A Taste of Irish Music Featuring a List of Irish Guitarists

Irish Music

A Taste of Irish Music Featuring a List of Irish Guitarists

 

We’ve got to definitely honor some of the most influential Irish guitars we could name.  Our choices range from modern indie to sixties and seventies vintage rock and hardcore blues.  Some may say these guitar players may not play so much Irish music as they have made their names in their respective domains.  If you want traditional Irish music go here.

 

10.  Noel Hogan – The Cranberries

Noel Hogan

Noel Hogan is the guitarist and co-songwriter of Irish rock band The Cranberries. In 2003 The Cranberries decided take a break after more than a dozen years of touring, promotion and recording which had seen them clock up album sales in excess of 40 million. Noel turned to focus on his own music and began working with programmer Matt Vaughan, who had already worked with Noel on unreleased Cranberries material. In May 2005 Noel released his new tracks under the name Mono Band, more a collaborative effort than a solo album, the record featured Alexandra Hamnede, Richard Walters, Kate Havnevik and others.

 

Following the release of the Mono Band album, Noel teamed up with ex-Theremin vocalist Richard Walters to form Arkitekt. Together they released two EPs ‘Black Hair’ and ’14 Days in 2008 and 2009′ with work all but completed on a full length album to be released in the near future.

 

Over the last several years Noel has been developing his production work, working with bands like Limerick’s Supermodel Twins, Mullingar rockers The Aftermath and Reema, a Cork band who have just finished their debut album with Noel.

 

In 2009 Noel released Tonelist on his own Gohan Records imprint. The album is a collaboration with Limerick Live 95FM’s Green and Live show, and is a collection featuring better-known and up-and-coming bands from the Limerick music scene.

 

In August 2009 The Cranberries that they will reform for a live tour with dates confirmed in 2009/2010 in North America, South America and Europe.

http://www.myspace.com/noelhogan

 

 

9.  Bermie Tormé – Ozzy Osbourne and Gillan (as in Ian)

Bernie Torme

It has been said of Irish guitarist Bernie Tormé that he plays his vintage Fender Stratocaster through a Marshall Amplifier as though he knew them in a previous life.

 

Bernie played in Dublin band The Urge (among others) in the early 70′s before relocating to London in 74, where he initially played with heavy pub rockers Scrapyard, and later formed the punk Bernie Torme Band in 76-77, touring with The Boomtown Rats and Generation X among many others.

 

In 79 Bernie joined ex Deep Purple singer Ian Gillan’s band Gillan, and had a crucial role in the bands success, writing and playing on four top ten albums and many hit singles. Following his departure from Gillan, he played with Ozzy Osbourne, standing in for the great Randy Rhoads following Randy’s tragic death in an air crash. Bernie joined forces with ex Girl and current LA Guns front man Philip Lewis in Torme during the 80′s, as well as playing with legendary keyboard player Vincent Crane as a member of psychedelic doom rockers Atomic Rooster.

 

Bernie also played with Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider and Iron Maiden’s drummer Clive Burr in Desperado. Desperado’s “Ace” album has finally just been released in the UK on AngelAir Records (cat no Sjpcd154) and in the US on Cleopatra (cat no CLP..1644-2).

 

Bernie is currently working with bassist man mountain John McCoy, also ex Gillan and psycho-slamming drummer Robin Guy under the band name Guy McCoy Torme, or G.M.T. for short.

 

Check out more of Tormé on myspace http://www.myspace.com/bernietorme

 

 

8.  Kevin Shields – Primal Scream, My Bloody Valentine

 

Ok, he was born in the US to Irish parents – but moved back to Dublin at the age of 10.  Born in Queens, New York City to a mother who worked as a nurse and a food-industry executive father, Kevin Shields is the oldest of five siblings. Shields’ parents emigrated to the U.S. from Ireland in the 1950s.

 

He went to a Catholic school that he has described as “a really horrible school run by psychopathic nuns.” When he was 10 years old his family returned to Dublin to live close to the support of their extended family.

 

Shields has described the culture shock of moving to Ireland from the USA, reflecting particularly on the American consumer culture, saying, “It was like going from, as far as I was concerned, the modern world to some distant past.” The one difference between the USA and Ireland that had a big impact on him was the marketing of music towards teenagers in the UK and Ireland. He said it didn’t really exist in that way when he lived in the U.S. in the 1970s.  Shields continues to hold a U.S. passport[3].

One of the most recognisable aspects of Shields’ music is his thick and dreamy guitar sound, associated with his later recordings with My Bloody Valentine.

