So where was I? Oh yes…
If Roger Taylor taught me how to keep time and make people move, and Scott Miller taught me how to play with passion and channel my angst into drumming, it was Larry Mullen Jr that showed me how to combine the two. Additionally, unlike most drummers and just like Keith Moon, Larry seemed to be listening more to the guitar player than the bassist. It’s different these days with U2, but back then Adam Clayton played more like a lead-bassist, while Larry and The Edge were the rhythm section. Overlooked by most people, Boy George excluded, Larry is truly one of the greats. From his poly-rhythmic patterns and unorthodox style to some of the most tasteful subtleties i’ve ever heard, he is truly an original…

Up until i discovered U2, i’d only ever seen the standard way of setting up your drums. Larry on the other hand added a timbale where the 2nd Tom should be, as well as adding a Floor Tom to his left. Check it out in this video…

Now watch as he beats up his drums in this clip from Rattle & Hum. A song about a serial killer would need a heavy-duty beat, don’t you think? I especially love the off-time cymbal crashes…

Here is one of my all-time fave U2 songs, and the beat has a lot to do with it. It’s nothing spectacular, but this is where subtlety and emotion come into play. It begins with a slow groovin’ laid-back beat, escalates the emotional content of the song during the pre-chorus, then drops back down again. Perfect…

Lastly, another emotional song from the boys. Written about Bono‘s dad who was dying of cancer, Larry provides the perfect rhythm for such a song. He’s not playing in the pocket on this one, but rather slightly behind the beat, leaving room for the ghosts. I also love the way he switches from the ride cymbal to the hi-hats mid-chorus…

The ToeZoo Show
on Party934

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