U2 drummer Larry Mullen has sharper timing than a computer according to legendary producer Brian Eno.
Eno made the discovery while recording with the band after Mullen rejected his use of a click track to keep the beat.
"I was working with Larry Mullen, Jr on one of the U2 albums," Eno tells the New Yorker magazine. "'All That You Don't Leave Behind', or whatever it's called."
"I said, 'No, that can't be so, Larry'," Eno recalls. "'We've all worked to that track, so it must be right'. But he said, 'Sorry, I just can't play to it'."
Mullen thought that the click track was slightly off and insisted it was a fraction of a beat behind the rest of the band. “I said, No, that can’t be so, Larry,” Eno recalls. “We’ve all worked to that track, so it must be right.” But he said, “Sorry, I just can’t play to it.”
Eno eventually adjusted the click to Mullen’s satisfaction, but he was just humouring him.
It was only after the drummer had left, that Eno checked the original track again and realised that Mullen was right: the click was off by six milliseconds.
"The thing is," Eno says, "when we were adjusting it I once had it two milliseconds to the wrong side of the beat, and he said, 'No, you've got to come back a bit'. Which I think is absolutely staggering."