Customizing the tremolo system for Fender Jaguars and Jazzmasters, Shields manipulates the tremolo arm while strumming chords. He has had the tremolo arm on his guitars extended considerably and uses tape on one end so that the tremolo arm sits very high on the guitar and is very loose. (Alan Di Perna, Guitar World, March 1992, Pg. 26) With the tremolo arm in this position, his motion is not restricted, allowing him to strum chords without having to alter his motion to accommodate the tremolo arm. To thicken the sound, he plays through a Yamaha SPX 90 using a reverse reverb effect that inverts the normal reverb envelope without making the notes backward. (Alan Di Perna, Guitar World, March 1992, Pg. 152) Augmenting his sound further, he cranks amps to exceptionally loud volumes and uses open tunings, causing speaker “breakup” and increasing sustain. Instead of the usual note bending with a tremolo arm, he achieves a kind of chord bending that Rolling Stone described as, “a strange warping effect that makes the music wander in and out of focus”. Fans who played the vinyl record of Loveless were known to check the records for warping on first playing them. On the subject of 1991 album Loveless Shields remarks,” the songs do have weird timings and things, but the textures come from the guitar tunings.”

Shields has pointed out that he uses far fewer effects pedals and overdubs than fans and the music press sometimes make him out to use. He has noted many times in interviews that most tracks feature one or two main, albeit massive sounding, guitar tracks that give off many layers of sound. This has mistakenly led people to believe he uses multiple overdubs which he has repeated over and over is not how his sound is achieved, at least not before the Tremolo EP. Although Tremolo and Loveless featured more sampling and sampled guitar, (Simon Reynolds, NYTimes, December 1, 1991, Arts Section Pg. 26) one need only play around with a Jaguar or Jazzmaster and Yamaha SPX 90 with some strings in open tunings to get an idea of how he achieves a massive swirling guitar sound with one guitar that to some sound like numerous overdubs. Kevin’s earlier recordings pre-Tremolo consisted mostly of one guitar during the chorus and then a guitar with a different tone during the verses. Tremolo and Loveless involved more sampling of guitars and synths. Shields explained, “Ninety percent of what we do is just a guitar straight into an amp.” (Alan Di Perna, Guitar World, March 1992, Pg. 25-26) “People think it’s all pedals, but all my pedals are graphic equalizers and tone controls. It’s all in the tone.” (Steve Double, NME November 9, 1991, pg. 14) Various effects pedals mainly play a role when trying to recreate studio sounds in a live setting.

 

In August 2003, Shields was voted the 95th greatest guitarist of all time by the Rolling Stone magazine.

For recent live shows he admitted to using 30 effects pedals to achieve his guitar sound.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kevin_Shields

7.  Garry Roberts – The Boomtown Rats

 

The headmaster in Garry’s Dublin high school called Garry’s parents in one day to suggest they move their son to a boarding school, “where someone can keep a closer eye on him”.

 

His enforced move to a Quaker-run boarding school just outside Waterford proved a great success, but not for the reasons anyone anticipated. When Garrick clapped eyes and ears on the school rock group, he knew that was what he wanted to do.

 

“I was already listening to the Pretty Things, the Kinks, the Yardbirds, Jeff Beck and John Mayall and this was it.”

 

His early efforts with his dad’s acoustic guitar were cut short when it was lost in a school fire, but dad stumped up the cash for an electric replacement and soon Garrick and his mate Johnnie Fingers were regular fixtures at parties. Johnny on piano and Garrick on guitar.

 

Eventually, in the direction these things go, they decided to form a group and assembled a few more friends and relations It was Garrick who approached Bob Geldof to be their manager.

 

“I’d known Bob for ages”, “He only lived up the road. He knew a lot about music and had an astute business brain.”

 

However, Bob arrived for a band rehearsal in Garrick’s kitchen carrying a harmonica and a Dr Feelgood album. It wasn’t long before he was the singer.

 

“Up until then I had taken the lead vocals,” Garrick explained, “but I wasn’t happy with it. Bob looked good and had the presence and so we decided he should take it on.”

 

The rest is history.

 

When Bob Geldof went to pursue a solo career away from The Boomtown Rats, it left Garry Roberts in musical limbo. For a while Garry worked as a sound engineer with acts like Simply Red and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. He then sold life insurance for 15 years, and later became a central heating engineer – “I love nice-looking pipework”.

