The name on his passport says Dave Evans but the rest of the world knows him as The Edge, the moniker handed to him by
a young Bono Vox in U2’s early days in Seventies Dublin. Polite and self-effacing, the guitarist is a self-confessed
“music obsessive” who finishes our interview asking what new bands he should catch up on. His status presents
many opportunities, not least the chance to work and play with his musical heroes. At the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 25th
anniversary concert in October he accompanied Bruce Springsteen, Mick Jagger, Black Eyed Peas and Patti Smith. “That
was amazing,” he recalls. “You don’t get many opportunities to play with artists of that calibre in your
life.” Actually, he gets more than most, as evidenced by his starring role alongside Jimmy Page and Jack White in the
big-screen rockumentary It Might Get Loud. A guitar fan’s wet dream, it traces the threesome’s differing
approaches to their art before bringing them together to jam.“What came out of the movie,” he says, “was
that it doesn’t matter what your influences are, it’s whether you are an originator. It’s about attempting
to express the sound in your head you can’t otherwise explain.”
Jimmy Page An utter gentleman. I found him as I hoped, great company. He came from the blues whereas we started
U2 as a reaction against all of that.
Jack White (of the White Stripes) It’s early days for Jack in a sense but you can already hear the multitude
of Jack Whites out there. That’s an indicator to his influence.
Keith Richards You know when something still sounds as luminous and bright as it did the day it was coined? The
riff to Satisfaction is like that. It crystallised a moment in time but it has a power that is undeniable.
Tom Verlaine & Richard Lloyd (of Television) Television were a huge influence at the time. The composition of
Marquee Moon changed my way of thinking about the guitar. It made me challenge myself. It wasn’t so much “I
want to sound like them” but “What can I do?”
Nick Zinner (of Yeah Yeah Yeahs) He has a really potent but minimal style. That was something we took from the nihilism
of the punk era, maximum effect from minimal input, something I try to retain.
By the time Glastonbury hit its stride we were doing our own thing. It didn’t seem right for us then. It feels like
we really have to do it because if we don’t do it now, we never will. I’m obviously familiar with the festival’s
ideal but I’ve never experienced it. I used to be sceptical of its roots, the hippy thing. I’m going along to
check it out as much as anything but I have a good feeling about it. I’d like to hope we can make our mark.
Spider-Man I’ve been working on this with Bono for a while and it’s probably going to happen in the
spring. It’s not a straight rock musical, there’s other stuff going on. Opera would be the closest reference.
Writing character-led songs was a really fresh challenge and we’re very excited about it. There’s some fantastic
music in there.
West Side Story I’m a fan of the great musicals but there’s plenty of poor ones because they can be
as ripe with clichés as any rock’n’roll. West Side Story however is undeniably brilliant and highly original.
Oliver! As a kid, one of the first records I got as a Christmas gift was Oliver!, which had some marvellous
tunes. I met Lionel Bart later on and he turned out to be a sweet man.
Tommy The original rock opera. A really original story matched with some huge songs. It set a new benchmark at the
Cabaret I’ve seen it performed on stage and as a movie, and it’s wonderful. I love the dark Weimar thing.
...the 360 degree tour
Working with 'The Claw’ [the tour’s futuristic stage set] has been a challenge, but after a while we started
to get into it. The fact there are four of us means we can spread out across the stage and come back together. It reinforces
the band thing. It was almost a conscious decision to get into a huddle and play for each other as much as for the audience.
In my opinion he’s the best frontman of any band, a great performer and lyricist. I’ve never doubted I had
the best singer of his generation in the band. His politics is very much an extension of the band ethos. We’ve always
supported the things we believe in. He took it to a new level by getting inside those things. I think there’s a compromise
there that I personally don’t want to be involved in. I don’t want to be in the meetings. In my opinion, the artist
has a duty to maintain an idealistic view of the world. Bono is one of those people who can see it from all angles without
compromising himself as an artist. I’m amazed by that.