David Howell Evans, better known as The Edge, was born in Barking Essex in 1961. His parents were both Welsh and the family moved to Dublin when he was just one year old. He learned to play the guitar and piano at a young age, often playing with his elder brother Dik Evans.
While attending Mount Temple Comprehensive School the boys both answered an advert on a school notice board looking for band members placed by drummer Larry Mullen, Jr. The brothers were both accepted and the band formed in 1976, comprised of singer Paul Hewson, later known as Bono, Mullen and bass player Adam Clayson.
After leaving school, the band started playing in various music venues in Ireland quickly building up a following.
At around this time The Edge received his nickname from Bono (then calling himself Bono vox) – who called him The Edge because of his sharp features of his face and his talent from seeing things objectively – from the edge!
Dik Evens left the band to concentrate on his studies and shortly after his departure, the name, U2 was decided upon. A big break came when they won a talent contest held in Limerick on St Patrick’s Day 1978. The prize was £500 and the chance to record a demo to be heard by CBS Ireland.
By 1980, this had led to a contract with Island record and the debut album “Boy” was released in 1980. Success came very quickly and by the mid 1980s, U2 had become a top international act.
In the early days of the band, The Edge became profoundly religious and nearly gave up the band in 1981 nearly leaving halfway through the October tour; however, he managed to reconcile his beliefs with the rock and roll lifestyle.
The Edge has an unmistakeable guitar sound.He uses a lot of effects and reverb that creates a shimmering sustained and atmospheric sound. The Edge says that the whole sound of the band is the important thing and he does not indulge in flashy solos. He has often been described as an anti guitar hero and says he is a musician not a gunslinger lead guitarist.
Throughout a live performance the Edge uses on average around 17 guitars and has over 200 guitars in the studio. He favours Gibson guitars, often playing a Gibson Limited Edition Explorer.
U2 have released 12 studio albums to date plus live and compilation albums and are probably the world’s best-known super group. They have sold over 150 million albums and are well known for supporting charitable concerns and political activism for good causes.
The Edge has been voted number 24 on the 2003 Rolling Stone Magazines “100 best guitarists of all time and he has influenced a whole generation of lead guitarists.