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The Edge

Background information
Birth name David Howell Evans
Born 8 August 1961 (1961-08-08) (age 48)
Barking, London
Origin Dublin, Ireland
Genres Rock, post-punk, alternative rock
Occupations musician, songwriter, activist
Instruments guitar, keyboards, vocals, bass guitar
Years active Since 1976
Labels Island (1980–2006)
Mercury (2006–present)
Associated acts U2, Passengers
Website U2.com
Notable instruments
Gibson Explorer
Fender Stratocaster
Gibson Les Paul
Fender Telecaster
Gibson ES-335

David Howell Evans (born 8 August 1961 in Barking, London, but raised in Dublin, Ireland), more widely known by his stage name, The Edge (or just Edge),[1] is an Irish musician known best as the guitarist, keyboardist, and main backing vocalist for the Irish rock band U2. His distinctive electric guitar timbre and percussive style of playing, along with his use of digital sound processing—delay and chorus in particular—has been crucial in defining U2's unique sound. In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine named him at #24 on its list of "The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time".[2]

Contents

Personal life

David Howell Evans was born at the Barking Maternity Hospital,[3] Essex, England to Welsh parents Garvin and Gwenda Evans.[4] When he was a year old, his family moved to Malahide in County Dublin, Ireland where he attended St. Andrew's National School. He received piano and guitar lessons and often performed with his brother Dik Evans before they both answered an advertisement posted by Larry Mullen, Jr. at their school, Mount Temple Comprehensive School, seeking musicians to form a band.[5] The band accepted both of them. This band would go through several incarnations before emerging as U2 in March 1978 (Dik Evans left the band just before the name change[6]). U2 began performing in various venues in Ireland and eventually began developing a following. Their debut album, Boy, was released in 1980.

In 1981, leading up to the October tour, Evans came very close to leaving U2 for religious reasons, but he was persuaded to stay.[5] During this period, he became involved with a group called Shalom Tigers, in which bandmates Bono and Larry Mullen Jr. were also involved.[7] Shortly after deciding to remain with the band, he wrote a piece of music that was to become "Sunday Bloody Sunday".[5] The Edge married his secondary school girlfriend Aislinn O'Sullivan on 12 July 1983.[8] The couple had three daughters together: Hollie, in 1984, Arran, in 1985, and Blue Angel, in 1989.[7] The Edge and O'Sullivan separated in 1990 but could not divorce due to Irish laws regarding marriage annulment; divorce was legalised in 1995 and the couple legally divorced in 1996.[7]

During U2's Zoo TV Tour, The Edge met Morleigh Steinberg, a professional dancer and choreographer employed by the band. The couple began dating in 1993, and had their daughter, Sian, in 1997, and a son, Levi, (October 25, 1999).[7] They were married on 22 June 2002.[7]

Music

"Notes actually do mean something. They have power. I think of notes as being expensive. You don't just throw them around. I find the ones that do the best job and that's what I use. I suppose I'm a minimalist instinctively. I don't like to be inefficient if I can get away with it. Like on the end of "With or Without You". My instinct was to go with something very simple. Everyone else said, 'Nah, you can't do that.' I won the argument and I still think it's sort of brave, because the end of "With or Without You" could have been so much bigger, so much more of a climax, but there's this power to it which I think is even more potent because it's held back. "...ultimately I'm interested in music. I'm a musician. I'm not a gunslinger. That's the difference between what I do and what a lot of guitar heroes do."

The Edge in 1991.[9]

Guitar playing

As a guitar player, The Edge is recognized as having a trademark sound typified by a low-key playing style, a chiming, shimmering sound (thanks in part to the signature sound of classic VOX AC-30s) that is achieved with extensive use of delay effects, reverb, and a focus on texture and melody. To achieve an "Edge-like" sound, the feedback delay is set to a dotted eighth note (3/16 of a measure), and the feedback gain is adjusted until a note played repeats two or three times.

