"This is the stuff that in the end makes us what we are. It's the stuff that you can't leave behind, the personality of the band, the way we interact with each other."
-- Edge, on All That You Can't Leave Behind
The Edge Biographyby Maddy Fry
Edge" Howell Evans
Dave 'The Edge' Evans was born in Barking, Essex, in East London, to parents of Welsh descent, Gwenda and Garvin Evans. When he was a year old, the family - which included younger sister Gillian (Gill) and older brother Richard (Dick) - moved to Dublin, where he has lived ever since. There, he grew up as a quiet yet very intelligent kid. He did well in school – first at St. Andrew's Primary School and then at Mount Temple - and until he met the boys who would be his future bandmates, he wanted to go to university and become a doctor or an engineer.
In the fall of 1976 he spotted Larry's note on the Mount Temple Comprehensive High School bulletin board asking for anyone interested in forming a band. He was the first to respond, and he went to the first meeting in Larry's house with his brother Dick. The Edge showed guitar skills well beyond his age, and the chemistry among the group was obvious from the beginning.
Early in the band's career, Dave Evans was re-baptized by Bono - then Bono Vox - as 'The Edge'. The nickname was inspired in the beginning by the sharp features of his face, but it also applied to his sharp mind and the way he always observed things from the edge.
Despite his previous academic ambitions, Edge's commitment to the band grew to such an extent that when he finished high school, he told his parents he'd take a year off to see where the band and their music would take him.
Along with Bono and Larry, The Edge began attending prayer group meetings in the late 1970s. The young men were in search of spirituality and the answer to the big questions, and consequently were torn between their Christian ideals and their rock and roll lifestyle. Larry and Bono quickly chose the band, but The Edge was uncertain to the point where he nearly left U2 during the October tour. But he took Bono's advice to follow his heart, and after a reasonable period of soul searching, he chose the band as well. The Edge soon realized he didn't have any trouble reconciling his beliefs with his music and lifestyle; it was other people who did. In his words: "there was no problem. It was other people's problems".
In 1983, Edge married Aislinn O'Sullivan, with whom he remained for seven years and had three daughters: Hollie (born 4th July 1984), Arran (born 15th October 1985), and Blue Angel (born 26th June 1989). They separated in 1990 and divorced in 1996. He now has a daughter, Sian (born 7th October 1997), and a son, Levi (born 1st October 1999), with Morleigh Steinberg, the belly dancer and choreographer from the Zoo TV Tour, whom he started dating in 1993. The two were married on 18th June, 2002.
The Edge's unmistakable guitar sound -- clean, sharp, incisive, and cutting-Edge -- is part of U2's trademark. The characteristic and mesmerizing sounds and the emotions he expresses through them make him one of the most respected guitarists in rock and roll. He has often been called an "anti-guitar hero" because of his aversion to the indulgent, showy style based on intense soloing of many contemporaries, preferring instead to play in often a technically undemanding and low-key, yet original, way. He is renowned for being a guitarist who is more concerned with sounds, texture and innovation rather than flashy technique.
He's also lent his vocal talents to several U2 songs, first singing lead on "Seconds" from the War album. He later took the lead on songs such as "Van Diemen's Land" and "Numb", and sang a solo version of "Sunday Bloody Sunday" during 1997-98's PopMart Tour. He also released a solo album, Captive, the soundtrack to the film of the same name, in 1986.
On the band's 2000 album, All That You Can't Leave Behind, Edge left behind the experimental electro and dance rhythms that he had explored on the previous three albums and returned to the more mainstream rock guitar sound similar to that of the band's earliest recordings. He continued this trend on 2004's How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, in keeping with U2's post-1990s ethos of stripping away all artifice from their music.
Although all the band members have long been individual supporters of organizations such as Greenpeace and Amnesty International, it wasn't until 2005 that The Edge became involved in public philanthropy. In response to the USA's Hurricane Katrina disaster which devastated New Orleans, Edge co-founded the charity Music Rising in November 2005 along with Bob Ezrin and Henry Juszkiewicz, with the aim of restoring the Gulf Coast's musical culture by replacing instruments that had been lost to the disaster. The organisation's aim was initially to provide replacement instruments solely to those professional musicians who had been affected by the storms. However, they now seek to provide instruments to affected churches and schools as well. This is all part of the charity's aim of "Rebuilding the Gulf Region note by note." Since then, The Edge has also publicly supported the organisations the New York Food Bank and Mencap Northern Ireland.
As a guitarist of astonishing versatility, The Edge continues, at all levels of his playing, to resist the rock n' roll clichés. His unconventional attitude to his craft is perhaps best summed up by his admission that "I suppose ultimately I'm interested in music. I'm a musician. I'm not a gunslinger. That's the difference between what I do and what a lot of guitar heroes do."