U2: Three Chords and the Truth

Larry Mullen's biography

Lawrence Mullen was born in Artane, Dublin to Larry and Maureen on 31st October 1961 and brought up there at number 60 Rosemount Avenue. He had a tragic childhood, losing both his sister Mary (1973) and his mother (in a road traffic accident in 1978). In the mid 1970s, he began doing military style drumming, taking lessons from legendary Irish teachers, Joe Bonnie and his daughter, and becoming a member of the Artane Boys' Band (which was later to feature in the video for the 1998 re-release of 'The Sweetest Thing'). Forced to leave for refusing to cut his long hair (I know - it's hard to believe that Larry ever had long hair), he then learned to play in a more jazz style around the time that he formed U2, which meant that his initial contribution to the band was often limited to merely filling in and adding drum rolls.

After his sister had bought him his first drum kit, Larry famously posted an ad on the noticeboard at Mount Temple Comprehensive in 1976, asking for musicians to form a band with. As he's said since, the motley crew who assembled in his kitchen for their first practice were The Larry Mullen Band for about 10 minutes....until Bono turned up. Larry was the youngest of the group and wasn't a natural front man, so it was no surprise that the outgoing singer took charge and became the focal point of the band.

When U2 were first making a name for themselves around Dublin, Larry was viewed as a weak link as his drumming wasn't thought to be good enough. The rest of the band stuck with him even when CBS Ireland refused to sign them initially unless they found a new drummer. Bono, Adam and Edge refused to back down and once the deal was eventually secured, Larry became much more assured and competent as his drumming became a more integral part of the songs. He often worked closely with Adam as they together formed the rhythm section of the band. He describes his style as 'unteachable' and says that he plays by instinct more than anything.

Bono has described Larry as "a very complex character" and that it's the way Larry hits his bass drum that makes U2 a true rock 'n' roll band. It's fitting that as the founder of the group he is still credited with being the backbone of the band. In fact during concerts, Bono often thanks Larry for giving him his "first and only job". Larry (and U2 as a whole, in fact) are often thought to take themselves too seriously and lack a sense of humour. I've never understood this, as

As U2's popularity increased in the early 1980s, Larry decided to adopt the 'Junior' suffix to his name in order to avoid being confused with his father. At the time, Larry senior was receiving some unexpectedly large tax demands which were intended for his son.

Larry has always been the quiet man of U2, preferring to let the other band members take centre stage at press conferences etc. He is also perhaps the most level headed, and is the most likely to put the brake on any elaborate and expensive plans that Bono in particular might have for complex stage sets etc. Despite the fame that success has brought, he is still content to remain largely in the background. Having said that, he's often received the most attention from female fans and even Bono once commented that U2 "needed a Ringo [Starr]" - i.e. a drummer who wouldn't distract the female fans away from himself! Even Boy George quipped that if Bono "still hadn't found what he's looking for, he should look behind the drum kit".

During the recording of Pop Larry suffered from severe back problems as the result of an earlier injury and was forced to take a back seat while he underwent surgery. He'd previously resorted to regular injections of bull's blood as treatment for his back after being recommended to try it by a German holistic healer. Conventional doctors were somewhat sceptical of the benefit of this but Larry was convinced it helped, so kept up the treatment. As a result of his and prompted by Edge's interest in new music, he experimented much more with electronic drum machines, which contributed heavily to the more techno feel of the album.

He lives in Howth near Dublin with long time girlfriend Ann Acheson, who he's known since his days at Mount Temple, and their 3 children - sons Aaron Elvis (born October 1995) and Ezra (born February 2001) amd daughter Ava (born December 1998). Ezra's arrival was announced to the crowd during the Astoria show in London shortly after his birth, when Bono announced that Larry and Anne had become parents for the third time. Larry's also a dog lover to the extent that their names have been included in the credits on previous albums.

Random U2 lyric:

"And your heart beats so slow through the rain and fallen snow, across the fields of mourning lights in the distance" - A Sort of Homecoming

My U2 ramblings:

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