Hi everyone, as all of you know about two and a half weeks ago the Rock World lost a true legend and most likely the greatest, most influential guitar player to ever live: Eddie Van Halen
As late as this tribute may seem, and impersonal. Due to the fact that I never had the pleasure of even meeting the man, I’m sure many who enjoyed his music and quite possibly inspired to play guitar because of him can relate to how is truly personal this actually is for me and many others.
So where do I begin? At the beginning of course (well for me anyway). Despite the fact that my age wasn’t even in the double digits when I discovered Van Halen, I became a fan a little bit later in the game than many. My cousins and their friends had turned me on to Van Halen. I remember taking trips with them to the local mall,clamoring on while in route piled into my Aunt’s van while we expressed how awesome we thought that band is. “In his book,they are the best!” my cousin Joey’s friend Bobby had said pointing to my cousin while immediately making a fist in order to unknowingly emphasize his excitement. Obviously on one of these trips I bought one of their albums, which I believe quite possibly the first did I ever had gotten on vinyl. And I still have it btw :
Of course around this time, MTV was pretty much a new thing and of course Van Halen was a major part of it. I don’t think any of their albums before the groundbreaking “1984” had any major music videos, but I know this album had produced at least three that are considered classics today. This being the first that comes to mind :
I don’t really need to tell anybody what a music video does to enhance a band’s popularity, but I will anyway LOL. With the added visual experience and Television’s ability to reach more people than ever before, it made all of the band’s popularity skyrocket. Especially videos for bands such as Van Halen, not only had musical prowess but eye candy for pretty much everybody watching.
I really wish that I had got to see Van Halen perform live, an experience much more powerful than. seeing them in the 2 dimensional. An experience so powerful and monumental the writers of the cartoon South Park decided to make Van Halen responsible for ending the struggle for control of Jerusalem that is been going on for thousands of years once and for all by people of all faiths coming together at their concert and making peace after discovering their mutual love for Van Halen. Of course this didn’t really happen, but just the fact that a few writers of a very popular show thought of this really says something about how much of an impact Van Halen has made on the world.
One the best Van Halen concert stories I heard was from a friend who saw Van Halen perform along side of Quiet Riot on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles,CA. This was before either band had become National Acts so, the audience that night witnessed two guitar legends perform as Randy Rhoads(more recognized for performing with Ozzy Osbourne) was also a founding member of Quiet Riot. What a show that must have been!
I’m sure there are thousands of stories like these from people all over the world who were touched by the music Eddie Van Halen was partly responsible for bringing to the world. Like I said in my last post about Rush, the Van Halen logo was also written on walls and notebooks, etched onto desks over the place that I’m sure could still be found today. In my opinion this is probably the most popular rock based graffiti ever. All this is just some of the evidence of how much the music we grew up on defines us. For many,it shaped who we are and how we interacted with others. This is why so many people that have never even met Eddie Van Halen or any famous musician feel this as a personal loss as if they lost a family member or close friend. Because it is a personal loss. like many who study different forms of spirituality,some often view their relationship with God or whatever deity they choose to worship or interact with as a personal one. Think about how you feel when one of your favorite songs comes on, that rush of emotion, the excitement. For most it doesn’t even matter if it’s a song that you been listening to for years,it may even trigger you to remember when you first heard it and what was going on in your life. Or you may even associate your favorite songs with some great memories.
Certainly not everybody can understand the level of intense feelings that some of us have towards music and the loss of our idols, but that’s fine. I myself was not only in tears when I first learn of Eddie’s passing, but I was really taken aback,shocked and very saddened for many days after. Grieving is a personal thing, and even though there are healthy and unhealthy ways of coping with it it’s very rare that anyone grieves exactly the way somebody else does. Even though stages of grief have been determined,it’s a process that I don’t think can fully be explained by science. And just like good feelings be triggered,so can feelings of grief and sadness. So it’s not right to judge anyone for grieving for another even if this somebody that died is someone that by social definition, they did not know.
I’ve already stated in part how influential Eddie Van Halen and his music are on my life. Listening to them so early in life, being inspired to play guitar by him and witnessing some of their music being used as a soundtrack to the highlight films for my high school football team. Specifically “Dreams” & “Standing on top of the World”. Very appropriate for a bunch of young athletic guys determined to win a championship. And of course as a guitar player, he inspired me to try to reach the highest heights is possible (If only the people around me felt this way). learning how to play guitar masterpieces, such as “Eruption” was such an exhilarating feeling. I do feel as if I was on another plane, like Heaven(you maybe thinking : there’s that word again). For many months now,the very end of that song has been my phone’s ringtone. And when it came to deciding on a guitar amp, as usual I picked a Peavey. And not just any Peavey, the original 5150 guitar head design by Eddie Van Halen that I still owe on to this day.
So I think that myself and music fans around the world,owe Eddie Van Halen & his bandmates,David Lee Roth,Michael Anthony,Sammy Hagar,and his Brother Alex Van Halen and his Son, Wolfgang Van Halen a huge thank you. I don’t think that I would have even formed a band if it wasn’t for Van Halen.Condolences to his Family and all who had the pleasure of knowing him(in any way,shape or form).
I chose the name of this entry as a way to not only comfort others who I felt his loss,but as a way to express how I feel about what happens when somebody passes on to how I feel about what happens when somebody passes on to the other realm. Their spirit,their power,and gifts become greater and can be felt by those who were inspired by them. So in essence,I do believe they become a force of nature. Most people pass on hoping those in mourning will not be sad for long. And as impossible as it seems,I was hoping to steer attention off of the fact that he had just died and on to what he gave to all of us. After all,if we are able to look past all of the pain of losing another, we can realize that in the end all that really matters is love.
Thank you all for reading this,and I hope this brings you comfort anytime you are grieving. Please enjoy this short audio piece of Eddie playing (you’ll know what song it’s from) that I had put together with some artwork I found and words that I had expressed to honor the one and only Eddie Van Halen
Stay well everybody, Natexoxo