Today is Adam Clayton’s 52nd birthday, which makes me think back to the time I was lucky enough to meet him. It was in the early 90’s and I was the music director at WHFS in Washington DC. U2 were coming to town and on the day of the concert we celebrated by playing every song in their catalog.
The night of the show I met him backstage and he told me he’d been listening to the station that day and had enjoyed the U2 “A to Z” (as we called it). He also took the time to point out some of the tracks we missed, but he did it in such a cool and charming way that there was no mistaking it for harsh criticism but more of factual matter of correction and real interest. I’ve always gotten the feeling that Adam is the member of U2 that observes the band, in that same quiet and wry manner, and offers course suggestions from songwriting, to fashion to business.
One thing is for sure; his elegant and melodic bass playing has created the bedrock that allows the rest of the band to shine while still allowing his own style to break through, as apparent in: “New Years Day”, “Bullet the Blue Sky” or most recently “Magnificent”. Of his own ability Clayton has said, “I just keep the bottom end moving, I’m right on a good day, but there are so many great cats out there. Really I’m just glad to be in the club.”
We’re wishing many more to perhaps the most understated member of U2. Happy birthday Adam.