1987's The Joshua Tree is probably the best example of the "U2 sound", with songs like "With or Without You" and "Where the Streets Have No Name" being among the band's most critically acclaimed and best loved works. The album was recorded at the height of the 1980s "shred-metal" era but The Edge's guitar playing on it could not be further from the emphasis of the time on technique and speed. The album showcases The Edge's approach to the guitar: rather than trying to push his guitar to the front of the mix and make his contributions obvious, The Edge focuses on the song and the mood, often contributing just a few simple lead lines given depth and richness by an ever-present digital delay. For example, the introduction to "Where the Streets Have No Name" is simply a repeated six-note arpeggio, broadened by a modulated delay effect. The Edge has said that he views musical notes as "expensive", in that he prefers to play as few notes as possible. He said in 1982 of his style,

"I like a nice ringing sound on guitar, and most of my chords I find two strings and make them ring the same note, so it's almost like a 12-string sound. So for E I might play a B, E, E and B and make it ring. It works very well with the Gibson Explorer. It's funny because the bass end of the Explorer was so awful that I used to stay away from the low strings, and a lot of the chords I played were very trebly, on the first four, or even three strings. I discovered that through using this one area of the fretboard I was developing a very stylized way of doing something that someone else would play in a normal way."[10]

The Edge in June 2005

The Edge's guitar technique has been shaped by many different influences. His first guitar was an old acoustic guitar, with which his brother Dik Evans and he experimented.[10] He said in 1982 of this early experimentation, "I suppose the first link in the chain was a visit to the local jumble sale where I purchased a guitar for a pound. That was my first instrument. It was an acoustic guitar and me and my elder brother Dik both played it, plonking away, all very rudimentary stuff, open chords and all that."[10]

The Edge has stated that many of his guitar parts are based around guitar effects. This is especially true from the Achtung Baby era onwards, although much of the band's 1980s material made heavy use of echos. His influence as a guitarist can be heard by acts such as Radiohead, Muse, Coldplay, and other bands of the alternative scene.

Vocals

The Edge also supplies the backing vocals for U2. U2's 1983 live album and video release, Under a Blood Red Sky and Live at Red Rocks: Under a Blood Red Sky are good reference points for his singing (as are the live DVDs from the Elevation Tour, U2 Go Home: Live from Slane Castle and Elevation 2001: Live from Boston). For example, he sings the chorus to "Sunday Bloody Sunday" (Bono harmonizes on the final 'Sunday'). U2 used this tradeoff technique later in "Bullet the Blue Sky" as well. His backing vocals are often in the form of a repeated cry. Examples of songs that use this approach include "Beautiful Day" and "New Year's Day". The Edge sings the lead vocal on "Van Diemen's Land" and "Numb", the first half of the song "Seconds", dual vocals with Bono in "Discotheque", and the bridge in the song "Miracle Drug".[7] His backing vocals are often in falsetto, such as "Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of", "Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own", "The Wanderer", live versions of "The Fly", and "Window in the Skies". He also sings the occasional lead vocal in live renditions of other songs (such as "Sunday Bloody Sunday" during the PopMart Tour and "Party Girl" during the Rotterdam Zoo TV show when it was Bono's birthday[11]).

Other instruments

He has played piano and keyboards on many of the band's songs, including "I Fall Down", "October", "So Cruel", "New Year's Day", "Running to Stand Still", "Miss Sarajevo", "The Hands that Built America", and "Original of the Species" and others. He plays the organ on "Please". In live versions of "New Year's Day", "The Unforgettable Fire", "Your Blue Room", and "Moment of Surrender", he plays both the piano and guitar parts alternately. In most live versions of "Original of the Species," piano is the only instrument played during the song.

Although The Edge is the band's lead guitarist, he occasionally plays bass guitar, including most live performances of the song "40" where The Edge and bassist Adam Clayton switch instruments.

Solo recordings

In addition to his regular role within U2, The Edge has also recorded with such artists as Johnny Cash, B. B. King, Tina Turner, and Ronnie Wood.

The Edge connected with Brian Eno and Lanois collaborator Michael Brook (the creator of the infinite guitar, which he regularly uses), working with him on the score to the film Captive (1986). From this soundtrack the song "Heroine", the vocal of which was sung by a young Sinéad O'Connor was released as a single.

He also created the theme song for Season 1 and 2 of The Batman.

Musical equipment

The Edge plays electric guitar, acoustic guitar, keyboards, piano, bass guitar (on "40" and "Race Against Time") and lap steel guitar.

