So, how good musicians are they? Also, Bono's voice question for singers - U2 Feedback

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Old 04-02-2006, 10:35 AM   #1
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So, how good musicians are they? Also, Bono's voice question for singers

Question for drummers/bassists/guitar players: how would you rate Larry, Adam and Edge compared to other bands?

Kind of a technical question about Bono: the other day someone posted he is a high baritone with a big range. I always thought he was a tenor, as he is able to hit the high notes. So, which is it?
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Old 04-02-2006, 11:52 AM   #2
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He's probably a baritone with huge range. Look at it this way: Prince is naturally a mid-baritone, and yet his falsetto is flat out /gorgeous/. You'd think he were female. Range has nothing to do with where your voice naturally rests; it's how you develop things.
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Old 04-02-2006, 12:14 PM   #3
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I mean notes like I still haven't found, Bad, Pride chorus ... not falsetto.

I remember reading Johnny Cash was a baritone, or Eddie Vedder. Those sound like more resonating, lower voices than Bono.
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Old 04-02-2006, 04:01 PM   #4
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I'd rate Adam and Larry fairly low in comparison to other bassists and drummers. Edge...debatable. The problem is that U2's songs usually tend to maintain the same structure from start to finish. Some of Adam's bass lines are actually laughable. You have no idea how boring it is to play U2 songs on bass. It's the same line played over and over again. No variation whatsoever. There's sometimes the odd middle eight here and there, but that hardly counts. There are other bands out there who are capable of far more than U2 are musically.

That said, there's always been more focus on the lyrics and catchy riffs within U2, not epic displays of instrumentation.
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Old 04-02-2006, 04:18 PM   #5
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i'd say Larry is a solid drummer with good drumlines, but he's not a technical master or anything -- same would go for Adam. Edge has a unique sound that you wont hear anywhere else, and Bono's voice is definitely one of a kind. I don't think they are good enough to go off and do their own things, but as a group they are much better than their technical abilities may hold them to be.
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Old 04-02-2006, 04:35 PM   #6
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That's why I love U2 so much, they really are not great musicians, and they have admitted that many times themselves. But they are a very unique group, when they started out they had a different attitude about the music, it's not about the complexity of the song or the music, it's about finding the emotion or the soul of the song and sharing it, the complete honesty of there songs is what made me love U2. They were a band before they even new how to play there instruments, and I am driven to bands with a bigger ambition, honest, and show there emotion over how great of musicians they are.
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Old 04-02-2006, 05:46 PM   #7
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As musicians they are technically very low down the ladder. If you count Bono's voice as an instrument then he's arguably the best.

Edge seems quit respected though for his sounds. He plays like just learned to play guitar but where other guitarists spend all their time perfecting a signature sound/style, Edge finds different sounds for every song. Although the delayheavy Where the streets sound probably always will be associated with him.

Larry is a solid drummer but it seems like he plays more of the same types of beat on the same kinds of songs.

Adam still sounds like akid who was told to play the bass cause there were not other instruments for him left to play and somebody had to do it. It was great seeing him move about this tour emerging from his dark corner but technically he's seems to be going downhill. He can't or won't even play his bass solo from Gloria. He just arpegiates some chords and that's it. No more slapping and plucking.

These guys are very fortunate indeed that most people never hear (or care about) the difference between something played very basic and simple and something that is technically complicated. And that they chemistry they have together and with their audience is what makes them and any other good band great. Not playing 10.000 notes per minute.
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Old 04-03-2006, 01:58 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Muad'zin
As musicians they are technically very low down the ladder. If you count Bono's voice as an instrument then he's arguably the best.

Edge seems quit respected though for his sounds. He plays like just learned to play guitar but where other guitarists spend all their time perfecting a signature sound/style, Edge finds different sounds for every song. Although the delayheavy Where the streets sound probably always will be associated with him.

Larry is a solid drummer but it seems like he plays more of the same types of beat on the same kinds of songs.

Adam still sounds like akid who was told to play the bass cause there were not other instruments for him left to play and somebody had to do it. It was great seeing him move about this tour emerging from his dark corner but technically he's seems to be going downhill. He can't or won't even play his bass solo from Gloria. He just arpegiates some chords and that's it. No more slapping and plucking.

Does Flea still use a lot of slapping and plucking? I don't really hear him using it as much on the most recent Chili Peppers songs I've heard, but maybe I'm not picking up on it.

I don't think it's a matter of Adam can't play the solo, if he could play it when he was just starting out, he can still do it, but just chooses to play it without plucking or slapping.

Have you heard backing tracks to Gloria? I think he plays the solo, 2 other times in the song, but it's not as clear as the whole band is playing the other times.

