Adam Clayton's biography
Adam Charles Clayton was born to parents Brian and Jo at Chinnor in Oxfordshire, England on 13th March 1960. He lived briefly in Kenya and then at the age of 5, his family moved to Yellow Walls Road in Malahide near Dublin, where sister Sarah and brother Sebastian were born. Adam was sent to St. Columba's boarding school due to the nature of his father's job (as a pilot) which meant that the family could be called away at very short notice. Adam hated it and never felt at home in the very disciplined environment there. He left at age 16 (having apparently been expelled for poor academic performance), at which time he began attending Mount Temple Comprehensive which was located nearby in Malahide. It was Ireland's first non-denominational, co-educational comprehensive school and was much more tolerant of Adam's often eccentric behaviour.
Always a rebellious character, Adam had no interest in schoolwork, much to his parents' dismay. He was known for frequently wearing outrageous clothes or sometimes no clothes at all (!), and knew from an early age that he wanted to be on stage. He was originally in the Max Quad Band (but was fired for not being able to play), and then joined Feedback, where he was the only one to have any experience of being in a band - although according to Bono, he still couldn't play. In fact, Bono said that Adam's inability on the bass meant that he actually came up with some unusual riffs which formed the basis of some of the band's earliest songs.
Before U2 met Paul McGuinness, Adam took up the role of temporary manager as well as bassist, booking shows and representing the band in early negotiations with CBS Ireland. He even tried to stir up a bit of buzz about the band by placing fake 'fan messages' in the local music press in the hope that it would stimulate interest and increase the band's profile. Bono has credited Adam with being the driving force that got the band off the ground in the early days, as his dedication and determination to succeed spurred them all on to make a success of it. Bono and Adam are particularly good friends, to the extent that the U2 frontman asked Adam to be his best man when he got married to Alison Stewart in 1982.
In some ways, Adam is the odd one out in the band. In the early days, he and manager Paul McGuinness were frequently allies, who felt somewhat alienated from the "born agains" as they referred to Larry, Bono, and Edge. He doesn't share the religious beliefs of the others, and is renowned for his "rock'n'roll lifestyle". He has had several brushes with the law, most notably for drink-driving and drug offences. In 1989, Irish police arrested him for possession of cannabis and he made a donation of £25,000 to a women's refuge rather than face jail. He once did the unthinkable and missed a concert - in Sydney in 1993 after he was left unable to play following a binge drinking session. On that occassion his roadie Stuart Morgan was able to take his place, but the incident caused friction with the other band members. The show was meant to be a dry run for the filming of the Zoo TV Sydney DVD the following night and for one of the band to miss it was a big problem. Fortunately this served as a wake-up call and made him realise that he had to take control of himself. He has been back on track ever since then, thanks in part to the steadying influence of Larry, who spent a year in New York with him working on 'Mission Impossible' among other things.
In 2009, Adam found himself in the headlines again after his personal assistant, Carol Hawkins, was accused of misappropriating €1.8 million of his money by using his credit and debit cards without authorisation. This was particulary galling for Adam as the same assistant had earlier confessed to stealing €13000 of his money but at that time, he had decided to treat her sympathetically and agreed to keep her on. She was eventually tried on 184 counts of theft and forgery.
Adam has had a chequered history of relationships. He was famously engaged to supermodel Naomi Campbell in 1994 but their relationship was fiery and ended acrimoniously, although Campbell says she is now friends with all the band again. He also got engaged to Suzie Smith, who is a member of the U2 organisation in 2006, but they split up in February 2007. Since then it has been revealed that Adam has actually become a father, having had a son with an unnamed French woman in early 2010. He is said to be 'deleriously happy' with fatherhood. And who can blame him?
On 4th September 2013, Adam married his girlfriend of 4 years, Brazilian art dealer Mariana de Carvalho, at a private civil ceremony in Dublin. The ceremony was attended by only a small handful of people - in fact even Bono and Larry weren't there - but 150 guests attended the reception afterwards.
"Be uncool - yes, be awkward" - Always
Search this site: