Our 25 Favorite Eddie Van Halen Stories


Followers and friends shared their favourite Eddie Van Halen recollections within the days following the guitar legend’s 2020 death. Because the music world mourned the lack of one of many all-time greats, we sorted by our archives for a few of the finest tales in regards to the Van Halen chief — from early inspirations to quite a few collaborations to that point a cop let him out of a dashing ticket only for being an superior guitarist.

His First Report-Label Battle

Regardless that Van Halen have been utterly unproven as an album-selling commodity, Eddie Van Halen had no downside squaring off in opposition to one of many greatest document labels on the planet proper out of the gate. “You need to have seen the primary album cowl Warner Bros. designed for us,” the guitarist later defined. “They tried to make us appear like the Clash. We stated, ‘Fuck this shit!”

Read More: Why Van Halen Rejected Their First Album Cover


From Unknowns to World-Beaters in Simply One Yr

In assist of their 1978 self-titled debut, Van Halen bucked rock custom by wowing audiences as a assist act. They shared phases with the Rolling Stones, Journey, Black Sabbath and Ted Nugent. However their finest gig of the 12 months was most definitely in entrance of 82,000 rock followers on the Texxas Music Pageant, the place they’d to make use of borrowed tools when their gear was despatched to Chicago by mistake.

Read More: How Van Halen Conquered the World in Just 10 Shows

Frank Tewkesbury / Ed Peristein / Fin Costello, Getty Photos / Epic / Atlantic

Frank Tewkesbury / Ed Peristein / Fin Costello, Getty Photos / Epic / Atlantic


His Sense of Invention Got here From His Father

Eddie Van Halen traced his penchant for modifying guitars to his father, Jan, who was additionally a musician. The elder Van Halen continued to play clarinet and saxophone, regardless that he misplaced a finger and backside tooth, by setting up units that allowed him to compensate for his deficits. He performed clarinet on Van Halen’s 1982 cowl of “Large Unhealthy Invoice (Is Candy William Now).”

Read More: Eddie Van Halen Relives His Early Adventures in Guitar Hacking


His Ears Have been Nice, Too

Whereas creating his 5150 guitar cupboard with Peavey, Eddie Van Halen found it used plywood as an alternative of his specified Baltic birch. Founder Hartley Peavey protested that it might add to the fee with out altering the tone, however the guitarist felt in another way. So, they lined up 16 cupboards – one made with Baltic birch, the opposite 15 with plywood – and the guitarist performed one lengthy observe by every till he obtained to the one which yielded the sound he wished.

Read More: Eddie Van Halen Has Superhuman Ears

Frazer Harrison, Getty Photos

Frazer Harrison, Getty Photos


How Eddie Van Halen Rearranged “Beat It”

When it got here time to document Van Halen’s iconic solo on Michael Jackson‘s “Beat It,” producer Quincy Jones gave Van Halen carte blanche to rearrange the half he was enjoying over. “I listened to the track,” Eddie instructed CNN, “and I instantly go, ‘Can I modify some components?’ I turned to the engineer and I’m going, ‘Okay, from the breakdown, chop on this half, go to this piece, pre-chorus, to the refrain, out.’ Took him perhaps 10 minutes to place it collectively. And I proceeded to improvise two solos over it.”

Read More: When Eddie Van Halen Served as Michael Jackson’s Secret Sideman


Why He Constructed His Personal Recording Studio

As Van Halen deliberate to make 1984, the guitarist was rising uninterested in producer Ted Templeman’s singles-first method to songwriting. Wanting “a greater place to place my music collectively so I may present it to the fellows,” Eddie Van Halen and engineer Donn Landee began constructing a house studio. Templeman did not like the thought … till he heard “Bounce.”

Read More: Eddie Van Halen Recalls ‘1984’ Battles With Producer


His Keyboard Work Was Additionally Fairly Nice

After the success of the synth-heavy 1984 and the departure of David Lee Roth, Eddie Van Halen modernized his band by incorporating extra keyboards into its sound. The shift led to a few of Van Halen’s greatest hits, together with “Why Cannot This Be Love,” “When It is Love” and “Proper Now.”