I figured Adam was going uphill, as he plays songs differently. I was reading at a bass players' forum and this one person really looked down his nose at those who used picks, that using fingerstyle shows more proficiency. Now that was just one person's opinion, but I have noticed Adam plays without a pick a lot more lately. ATCYLB and Pop are probably his most non-pick playing albums. (From what I've noticed on live versions)

Oh U2 girl, I saw this thread about Adam from a rather large bass players' forum. (I lurk but don't post).

http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showth...t=Adam+Clayton

I figured Edge was a more respected as a guitarist than the other 3, but 'he plays like he just learned guitar.' Really? I figured he was better than that.

I really don't know what makes a drummer good or bad, so I dunno about Larry.
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Old 04-03-2006, 03:02 AM   #9
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(Edit)

Another thread from a few years ago, but some more opinions on Adam as a bass player.

http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showth...t=Adam+Clayton
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Old 04-03-2006, 03:26 AM   #10
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Thanks, interesting read.
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Old 04-03-2006, 03:42 AM   #11
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My opinions on this, specificaly larry and adam differ.

As a musician/songwriter i find that Adams bass lines, while repetetive as all hell, are practicaly perfect. Songs like mysterious ways, wowy, please are structured around these bass lines and they work perfectly. Granted, they aren't very technical, but they are melodicaly perfect.

Larry's drumming is fantastic in the fact that he is a metronome. Nothing too flashy, but his timing is perfect. He also has the ENORMOUS task of controlling the biggest sound that any band has ever made. I really don't think any other drummer could do what he does and make it sound nearly as good. He also uses great dynamics in his playing that many more technicaly proficient drummers lack. The symble explosion in i will follow is a great example of this, or the slow steady marching intro of please...and for all of carter beauford's mastery, his drumming lacks this aspect.

As for Edge... he's just on another level and would've made any band famous just due to his ability to write perfect guitar pieces, monster riffs and memorable melodies. I forget where in "u2 at the end of the world" but they mention an early u2 show where a high ranking music industry person could "hear that the guitarist had the magic" and the rest of the band was trying to catch up.

bono has the rare ability as a singer to go into a range that only he and freddie mercury (and now maybe jim james of my morning jacket) can go to. He can't do it much anymore, but the zootv versions of mysterious ways (the post falsetto "cmon love cmon love" and the "halleluja" outro of running to stand still are the range i am talking about. Just that screaming, yet almost operatic zone that is basicaly unattainable unless born with that ultra rare ability (quote verbatim from my vox teacher, whom considers bono the greatest non opera singer ever).

Put it all together, and it adds up too unique musicianship, which ultimately is more worthwhile than ability. Session musicians are sessions musicians for a reason. They sound clean and professional, but lack the depth and originality of other, less technical musicians who've made it to the big time (see radiohead as another example of this).
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Old 04-03-2006, 09:18 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by thrillme


Does Flea still use a lot of slapping and plucking? I don't really hear him using it as much on the most recent Chili Peppers songs I've heard, but maybe I'm not picking up on it.
It matters not that the RHCP have changed their style from funkrock to poprock, but if Flea can still work those fingers when he plays their older stuff.
From what I heard he still can.

Quote:
I don't think it's a matter of Adam can't play the solo, if he could play it when he was just starting out, he can still do it, but just chooses to play it without plucking or slapping.
There we have to disagree because I firmly believe Adam can't play that solo any more or has forgotten how. After all, its 15 years since they last played Gloria. There is an interview with Bono from 1984, when the band is about to go on the road again where he says that after a year's hiatus in touring Edge had to put on the record in order to ascertain what he was playing because he had forgotten how to play the songs. And you would not believe many times I have heard Adam f*** up even his own basslines live. Even to songs he should know by heart like New year's day. Playing stupid mistakes like chorus parts during verse or vice versa. During one the two Vancouver shows he's almost constantly playing the wrong parts in Vertigo. Surely if you make that kind of mistakes on a regular basis then forgetting how to play a certain bass part in a song isn't that far off.

Quote:
Have you heard backing tracks to Gloria?
Yes. In my version the bass solo starts as 03:05

Quote:
I think he plays the solo, 2 other times in the song, but it's not as clear as the whole band is playing the other times.
What Adam does nowadays is play the intro to his bass solo twice, the actual solo, just simple octave slaps and pulls he doesn't play on any performance of Vertigo Gloria that I've heard. And I must have heard them all.

Quote:
I figured Adam was going uphill, as he plays songs differently. I was reading at a bass players' forum and this one person really looked down his nose at those who used picks, that using fingerstyle shows more proficiency. Now that was just one person's opinion, but I have noticed Adam plays without a pick a lot more lately. ATCYLB and Pop are probably his most non-pick playing albums. (From what I've noticed on live versions)
Just because somebody frowns his nose at pick playing doesn't mean his view is superior. Yes, you may become more proficient at playing with your fingers as time goes by. It doesn't have to mean your overall bag of tricks improves. Just that you become too comforatable doing the things you already know.