Compared to many lead guitarists, The Edge is known for using many more guitars during a show. According to his guitar tech Dallas Schoo, a typical lead guitarist uses four or five different guitars in one night, whereas The Edge takes 45 on the road, and uses 17 to 19 in one 2.5-hour concert. He is estimated to have more than 200 guitars in the studio.

Guitars/keyboards

The Edge donated his cream Les Paul Custom to an auction to benefit Music Rising.
  • Gibson Les Paul Goldtop
  • 2005 Gibson Les Paul Standard Music Rising (Most likely, Edge has more than one of these)
  • 1966 Gibson SG Heritage cherry finish. Used live for "Elevation".
  • 1966 Gibson SG Pelham blue finish. Backup to the Heritage cherry SG
  • Fender Telecaster Blonde finish. Used live for "Vertigo" and "Get on your Boots" and "I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight (remix)"
  • 1996 Fender Telecaster White with matching headstock, pearloid bindings and golden hardware, 40th Anniversary edition, made in Japan. Used live for "Sunday Bloody Sunday" on the Elevation and Vertigo tours.
  • 1962 Fender Jaguar (Seen in "Electrical Storm" video)
  • Rickenbacker 330/12 Fireglow. Used live for "Mysterious Ways" and "Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own."
  • Rickenbacker 330/12 Mapleglow. Used live for "Mysterious Ways" on the U2 360° Tour.
  • 1963 Gretsch G6122 Country Gentleman
  • Gretsch G6117 Double Anniversary Sunburst finish, currently used during the U2360°TOUR for "Moment Of Surrender"
  • Gretsch White Falcon Mainly used in the studio and on early TV performances of "Trip Through Your Wires". Not seen on tour. Also seen in the movie "Rattle and Hum" during the song "Desire".
  • Line 6 Variax 700 Acoustic (2). One, black with red 'vertigo' circles around the soundhole, was used for "The Fly" during the 'Vertigo' tour in 2005/2006. The other was a silver sparkle model, which was used primarily for "Love and Peace (Or Else), during the 'Vertigo' tour in 2005/2006.
  • 1962 Epiphone Casino tobacco finish. Seen played live on the U2360°TOUR for "Breathe" and "No Line On The Horizon"
  • Epiphone Sheraton
  • 2006 Epiphone Standard Music Rising
  • Gibson J-200 natural finish
  • Gibson J-200 Pete Townshend Model (2) natural finish
  • 199x Fernandes Decade Elite (2). One "sea foam" finish. One "orange" finish
  • 2001 Fernandes Native Pro. Metallic green finish.
  • 2002 Fernandes Retrorocket Elite. Custom black finish. Used for "With Or Without You" because of the sustainer pickup.
  • 1997 Gibson ES-175 sparkle blue finish (Bono's) Edge can be seen with this guitar in "The Ground Beneath Her Feet" video.
  • Gibson ES-330 tobacco finish
  • Gibson ES-335 tobacco finish
  • Gibson Sonex-180 Deluxe. Black finish. Used briefly during the summer October festival shows. Soon replaced by the 1975 Gibson Les Paul Custom.
  • Gibson Byrdland may have been borrowed. Seen in some Rattle and Hum outtakes pictures and video]
  • Washburn/Taylor Acoustics, made famous during the live version of "Party Girl".
  • Yamaha CP70 (keyboard)/piano: used for "October", "New Year's Day", "Running To Stand Still", "Moment of Surrender", "Original Of The Species."

When he takes over for bassist Adam Clayton for the song "40", he used the Ibanez Musician in the 1980s and the Lakland Darryl Jones Signature for the more recent Vertigo Tour.

Amps

Edge's original 1964 Vox AC30 on stage in Foxborough for the U2 360° Tour
  • Vox AC30 – his 1964 AC30 top boost has been used to record every single U2 album and has been used for every single concert. He has said in interviews that he owns over thirty AC30's.
  • Fender Deluxe Tweed – 1956 with Vox speaker
  • Fender Deluxe Tweed – 1958 with Jensen Alnico speaker
  • Fender Blues Jr
  • Roland JC120

Pedals and rack

Floorboard

  • Boss FV-300L volume pedal
  • Dunlop Cry Baby
  • Digitech Whammy WH-1
  • Skrydstrup SC-1 (foot controller which controls the gear in rack, and the pedals as well.)

