Mullen: Don't You Just Love His Sparring Use Of Cymbals? - U2 Feedback

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Old 12-09-2004, 04:46 AM   #1
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Mullen: Don't You Just Love His Sparring Use Of Cymbals?

Edge one said that he plays few notes because "notes are expensive." I think the same can be said for Mullen when it comes to his use of cymbals (or lack thereof).

Much has been said about Bono's singing, Edge's minimalist chimes, and Clayton's driving bass - but little has been said about Mullen.

Much has been said about Bono's save-the-world act, and PLEBA is basically a Clayton lovefest. Then when the fake Edge started showing up here, the whole forum became a "blue crack Edge @ss-kissing binge."

So where does this leave Mullen? Sure he has been known for his martial drumming in Sunday Bloody Sunday or his double bass style in Pride (In The Name Of Love). But I think Mullen's brilliance lies in other songs, where he has this sparring use of cymbals.

Perhaps the sound of crashing cymbals are expensive to Mullen. Check out the U2 epic called Bad - the verse part doesn't have cymbals. Ditto for Where The Streets Have No Name - just Mullen and his snare drum (sure a few cymbals here and there). Clayton's driving bass in With Or Without You would never have been highlighted if not for Mullen's decision to can the hit-hat and the crashing cymbals in favor of a rounded leaner sound. The same thing can be said for the verse part of All I Want Is You.

Let's fast forward to the new album where Mullen once again shines. First with Vertigo. It's a fast paced song with so many things going on in three minutes. Yet Mullen manages to create a contrast from the verse and chorus by playing cymbal-less in the verse and crashing everything in the chorus. The second verse of Miracle Drug is also cymbal-less which makes the atmostphere more desolate and more like being inside someone's head and reading his thoughts.

I think it is a shame that Mullen doesn't get the credit he deserves in U2 forums such as this. For me, my favorite U2 songs are those with a lot of segments without cymbals. I just love Mullen's sparring use of cymbals.

I feel that this drumming style also suits the band well - it makes Bono's vocals prominent, give the Edge his room to creating his atmospheric sounds, and covers up for Clayton's lack of formal bass training.

Come on guys, let's all give Mullen his due. He deserves it. Even with this new album, he has still demonstrated he is a drumming genius who plays to the bands strengths and weaknesses. I think Mullen is more than just the guy who gave Bono his first job by posting the note, Mullen is actually a great drummer.

Cheers,

J
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Old 12-09-2004, 04:50 AM   #2
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Cymbal is the drum that he hits right at the end of Stay, right?

As far as I know, those are played in the loudest parts - choruses of songs (Vertigo, Beautiful day) - he often hits a cymbal before Bono starts singing the first verse.

(Adam did take bass lessons after Zooropa BTW)
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Old 12-09-2004, 04:54 AM   #3
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Mullen shows all of us that one does not need to use symbols to be an effective drummer. Just as Edge was a revolutionary guitarist in the 80s for his minimalist chord structures, so was Mullen for his modest, workman-like drumming. In a decade of drumming excesses, Mullen was a no-bullshit kinda drummer. I've always liked that about him - is drumming is just like his attitude. Look at the man's response to 'Passengers' - the guy hated it, because it didn't really 'serve a purpose' or 'make sense.' It was 'art for art's sake' as he put it. I think he approaches drumming in the same matter - do I need to use the symbols here, or is that just excess? Can I be more effective by using a more minimalist drumming style? And so on and so forth.

Mullen's the man, and without him, U2 simply wouldn't be the same.

-Miggy
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Old 12-09-2004, 06:10 AM   #4
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I agree. Mullens drumming is like his personality. No bullshot. I love that. I think he holds the music and band together. U2 would not be U2 without him. They would have one less fan without him.
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Old 12-09-2004, 06:12 AM   #5
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Re: Mullen: Don't You Just Love His Sparring Use Of Cymbals?

Quote:
Originally posted by jick
his double bass style in Pride (In The Name Of Love).

J

that's a floor tom mounted on his left hand side.
that combined with his single bass drum is the sound you're referring to.
you can see it in any live video.
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Old 12-09-2004, 06:59 AM   #6
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Re: Re: Mullen: Don't You Just Love His Sparring Use Of Cymbals?

Quote:
Originally posted by JOFO



that's a floor tom mounted on his left hand side.
that combined with his single bass drum is the sound you're referring to.
you can see it in any live video.
Yeah sorry forgot to clarify myself here. He doesn't use two kick bass drums but has a specially monted floor tom. But it gives sort of a double bass effect.

Cheers,

J
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Old 12-09-2004, 07:00 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by U2girl
(Adam did take bass lessons after Zooropa BTW)
Yes, and some of the songs I refer to here are pre-Zooropa such as Bad, Streets, WOWY, and AIWIY.

Cheers,

J
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Old 12-09-2004, 07:15 AM   #8
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I think he's called Larry , by the way. Just as Adam is the name of the bass player.
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Old 12-09-2004, 07:28 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Tizer
I think he's called Larry , by the way. Just as Adam is the name of the bass player.
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Old 12-09-2004, 07:36 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Tizer
I think he's called Larry , by the way. Just as Adam is the name of the bass player.
I consider U2 bigger than Bush and Blair and I dont go around calling them George and Tony.

And I feel "Larry" and "Adam" should be reserved only for close friends or real friends of U2. They aren't my friends. U2 doesn't care if I eat or starve, all they care about is my money. I also don't care if U2 eats or starves, all I care about is their output of great music that will be soothing to my ears.

Sorry for veering off-topic. So where were we? Oh yes, the drumming brilliance of Mullen. So what do you guys think about his "no-cymbal" style?

Cheers,

J
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Old 12-09-2004, 07:38 AM   #11
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hahahahaha
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Old 12-09-2004, 07:39 AM   #12
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If not Larry, shouldn't it be Mr. Mullen then?

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Old 12-09-2004, 07:54 AM   #13
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There was a wee bit of cymbal banging in Exit... all the better for it too....
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Old 12-09-2004, 08:15 AM   #14
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You never cease to amaze me Jick.
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Old 12-09-2004, 08:18 AM   #15
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Yet you still call Bono and Edge...Bono and Edge...
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Old 12-09-2004, 09:54 AM   #16
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I think he uses his cymbals plenty, but there usually just not very high in the mix. Look at the chorus of "Last night on Earth". He's totally slamming the ride, as you can see in the Mexico City Popmart video.
That being said, I think he's a really terrific, solid rock drummer, and what he plays is usually totally appropriate in the context of what Adam and Edge are doing.
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Old 12-09-2004, 10:04 AM   #17
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He plays the drums
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Old 12-09-2004, 10:07 AM   #18
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I must confess that sometimes I wish Mullen would use some more cymbals. His drumming can seem a bit bland at times, although I suppose it is a tried and trusted formula that Adam and Larry back up Edge and Bono really well.
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Old 12-09-2004, 10:41 AM   #19
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While I agree with Jick (for once), Mr. Larry Mullen (how's that for proper naming?) hits the cymbals like no other in Bad in the last half of that song. The cymbals are almost overpowering on a good stereo.
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Old 12-09-2004, 11:38 AM   #20
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Re: Mullen: Don't You Just Love His Sparring Use Of Cymbals?

Quote:
Originally posted by jick
I feel that this drumming style also suits the band well - it makes Bono's vocals prominent, give the Edge his room to creating his atmospheric sounds, and covers up for Clayton's lack of formal bass training.

I was replying to this sentence - it is not true Adam has had NO formal training and by the way you didn't specify which U2 songs you meant in that sentence.
But I guess it's just your usual anti-Adam attitude.
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