Eddie Van Halen

Last updated

Eddie Van Halen
Eddie Van Halen.jpg
Van Halen in 2015
Born
Edward Lodewijk van Halen

(1955-01-26) January 26, 1955 (age 64)
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Nationality
Occupation
  • Musician
  • songwriter
  • producer
  • arranger
  • guitarist
Years active1964–present
Spouse(s)
Children Wolfgang Van Halen
Parents
Relatives Alex Van Halen (brother)
Musical career
Origin Pasadena, California, U.S.
Genres
Instruments Guitar
Labels
Associated acts
Website vhnd.com

Edward Lodewijk Van Halen (born January 26, 1955) is a Dutch-American musician, songwriter, and producer. He is the main songwriter and founder — with brother and drummer Alex Van Halen, bassist Mark Stone, and singer David Lee Roth — of the American hard rock band Van Halen. In 2012, he was voted number one in a Guitar World magazine reader's poll for "The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time". [1]

Dutch Americans are Americans of Dutch descent whose ancestors came from the Netherlands in the recent or distant past. Whether it is intentional, they usually maintain connections with their Dutch heritage, by having, for example, a Dutch surname or belonging to a Dutch community group. Dutch settlement in the Americas started in 1613 with New Amsterdam, which was exchanged with the British for the current Suriname at the Treaty of Breda (1667) and renamed New York City. The British split the Dutch colony of New Netherland into two pieces, and named them New York and New Jersey. Further waves of immigration occurred in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Alex Van Halen American musician

Alexander Arthur Van Halen is a Dutch American musician, and the drummer and co-founder of the hard rock band Van Halen. Initially Alex's younger brother Eddie played drums, while Alex practiced guitar. After spending time playing Eddie's drum kit, Alex became more skilled at the drums than Eddie.

David Lee Roth American singer

David Lee Roth is an American rock vocalist, songwriter, actor, author, and former radio personality. Roth is best known as the original (1974–1985) and current (2006–present) lead singer of hard rock band Van Halen. He is also known as a successful solo artist, releasing numerous RIAA-certified Gold and Platinum albums. After more than two decades apart, Roth re-joined Van Halen in 2006 for a North American tour that became the highest grossing in the band's history and one of the highest grossing of that year. In 2012, Roth and Van Halen released the comeback album A Different Kind of Truth. In 2007, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Van Halen. Roth possesses a vocal range of five octaves and three notes.

Contents

Biography

Born in Amsterdam, [2] Netherlands, Edward Lodewijk van Halen is the son of Dutch father, Jan van Halen, a clarinetist, saxophonist, and pianist, and East Indies-born Indo (Eurasian) mother Eugenia van Halen (née van Beers). [3] [4] from Rangkasbitung, Banten. Van Halen's middle name, "Lodewijk", is after composer Ludwig van Beethoven, "Lodewijk" being the Dutch equivalent of "Ludwig" (and the name of van Beethoven's grandfather). He continued this tradition by naming his son Wolfgang after composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Amsterdam Capital of the Netherlands

Amsterdam is the capital city and most populous municipality of the Netherlands. Its status as the capital is mandated by the Constitution of the Netherlands, although it is not the seat of the government, which is The Hague. Amsterdam has a population of 851,373 within the city proper, 1,351,587 in the urban area and 2,410,960 in the metropolitan area. The city is located in the province of North Holland in the west of the country but is not its capital, which is Haarlem. The metropolitan area comprises much of the northern part of the Randstad, one of the larger conurbations in Europe, with a population of approximately 8 million.

Dutch people or the Dutch are a Germanic ethnic group native to the Netherlands. They share a common culture and speak the Dutch language. Dutch people and their descendants are found in migrant communities worldwide, notably in Aruba, Suriname, Guyana, Curaçao, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, and the United States. The Low Countries were situated around the border of France and the Holy Roman Empire, forming a part of their respective peripheries, and the various territories of which they consisted had become virtually autonomous by the 13th century. Under the Habsburgs, the Netherlands were organised into a single administrative unit, and in the 16th and 17th centuries the Northern Netherlands gained independence from Spain as the Dutch Republic. The high degree of urbanization characteristic of Dutch society was attained at a relatively early date. During the Republic the first series of large-scale Dutch migrations outside of Europe took place.