Pedals

Rack

Philanthropy

In 2005 The Edge along with Bob Ezrin and Henry Juszkiewicz co-founded Music Rising, a charity that helped provide replacement instruments for those that were lost in Hurricane Katrina. The instruments were originally only replaced for professional musicians but they soon realized the community churches and schools needed instruments as well. The charity's slogan is “Rebuilding the Gulf Region note by note” and has so far helped over a hundred musicians who were affected by Hurricane Katrina. The Edge also serves on the board of the Angiogenesis Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to improving global health by advancing angiogenesis-based medicine, diets, and lifestyle.[12]

See also

References

  1. ^ U2 Limited (2006). U2 by U2. London: HarperCollinsPublishers, 21. ISBN 0-00-719668-7
  2. ^ Rolling Stone's List of 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time
  3. ^ Unforgettable Fire: The Story of U2. London: Penguin Books. 1988. p. 70. ISBN 0-14-010766-5. 
  4. ^ U2 Limited (2006). U2 by U2. London: HarperCollinsPublishers. p. 21. ISBN 0-00-719668-7. 
  5. ^ a b c U2; McCormick, N. (2006-09-26). U2 by U2. New York: Harper Collins Publishers. pp. 117–120. ISBN 0-06-077675-7. 
  6. ^ U2 Limited (2006). U2 by U2. London: HarperCollinsPublishers, 117–120. ISBN 0-00-719668-7
  7. ^ a b c d e f "The Edge biography (@U2)". http://www.atu2.com/band/edge/. Retrieved 2007-09-09. 
  8. ^ U2 Limited (2006). U2 by U2. London: HarperCollinsPublishers. p. 144. ISBN 0-00-719668-7. 
  9. ^ Flanagan, Bill (1995). U2 at the End of the World. Delacorte Press. p.43. ISBN 0-385-31154-0
  10. ^ a b c "On the Edge of Success". U2 Magazine No. 3. 1 May 1982. http://u2_interviews.tripod.com/id16.html. Retrieved 2007-11-06. 
  11. ^ U2 Rotterdam, 1993-05-10, Feyenoord Stadium, ZOO TV Tour – U2 on tour
  12. ^ The Angiogenesis Foundation: People http://www.angio.org/about-people-bod.php, Retrieved 12/7/2009

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

The Edge (born August 8, 1961 in Barking, Essex) is the guitarist for the Irish rock band U2.

Performing in Pittsburgh on the band's Vertigo Tour in 2005

Contents

On performing at Live 8

"We don't want to murder Sgt. Pepper." (2005) (Refering to the bands duet with Paul McCartney)

On religion

"I have no trouble with Christ, but I have trouble with a lot of Christians."

On pop music

"For me, that term "pop" is like a candy bar. You buy it because you like it, you eat it, and then you throw it away. It has no long-term meaning or value." (1985)

On being a musician

"I don't feel that attached to my instruments. It's almost like I'm going to dominate them in some sort of way. I don't feel like they're part of me; they stand between me and something new."

On being in U2

"It's a very unusual thing to be in a band like this. It's like being in a street gang. And it's all very well being in a street gang when you're 16, but it's bloody weird when you're 32."

Acceptance speech at the Grammy's

"Wow. Well on a personal level this century has been going so well for us, we finished our album, I had a little baby boy a little while ago, the whole Jubilee 2000 work has been incredible, just everything has been going great. There's also been some great breakthroughs in science, the disposible mobile phone, 3 blade razor and the female orgasmatron which is great - anyway now this . . . thanks everybody our record company has been great, our management have been great and our producer's amazing." (2001)

On U2's nineties reinvention

"This is the nineties."

Looking Back on Achtung Baby sessions, 2002

"There's four evil motherfuckers in U2. I think we would've broken up years ago if there'd been any pansies in the band."

On dancing

"My room overlooks the park and yesterday during the afternoon I'd opened up all the blinds and taken back the curtains so I could look out over the park. Come nightfall, I was grooving to some rap record in my room, bopping around the room for maybe half an hour. I don't know what I was doing, just messing around...and at one stage I looked out of the window and there were about 200 people looking up, clapping, applauding my dancing. That was funny."