 

The Boomtown Rats guitarist Garry Roberts is still touring with The Boomtown Rats drummer Simon Crowe with the addition of Peter Barton on bass, and Darren Beale on lead guitar.

Garry lives in Herefordshire in England.

 

 

6.  Henry McCullogh – Spooky Tooth and Wings

 

The career of Henry McCullough cuts through just about every conceivable facet of rock music, and touches upon some of its most glorious moments.

 

Growing up in the seaside resort of Portstewart, Henry’s first musical venture was as guitarist with Irish showband The Skyrockets and the years to follow found him doing the dance hall circuit with similar outfits, including the popular Gene and the Gents.

 

When the blues boom hit Ireland, Henry became involved with the rougher side of music through the outfit that were to become Eire Apparent. Managed for a time by Chas Chandler, Eire Apparent were one of the many bands to take part in package tours of Britain, alongside groups like The Move, Pink Floyd, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Amen Corner… After an untimely exit from the band, Henry nailed down some of the finest mix of traditional and rock with his work as part of the legendary Sweeney’s Men. It is said that this line-up more or less invented the concept of Folk-Rock.

 

He then drifted to London where he became steeped in the blues scene, rubbing shoulders with some of the greats of the genre who were just coming to the attention of the British revivalists. An encounter with a young Sheffield singer led to a job and Henry’s first brush with the realIy big time – as part of Joe Cocker’s Grease Band. Tours and albums followed quickly, including an appearance at Woodstock and a lengthy period of work in the States.

 

Breaking with Cocker, Henry and The Grease Band continued to mune a gritty blues vein that made them a live favourite that has rarely been equalled.

 

He found himself auditioning for a gig with ex-Beatle Paul McCartney. Henry, along with Denny Seiwell, Denny Laine and Linda McCartney were the first – and many say best incarnation of Wings. He embellished the single ‘My Love’ with a graceful solo that is one of the all-time guitar gems and shows once and for all the expressive power of the instrument.

 

At one Wings session at Abbey Road when Pink Floyd were in the studio next door, Henry made a spoken contribution to the classic Dark Side of the Moon.

 

But musical differences with the headstrong Macca followed, and Henry made the decision to leave. Following his instinct for rock he ended up in some very good company, playing guitar and gigging with the Roy Harper, Marianne Faithfull, Ronnie Lane, Donovan, Frankie Miller, Eric Burdon, Viola Wills, Spooky Tooth.

 

During a visit back home to see his family in the early 80s, an accident with a knife almost cost Henry his livelihood, severing tendons in his playing hand. The enforced lay-off allowed Henry to re-evaluate his life and his career, and he took the decision to stay at home in Ireland. The road to recovery was almost complete when Henry started sitting in with the Fleadh Cowboys for their now legendary Sunday afternoon residency in The Lower Deck in Dublin. It soon became apparent that Henry’s contribution was an attraction in itself, so he formed his own band and toured Ireland in 1988.

 

In the 90’s Henry moved back to Portstewart and formed a new band with Percy Robinson on pedal steel and Roe Butcher on bass and Liam Bradley on drums. More recently the band has featured James Delaney on keys, Chrissy Stewart (Frankie Miller Band) on bass, Chris Probst on guitar and Tony Phillips on Drums.

 

In 1998 he went to Poland, where he rehearsed a band of Polish session musicians for a tour. At the end of the tour, they went into a studio and played ‘live’ for an afternoon. A resulting CD, Blue Sunset was consequently released in Poland, and was followed up by a further successful Polish tour.

 

On returning home, Henry decided that it was time to do record a few studio tracks. With help and encouragement from his many friends, he released ‘Failed Christian’, a harrowing self penned song that has since been covered by Nick Lowe on his latest Demon album, ‘Dig My Mood’.

 

In the summer of ‘99 Henry was devastated when his beloved 1963 cherry red Gibson ES335 went missing from a British Midlands flight between Warsaw and Heathrow. However, he still has his gold-top Les Paul that he played at Woodstock.

 

Henry McCullough is justifiably one of rock’s most legendary figures. Check him out live sometime and be convinced for yourself.

 

Check out http://www.henrymccullough.com/

 

 

5.  Eric Bell – Thin Lizzy

 

We thought it would be so cool if we just provided the link directly to the Irish Boy Eric Bell as his biography is written by him and written in the first person.  Good read at http://www.ericbellband.com/

 

I was born in East Belfast on the 3rd of September 1947. The first time I fell in love with music was around 8 years old, listening to classical music on a big wireless – it was great to daydream to. One Christmas, when I was 14 or so, one of my presents was a plastic guitar – it was totally unexpected. It was small, half size, had six different coloured strings, and pretty good frets.