Read More: Top 10 Van Halen Keyboard Songs

Keyboards Warner House Video


That Was His Guitar in ‘Again to the Future’

A scene in 1985’s Again to the Future options Marty McFly slipping a cassette marked “Edward Van Halen” right into a Walkman and blasting it into his future father’s ears to wake him up. In 2012, the guitarist admitted it was “only a bunch of noise” he recorded and never a part of an unreleased track.

Read More: Eddie Van Halen Admits ‘Back to the Future’ Guitar Work Was His


He Launched the Van Hagar Period at Farm Assist

The inaugural Farm Assist happened on Sept. 22, 1985, and included Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp and Neil Younger. Sammy Hagar was additionally among the many performers, billed as a solo act. About midway by his set, Hagar introduced out Eddie Van Halen to rock by a canopy of Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll.” “We didn’t have time to work nothin’ up,” Hagar defined from the stage. “And Eddie and I have been sittin’ at his home, bullshittin’, and we seemed within the newspaper, and it stated Eddie was gonna jam with me. And I stated, ‘Effectively, shit, I didn’t know that.’ So, on the final minute, we determined to go forward and do it.” Unimpressed with Hagar’s profanity, the Nashville Community, which was broadcasting Farm Assist, lower away earlier than the large announcement: Hagar revealed he had joined Eddie, his drummer brother, Alex, and bassist Michael Anthony in Van Halen.

Read More: When Sammy Hagar and Eddie Van Halen Performed Live for the First Time

Ebet Roberts, Getty Photos

Ebet Roberts, Getty Photos


Wolfgang Becoming a member of Van Halen Gave “New Life” to the Band

Van Halen’s 2007 reunion with David Lee Roth got here with one other lineup change: Bassist Michael Anthony was let go and changed by Eddie Van Halen’s 15-year-old son, Wolfgang. As Eddie instructed Guitar World, “Wolfgang breathes new life into what we’re doing. He brings youthfulness to one thing that is inherently youthful. He is solely been enjoying bass for 3 months, nevertheless it’s spooky. He is locked tight and places an unimaginable spin on our shit. The child is kicking my ass! He is spanking me now, regardless that I by no means spanked him. To have my son comply with in my footsteps on his personal, with out me pushing him into it, is the best feeling on the planet.”

Read More: The Day Wolfgang Van Halen Joined Van Halen

Michael Buckner, Getty Photos

Michael Buckner, Getty Photos


The ‘Van Halen II’ Guitar Is Buried With Dimebag Darrell

After former Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell was killed onstage in 2004, his brother, Vinnie Paul, requested Eddie Van Halen if he may make a yellow-and-black striped guitar, just like the one seen on the quilt of Van Halen II, to be buried with Darrell. Van Halen, who had met the brothers only some weeks earlier, did greater than that: He introduced the precise guitar to be positioned in the casket. “An authentic ought to have an authentic,” the guitarist instructed Rita Haney, Dimebag’s girlfriend.

Read More: Why Eddie Van Halen Buried His ‘Van Halen II’ Guitar With Dimebag Darrell

Shinko Music / Robert Knight Archives, Getty Photos

Shinko Music / Robert Knight Archives, Getty Photos


He Gave Away 75 of His Guitars to Public Faculties

In 2012, Eddie donated 75 guitars from his collection to the Mr. Holland’s Opus Basis so that they might be distributed to colleges across the Los Angeles space. “If I may also help a child uncover a liking, or perhaps a ardour for music of their life, then that is an exquisite factor,” he stated. “Music has supplied an excellent life for me, and, hopefully, it might assist make life higher for others with this donation.” Felice Mancini, the muse’s government director, described the assembly with the legend. “He got here to our workplace together with his pretty spouse and took some footage with the employees,” she stated. “He’s a stunning man and really shy. It was enjoyable. Eddie’s spouse was pleasant; they have been simply so joyful that this occurred. Eddie did sincerely wish to really feel that he gave one thing again, and he did. It was win-win all the best way round.”

