Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Hero Worship part V - Eddie Van Halen
OK, I was tempted to put one of the many unflattering pics of this guy up but I decided to be kind. I regard this as giving the devil his due. It is my firm conviction that this guy hasn't played a single note worth listening to since he fired David Lee Roth. With Dave the band consistently rocked and could do no wrong. Ever since they've gone from pop pathetic to pablum puke. Why can't this be love? Because it sucks, that's why. OK, 'nuff said about the forgettable songwriting. On to the guitar playing. You have to give it to the guy. When Eddie came on the scene he was following the likes of Hendrix, Beck, Page, Iommi, Blackmore and Clapton; not an easy lot to follow on. Yet he did it with attitude and style. His two handed technique was so unusual at the time that I've heard he would play with his back to the audience so no one could see what he was doing. If so it was with good reason. If Hendrix was the greatest innovator on the electric guitar since Les Paul invented the thing then this guy surely took it the next step. Only Hendrix and Page inspired more imitators and in the three decades since he probably has more than both of them combined by now. As I write these I realize I should be a lot more technical in my descriptions and specific in my citations but to hell with it. They're my heroes. I'll worship them anyway I want. I should mention that Eddie has another point in his favor: He's sober unlike so many of his contemporaries. He'll probably outlive most of them as a result. However in the minus column he married Valerie Bertinelli. At the time I thought she was the prize of the century. I've since come around to be a more MacKenzie Philips type of guy. I'll say this much: Dave was a lot better after Van Halen than Van Halen was after Dave no matter WHAT the money said.