"I'm not sure if Irish people can dance.... except for The Edge, that is, who is our own funky chicken." (Bono on Edge's dancing)

On family

"It's a terrible cliche, but they are the most important thing in my life. More than any album. They're where it's at." (2001) (about wife Morleigh and his children)

External links

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has an article about:

Simple English

The Edge
File:The
Background information
Birth name David Howell Evans
Born 8 August 1961 (1961-08-08) (age 49)
in London, England
Genres Rock
Occupations Musician
Instruments Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals, Bass guitar
Years active 1976 - present
Labels Island (1980-2006)
Mercury (2006-present)
Associated acts U2
Website U2.com
Notable instruments
Gibson Explorer, Fender Stratocaster, Gibson Les Paul

David Howell Evans (born 8 August 1961 in London, England), more widely known as The Edge, is an English-born musician. He is known best as the guitarist, keyboardist, and backing vocalist for the Irish rock band U2.

Personal life

David Howell Evans was born at the Barking Maternity Hospital,[1] in Essex, England. His parents are Garvin and Gwenda Evans.[2] When he was one, his family moved to County Dublin, Ireland. There, he attended St. Andrew's National School. He received piano and guitar lessons with his brother, Dik Evans. At Mount Temple Comprehensive School, they both answered an advertisement posted by Larry Mullen, Jr. wanting musicians to form a band.[3] The band accepted both of them. This band went through several major changes before emerging as U2 in March 1978. Dik Evans left the band just before the name change.[4] U2 began performing in various venues in Ireland and eventually began developing a following. Their first album, Boy, was released in 1980.

In 1981, Evans came very close to leaving U2 for religious reasons, but he was persuaded to stay.[3] During this time, he became involved with a group called Shalom Tigers. Bono and Larry Mullen Jr. were also involved in this group.[5] Shortly after deciding to remain with the band, he wrote a piece of music that later became "Sunday Bloody Sunday".[3] The Edge married his high school girlfriend Aislinn O'Sullivan on 12 July 1983.[6] The couple had three daughters together: Hollie in 1984, Arran in 1985 and Blue Angel in 1989.[5] The couple separated in 1990, but were unable to get officially divorced until 1996 because of Irish laws regarding marriage; divorce was made legal in 1995.[5]

During U2's Zoo TV Tour, The Edge began to date Morleigh Steinberg. The couple began dating in 1993, and had their daughter, Sian, and a son, Levi.[5] They were married on June 22, 2002.[5]

The Edge appeared in the 2009 music documentary film It Might Get Loud.[7] He is also a Methodist Christian.

Music

"Notes actually do mean something. They have power. I think of notes as being expensive. You don't just throw them around. I find the ones that do the best job and that's what I use. I suppose I'm a minimalist instinctively. I don't like to be inefficient if I can get away with it. Like on the end of "With or Without You". My instinct was to go with something very simple. Everyone else said, 'Nah, you can't do that.' I won the argument and I still think it's sort of brave, because the end of "With or Without You" could have been so much bigger, so much more of a climax, but there's this power to it which I think is even more potent because it's held back... ultimately I'm interested in music. I'm a musician. I'm not a gunslinger. That's the difference between what I do and what a lot of guitar heroes do."

—The Edge in 1991

References

  1. Unforgettable Fire: The Story of U2. London: Penguin Books. 1988. p. 70. ISBN 0-14-010766-5. 
  2. U2 Limited (2006). U2 by U2. London: HarperCollinsPublishers. p. 21. ISBN 0-00-719668-7. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 U2; McCormick, N. (26 September 2006). U2 by U2. New York: Harper Collins Publishers. pp. 117–120. ISBN 0-06-077675-7. 
  4. U2 Limited (2006). U2 by U2. London: HarperCollinsPublishers, 117–120. ISBN 0-00-719668-7
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 "The Edge biography (@U2)". http://www.atu2.com/band/edge/. Retrieved 9 September 2007. 
  6. U2 Limited (2006). U2 by U2. London: HarperCollinsPublishers. p. 144. ISBN 0-00-719668-7. 
  7. "IT MIGHT GET LOUD". http://www.sonyclassics.com/itmightgetloud/. Retrieved 20 March 2010. 









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