When The Edge saw the Rolling Stones perform recently, his mask allowed him to become unrecognizable when he saw guitarist Ron Wood from the front row.
“I have to say that one of the benefits of wearing a mask is that it’s like a disguise if you’re a famous face,” the U2 guitarist recently told The Associated Press while promoting his Music Rising- charity and its auction of famous guitars on December 11th. and other rock memorabilia in support of New Orleans musicians hard hit by the pandemic.
“Ronnie has donated a beautiful guitar to our auction. So I was so excited, “he said.
Founded by Edge and producer Bob Ezrin, the charity was started in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina as a means of replacing instruments lost in the flood. When the pandemic set in, it found a new mission.
“We will try to re-establish the live music scene where it has suffered a kind of major setback. So back in post-Katrina we replaced instruments. Now we are not that specific. We are actually willing to just fund people’s livelihoods,” Edge said.
Two of Edge’s guitars, which he has played extensively on tour with U2, will be among those sold, including the instrument he calls “One”.
“It’s a beautiful Les Paul, and it’s actually a musical Les Paul, part of … a limited edition of 300.”
The other is a specially designed Fender Stratocaster used to perform during the tour Bad and Still not found what I’m looking for.
“They are really serious guitars that I have spent a lot of time playing and they will – they will be missed.”
Others who donate guitars include Slash, Lou Reed, Steve Miller and a bass from Paul McCartney. During the interview, Edge held up a vintage photograph of McCartney playing the donated guitar in a studio while Stevie Wonder played on drums.
“These are two of my great heroes in one shot, and that bass guitar will be up for auction.”
Ezrin, who has produced a litany of classic rock artists from Alice Cooper and Aerosmith to Pink Floyd and Kiss. Each has donated memorabilia to the auction. But Ezrin says guitarist Paul Stanley personally had to search for his donation.
“Paul Stanley went down to the warehouse to find the guitar because his guitar technology had actually gone away from COVID, and he had to go himself to find the guitar he wanted to give us,” Ezrin said.
Some of the offerings are currently on display at the Van Eaton Galleries in the Sherman Oaks neighborhood of Los Angeles.
“We feel this is a good time as venues are just starting to reopen to give these musicians the chance to get their equipment back in place and get to play again,” he said, noting that many musicians had to sell their instruments to survive.
As for U2, Edge says the band has no plans to go back on the road. It’s been fine for him since he’s been in a “songwriting and compositional” phase that coincided with the lockdown and the pandemic.
“I suffer a little from the guilt of survivors because you know we did not have to cancel trips,” he said. “We did not have anything public that we planned for this period. And it just forced me to stay home and work on new songs, which is exactly what I had to do.”
When U2 gets on the road, he said he will make sure it is safe for fans. He differs from other musicians like Eric Clapton, Van Morrison and Travis Tritt, who have resisted efforts from venues that require proof of vaccination or proof of a negative COVID test.
“I have a very hard time understanding why you would be against it,” he said. Although there are no plans for the next U2 tour, Edge said he “there’s no doubt in my mind that this is how we should deal with this. And I just can not see any logic in not support the whole idea of vaccinations. “
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