Debunking the myths about Eddie Van Halen
Unfortunately, October 6, 2020 one of the greatest guitarists who ever took the stage has died. Eddie Van Halen was an innovator in the field of guitar and in the world of music in general. Most people believed that he intuitively knew how to compose music. His success as "guitar god" will never be forgotten, but other aspects of his rock and roll lifestyle cannot fade into the background either ... Many stories from Van Halen's life sound like they are taken from a Hollywood movie script - too wild and unrealistic to be true ! But we assure you: the following are truly true stories from the life of the legendary and rather secretive great musician. Let's get started...
He drove a tank through Beverly Hills for a guitar
Director of documentaries and video clips Andrew Bennett remembered the time spent with the guitar god in his book "Eruption in the Canyon: 212 Days & Nights With the Genius of Eddie Van Halen". The book covers the period from 2004 to 2007, when an incident occurred that only seems possible in feverish dreams...
Bennett describes the time Van Halen played with Limp Bizkit. Allegedly Fred Durst invited Eddie to play with them Beverly Hillswhile they auditioned for the role of the guitarist. After they played for a bit, some of those present decided to relax a bit... Although Van Halen had been a smoker for most of his life, he was not a fan of substances. He stood up abruptly and left, leaving all his equipment behind. Bennett claims that Eddie contacted Durst the next day to get his guitar and amps back, but with no response, he took matters into his own hands. Bennett's word:
“Eddie once bought an assault vehicle at a military auction! He had a glowing rig on his back, and it's illegal. Eddie drove this assault car through Los Angeles, into Beverly Hills, then parked and left it on on the front lawn where Limp Bizkit was rehearsing! He went out shirtless, his hair pulled back into a samurai bun on the top of his head. His jeans were held up with string, and his combat boots were held together with duct tape. And he had a gun in his hand... When Durst opened the door, Van Halen put a gun to his head and demanded his equipment. Of course he got it…”
He created an indestructible guitar - and was angry that he could not break it
Van Halen I was constantly looking for new ways to improve my instruments - playing and sound in general. And he often got fixated on something, because of which he sometimes smashed his guitars right on stage! In search of the perfect sound, he finally created "Wolfgang". Named after his son, the instrument was a virtually indestructible guitar! In his interview Van Halen said:
“During the performance, I really tried to break Wolfgang, but I couldn’t do it! I couldn't break the damn thing! I threw the guitar in the air and nothing! It pissed me off…”
He buried his original Bumblebee guitar with a friend
Eddie Van Halen and guitarist Dimebag Darrell were friends. Moreover: their relationship was surprisingly deep and warm ... Shortly before he was killed, Darrell's last words were supposedly "Van Halen". According to his brother Vinnie Paul, this was their code word with Eddie for relaxation and fun ...
During discussions about which guitar should be placed in the coffin grave, Van Halen showed up with his famous guitar Bumblebee, stating:
"An original must have an original."
He never knew how to "read music"
Father Van Halen, who played jazz, enrolled Eddie and his brother in piano lessons by the time they were 5 years old. Van Halen actually played the piano long before he started playing drums or guitar. Speaking about his piano teacher, he mentioned that he did not speak English and slapped him if he made a mistake. In fact, the language barrier may have been the reason why Van Halen never learned to read music... The guitarist jokingly claimed to have fooled everyone by "watching the teacher's fingers and just repeating it"!
Although Van Halen learned to play the piano in a somewhat unconventional manner, he recalled winning first place in a competition at City College three years in a row. Long Beach! Shortly thereafter, he and his brother ventured into rock stardom without being able to read music...
The Dave Clark Five motivated him to become a musician
If you grew up in a musical family, it's hard not to have the same passion... Father Eddie Van Halen even sent his son to piano lessons as a child to prepare him for a professional career. But it wasn't his father's ambitions, his days as a pianist, or even the most popular rock band ever formed that inspired Eddie to pursue music...
In an interview Rolling Stone, in which he was asked about his childhood and inspiration, Van Halen said that upon hearing The Dave Clark Five, he realized that playing rock music on stage is his passion!
He Secretly Changed Michael Jackson's "Beat It"
One of the funniest surprises of my career Eddie Van Halen is his 20 second riff in the middle of the song Michael Jackson "Beat It"! According to the guitarist, he joined the song as a favor to Quincy Jones and asked not to be paid any money for his work. He also mistakenly believed that no one would ever know that he was playing in the song ... But the story of his collaboration with Jackson does not end there ...
After Jackson left the studio in the middle of the session, Van Halen rearranged what was already recorded. When Jackson returned to the studio, Eddie - knowing he risked being kicked out for touching another artist's work - immediately admitted it, saying, "I changed the middle of your song." Instead, Jackson gave him full creative control and even loved the changes he made! Just like the whole world...
He was never asked to star in SNL - it happened by accident
In February 1987 of the year Eddie Van Halen reluctantly accompanied his then-wife Valerie Bertinelli on the set of SNL, where she was supposed to host the show. Van Halen's "lifeline" was the orchestra room, where he felt he could fit in with the band...
house band guitarist SNL, Smithwanted Eddie to do more than just hang out backstage. He convinced Van Halen to have an impromptu performance with the band that evening. They composed the song on the spot, and Smith recalled how Van Halen made a small mistake during a live performance. Smith said:
"Eddie got really pissed off for making a mistake - even if it was something so small no one would have noticed..."
He told a complete stranger confidential information before it became known
When an online forum asked people to share their memories of meeting Eddie Van Halen, one commenter's story stood out in particular... Robin Bailey wrote about a time he worked at a bike shop in Santa Monica that happened to be right next door to the place he visited Van Halen. After strategically positioning himself in the parking lot at just the right time, Bailey got the chance to say hello to the great guitarist. They chatted for a bit and Bailey asked how the group was doing. Van Halen replied:
"Good. We just finished recording two new songs with Roth and we are looking for a singer." Bailey said that Van Halen went on to talk about Hagar's inability to sing and the fact that the process was taking him much longer than it needed to. Bailey replied "bummer" before Van Halen left.
A few months later it became known that Sammy Hagar leaves the group, and the guys reunited with David Lee Roth! Bailey, just a stranger who struck up a conversation in the parking lot, learned this information long before the press and the whole world knew about it ...