The Indo people or Indos are Eurasian people living in or connected with Indonesia. In its narrowest sense, the term refers to people in the former Dutch East Indies who held European legal status but who were of mixed descent, that are descendants of various indigenous peoples of Indonesia and Dutch settlers. In the broadest sense, an Indo is anyone of mixed European and Indonesian descent. Indos are associated with colonial culture of the former Dutch East Indies, a Dutch colony in Southeast Asia and a predecessor to modern Indonesia after its proclamation of independence shortly after World War II. The term was used to describe people acknowledged to be of mixed Dutch and Indonesian descent, or it was a term used in the Dutch East Indies to apply to Europeans who had partial Asian ancestry. The European ancestry of these people was predominantly Dutch, but also included Portuguese, British, French, Belgian, German, and others.

In February 1962, the family moved from Nijmegen to the United States, settling in Pasadena, California. [4] Both Eddie and his older brother, Alex, are naturalized U.S. citizens. [5] The brothers learned to play the piano as children starting at the age of six. [6] [7]

Nijmegen City and municipality in Gelderland, Netherlands

Nijmegen is a city in the Dutch province of Gelderland, on the Waal river close to the German border.

Pasadena, California City in California, United States

Pasadena is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States, located 10 miles northeast of Downtown Los Angeles.

Naturalization process by which a non-citizen in a country may acquire citizenship or nationality of that country

Naturalization is the legal act or process by which a non-citizen in a country may acquire citizenship or nationality of that country. It may be done automatically by a statute, i.e., without any effort on the part of the individual, or it may involve an application or a motion and approval by legal authorities. The rules of naturalization vary from country to country but typically include a promise to obeying and upholding that country's laws, taking and subscribing to the oath of allegiance, and may specify other requirements such as a minimum legal residency and adequate knowledge of the national dominant language or culture. To counter multiple citizenship, most countries require that applicants for naturalization renounce any other citizenship that they currently hold, but whether this renunciation actually causes loss of original citizenship, as seen by the host country and by the original country, will depend on the laws of the countries involved.

They commuted from Pasadena to San Pedro to study with an elderly man, Stasys (Stanley) Kalvaitis [8] who taught them classical piano. Although they hated the commute, they continued as their mother would discipline them if they refused to go.

San Pedro, Los Angeles Neighborhood of Los Angeles in Los Angeles

San Pedro is a community within the city of Los Angeles, California. Formerly a separate city, it consolidated with Los Angeles in 1909. The Port of Los Angeles, a major international seaport, is partially located within San Pedro. The district has grown from being dominated by the fishing industry to become primarily a working class community within the city of Los Angeles.

Van Halen revealed in an interview that he was never able to read music. Instead, he learned from watching and listening. During recitals of Bach or Mozart, he would improvise. From 1964 through 1967, he won first place in the annual piano competition held at Long Beach City College. [8] Afterward, the judges would comment that he had an interesting interpretation of the classical piece. Van Halen's view was, "What? I thought I was playing it correctly!" However, according to one interview, playing the piano did not prove to be challenging or interesting to him. [9] Consequently, while Alex began playing the guitar, Eddie bought a drum kit and began practicing for hours every day.

Johann Sebastian Bach German composer and musician of the Baroque era

Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer and musician of the Baroque period. He is known for instrumental compositions such as the Brandenburg Concertos and the Goldberg Variations as well as for vocal music such as the St Matthew Passion and the Mass in B minor. Since the 19th-century Bach Revival he has been generally regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time.

Long Beach City College

Long Beach City College (LBCC) is a public community college in Long Beach, California. It was established in 1927 and is divided into two campuses. The Liberal Arts Campus is in Lakewood Village and the Pacific Coast Campus is in central Long Beach near Signal Hill. It is the only college in the Long Beach Community College District.

After Eddie heard Alex's performance of The Surfaris' drum solo in the song Wipe Out , he decided to switch instruments and began learning how to play the electric guitar. According to Eddie, as a teen, he would often practice while walking around at home with his guitar strapped on or sitting in his room for hours with the door locked. [10] [11]

The Surfaris

The Surfaris were an American surf rock band formed in Glendora, California in 1962. They are best known for two songs that hit the charts in the Los Angeles area, and nationally by May 1963: "Surfer Joe" and "Wipe Out", which were the A-side and B-side of the same 45 rpm single.

