The Edge thinks a guitar renaissance is coming, and he wants U2 to lead the charge. “I’d like to be the vanguard of this resurgence of guitars!” the 61-year-old Irish icon declared in a recent interview.
Speaking with MOJO, The Edge explained that he feels the “pendulum is going to start swinging in the other direction,” in regards to the popularity of guitars in modern music. While the pop charts are being dominated by synths, samples, and computer-generated sounds, he feels the beloved six-string still has untapped potential.
“It’s such an incredibly expressive instrument… the few bands that are using it well, it’s still fresh,” he said. Then, pulling out some receipts for his claim, he explained that the numbers seemingly back up his argument, even if the “guitar wave” hasn’t exactly arrived yet. “Don’t get me wrong — talking to people I know who work at Fender, they’re selling more guitars now than they’ve ever sold,” he said. “But in terms of popular culture, there’s been a drift away from the instrument, it would be fair to say.”
If it was coming from anyone other than The Edge — whose sonic innovations helped design the modern guitar sound — the desire to lead this shift in popular culture might come off a bit presumptuous. But for as much clout as he has, he explained that he’s actually just taking cues from the trends he observes in new, upcoming artists.
“To not have any ear for what’s relevant within the culture is just being out of touch,” he said. “You can do stuff that’s completely against the grain, but you still want to know where the grain is. I think about it in terms of the flow of a river — if you’re not in the flow, you’re part of an oxbow lake. And I want to be part of the flow.”
Speaking of upcoming music from U2, The Edge referred to Bono’s recent statements that their next effort will be a “noisy, uncompromising, unreasonable guitar album.” Agreeing, he said: “We are turning the amps on. I certainly think the rock that we all grew up with as 16- and 17-year-olds, that rawness of those Patti Smith, Iggy Pop records… that kind of power is something we would love to connect back into.”
U2 is currently hot on the heels of releasing Songs of Surrender, a 40-track project reimagining songs from their catalog. This fall, the band will embark on a residency at the all-new MSG Sphere in Las Vegas. Register here to be notified with details on the show dates and tickets.