Read More: The Story Behind Eddie Van Halen’s Public School Guitar Donation

Jamie McCarthy, Getty Photos

Jamie McCarthy, Getty Photos


He Made a Dying Man Very Glad With a Video Chat

In 2017, Van Halen and his spouse Janie spent a while chatting through FaceTime with Michael Brewer, a fan from North Carolina who was in a hospice facility with a terminal case of prostate most cancers. “Soooo … this simply occurred!” Brewer’s spouse wrote on Fb. “Eddie and his spouse Janie have been merely superb! Felt like we have been sitting and chatting with a detailed pal! Due to Eddie and Janie Van Halen and everybody at LCFH [Lower Cape Fear Hospice] for making Michael’s dream come true! Eddie nonetheless has the perfect smile”

Read More: Eddie Van Halen FaceTimes With Terminal Prostate Cancer Patient

Ethan Miller, Getty Photos

Ethan Miller, Getty Photos


He Gave to ALS Analysis as A part of the Ice-Bucket Problem

As many celebrities have been spending 2014 dumping buckets of ice water on their heads to lift consciousness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Eddie Van Halen selected to present cash as an alternative. He was challenged by former David Lee Roth guitarist Jason Becker, who was identified with the illness within the mid-’90s. “We have now been speaking these days, and he despatched us a donation,” Becker wrote. “Folks ought to know that he did not ignore the ice-bucket problem, however wished to do one thing much less public and from his coronary heart.” Becker added that Van Halen had given him monetary help and helped his 2001 album, Perspective, come out on Warner Bros. A number of months later, Eddie and Alex Van Halen donated a signed acoustic guitar to be auctioned as a part of a profit for KMET DJ Pat Kelley, who was identified with main progressive a number of sclerosis in 2003.

Read More: Eddie Van Halen Finally Responds to Jason Becker’s ALS Challenge

Jamie McCarthy, Getty Photos / YouTube

Jamie McCarthy, Getty Photos / YouTube


He As soon as Bought Out of a Rushing Ticket, Merely As a result of He is Eddie Van Halen

Carmaker Audi invited Van Halen to Northern California to check drive its V-10 on the Sonoma Raceway. On his drive up the coast, the guitarist was booked for going 95 in a 65 pace zone. “I’m going, ‘The very last thing I want is a dashing ticket for that a lot over the pace restrict,’” Van Halen defined throughout a dialog with Automotive and Driver. “We get dwelling and I get a letter from my workplace. The patrol man who gave me the ticket, his captain voided it. He stated, ‘You don’t give Eddie Van Halen a ticket,’ and I had a letter to show it. The letter got here straight from the captain.”

Read More: Eddie Van Halen Got Out of a Speeding Ticket for Being Eddie Van Halen

David Tan, Getty Photos

David Tan, Getty Photos


He As soon as Jammed With ‘Police Academy”s Michael Winslow

On the 1987 Nationwide Affiliation of Music Retailers conference, Eddie Van Halen jumped onstage for a shock look supporting his guitar sponsor on the time, Kramer. He then invited a collection of particular visitors to affix him, together with Steve Stevens and Tim Bogert. However the greatest shock was Michael Winslow, the comic finest often known as Larvell Jones, aka the human sound machine from the Police Academy films. The guitarist and comic traded riffs, with Eddie wailing on his ax whereas Winslow supplied impressively real looking guitar-like vocals.


He Collaborated With Method Extra Folks Than Michael Jackson

Eddie Van Halen’s most well-known extracurricular guitar second is the blazing solo on Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.” However that is simply scratching the floor of his collaborative resume, which additionally contains 1977 demos for Kiss’ Gene Simmons, solo tracks from Queen’s Brian Might and Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters and onetime bandmate Sammy Hagar’s 1987 solo LP, I By no means Mentioned Goodbye, the place he performed bass and supplied backing vocals.

Read More: Eddie Van Halen Collaborations: 13 Rare and Forgotten Guest Spots

Eddie Van Halen Collaborations


He Wrote — and Performed Reside — With the ‘SNL’ Home Band

G.E. Smith, guitarist for the Saturday Night time Reside home band, satisfied Eddie Van Halen to come back onstage throughout a 1987 episode hosted by Van Halen’s spouse on the time, actress Valerie Bertinelli. He even co-wrote a track, “Stompin’ 8H” — named in reference to the present’s dwelling at Studio 8H in New York’s 30 Rockefeller Plaza — they usually performed it twice: as soon as in costume rehearsal, as soon as on air. “At costume it was unbelievable – it was ridiculous how good it was,” Smith recalled within the under 2017 interview. “He’s a grasp, he actually is. At air it was nice, I imply, it was tremendous top quality. However he made a tiny little mistake. He forgot the place this one very intricate little factor [was]. No person would even find out about it; perhaps three individuals in america. He was so upset that he had made a mistake, nevertheless it was nice.”

