-On 10/6/2020, I was taking my last break on my “regular” job, sat down and took a look on Facebook via my phone. I was in shock to see that Guitar Hero Eddie Van Halen had died. An added shock was seeing virtually my entire Facebook time line covered with posts from people reporting and / or reacting from the news. This lasted for hours and I’d never seen anything like it for any celebrity that I can remember.
-Eddie Van Halen influenced so many guitarists in various degrees – including myself – although initially it was thru a guitarist that Eddie had influenced, Bruce Kulick who was at the time playing guitar in KISS. I started to work on tapping on the guitar thru Bruce, but shortly found my way to his influence with it-Eddie. I was just amazed how technical his playing was, yet played with such fluidity and ease. Having said that, I didn’t start learning to play VAN HALEN songs, with one exception, for the longest time. There was something about his playing that was very appealing to me and yet, in a weird way, it was almost like I shouldn’t attempt to mimic it cause it’s his. I know that sounds strange but I don’t know how to really explain it right now so…The exception was the song “Ain’t Talkin’ Bout Love” – which I played while in the band Front Row. Some of those shows, singer Jay Hatch (Hamilton) would introduce the song by saying that the song started with “Wayne Van Halen” – which was a very nice compliment that, even to this day, I don’t feel I live up to. I have worked on some other Van Halen tunes here and there, but I currently don’t know too many. However, there are a number of CAROLINE BLUE songs that incorporate tapping, all of which are nods to both Bruce and Eddie.
-While I really like a number of Van Halen songs, there’s three that really stand out and I’ll showcase them a little here. The first one is “Unchained.” Outside of “Over The Mountain” (OZZY OSBOURNE) and “Creatures of the Night” (KISS), there’s no other song that, if I’m driving and it comes on, I immediately crank up the volume. I’ve probably help blow a speaker or two due to this 🙂 Just a great, powerful song.
-The second is “I’ll Wait” – which I remember hearing a lot in my high school years. Everyone else was into “Jump,” “Panama” or “Hot For Teacher” and I like those too-but there’s something about this song that really brings me back to those high school days. I’m a memory guy so that just adds to why I love the song.
-The third song could easily be one of my theme songs for 2020 – “Where Have All The Good Times Gone.” It just seems to sum up what I’ve been feeling for the last several years-but particularly last year and this year.
-I’m writing this almost a month after he passed away and it still seems strange-at least to me-to be in a world where Eddie Van Halen is no longer alive in it. I believe there are many who feel the same way. Like Prince, he has supposedly have huge scores of music in a “vault” which I heard his estate and label are working for possible release after it gets sorted and reviewed. It’s been said so many times but it’s true-while many can imitate him, and some even surpassing him in terms of technique- there’s only one Eddie Van Halen.