As a young punk, when they emerged on the scene, I was never a fan of Van Halen. I thought Eddie Van Halen was a particularly evil force in terms of the downward spiral of popular aesthetics. Over time, however, I came to appreciate the band Van Halen, for their craftsmanship, for David Lee Roth’s comic swagger, and for the song “Jump,” the one Van Halen hit that barely features Eddie’s guitar wankery.
That said, I was sadder than I could have imagined when I saw the news that Eddie Van Halen died last night, at 65. He was a fierce adversary in my imagination. To be the best, we’ve got to beat the best. He was among the best in his field of practice, and I respect – and now miss – that.