 

There was a TV programme on in those days, and one of the regulars on it was Bert Weedon, a very well known guitarist. Every week, he would draw a guitar chord on a blackboard, and explain how to play it. I would watch and learn a new chord each week.

 

The next major thing to form my interest in music was hearing, and then seeing Lonnie Donegan. A friend of mine at school, Davie Lyttle, had lots of Lonnie’s records, and I would go back to his house after school to listen to them-they were magic and I never tired listening to them, even to this day. The other major influence was The Shadows, who also cast their spell on me.

 

I was still going to Orangefield Boy’s Secondary School, and one lunch break found out one of the guys in my class played drums in a Shadows-type group. Eventually I was invited up to the house where they rehearsed. Their guitarist let me play his guitar – the very first time I had ever played an electric. A week later, the group asked me to be their lead guitarist!

 

 

I stayed for six months, then joined another group, then another, until an offer to join an Irish Showband (The Bluebeats) came my way. The only reason I joined was they were professional. I said goodbye to the shirt factory where I worked, and went to live in Glascow where The Bluebeats were based. After a year and a few months later, we returned to Belfast, and went our separate ways.

 

I joined The Shannon Showband. Four months later and this time I had to live in Headingly, Leeds. We played working men’s clubs, Irish Ballrooms, and some Irish pubs. It all fizzled out after a year and a half, and I went back to Belfast.

 

I joined a blues group called Shades of Blue after their guitarist had left. A young man called Gary Moore.

 

Through Shades of Blue, I met John Farrell, a singer from a Dublin group called The Movement. John was going to be the singer with a new young modern Irish Showband called The Dreams. He said I should go to Dublin and audition for the guitar slot. I took the chance and got it.

 

After a year and a few months, I left The Dreams and decided to form a group. I called it Thin Lizzy…

 

 

4.  Vivian Campbell – Deff Leppard, Dio, Whitesnake

 

Sixteen years old in 1978, Vivian’s first band Sweet Savage hailed from his hometown of Belfast, Northern Ireland. Along with other hard-core bands like Budgie, they were pre-cursors to bands like Metallica who were strongly influenced by Sweet Savage’s sound, and later recorded their own version of Sweet Savage’s “Killing Time” for their “Garage, Inc” album.

 

Out on tour supporting bands like Thin Lizzy and Motorhead around Britain, Vivian caught the eye of bassist Jimmy Bain, who would soon join Ronnie James Dio to record his post-Black Sabbath solo debut for Warner Bros. In searching for a dynamic, powerhouse guitarist, Jimmy recalled his memorable impression of the young unknown Vivian, and recommended him to Ronnie.

 

Vivian was 19 when he auditioned and that line-up went into the studio to record the now classic Dio albums “Holy Diver” and “Last In Line”. The boy from Belfast was on his way. In 1987, Vivian was invited to join Whitesnake, a bonafide hard rock supergroup. With a slick, sexy, MTV image and fronted by ex-Deep Purple vocalist David Coverdale, that album would become the year’s phenomenon and finally break Coverdale (who was already a big star in Europe) as an artist in the U.S. But things were not to be, and Vivian yearned to create music that was more blues-based and less hard-rock, and also to try his hand at singing, his undisclosed secret weapon.

 

So the Riverdogs were born, a four-piece outfit with Vivian and cult blues singer Rob Lamothe on lead vocals. This line-up would record one album for Epic Records before Vivian was on the move again. In 1991 during an extended hiatus from touring he would finally begin writing songs for his own debut solo album for Epic Records. Its tone and direction would pay homage the pop-rock sounds of the singer/songwriter movement and the soul and R&B of Motown.

 

Writing collaborations produced beautiful demos and recording of the album was about to commence when the call came from Def Leppard singer Joe Elliott. The tragic death of guitarist Steve Clark left a gaping hole in the line-up of one of the world’s biggest selling acts. Always having been a fan of Def Leppard’s soaring harmonies and sterling pop hooks, it was a crossroads decision; you only get one chance to join a legendary rock band, and the solo album was put on hold.

