LOS ANGELES - For the second year in a row, The Edge is putting his money where the music is.
The U2 guitarist announced Wednesday he will donate two Gibson guitars and other items from his personal collection to the "Icons of Music" auction benefiting Music Rising, a charity The Edge co-founded to replace musical equipment lost or destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.
"No one could ever come close to repaying the debt of those who have established this form (of music) that we all take totally for granted, this hybrid of European melody and African-American rhythm that's given us jazz and R&B and rock 'n' roll," he told The Associated Press by phone from Dublin, Ireland, where he and his U2 bandmates are crafting a new album. "There's something powerful about musicians giving instruments they own to an auction to aid musicians who are going through a particularly difficult time."
The Edge, whose real name is David Evans, created Music Rising in 2005 with record producer Bob Ezrin and Gibson chairman Henry Juszkiewicz to preserve New Orleans' rich musical culture after the devastation of Katrina.
"A lot of musicians were forced to leave the city, leaving behind their instruments and record collections, everything they needed to do what they do," The Edge, 46, said. "The kind of organic community music academy that was so supportive of handing down the traditions of this music from generation to generation was really vulnerable."
Music Rising has provided grants to replace instruments and equipment for 2,700 professional musicians and 50,000 students and church parishioners to date, he said.
The "Icons of Music" sale, hosted by Julien's Auctions, features guitars played by Kurt Cobain, Slash and Johnny Cash; a trumpet played by Miles Davis; and handwritten notes by Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney and Janis Joplin. Highlights from the collection will be exhibited in Chile, Ireland and Los Angeles before the May 31 auction at the Hard Rock Cafe in New York City. Aaron Neville is scheduled to perform at the event, which The Edge will host.
Meanwhile, he and U2 have been recording in their native Ireland. A new album is taking shape, The Edge said, offering no hints about its sound or release date. "It won't be in the next few months," he said.
"We went into this project allowing ourselves the indulgence of making music without thinking about where it was going to end up," he said. "We're starting to get serious now."
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