A drum solo is an instrumental solo played on a drum kit. A drum solo may be set or improvised, and of any length, up to being the main performance. In rock, drum solos are unique in that traditionally they are minimally or never accompanied, whereas other instruments may play solos accompanied or unaccompanied. They are also typically free-form in that they do not necessarily adhere to the tempo, style or structure of the song they accompany.

Eddie Van Halen acknowledged the importance of supergroup Cream's "I'm So Glad" on Goodbye Cream to be "mind-blowing". [12] He once claimed that he had learned almost all of Eric Clapton's solos in the band Cream "...note for note." "I've always said Eric Clapton was my main influence," Van Halen said, "but Jimmy Page was actually more the way I am, in a reckless-abandon kind of way." [13]

Eddie and Alex formed their first band with three other boys, calling themselves The Broken Combs, performing at lunchtime at Hamilton Elementary School in Pasadena, where Eddie was in the fourth grade. Eddie would later say that this was when he first felt the desire to become a professional musician. [14]

Style and influence

Van Halen's approach to the guitar involves several distinctive components. His use of two-handed tapping, natural and artificial harmonics, vibrato, and tremolo picking, combined with his rhythmic sensibility and melodic approach, have influenced an entire generation of guitarists. The instrumental "Eruption" was voted No. 2 in Guitar World magazine's readers poll of the 100 Greatest Guitar Solos. [15] [16] Despite his massive success, Van Halen has never fully learned to read music. [17]

Tapping

The 1978 instrumental "Eruption" by Van Halen showcased a solo technique called tapping, using both left and right hands on the guitar neck. Although Van Halen popularized tapping, he did not invent the tapping technique which had been used infrequently by various guitarists in blues and rock in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. [ citation needed ]

George Lynch said in an interview that he and Van Halen saw Harvey Mandel tap at the Starwood in the 1970s. [18] Van Halen's accounts of how he came across the tapping technique vary. In one interview with Guitar World , he said:

I think I got the idea of tapping watching Jimmy Page do his "Heartbreaker" solo back in 1971. He was doing a pull-off to an open string, and I thought wait a minute, open string ... pull off. I can do that, but what if I use my finger as the nut and move it around? I just kind of took it and ran with it. [19]

Van Halen also employs tapping harmonics. He holds the pick between his thumb and middle finger, which leaves his index finger free for tapping, and also makes for easy transitions between picking and tapping.

Van Halen holds a patent for a flip-out support device that attaches to the rear of the electric guitar. [20] This device enables the user to play the guitar in a manner similar to the piano by orienting the face of the guitar upward instead of forward. [21] [22] [23]

Pickup selection

Van Halen has used a variety of pickups including Gibson PAFs, 1970s Mighty Mites, DiMarzios and Ibanez Super 70s. He was using Mighty Mite pickups in 1977 club photos, just prior to the recording of the first Van Halen album. Mighty Mite pickups were OEM pickups made by Seymour Duncan [24] and were copies of DiMarzio Super Distortion pickups. Seymour Duncan apparently rewound a Gibson PAF for Van Halen around early 1978. [25]

His later guitars include various Kramer models from his period of endorsement for that company (most notably the Kramer 5150, from which Kramer in its Gibson-owned days based their Kramer 1984 design, an unofficial artist signature model) and three signature models: the Ernie Ball/Music Man Edward van Halen Model (which continues as the Ernie Ball Axis), the Peavey EVH Wolfgang (which has been succeeded by a similar guitar called the HP Special), and the Charvel EVH Art Series, on which Van Halen does the striping before they are painted by Charvel. His current deal is with Fender, making the EVH series of striped guitars, Wolfgang guitars, and EVH amps.

