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Old 09-08-2002, 04:15 PM   #1
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For those musically educated, skilled, musicians etc...

...as you're people "from the field", i always wanted to ask a musician this (since i'm no expert):

how good are U2 musically, expertwise and technically? You know,how good of a singer is Bono, how good of a guitar player is Edge, how good of a drummer is Larry and how good of a bass player is Adam (compared to other bands you have listened to)?
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Old 09-08-2002, 04:42 PM   #2
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I played the trumpet for ten years and I'm just slowly learning to play guitar. Maybe I'm not technically "qualified" to answer this question, but here's one thing I can say...

I have noticed with U2's music I can listen to one part (like Larry's, Adam's, Edge's, Bono's) throughout a whole song without getting bored, and with a lot of other bands it's not that way at all. You need all the parts together or else it's really boring.
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Old 09-08-2002, 05:43 PM   #3
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Been playing guitar for abour 7 years now.

Bono isn't a vocalist. He's a singer. Vocalists rely on pitch, tone, etc. Singers rely on emotion. In that sense, Bono is an amazing singer - but not the greatest vocalists. Another example of a great vocalist is/was John Lennon (though I'm not a fan of his).

The Edge, I believe, is a great guitarist. He has weaknesses (not much of a lead guitarist) and he knows 'em. But he continues to experiment with different styles (ala the funk-esque "in a little while"). There's one thing that Edge can do with a guitar that most guitarists can't. And that thing is bring an emotional response from the guitar. I swear I can hear that guitar screaming and taunting me during "the fly".

Adam - who is probably the "underated" one of the band knows his place in the band and sticks with what he knows. I think Adam has more influence in the band than most believe. I don't know much about bass players because they're usually in the shadows of the bands so I'm not sure if he's great or just mediocre. All I know is that he produces some real funky grooves. I love it.

Larry seems to be the hardest worker of the band. To watch him live is truly amazing since he barely ever gets a break. I think his drumming is very unique and all his own. In that sense, he's a great drummer. There's not much originality out there these days so it's always a pleasure to hear him cracking away at "where the streets have no name" or "please".

Just my opinion. That's all folks.

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Old 09-08-2002, 05:43 PM   #4
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they are better than the sum of all their parts.
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Old 09-08-2002, 06:16 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by Zoocifer
Been playing guitar for abour 7 years now.

Bono isn't a vocalist. He's a singer. Vocalists rely on pitch, tone, etc. Singers rely on emotion. In that sense, Bono is an amazing singer - but not the greatest vocalists. Another example of a great vocalist is/was John Lennon (though I'm not a fan of his).

The Edge, I believe, is a great guitarist. He has weaknesses (not much of a lead guitarist) and he knows 'em. But he continues to experiment with different styles (ala the funk-esque "in a little while"). There's one thing that Edge can do with a guitar that most guitarists can't. And that thing is bring an emotional response from the guitar. I swear I can hear that guitar screaming and taunting me during "the fly".

Adam - who is probably the "underated" one of the band knows his place in the band and sticks with what he knows. I think Adam has more influence in the band than most believe. I don't know much about bass players because they're usually in the shadows of the bands so I'm not sure if he's great or just mediocre. All I know is that he produces some real funky grooves. I love it.

Larry seems to be the hardest worker of the band. To watch him live is truly amazing since he barely ever gets a break. I think his drumming is very unique and all his own. In that sense, he's a great drummer. There's not much originality out there these days so it's always a pleasure to hear him cracking away at "where the streets have no name" or "please".

Just my opinion. That's all folks.

- z -



I agree with everything you say, and I will add that compared to most bands from the last 25 years, the one thing they have that sets them apart is originality. I mean, they cannot, for example, break into a zeppelin tunes off the top of their heads, edge doesn't know shit about jazz, adam doesn't have any chops, etc....but it does not matter....because they were never out to do THAT in the first place....so, they are not frustrated musicians who know eveything about their instruments but never contributed anything to MUSIC.
anyway, if you check out the company they have kept:
sinatra
johnny cash
pavorotti
springsteen
mick and keith
how many people can say this?
anyways, larry IS a really good drummer....much better than most in rock.
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Old 09-08-2002, 10:02 PM   #6
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They all suck ..

