Van Halen

Not by any choice, we revert to being a music blog.

They were originally four, and they came out of Pasadena/Hollywood. A friend went to high school with them. David Lee Roth may have been the lead singer, but Eddie Van Halen was always the founder and glue.

First saw them at a local radio station (KDKB) sponsored concert. Their designator was 93.3. So they did, back in the day, a series of “93” concerts. Honestly cannot remember whether it was $1.93, $2.93 or whatever. But I heard it on the car radio coming back from class, and I, and three roommates, went to see them at the Celebrity Theater. Their only radio play was a cover of the Kinks “You Really Got Me”. It was a pretty kick ass cover though, so off we went. It was wildly good.

There are a lot, and different, transcendental guitar players. Eddie Van Halen was one. It was apparent immediately. He was that good.

Now gone. RIP.

27 replies
  1. Greenhouse says:

    Godammit woman you know I ain’t lying to you I’m gonna you one time AHHH AHHHHH

    Running with the devil


  2. chicago_bunny says:

    He inspired this poster at age 12 to try dozens of pedal, amp, and string configurations to achieve that brown sound. RIP EVH.

  3. Steve says:

    What a sound.

    bmaz, nice to see the KDKB reference, my older cousin was one of their top DJs back in the 70s/80s…I still have the carrot t-shirt.

    • bmaz says:

      Oh, I remember the carrot! This almost ought be a full discussion on its own some day. Including what a visionary Bill Compton was. A lot of places had cutting edge stations, but KDKB (actually KCAC before it) was really up there.

  4. Peterr says:

    Eddie’s ex, Valerie Bertinelli, weighs in:

    40 years ago my life changed forever when I met you. You gave me the one true light of my life, our son Wolfgang. Through all your challenging treatments for lung cancer, you kept your gorgeous spirit and that impish grin. I’m so grateful Wolfie and I were able to hold you in your last moments. I will see you in our next life my love.

    So does their son, Wolfie:

    I can’t believe I’m having to write this, but my father, Edward Lodewijk Van Halen, has lost his long and arduous battle with cancer this morning. He was the best father I could ever ask for. Every moment I’ve shared with him on and off stage has been a gift. My heart is broken and I don’t think I’ll ever fully recover from this loss. I love you so much, Pop.

    Click through both to see some touching photos.

    You know you did good, when your ex says something like this at your passing.

  5. Steve says:

    I saw VH on both the “Fair Warning” and “Diver Down” tours. Made it up to the front row on Eddie’s side. Of course it was awesome. Ah, high school days…

  6. Hug H says:

    Vividly remember the first time I heard the opening Track from their debut Album- “Running with the Devil”. My Freshman year College roommate pushed his Cerwin Vega speakers to “11”, laid down the needle and there it was… that EPIC blistering opening. So loud I made tracks for the Dorm Hallway… RIP Eddie

    • Re entry says:

      i too remember the first ten seconds of their first record.
      My older brother jacking his giant speakers and shaking the house. Older siblings are a good education on what’s out there.
      Then i met a kid at school who considered himself a guitar player, he came over to my place, (he hadn’t heard of VH) sneaked in the brother’s room, blasted it in it’s entirety, he sat there speechless, staring at the cover. He was non verbal for days.
      I can’t say i liked a single band of the hair metal wave that followed but the epiphany guided me toward the beauty of Jimi, Gilmour and Stevie Ray

      • puzzled scottish person says:

        I wasn’t much into that ‘hair metal’ thing either but Eddie was a master on the fretboard. A sad loss.

  7. AlfaNovember says:

    It must’ve been the summer of ’85, before sixth grade, I made myself a Frankenstrat from cardboard, red spray paint, and tape. I wanted to play air guitar to my favorite record. Dad got cross with me because I used up the rolls of electrical tape and masking tape. Thanks for all the joy, Eddie.

  8. Nehoa says:

    Had a one night show as a cover band in grad school. I was the lead guitar player. We did “You Really Got Me.” Somehow my guitar was very inferior to EVH’s. Must have been the strings. Lol.

  9. vvv says:

    I saw ’em at U of I in 1980 with Billy Sheehan’s band Talas opening.
    VH came out after playing the entirety of *Black in Black*, which had just come out – very cool move for a new “punk metal” band (for they were considered that* through the first cuppla albums, perhaps because of the song, “Atomic Punk”, or because us cool kids were trying to justify our admiration) to play an old school hard rock band’s new album.
    Drinking was not allowed, so DLR was ostentatiously pouring JD into a tea cup, complete with saucer.
    EVH was on fire; as a guitarist, writer and rock star, he was all of that, and more, RIP.
    Alex was amazing.
    Don’t blame me for not recalling MA, who I am sure was solid as usual.
    One more thing: I lean toward Stones, Clash, alt-country and grunge, a little avant, a little jazz, funk … I still try and sometimes do a cuppla finger-tap moves.

    *something similar happened with Dire Straits.

  10. mr.pennell says:

    I was mostly into New Wave back in the day, but Van Halen came along and that guitar playing genius blew my mind. I got kicked out of my high school’s media center in 10th grade because I was listening to Women and Children First on my Walkman and was so caught up that I forgot where I was and loudly growled out “Have you seen Junior’s grades?” Good times.


    • Re entry says:

      Too funny

      Another line we stole from Diamond Dave which garnered giggles and a trip to the office was

      ‘ i don’t feel tardy ‘

  11. gmoke says:

    I knew someone who was a friend of Eddie Van Halen’s. The person I knew had cancer just after Eddie’s first bout with it. Eddie Van Halen made sure he got good care and paid the expenses my friend could not afford.

    That makes Eddie Van Halen better than a stellar and ground-breaking guitarist. It makes him a mensch.

  12. biff murphy says:

    One of the interesting things about the Van Halen’s was that Eddie bought the first drum set and got a paper route to pay for the drums, so when Eddie was delivering papers Alex would practice on Eddie’s drums. Alex learned “Wipe Out” and Eddie then went to the guitar, but both boys were trained in piano at a young age and their dad was a sax and clarinet player.
    RIP Eddie. Say hi to Jimi, Stevie Ray, and Duane for us all

  13. Rwood says:

    The soundtrack of my youth keeps fading away. Every VH song has a memory attached.
    Calloused my fingers because of Eddie. May have to get the guitar out tonight.

  14. BroD says:

    I never got into VH, Too old, I guess: I just couldn’t get past the schtick. But he was a GOD in my son’s eyes and, by that time, he knew more about music than I did.

  15. Tracy Lynn says:

    My spouse texted me that Eddie had passed while I was on the road. While I contemplated his passing, my mind wandered to his guitar riff in the middle of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.” Amazing guitar work, and I understand, a really amazing person. Ah 2020. I’ll be so glad to see the backside of you.

  16. Eureka says:

    For all of his fancy (and amazing) work, I also like the originality of sounds on Jamie’s Cryin’. Understated compared to the more-prized solos and such, but still strange. Was bummed anew when the instinct to grab an album was met with memory that the turntable needle is shot.

    They also had some of the best album titles (or their album titles evoke the best of times).

    Another neat immortality:

    Timothy Burke: “Eddie Van Halen has died. Many more eloquent than me will discuss his musical achievements, so I’ll just note that he was owner and inventor of the patent with the baddest-ass diagram in the history of the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office [image]”


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