// U2 biography // The EdgeEverything you always wanted to know about U2's The Edge. Also read the history of U2 and bios for the other band members.
David Howell Evans
Date of birth:
August 8, 1961
Barking, Essex, England
See also: The Edge image gallery
The Edge is the lead guitarist of the Irish rock band U2.
Dave Evans was born in East London on 8th August 1961 to Garvin and Gwenda Evans. He has one sister, Jill, and one brother, Dik. Having moved to Ireland while Dave was still at school, the Evans family settled in St. Mary Park Road, Malahide - an affluent area north of Dublin. It was while there that he attended Mount Temple Comprehensive School and met the rest of the band.
Dave, who was known as a loner in high school, took piano and guitar lessons and often performed with his brother Dik Evans before they both answered an ad posted by Larry Mullen, Jr. seeking musicians to form a rock band. This band would go through several incarnations before emerging as U2 in March 1978 (Dik Evans left the band just before the name change).
People continue to speculate how Dave Evans received his nickname 'The Edge'. While his bandmate Bono has joked that he got the name because of his sharp mind, most U2 biographers attribute the nickname to the sharp profile of his face and nose.
The Edge married his high school girlfriend Aislinn O'Sullivan. The couple had three daughters together: Hollie, Arun and Blue Angel. Egde and O'Sullivan separated in 1991 but could not divorce because of Irish law. They were divorced in 1996, after divorce was legalized in 1995.
In October 1997 The Edge had a fourth daughter, Sian Beatrice Echo, with Morleigh Steinberg, a dancer from U2's early 1990s Zoo TV Tour. Their son Levi was born in September 1999. The couple married in June 2002.
As a guitar player, Edge is recognised as having a trademark sound typified by understatement and a focus on textured melody. 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 amongst the band's most critically acclaimed and best loved work. The album was recorded at the height of the 80's "shred-metal" era, but Edge's guitar playing on it could not be further from the emphasis of the time on technique and speed (often at the expense of the song having any kind of emotional depth or meaning). The album showcases Edge's approach to the guitar - rather than trying to push his guitar to the front of the mix and make his contributions obvious, Edge focuses on the song and the mood, often contributing just a few simple lead lines along with the ever-present delay pedal set to repeat the 16th-note. The intro riff to "Where the Streets Have No Name" is simply a repeated 4-note arpeggio. Edge also supplies the backing vocals for Bono, and whilst he may not have as great a voice as some, Edge's backing vocals (often taking the form of a repeated cry) add much to songs like "Beautiful Day". He sings the lead vocal on "Van Diemen's Land" (Rattle and Hum), "Numb" (Zooropa), the first half of the song "Seconds" from (War), and sings the occasional lead vocal in live renditions of other songs (such as "Sunday Bloody Sunday" during the Popmart Tour).
Much like his contemporary, Tom Morello, Edge has stated that many of his guitar parts are based around guitar effects. This is especially true from the Achtung Baby era onwards, although many of the band's 80's material made heavy use of echo. His influence as a guitarist can be seen on many bands still active such as Radiohead, Coldplay, and much of the indie/alternative scene.
Instruments: Electric guitar, acoustic guitar, keyboards, piano, bass (on "40"), lap steel.
Guitars used; Gibson Explorer, Fender Stratocaster (with custom bridge pick-up), Gibson Les Paul, Gibson SG, Fender Telecaster, Rickenbacker 330-12, Gibson Country Gentleman.
// Solo recordings
In addition to his regular gig playing with U2 Edge has also recorded with artists like Johnny Cash, B. B. King, Tina Turner, and Ron Wood.
The Edge connected with Eno and Lanois collaborator Michael Brook (the creator of the infinite guitar, which he regularly uses), working with him on the score to the film Captive (1986).
He has also created the theme song for the new Batman cartoon.