 

Thirteen years later the time finally came to pursue a solo album again, but this time the direction would take a different form. Living in Los Angeles, Vivian had immersed himself in the world of the local blues-club circuit, quite a change from the intricate arrangements, multi-overdubs and state of the art production values of Def Leppard. The spontaneity and “one-take” urgency of the true blues genre dictated a specific new set of rules that would be applied during the making of “Two Sides Of If.” Rule number one: it had to be recorded LIVE in the studio, being sure to always maintain eye contact between all of the musicians. This meant Vivian singing lead vocals while playing solo guitar – no overdubs allowed….. Rule number two: have fun and fly by the seat of your pants. With wish-list players like Terry Bozzio on drums, and Billy Gibbons and Joan Osborne making guest appearances, the sessions were inspired and the end result is “Two Sides Of If.”

 

Twenty years in the making and not a minute too soon.

 

Check out Vivian Campbell on his myspace profile at http://www.myspace.com/viviancampbell

 

 

3.  Rory Gallagher

Rory Gallagher is the man who, without question, spearheaded and influenced the entire Irish rock movement. Remarkably, nearly 15 years after his untimely passing in June 1995, Rory’s music is as popular as ever with his legion on faithful followers. Rory’s music was his religion. The conviction and sincerity with which he projected it have assured him a place in rock history and earnt him critical acclaim as one of the greatest torchbearers of driving, effusive rock and blues.

Born in 1948 in Ballyshannon and raised in Cork, Gallagher’s rock ‘n roll odyssey began at an early age when he saw Elvis Presley on TV and became inspired to get his first guitar. Rory would listen and learn from the likes of Lonnie Donegan, Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters and Jerry Lee Lewis, many of whom Rory went on to record with. While still at school during his early teens, Rory began playing with professional show bands throughout Ireland, whose repertoires included all the popular hits of the day. Not musically satisfied with this, Rory converted his latter showband The Impact into a six-piece R’n’B outfit and headed for Hamburg in the mid-1960s. On arrival, this line-up was soon trimmed down to his first trio.

Rory went on to form Taste in 1967 a band who soon met with wide acclaim, and subsequently headed for London where they were an immediate success at London’s famed Marquee Club, counting among their fans John Lennon.

June 2010 is the 15th anniversary since Rory’s passing, his legacy will be commemorated in Ballyshannon by the unveiling of a statue of him in action by renowned Scottish sculptor David Annand’s. This precedes the annual four day festival ‘Rory’ festival of that town. Adding to the civic honours of; Cork’s Rory Gallagher music library and Institute of Technology naming their theatre after local hero, Belfast placing a plaque at the Ulster Hall, to name but a few.

Currently, a documentary on Rory nears completion and is expected to have it’s ‘premier’ screening with RTE in June. Concurrent to that footage, work has commenced with director Declan Quinn to produce a film on Rory’s life and times. Further audio-material of Rory’s American recordings are being worked on in the studio and Polydor Records are to issue a box-set celebrating 40+ years since Rory founded his Taste – Rory Forever.

 

In ‘91 Gallagher undertook a World tour at the end of which saw the dissolution his old band. With a new line-up formed in ’93 (Richard Newman drums, David Levy bass, Gerient Watkins keyboards / accordion and retained Mark Feltham on harmonica), delighted with his new sidemen Gallagher undertook an extensive European tour, after which the musician intended entering the studios to record two further albums simultaneously; one acoustic and one with his new band. But Rory’s ‘Walkin’ Blues Tour’ was curtailed in Holland, January 1995 due to illness.

Following his admission to hospital, Rory underwent transplant surgery. Sadly, though having made a strong recovery, he died on June 14th from an infection.

Tributes to the great musician came from people throughout the World, locations were named in his honour but importantly his music was not to forgotten with an array of tribute bands, gigs, festivals, songs and poems dedicated to him. Fender Instruments produced a tribute in the form of a Rory ‘Stratocaster’ and Martin Guitars made an acoustic in his honour.

Garnering Rory’s musical legacy, his brother Donal went into the studios with Tony Arnold (whom Rory was planning to record with), to restore and re-master the Gallagher recordings, whilst putting many of Rory’s filmed appearances to DVD. Placing these and the Capo label through BMG, later to become Sony, making  it one of the best selling artist catalogues and scoring no 1 places and platinum status for the DVDs – selling some five million copies since reissue.

Check out http://www.rorygallagher.com/#/biography.htm

 

2.  Gary Moore –Thin Lizzy and an extremely successful solo career.

Gary Moore

Gary was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on April 4th 1952. Like many others, he was turned on to rock and roll first through hearing Elvis Presley, and then via The Beatles. Seeing the likes of Jimi Hendrix and John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers in his hometown in the mid-60s opened up to him the rich world of The Blues. Hearing the art of the Blues guitar performed by such lauded exponents as Peter Green fired Moore’s nascent talent, and it wasn’t long before he was being hailed as a teen musical prodigy. Indeed, it was Green himself who helped foster Moore’s career, a debt that was repaid handsomely when Gary cut his warm and heartfelt tribute to his mentor, the‘Blues For Greeny’ album, released in 1995.

