“People say, 'Why don't you do interviews? What do you think about this? What do you think about that?' My job in the band is to play drums, to get up on stage and hold the band together. That's what I do. At the end of the day that's all that's important. Everything else is irrelevant.” Larry Mullen Jr.
Larry Mullen Jr. is widely known as the drummer and founding member of the highly successful Irish rock band U2, whose members also include Bono (vocals and guitar), The Edge (guitar, keyboards and vocals) and Adam Clayton (bass guitar). With his group, Mullen has enjoyed over 170 million in record sales internationally and collected countless awards, including numerous Grammy Awards, thanks largely to such albums as “The Joshua Tree” (1987), “Achtung Baby” (1991), “ All That You Can't Leave Behind” (2000) and “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb” (2004). They were inducted into the Cleveland Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005. On his own, Mullen, who was once named one of Stylus Magazine's “50 Greatest Rock Drummers,” is known for collaborating with artists like Michael Stipe and Mike Mills of R.E.M. in the one-performance band Automatic Baby in 1993. He also joined band member Adam Clayton to work on the theme song of Tom Cruise's vehicle, “Mission: Impossible” (1996).
Noted as the “brakes of U2,” Mullen has suffered from tendonitis problems throughout his career. He uses specially designed drumsticks to cut down on pain and inflammation and often avoids interviews, preferring to let the other band members take the spotlight. In addition to drums, Mullen also plays percussion, synthesizer and keyboards.
5' 7” Mullen is the father of three children, Aaron, Ava and Ezra, with his girlfriend Anne Acheson. He is an avid fan of Harley Davidson and has been recognized riding his motorcycle on tours. Mullen is also an admirer of legendary Elvis Presley and enjoys karate. The Dublin native currently resides in New York.
Childhood and Family:
Lawrence Joseph Mullen Jr. was born on October 31, 1961, in Dublin, Ireland, to Larry Senior and Maureen, who encouraged their son to learn music from an early age. When Larry was eight years old, he began piano lessons and two years later, began drumming lessons with Ireland's noted player, Joe Bonnie. After Bonnie’s death in 1974, Mullen studied under Bonnie's daughter Monica.
The middle child and only son, Larry’s younger sister, Mary, died as a child in 1973 and three years later, his mother was killed in a car accident. He has an older sister named Cecilia.
Larry Mullen Jr., whose nickname is Babyface Mullen, has three children with his high school sweetheart Anne Acheson. Their first child, son Aaron Elvis Mullen, named after Larry's idol Elvis Presley, was born on October 3, 1995. Their second child, Ava Elizabeth, was born on December 28, 1998. Their youngest, Ezra, was born in February 2001.
The Joshua Tree
A former student of the legendary Irish drummer Joe Bonnie, Larry Mullen Jr., kicked off his musical career with the Artane Boys' Band, a Dublin marching band. He eventually left the group after they wanted him to cut his long hair. Upon leaving the band, he became interested in jazz. Mullen, however, did not set up his signature band until 1976. Through a note he posted on the Mount Temple Comprehensive School bulletin board, he met music partners Paul Hewson (Bono), Dave Evans (The Edge) and Adam Clayton and U2 was born.
The group launched their debut album, “Boy,” on October 20, 1980. It was followed by such studio albums as “October” (1981), “War” (1983) and “The Unforgettable Fire” (1984). Their first live album, “Under a Blood Red Sky” (1983), became a best seller in the United Kingdom.
Mullen and his group rose to superstar status with their fifth album, “The Joshua Tree” (1987), which went platinum six times in the U.K. Consisting of one of the band's most famous songs, “With or Without You,” the album debuted at No. 1 in the U.K. and became an immediate hit in the U.S. The album was also supported with sold out concerts throughout the world. For their effort, “The Joshua Tree” won the group their first two Grammy Awards for Album of the Year and Best Rock Duo or Group (both 1988). At the end of the decade, “Desire,” the lead single from the “Rattle and Hum” album (1988), which marked the group's first No. 1 hit single in U.K., and the song “Where the Streets Have No Name,” were handed Grammys for Best Rock Duo or Group with Vocal and Best Performance Music Video, respectively.
Returning to studio after a two year absence, Mullen and U2 gained significant recognition with their album “Achtung Baby” (1991), which went multi-platinum in such countries as America, Australia, and the U.K. The album won the group a 1993 Grammy for Best Rock Duo or Group with Vocal. The follow-up album, “Zooropa,” (1993) netted a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album in 1994. A year later, they netted a Grammy for Best Long Form Music Video for their “Zoo TV: Live from Sydney.” “Pop” (1997) marked their last studio album in the 1990s and is remembered for blending elements of long standing U2 alternative guitar rock with popular 1990s techno. During the recording of the album, Mullen dealt with back problems that sent him to the hospital for surgery. As a result, the recording was postponed.