Larry has the same drumming style in most songs. Ever notice how he always rolls to end a song the same way? Also notice how he likes to have a certain effect which I don't know the technical terms for, but its something like a double bass (?)?

Edge guitar style is repetetive and lacking in variety (unless you consider using different effects while playing the same thing variety). His fillers to songs during jam sessions or demo session are the SAME character, just listen to the Achtung Outtakes, the Electrical Storm demo, and some of the more basic U2 songs from the late 80's onwards.

Adam is an average bassit, he doesn't lack skill, but he's far from the best. The good thing about Adam is he is very disciplined.

Bono doesn't have a good voice in the sense that he has great vocal range. He hardly has any vocal range, even less now that he is older. But having a good voice is only one thing. Being a good singer is another thing and he is a good singer. Bono's voice is also very very unique and distinctive, unlike say Creed/Pearl Jam/Stone Temple Pilots who have the same voice, or just about any punk-wannabe band like GreenDay and Blink who sound the same.

U2 as a band is definitely better than the sum of their parts, no question about that.

Cheers,

J
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Old 09-09-2002, 07:47 AM   #7
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I'd add: Bono, in live concerts, will occasionally drop beats (ie. if he finishes a line and is supposed to wait 3 beats to come in on a down beat, he doesn't wait and whoever's playing has to accomodate to him) or lose the key of a song, or be unable to find the starting pitch from an opening chord. This is mostly in live singalongs, or where he's doing something off the cuff; the "In My Life" interlude on the Elevation Tour, for example, sometimes found him way off key. This says to me that he doesn't have the greatest innate musical ear.

That fact takes, to me, absolutely nothing away from what he accomplishes as an electrifying frontman and a singer who taps into and takes the audience into very deep emotions.

I just don't think U2 is about creating pieces of music that are mostly impressive for their musical craftsmanship -- which is good, because the gifts they have make them poorly suited to do that. For the kinds of experiences they *are* about, though, they have the absolute perfect gifts, and an incredible chemistry when those are combined. IMHO.
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Old 09-09-2002, 09:01 AM   #8
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I think The Edge has created his own guitar style. I think that he is an amazing solo guitarist too, you remember Mysterious Ways? Then, I really like his work on God Part II, ok it is a normal phaser effect, but it sounds salsa. And numerous other examples, consider the riff on Streets!

Larry is a good drummer. He has his own military drumming style. It fits perfectly to the messages of U2s music.

Bono is a very emotional singer, I agree w/ other opinions here.

Adam plays ok. I wouldnt say a second Larry Graham, but ok.
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Old 09-09-2002, 10:02 AM   #9
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I play bass, and I can tell you that Adam's bass lines are quite easy to play, but then again, who apart from Adam could have come up with them in the first place?.
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Old 09-09-2002, 10:54 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bono's pet Frog
I play bass, and I can tell you that Adam's bass lines are quite easy to play, but then again, who apart from Adam could have come up with them in the first place?.
Yeah, right, so hes a composer too.

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Old 09-09-2002, 12:39 PM   #11
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Originally posted by whenhiphopdrovethebigcars


Yeah, right, so hes a composer too.

Erm, isn't he???
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Old 09-09-2002, 02:30 PM   #12
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Someone's gonna have to explain what's a vocal range because I always thought Bono had a pretty good one, seeing as he can sing almost anything, from whispers, to full on wail, falsetto and everything else in between. So why is his range so limited?
(Although I gotta admit that his voice in the past couple of years hasn't been at his best and it does show some strain when hitting the high notes so I'm talking more about JT/AB Bono, not ATYCLB Bono).
Someone posted an article a while ago about how Bono is one of the male only singers who can hit some of those high notes and how impressive his voice is from a technical point of view. I mean, I can see why Scott Stapp's range, Sting's or even Eddie Vedder's range is limited, but Bono, no vocal range at all?
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Old 09-09-2002, 06:16 PM   #13
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I think Bono did have an impressive vocal range years ago, at least for a rock singer. Just listen to the original recordings of Pride or Bad. The notes he hits in those songs are incredibly high, and he was singing them full-out, not in falsetto. Of course he doesn't have that range now, but he is still wonderful to listen to because of the way he can express emotions with his voice.
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Old 09-09-2002, 06:52 PM   #14
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I'm not a singer nor can I sing so I cannot comment on Bono. If his instrument were I voice I'd say he's the best player in U2.

