Guitar Gallows Bio Information - The Edge
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The Edge David Howell Evans (born 8 August 1961), more widely known by his stage name, The Edge (or just Edge), is an English-born Irish musician. He is best known as the guitarist, keyboardist, and main backing vocalist of 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 sound. In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine named him at #24 on its list of "The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time".
David Howell Evans was born at the Barking Maternity Hospital, Essex, England to Welsh parents Garvin and Gwenda Evans. When he was just one, his family moved to 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. The band accepted both of them. This band went through several incarnations before emerging as U2 in March 1978. 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. During this period, he became involved with a group called Shalom Tigers, in which bandmates Bono and Larry Mullen Jr. were also involved. Shortly after deciding to remain with the band, he wrote a piece of music that later became "Sunday Bloody Sunday". The Edge married his secondary school girlfriend Aislinn O'Sullivan on 12 July 1983. The couple had three daughters together: Hollie in 1984, Arran in 1985 and Blue Angel in 1989. The couple separated in 1990, but were unable to get officially divorced because of Irish laws regarding marriage annulment; divorce was legalised in 1995 and the couple were legally divorced in 1996.
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, (25 October 1999). They were married on 22 June 2002.
Edge, when asked about his approach to guitar:
"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."
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."
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.