Larry Mullen plays drums with the very popular three-piece band, U2. Larry and bassist Adam Clayton lay down a solid foundation for the guitar. U2 is a prime example of a drummer and bass player working together as a unit. The bass drum and bass guitar often play the same rhythmic patterns. While they may be simple quarter- or 8th-note patterns, the rhythms are always driving.
The first four examples are taken from the hit album War. On the first example, “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” Larry plays a 16thnote hi-hat rhythm with accents on the snare. This is underscored by a steady quarter-note bass drum. The feeling here is driving, yet relaxed. The rhythm is allowed to “breathe,” as opposed to being played stiffly.
Sunday Bloody Sunday
Transcription #2 is taken from “Seconds.” The bass drum is not muffled. This open sound, along with a loose, fat sounding snare, gives a fullness to the drums.U2 Seconds
This next one is from the hit single “New Years Day.” This is a driving song where the bass drum and bass guitar work together.
U2 New Year's Day
Number 4 is “Drowning Man.” Larry plays an open bass drum and brushes on the snare. He plays a repetitive three-bar phrase in 4/4, while the bass plays a two-bar phrase in 6.
U2 Drowning Man
The next three examples are from the October album. “Fire” shows all three instruments working together rhythmically
U2 Fire
On “With A Shout,” the beat is played on the toms and again works well with the bass guitar.
U2 With A Shout
On “I Threw A Brick Through A Window,” the rhythm stays very basic, while the snare shifts the accents.
U2 I Threw A Brick Through A Window