DAVOS, Switzerland – U2 front man Bono said Thursday that his band mates had feared his activism would "wipe out" their music and have bristled at his meetings with "uncool" politicians.
In an interview with The Associated Press, the 45-year-old Irish rock star and global activist also said the band was looking closely at hip-hop in its search for new avenues for experimentation — and dismissed the idea of a solo album.
"I hope not, God!" he said. "More work!"
Bono's work on Thursday brought him to the Swiss ski resort of Davos, where his celebrity was enlisted in promoting a new program whereby American Express, Gap and other corporations will market specific products whose proceeds will partly go to fighting AIDS in Africa — one of the singer's passionate causes.
Do his U2 band mates fear such dedication would keep him from the day job that, over some three decades, has turned them into music icons and multimillionaires?
"Early on they thought it would completely wipe us out, and wipe me out," said Bono, wearing his trademark wraparound sunglasses. "They know I'm a fairly far-fetched character. But recently ... they feel from our audience a sense that that's what they would like us to be doing.
"I know spiritually they feel as strongly about these issues as I do. They just don't like the high profile and they don't like me hanging out with really uncool politicians."
Bono did not name names in that context — but he was happy to cite new artists he admires, such as hip-hop sensation Kanye West.
"I happen to be in really a truly great band, and experimentation has been the lifeblood of this band," he said. "We of course will look and are looking across at hip hop and see the amazing innovation in the studio...
"I don't know where we're going to go with all our new information and all our new friends ... but it will be somewhere very special or you won't hear about it, because there's no reason for you to put out an album now unless its very special."
"You know," he explained, "we don't need the cash."