2000 saw the release of U2's tenth studio album, “All That You Can't Leave Behind,” which debuted at No.1 in many countries, except the U.S. where it peaked at No. 3. A success with critics and listeners, the album became a hit and earned Grammys in the categories of Best Rock Duo or Group with Vocal, Song of the Year and Record of the Year for “Beautiful Day,” Best Rock Duo or Group with Vocal for “Elevation,” Record of the Year for “Walk On,” Best Pop Duo or Group with Vocal for “Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of,” and Best Rock Album.
Four years later, Mullen and his group launched “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb” (2004). The album went straight to No. 1 in more than 30 countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom. The lead song, “Vertigo,” won Grammys for Best Short Form Music Video, Best Rock Song, and Best Rock Duo or Group with Vocal, while the third single, “Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own,” and the fifth single, “City of Blinding Lights,” picked up Grammys for Song of the Year and Best Rock Duo or Group with Vocal, and Best Rock Song, respectively. The album also won Grammys for Album of the Year and Best Rock Album. In 2006, U2 released a compilation album titled “U218 Singles” and in 2009, “No Line on the Horizon” was released.
In addition to his impressive career with U2, Mullen has pursued side projects. He has worked with a number of artists, including B.B. King, Nanci Griffith, Emmylou Harris, Maria McKee, Robbie Robertson, Daniel Lanois and Paul Brady. In 1990, he co-produced and co-wrote the anthem “Put 'Em Under Pressure” for the Irish National Football team's attempt at the World Cup. Later, he joined forces with Adam Clayton for the theme song of the 1996 motion picture “Mission: Impossible.” Mullen and Adam also joined Mike Mills and Michael Stipe from R.E.M. to establish the group Automatic Baby.
Grammy: Best Rock Song, “City of Blinding Lights,” 2006
Grammy: Song of the Year and Best Rock Duo or Group with Vocal, “Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own,” 2006
The Meteor Music: Best Irish Band, Best Irish Album (“How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb”) and “Best Live Performance,” 2006
Grammy: Album of the Year and Best Rock Album, “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb,” 2006
Grammy: Best Short Form Music Video, Best Rock Song and Best Rock Duo or Group with Vocal, “Vertigo,” 2005
World Soundtrack: Best Original Song Written for a Film (“The Hands That Built America”), “Gangs of New York,” 2003
The Meteor Music: Best Group, 2003
Grammy: Best Pop Duo or Group with Vocal, “Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of,” 2002
Grammy: Record of the Year, “Walk On,” 2002
Grammy: Best Rock Duo or Group with Vocal, “Elevation,” 2002
Grammy: Best Rock Album, “All That You Can't Leave Behind,” 2002
American Music: Internet Fans Award, 2002
The Meteor Music: Best Irish Rock Band, Best Irish Rock Album (“All That You Can't Leave Behind”), Best Irish Rock Single (“Walk On”), Best Irish Video (“Elevation”), Best Irish Live Performance, 2002
Grammy: Best Rock Duo or Group with Vocal, Song of the Year and Record of the Year, “Beautiful Day,” 2001
The Meteor Music: Best Irish Band, Best Irish Rock Group Album (“All That You Can't Leave Behind”), 2001
MTV Video Music: Vanguard Award, 2001
ASCAP: Most Performed Songs from Motion Pictures (“Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me”), “Batman Forever,” 1996
Grammy: Best Long Form Music Video, “Zoo TV: Live from Sydney,” 1995
Grammy: Best Alternative Music Album, “Zooropa,” 1994
Grammy: Best Rock Duo or Group with Vocal, “Achtung Baby,” 1993
MTV Video Music: Best Special Effects in a Video and Best Group Video, “Even Better Than the Real Thing,” 1992
Grammy: Best Performance Music Video, “Where the Streets Have No Name,” 1989
Grammy: Best Rock Duo or Group with Vocal, “Desire,” 1989
MTV Video Music: Best Video from a Film, “When Love Comes to Town,” 1989
Juno: International Entertainer of the Year, 1989, 1993
Grammy: Album of the Year and Best Rock Duo or Group, “The Joshua Tree,” 1988
MTV Video Music: Viewer's Choice, “With or Without You,” 1987
BRIT Awards: Best International Group, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1998, 2001
BRIT Award: Best Live Act, 1983