U2 may be back on the road later this year as planned, but it sounds like it may not be in support of a new album.
The Edge tells RollingStone.com that the band is "still in the weeds" as it works on Songs Of Experience, and says, "We're not booking the pressing plant, so to speak, just yet." He does confirm that U2 is sticking with plans to release its next album as a companion to 2014's Songs Of Innocence but, Edge says, "It's really hard to say at this point when it will be done."
He describes the new music that was included in a recent Fender guitars promotional video as an early demo -- one of 50 ideas that he's been working on.
"Including a lot of my really rough demos -- I'm not suggesting they're finished, by any means -- there's actually 50 pieces of music that I've put time into," he says with a hearty laugh. "Some of them have not been arranged or performed by the band, but there's 50 ideas, and probably about 20 that we're actually really excited about. So we've got some ways to narrow it down, but we're in good shape."
That seems like a step back from the band's recent quotes in Q magazine, when Edge said U2 could probably finish recording its new material in four to six weeks. In the same article, Adam told Q that the band is "really optimistic that we're on top of our game and we can finish this one quickly, but you never know until you get under the bonnet and get the screwdriver out." Edge told Hot Press magazine in November that U2's plan was to finish Songs Of Experience in early 2016. (See our new album page for a timeline of recent news and statements about the band's progress.)
U2's plan, as Adam described in that Q magazine article, was to restart the Innocence + Experience tour later this year with new material. But today's Rolling Stone article says that plan may be changing.
Although the band is working on the record, it's possible that fans may see U2 live again before they hear a new album. Although Edge wasn't specific on timing, he said the band hoped to get back on the road "sooner rather than later" and that its intention was to make an announcement "fairly soon."