Graduation days are always special occasions, but for the graduates attending BIMM Dublin’s second ever ceremony, it turned out to be an exceptional day indeed when a real superstar walked onto the stage!
Somehow the surprise appearance of guitar legend, The Edge had been kept under wraps, so the noise from the cheers and applause was deafening when Executive Principal, Dara Kilkenny welcomed the U2 guitarist to the stage of the Tivoli Theatre.
As part of this year’s ceremony, the lucky graduates were treated to The Edge’s words of wisdom and personal advice drawn from his near 35-year career. Dara’s words – as she introduced David ‘The Edge’ Evans – underlined just how incredible an occasion it was:
“When we talked about who we wanted to make the presentations, we didn’t have to think too hard about it. There are very few people about whom you can say they have influenced a generation.”
The Edge shared some of his own experiences in the music world with BIMM’s Class of 2016. Talking about his school days in Dublin he told the graduates:
“When we [U2] were in school, we managed to benefit from the tuition of great music teachers. We maintain a strong belief in the idea of music education and that’s why we co-founded Music Generation. BIMM Dublin is such a cool thing, and I’m delighted to be here and support what I think is incredibly useful and helpful for the rock ‘n’ roll scene in Dublin.”
The Edge went on to explain that U2’s success didn’t happen overnight and how they stuck to their guns concerning artistic control:
“Our success came gradually, in fact, we almost got dropped after our second album ‘October’. The reason we didn’t is rather telling. When we negotiated our first record deal with Island Records, one of the things we really fought for was artistic control. So we had in our contract that we would decide what was on every album and what the artwork was going to be. Plus a whole list of other controls that a young band never got. So the label said if you want those controls, we can’t give you the standard advances because you increase the risk level for us. So they gave the bare minimum. We felt strongly about this, so we said fine, and we took low advances and all lived at home for the first few years of the band. Island Records decided to roll the dice with our third album, ‘War’ and it did well, so we were secure. So, by not costing the label big advances, we saved ourselves.”
He urged the new graduates to always remember the importance of attitude, bravery and passion, emphasising that taking risks is crucial.
He also relayed the hard-won wisdom of a rock star who has experienced the positives and negatives that come with being in the biggest band in the world, saying:
“Criticism is your friend. It makes you better. The harder it is to hear, the more useful it is. But keep your ego in check – it’s out-of-control egos that break up bands, not musical differences.”
He did admit though to the audience that he hated giving advice and said, “The best thing about it is you can ignore it!”
The Edge then spoke more about what success means:
“Success can be many different things, and everyone’s definition is going to be different. If you try too hard to please the world will lose interest. They best way to becoming commercially successful is to ignore the world and concentrate on the work. I’m sure it feels like you still have a lot to prove, but you’ve already succeeded. You’re here, you’ve graduated, you live in Ireland, and I look forward to seeing you down the road!”
“In the case of our band, we never sat down with a plan to take over the world; we just decided early on to dedicate our lives to the idea of U2. Whatever the result, and to us aged 17, U2 wasn’t the most important thing in our lives. It was the ONLY important thing in our lives!
The Edge then personally greeted each graduate, handing each one a specially commissioned BIMM pin before being given their scrolls from senior staff.
There was more excitement to come in the form of a blistering post-ceremony performance by ALL TVVINS, whose session drummer is final year student, Lewis Hedigan. The band are currently on the crest of a wave with their debut album hitting No 2 in the Irish charts and receiving great reviews, as well as a sell-out gig at the iconic and prestigious Dublin venue, The Olympia. With The Edge casting a watchful eye, they delivered a hugely impressive set.
Throughout the ceremony, the audience of over a hundred students and their families enjoyed other musical performances from talented current student band, Jafaris, 2016 graduate Farah Elle and – to close the show – the aforementioned ALL TVVINS. There were also speeches and words of encouragement from BIMM personnel, including Executive Principal, Dara Kilkenny, Principal Alan Cullivan and Head of Education, Mark Greaney.
All the graduates were thrilled and inspired after meeting the U2 legend at this very memorable BIMM Dublin graduation day. The Edge was very gracious and stayed to have photos with the students and staff.