The Edge believes a guitar renaissance is coming, and wants U2 to lead the charge. “I’d love to be the vanguard of this resurgence of guitars!” The 61-year-old Irish icon made the announcement in a recent interview.
talk with mojoIn Exclaim!, The Edge explained that he feels “the pendulum is going to start to swing the other way,” regarding the popularity of guitars in modern music. While the pop charts are dominated by synths, samples, and computer-generated sounds, he feels the beloved six strings still have untapped potential.
“It’s an incredibly expressive instrument…the few bands that use it so well, it’s still fresh,” he said. Then, he pulled out some receipts for his claim, and explained that the numbers seemed to support his argument, even if “guitar wave” hadn’t arrived yet. “Don’t get me wrong—talking to people I know who work at Fender,” he said, “they’re selling more guitars now than they’ve ever sold before.” “But in terms of popular culture, there has been a deviation from the machine, it would be fair to say.”
If it’s coming from anyone other than The Edge—whose sonic innovations have helped design the modern guitar sound—it may come from a desire to somewhat drive this shift in popular culture. But as for the influence he has, he made it clear that he’s actually taking cues from the trends he’s observing in new upcoming artists.
“Not authorizing what is culturally relevant is just being out of touch with reality,” he said. “You can do things that are completely against the grain, but you still want to know where the grain is. I think of it in terms of the river flow—if you’re not in the flow, you’re part of the oxbow lake. And I want to be part of the stream.”
When speaking of the music coming from U2, The Edge referenced Bono’s recent statements that their next effort would be “a noisy, preposterous, preposterous guitar album”. Agreeing, he said: “We’re running on amps. I definitely think the rock we all grew up with at 16 and 17 years old, that roughness from Patti Smith records, Iggy Pop… that kind of power is something we’d love to connect with again.”
U2 is currently hot in the wake of its release Surrender Songs, a 40-track project of re-imaginings of songs from their catalog. This fall, the band will begin residency at the all-new MSG Sphere in Las Vegas. Register here to be notified of showtimes and ticket details.