Say what you want, but U2 are awesome. From the early days right until How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb, U2 have remained a consistently cool rock band, something that many of their peers have struggled to achieve.
With 22 Grammy’s behind them, they have proven to be a band to be named for many decades to come. Yes, Bono can be slightly annoying, with his preachy messages. What we forget is that they’ve got more money they can spend, and yet they still care about us common folk. Yay for a conscience!
Although Bono and his sunglasses attract the most publicity, another side of U2 is equally important, that of The Edge.
Born David Howell Evans in Barking, Essex, in East London to Welsh parents, Garvin and Gwenda Evans. When he was just a year old, he and his family including his older brother Richard (Dik) and younger sister Gillian moved to Mahalide in County Dublin Dublun.
The Edge went to St. Andrew’s National School where he received training in guitar and piano and frequently performed with his older brother, Dik Evans. The Edge, Dik Evans, Adam Clayton and Bono answered an advertisement by Larry Mullen, Jr. to form a band.
This band would go through many different forms until in March 1978,U2 emerged. Dik Evans had left the band before the name change. U2 then began playing shows all around Ireland, and released Boy, their debut album, in 1980.
In 1981, The Edge came very close to quitting U2 for religious reasons but was luckily persuaded to stay. Him, Bono and Larry Mullen, Jr. started a side project called Shalom Tigers around this time. After his decision to remain with the band, The Edge wrote what was to become Sunday Bloody Sunday. The Edge married his high school sweetheart, Aislinn O’Sullivan on the 12th of July in 1983. They had three daughters together. They separated in 1990, and when Irish law allowed divorce, settled apart in 1996.
On the Zoo TV Tour, what Q magazine called “still the most spectacular rock tour staged by any band”; The Edge met Morleigh Steinberg, a dancer and choreographer. The couple began dating in 1993 and had a daughter in 1997 and a son in 1999. They were officially married on the 22nd of June in 2002.
As a guitarist, The Edge is known as having a trademark sound typified by understatement, a shimmering, chiming sound (in part, created with the VOX AC-30s) accomplished by the extensive use of digital reverb, delay effects and a focus on melody and texture.
To achieve an “Edge-like” sound, the digital delay’s delay is set to a dotted eight note (3/16 of a measure), and its “feedback” adjusted until the number of repeats is about 2 or 3.
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. 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.”
The Edge’s guitar influence can be heard in bands such as Radiohead, Muse, Coldplay, Angels & Airwaves, progressive metal pioneers Dream Theater, and much of the indie and alternative scene, such as current acts Editors and Switchfoot.
If all the above was cool enough, in 2002 The Edge was given his very own Irish coin. He has had his face minted onto a coin currently in circulation. How awesome is that, I sure as hell wouldn’t mind my ugly mug on a coin forever.