Poppermost: Lex on The Edge (U2)

(Happy birthday to The Edge, who celebrates August 8th as his birthday)

There was something about the Edge’s rhythmic sense as a guitarist that hooked me.  There was something about the sparse quality of his solos that made me rethink the whole “guitar hero” thing that every guitarist has to play a million notes.

I don’t want to sound like a musical snob, but for me there were very few bands that mattered during the ’80s.  U2 was one of the few bands of that decade that actually went beyond the make-up, the horrible haircuts, and “one hit wonder” status.  These 4 Irish guys had an appeal that made you not only listen, but made you aware of your world.

Like most of my junior high school class, I saw U2 for the first time in ’83 via their “New Year’s Day” video.  What caught my attention was not necessarily the song (although it is a cool song), but the images of the band members running around in snow, ala the Beatles in “Help.”  No matter.  U2 would be one of two UK bands that would fire my young imagination, while most of the “pretty boy bands” at that time would fall by the wayside.

The following year, U2 would be plastered all over L.A. radio and television via their performance at Red Rocks.  Did you ever see their performance of “Sunday Bloody Sunday?”  That was the performance that made me a believer.  They were young, brazen, politically charged, and unlike the UK pretty boys that filled the musical landscape with garbage.  These guys were the “real deal,” and it was this performance that turned me into a full-fledged card carrying U2 fanatic.

The Edge (Dave Evans) almost immediately caught my attention with his “anti solo” guitar stance.  There is something about his freight train rhythms, his angelic harmonics, and his on stage stance that has spoken to me over the last 25 plus years.  Sure, he’s no Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, or Jimi Hendrix.  But you can hear all of them in The Edge.  He once said that guitar notes are like currency – only spend what you have to, and spend carefully.

The first time I saw them in action was right after high school ended.  They played a couple of night at the L.A. Colosseum, and I was there.  I screamed myself so horse that I sounded like Lucille Ball after one to many cigarettes.  Night after night, I looked forward to The Edge’s atmospheric “solo” during “Bullet The Blue Sky.”  Those tones did something to my musical ear that I cannot explain here.  I can only say that his playing touched me, and I was never the same.

Happy birthday salutations to The Edge.  Thanks for not spending all of your notes.  I’m still out here listening, and hope to play with you soon.

((Lex Neon is the musical mastermind behind the music of indie sunshine pop / rock band Poppermost.  For more info, go to http://www.poppermost.com/)

Currently listening :
The Joshua Tree
By U2
Release date: 1990-06-15

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