Happy Halloween Birthday To U2's Larry Mullen

(Gibson) If rock and roll is the ultimate extension of Rhythm and Blues, then Irish military bands are about as un-rock and roll as it gets. But they have been the main training ground for generations of Irish drummers, including Dublin's Larry Mullen, Jr. Born on Halloween, 1961, the only son of Larry and Maureen Mullen took to the instrument at the age of nine, heavily influenced by the nascent scene that would soon burgeon into glam. With the thumping sounds of Sweet, T. Rex and Slade blasting from his bedroom, Mullen was drawn to the drums.

Larry, Jr. convinced his parents to get him a kit, which he described to Rhythm magazine as "a bit of a nightmare." The kit was, evidently, the product of a Japanese toy company. Still, with a little elbow grease and ingenuity, he made it work. "I persevered with it for quite a few years and, like an old friend, I was sorry to see it go," he recalled.

He was fortunate enough to study the instrument, early on, with noted Irish drummer Joe Bonnie. Nevertheless, his only outlet for performance was a marching, military-style outfit called the Artane Boys Band. There wasn't much to work with in rockish 4/4 timings, but Mullen did develop a unique style that would later color such hits as "Sunday Bloody Sunday" and "Pride (In the Name of Love)." more on this story

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