Read More: When Eddie Van Halen’s Guest Spot Didn’t Go as Planned


He Left Behind Dozens of Unreleased Songs

Van Halen’s catalog contains greater than two albums’ price of unreleased songs — each in demo and stay type — out there to stream on YouTube. There are additionally greater than 15 tracks which have by no means even been bootlegged. Each time the time comes for a brand new retrospective field set, hopefully followers will discover a treasure trove.

Read More: Hear 25 Unreleased Van Halen Songs: A Hidden History


His Guitar Assortment Went Method Past the “Frankenstrat” 

Eddie Van Halen’s most well-known guitar is the enduring “Franksenstrat,” a crimson, white and black ax he created by piecing collectively varied components, together with the physique of a Fender Stratocaster. However he additionally performed many different guitars over the a long time, together with a modified Ibanez Destroyer he known as “the Shark” and a striped, yellow and black six-string identified known as “the Bumblebee” by followers.

Read More: The History of Eddie Van Halen’s 12 Most Famous Guitars


Van Halen Carried out Throughout a Freak Summer season Snowstorm

Van Halen most likely wasn’t anticipating a snowstorm throughout their 1995 summer season tour, however that’s precisely what they obtained throughout a cease on the Fiddler’s Inexperienced Amphitheatre, simply exterior Denver. Eight inches of snow dropped on the world, pulling down energy strains and inflicting every kind of issues. Nonetheless, the band determinedly went by with its 21-song set, with Eddie Van Halen participating in quite a few snowball fights with the viewers through the memorable present.

Read More: 25 Years Ago: Van Halen’s Denver Concert Rocked by Snowstorm

Adrian Borromeo, UCR

Adrian Borromeo, UCR


How Van Halen Frightened a Group of Tibetan Monks

Van Halen’s track “The Seventh Seal” memorably opens with about 20 seconds of Tibetan-monk chanting. For many stay performances, the band recreated the intro onstage by utilizing recordings, however in 1995, Van Halen and the Monks of Gyuto Tantric College occurred to each be in Minneapolis on the identical day. Sammy Hagar invited the Tibetan group to open the band’s live performance, however when Van Halen proceeded to kick in to their efficiency of “The Seventh Seal,” the holy males have been despatched scrambling. One monk jumped into the pit, whereas one other sat down on the drum riser, not sure of the place to flee.

Read More: The Night Van Halen Sent Monks Scrambling for Cover

Adrian Borromeo, UCR

Adrian Borromeo, UCR


Even His Canine Grew to become Well-known

Social media is essential for any band’s success — much less so for canines. However Eddie Van Halen’s canine Kody grew to become a miniature celeb in his personal proper again in 2012, finally racking up greater than 11,000 Fb followers. The posts nonetheless proceed, updating the pup’s playdates, sock-stealing exploits and poolside lounging.

Read More: Eddie Van Halen’s Dog Kody Gets His Own Facebook Page

Stickman/Bauer-Griffin, Getty Photos

Stickman/Bauer-Griffin, Getty Photos


Eddie Van Halen, the Photographer

A fan within the viewers at a 2019 Instrument present in Los Angeles requested a close-by man if he would take a photograph to recollect the event. The plot twist on this seemingly mundane encounter? The photographer was none aside from Eddie Van Halen. “A man requested my dad if he may take an image of him with the stage behind him, having no thought who he simply requested,” Wolfgang Van Halen, Eddie’s son and bandmate, defined in a Twitter publish recalling the interplay. “That was my favourite second from the Instrument present final evening.”

Read More: Tool Fan Unknowingly Asks Eddie Van Halen to Take His Picture


Van Halen Closed Their Story With a Candy Farewell

Eddie Van Halen ended his stage profession with a becoming wave of nostalgia. Throughout Van Halen’s two-night hometown stand in October 2015, staged on the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, the quartet cruised by a set of favorites (together with “Panama,” “Sizzling for Trainer” and nearer “Bounce”). However additionally they obtained sentimental. In the course of the first evening, Van Halen and David Lee Roth put their arms round one another, with the singer telling his bandmate, “One of the best years of my life, the excessive factors of all my life — onstage with you, homeboy.”

Read More: Revisiting Eddie Van Halen’s Last Van Halen Concert

Kevin Mazur, Getty Photos

Kevin Mazur, Getty Photos


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