 

In 1979, Gary’s solo career began in earnest with the evocative hit single, ‘Parisienne Walkways’, which pitched Gary’s tasteful, blues-soaked lead guitar with a moody Phil Lynott guest vocal. The single reached the UK Top Ten in April of that year, and the subsequent album, ‘Back On The Streets’ was similarly well received. The late 1970s and early 80s were characterised by Gary’s restless search for the best musical settings for his talents; a reunion with Phil Lynott produced the powerful ‘Out In The Fields’ hit single (1985). He explored his Celtic roots on the album ‘Wild Frontier’ (1987), but it was with the 1990 album,‘Still Got The Blues’, that Gary arrived at a rich musical vein within which his creativity could flow freely. This and its successor, ‘After Hours’ saw cameo appearances from the likes of such Blues guitar greats as Albert King, BB King, and Albert Collins, and it is a testament to Gary’s own remarkable talents that he more than held his own amongst such august company. In 1994, Gary worked alongside Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce in the band BBM, cutting one accomplished album, before resuming his solo career.

The, ‘Back To The Blues’ (2001) album saw this consummately talented musician revisit The Blues with renewed vigor and determination, after the more experimental ‘Dark Days In Paradise’ (1997) and ‘A Different Beat’ (1999) albums. A ten-track collection that mixes excellent Moore originals with gritty and intense covers of standards. But, in the tradition of keeping his fans and critics guessing, 2002 saw Gary Moore crashing back onto the music scene with what has to be his heaviest collection of songs since the late 1980′s, once again forcing people to reassess any opinions and preconceptions they may have of him. That time round though, Moore had decided to share the limelight, joining forces with ex-Skunk Anansie bassist Cass Lewis and Primal Scream drummer Darrin Mooney to form ‘Scars’, a true power trio in every respect. The ‘Scars’ album was completed in early 2002 and that line-up, then went on to record the ‘Live at the Monsters of Rock’ (2003) live CD and DVD, which featured the band’s set as performed on two separate nights on the UK Tour in May 2003. That live set encompassed a diverse range of material, from across Gary’s playing career.

2009, sees Gary continue the momentum of all the touring behind the 2007 release of ‘Close As You Get’. Shows were played in various European capitals; also a number of outdoor festivals throughout 2008 and this has continued during 2009, with successful tours of Germany, Spain and the UK played during the first half of the year. Further European shows and festival appearances in Switzerland, Finland and again in Germany were also added to the busy touring schedule. Resulting in a demand for further UK dates in October/November. Giving even more fans, old and new an opportunity to experience ‘Baby For You Baby‘ live.

Check out  http://www.gary-moore.com/biog.html

 

 

1.  U2’s The Edge – David Evans

U2 Guitarist The Edge - Irish Music

A few years back, pundits pronounced the demise of rock `n’ roll’s instrumental talisman, claiming that the Goliath had been slain by the digital slingshots of samplers and sequencers. Among the evidence cited for this musical revolution: U2.

 

On the quartet’s 1990s albums (“Achtung Baby,” “Zooropa,” “Pop”) this quintessential `80s rock foursome _ whose sound is instantly recognizable in guitarist The Edge’s chiming riffs _ went techno. U2 exchanged amp feedback for synthesizer doodles, floor toms for drum machines, leather jackets for nylon street wear.

 

Instead of the mystical desert of “Joshua Tree,” the Irish band sang about, well, “Miami,” as one track on “Pop” was called. Problem was, “Pop” bombed. The irony-laced album sold poorly, compared to the group’s usual multiplatinum level. The megahyped “Pop Mart” tour, announced in the unlikely environs of a New York K mart, similarly stumbled under the pretenses of its awkward high-low concept. The shows drew tepid reviews from the usually devout press and nearly bankrupted the group.

So U2 went back to the fret board. The group’s latest album, “All That You Can’t Leave Behind,” marks a return to rock `n’ roll basics.

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 effectsreverb, 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.

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.”

Check out u2.com

Thanks for checking out our blog, “A Taste of Irish Music Featuring a List of Irish Guitarists”.  This article was first published on grasshopperjames.com and reprinted here with permission.

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