Oct 072020

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.


  10 Responses to “RIP Eddie Van Halen”

  1. I’ll say this. He genuinely looks like he’s enjoying himself.

  2. Also, the obituary in today’s Inquirer said that Eddie had studied classical piano AND did not read music. WTF?

  3. BigSteve

    I think his influence on music had generally not been for the good, but he seemed like a good egg, once he grew up a little bit.

  4. One last thing. The band I’m in does a version of “Where Have All the Good Times Gone?” At rehearsal last night, the guitarist mentioned that VH had also covered it. He pulled out his phone and searched for it…and it was really, really awful.

  5. @Geo. Ha! Funny that you didn’t know that was covered by VH. It takes a little away from the enjoyment of covering a song another band did a bad cover of. Nixon’s Head likes playing Gimme Gimme Good Lovin by Crazy Elephant, but hair-metal band Helix did a cover of it too. It’s awful.

    I don’t think I’m alone in the Hall when I say I totally respected and am impressed by what EVH could do on a guitar, but also rarely actually enjoyed listening to his style.

  6. Yeah, as good as he is, the style holds little appeal for me. Mr. Mod has previously commented on his guitar tone which is probably 90% of the problem.

  7. I’ve never understood why people go on about his “Brown Sound” because that tone sucks, and his guitar playing style is essentially the opposite of what I find interesting about the guitar. But his guitar playing was genuinely inventive and he created an instantly identifiable style. He also launched a million poor knock-offs, as did Nirvana but I can’t really hold an innovator responsible for the sins of their imitators.

    I really didn’t like VH when they came out but a few years ago, it occurred to me that they were endearingly connected to old school show biz in the same way that Alice Cooper was (as famously noted by Groucho Marx).

    So count me among the group of people who respect him but don’t like listening to him.

  8. This one is for all you hatas out there, you can hit EVH and Bruce at the same time.


    Me, I love this. How ever many thousands of people in the audience and Bruce might as well be heading up a bar band. And that’s meant as a compliment. “But I like it!”

  9. @Al. Surprising myself, I like that too! Too long, but that is the boss’s signature.

  10. cf, can’t argue with you on the length; on the plus side, it’s not Twist & Shout.

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