mullen (Damien Eagers/PA)

Bono added: “It’s a heartbreak for Larry to be here and to see this and know that Bram is standing in for him.

“By the way, Bram is a superstar. He was a fan of Larry’s and a student of Larry’s and now he’ll be here playing instead of Larry, and that’s got to hurt as much as some of the injuries.

“But he gave it all on this song anyway.

“Drummers are born, not made. They speak their own language. They’re a breed apart. And we’re nothing (without them), that’s where the rock and roll comes from in our band.”

U2 formed in 1976 with singer Bono, guitarist the Edge, bassist Adam Clayton and drummer Mullen.

The band will perform at the Sphere in Las Vegas until December 16.