Although I'm a huge fan of the Edge and his playing style its not exactly cuting edge playing wise. Compared to the likes of Joe Satriani and Steve Vai Edge's guitar handling is almost like a beginner. Sonically he's creating some interesting sounds, thats his strongpoint but its still nothing really radical, compared to the likes of the guitar player of Rage Against The Machine who got some really weird and unguitarlike sounds from his guitar. And he does seem to be set in his ways these days. His guitar solos nowadays aren't up to par with that of the first 3 albums, although he was inspired on Achtung Baby and Zoo TV.
But in the end he has a very definitive style that sets him apart from the pack. Some guitarists only have to play a few notes and you can recognize them and Edge falls in that category.

Larry is a good drummer for the music U2 is making. But I've yet to hear a succesfull band whose drummer isn't up for the music that band is making. The rest of a band can be shite but drummers always have to be good. Larry's main strength is not into making flashy fills but in keeping it interesting.

Adam's bass playing is what gives a lot of drive to U2's music but technically he sounds like the guy who had to play bass because no one else wanted to. He's also the one one who could be replaced. The first night in Sydney during Zoo TV sees U2 playing with Adam's roadie on bass and if you didn't know it you would not notice it. Still, for a limited player he came up with some good riffs like New Year's Day, Mysterious Ways, With or Without You and New York without which there would be no song left. If I had to choose between mediocre playing/good writing skils vs. the reverse I'd pick the first any day. In the end thats what makes U2 a good band, not playing skills but the ability to write good music and to connect with eachother and their audience
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Old 09-09-2002, 07:55 PM   #15
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well, i thin everyone in u2 is incredibly talented. for example bono comes up with wonderful lyrics and he sings incredibly. just listen to heartland. as far as the edge goes, he's a genius. he knows more about music than he actually shows simply because hes not that kind of guitarist. and if u dont agree just listen to that incredible bullet the blue sky solo in elevation dvd.
larry sticks to basics, but he does whats best for the song. hes a n excellent drummer. adam is good too, except most people dont really notice it becuase bass is hardest to hear. but dont tell me u guys dont dig that bass on do u feel loved or in dirty day????? and those are the ones i can name right now.
seriously these guys are good...all of them. theyre alll just differnet types of musicians. an that is why they dont sound as "good" as the rest of them. again, theyre extraordinarily talented. as songwriters as well


and thats my two cents

cheers,
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Old 09-10-2002, 12:34 AM   #16
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I agree with Zoocifer regarding The Edge. I've been playing guitar for 4 years, and I started playing lead not too long ago so I'm not very good. I can sound like many of Edge's solo's just by playing notes from the major scale, often on one string. So the lead stuff he's doing isn't really technically that difficult. But what he does do is create a sound that's unique, and guitar parts that just plain sound good. And for that, you have to give him credit.
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Old 09-10-2002, 03:34 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bono's pet Frog


Erm, isn't he???
Yeah yeah, sure ok, he is. Music by U2 means he is.
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Old 09-10-2002, 03:40 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by The Blunt Edge
I agree with Zoocifer regarding The Edge. I've been playing guitar for 4 years, and I started playing lead not too long ago so I'm not very good. I can sound like many of Edge's solo's just by playing notes from the major scale, often on one string. So the lead stuff he's doing isn't really technically that difficult. But what he does do is create a sound that's unique, and guitar parts that just plain sound good. And for that, you have to give him credit.
The point is: Who cares about technique?

I dont think the abilities of a guitarist should be defined through how many notes he can play per second. Hes got his style, that is what counts. I like the sound.
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Old 09-10-2002, 10:13 AM   #19
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If anyone's familiar with Picasso's "Femme"(it's the one of a woman's "back side"), this is how I've always viewed U2. This painting took 4 strokes of a brush, but it captured something amazing. It's a work of art. I've seen bands that are amazing technically speaking, and they never seem to capture any emotion or soul, but they can "out play" U2 anyday. But then U2 will come in and in just 4 strokes of their brush put those other bands into a coma. Technique means nothing without soul.
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Old 09-10-2002, 10:18 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar
Technique means nothing without soul.
Exactly. Hendrix knew this, too.
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