Quote:
I figured Edge was a more respected as a guitarist than the other 3, but 'he plays like he just learned guitar.' Really? I figured he was better than that.
Playing Edge's guitarlines is fairly simple. The real bitch, and its a huge one, is in getting the right sound. And that for every song. That is why I tip my hat to mr. Evans. Most guitarist would spend their lives looking for one great tone and when they find it, stick to it like superglue for the rest of their lives. He has to have a new for every damn song.

Quote:
I really don't know what makes a drummer good or bad, so I dunno about Larry.
Larry is absolutely rock solid. The only thing I can fault him with is that since Achtung Baby its like I hear his basic UTEOTW drum beat crop up in so many other songs.
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Old 04-03-2006, 12:33 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Muad'zin


It matters not that the RHCP have changed their style from funkrock to poprock, but if Flea can still work those fingers when he plays their older stuff.
From what I heard he still can.
On the topic of Flea (Muad'zin, I know you probably already know this, but for the benefit of thrillme), Flea's current bass lines are about a thousand times more interesting than any bass line Adam has ever done. And that's saying something, because Flea doesn't play with nearly the same amount of technical prowess on the new songs than he does on something like BSSM. So even then, Flea at his worst is, I feel, better than Adam at his best. Bringing Flea into the picture is just silly because he's one of the greatest bassists alive today.

I'm not trying to knock Adam or anything, I just think he's not that interesting as a bassist. His lines support U2's sound there's no denying that, but they're hardly anything that'll make people step back and say, "That Adam Clayton, he's one hell of a bass player." Adam's biggest problem is that he mainly plays the root chords and nothing else. No little variations to the main bass lines in most U2 songs. The only time when he really was interesting, in my view, was on Pop.


Quote:
Originally posted by The_One1932

Put it all together, and it adds up too unique musicianship, which ultimately is more worthwhile than ability. Session musicians are sessions musicians for a reason. They sound clean and professional, but lack the depth and originality of other, less technical musicians who've made it to the big time (see radiohead as another example of this).
Interesting, because I feel Radiohead are far more technically advanced than U2 are at the present. Jonny Greenwood used to be a monster on guitar and I think he still has it in him to create the technical riffs he made in his past. Their current music just doesn't support the kind of stuff he was writing on The Bends. That said, his work on HTTT was better, I feel, than Edge's work on HTDAAB. And I think Colin Greenwood is a far better bassist than Adam is. Take, for example, live versions of I Might Be Wrong and compare it to the bass in any U2 song. Not to mention the synth in Radiohead songs. So to label them as less-technical musicians confuses me a little.

I don't know, I just feel U2 currently has one of the dullest rhythm sections in the rock, pop/rock scene.
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Old 04-03-2006, 02:27 PM   #14
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Honestly, I think Adam plays possum more often than not. He isn't required to do anything other than keep time with Larry, and underscore the more extroverted pair. And he does.

As far as Larry, that man couldn'tbe better. He has no skills, as far as he's concerned, but I can identify a U2 song by his signature soft-hand playing (Notice the difference in him playing the drum line in 40 alone on the stage versus playing SBS witht he band. His solo, alone on the stage, isa hell of a lot louder and technical.)
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Old 04-03-2006, 05:00 PM   #15
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U2 are self taught. They have their own sound, and their drums and bass sound hauntingly the same song to song. Edge has an incrediblely strong talent on guitar. I feel he and Bono are the strength of the group.

As for Bono's voice....it sounds to me like a tenor not baritone, and he has developed quite a range over the years. I love listenign to him hit and hold those notes during Miss Sarajevo and SYCMIOYO. His voice has changed and matured throughout the years, but I feel he is sounding very strong and healthy of late.
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Old 04-04-2006, 09:11 PM   #16
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I so love hearing all these opinions.

I myself have as much musical ability as a blade of grass, so I love hearing people who really know what they are talking about have a reasoned and well informed discussion.

I heard someone say once that U2 have great songs that will be remembered and talked about, but no one will remeber how they sound, because no one can play them. (as U2 does)

What do you all think of that statement?
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Old 04-04-2006, 09:46 PM   #17
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what about Bono on guitar?

and no, im not joking.
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Old 04-04-2006, 10:22 PM   #18
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Wasn't Larry in a marching band or something? Cause it really shows through in alot of their stuff if he was. I don't think that their are any guitarist in the world who understand the instrument and what its capable of aswell as Edge its amazing to think about the time he puts into every song.
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Old 04-05-2006, 02:48 AM   #19
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I think there is more to being a muscision than just playing lots of notes. Theres a lot of bands out there that play really fast complicated solos and it just doesnt have any structure as a song. For me it's not about playing as many notes as you can, rather the overall sound and as a band, I don't think anyones on their level.
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Old 04-05-2006, 10:33 AM   #20
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I don't think anyones on their level.
Ugh.
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