In an interview in Guitar World magazine in July 1985, Van Halen states that his "brown sound" is "...basically a tone, a feeling that I'm always working at ... It comes from the person. If the person doesn't even know what that type of tone I'm talking about is, they can't really work towards it, can they?" In an interview with Billboard magazine in June 2015, he states that with the expression "brown sound" he actually tried to describe the sound of his brother Alex Van Halen's snare drum, which he thought "...sounds like he’s beating on a log. It’s very organic. So it wasn’t my brown sound. It was Alex's." [26]

Patents

Van Halen is the inventor on US 4656917  . [27] The main claim is for a supporting member on the back of a stringed instrument, allowing the musician to play and/or fret the instrument in new ways.

He is the lead inventor of US 7183475  , [28] for the D-Tuna he invented to enable a non-floating Floyd Rose-equipped guitar to quickly change the tuning of the low E string by a whole step.[ citation needed ]

Another patent naming Van Halen as inventor is D388117 [29] for the headstock design for the EVH Wolfgang guitars.

Personal life

On August 29, 1980, Eddie met actress Valerie Bertinelli at a Van Halen concert in Shreveport, Louisiana. [30] They married in California on April 11, 1981; and have one child, a son, Wolfgang (born March 16, 1991).

After his father's death in December 1986 and his brother Alex's eventual sobriety in April 1987, Eddie Van Halen struggled with drug and alcohol abuse on and off for twenty years. In April 1988, he was hospitalized with dengue fever while on a wedding anniversary vacation in Australia. On September 2, 1994, he made his first attempt at sobriety.

Suffering from lingering injuries from past high-risk acrobatic stage antics and crashes, Van Halen underwent hip replacement surgery in November 1999, after his chronic avascular necrosis, with which he was diagnosed in 1995, became unbearable. [31] In April 2001, Van Halen confirmed he had been undergoing treatment for tongue cancer since May 2000. The subsequent surgery removed roughly a third of his tongue. He was declared cancer-free in May 2002.[ citation needed ]

Since the 2004 tour, Van Halen had largely disappeared from the public eye, with the exception of occasional appearances including the 14th annual Elton John Academy Awards party and a performance at a Kenny Chesney concert. In December 2004, Van Halen attended "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott's funeral, and donated the black and yellow guitar featured on the Van Halen II album inlay, stating that it was always a favorite of Dimebag's. The guitar was put in Darrell's Kiss Kasket and he was buried with it. [32]

On December 5, 2005, Van Halen's wife, Valerie Bertinelli, filed for divorce in Los Angeles Superior Court, after four years of separation, which was finalized on December 20, 2007. On March 8, 2007, Van Halen announced on the official band website that Van Halen was entering rehabilitation for unspecified reasons. However, both Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony have made statements indicating that Van Halen's personality had changed due to alcohol abuse.[ citation needed ]

Van Halen emerged from rehabilitation and appeared publicly as an honorary official during a NASCAR race at Phoenix International Raceway on April 21, 2007. He unveiled a new Fender Stratocaster with a paint job made for the NASCAR races before the ceremony. In 2007, Van Halen was honored in the Xbox 360 version of Guitar Hero II .[ citation needed ]

On October 6, 2008, Van Halen proposed to his girlfriend, Janie Liszewski, an actress and stunt-woman who became Van Halen's publicist in 2007. The two married on June 27, 2009, at his Studio City estate, with his son Wolfgang and Bertinelli in attendance. [33] Eddie's brother Alex officiated the ceremony, while his son served as best man. [34] On January 1, 2011, Eddie and Wolfgang Van Halen attended Bertinelli's remarriage.

In mid-January 2011, he attended the winter NAMM Show to present his new Wolfgang guitars, sharing the Fender booth with fellow guitar player Yngwie Malmsteen.[ citation needed ]

In August 2012, Van Halen underwent an emergency surgery for a severe bout of diverticulitis. [35] His recovery time was four to six months, causing Van Halen to postpone their Japanese tour, which was originally scheduled to begin in November 2012.[ citation needed ]

Eddie has donated 75 of his personal guitars to The Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation stating: "I wanted to give back to the community, and especially kids in need who want an instrument but didn’t have the opportunity I had. I wanted to donate instruments because I have so many guitars and nobody would take them... until we found Mr. Holland’s Opus." [36] [37]

Discography

Other work

Eddie Van Halen has appeared on several projects outside of his eponymous band.

Hollywood Rock Walk

Van Halen is on the Hollywood Rock Walk located in front of Guitar Center's Hollywood store on Sunset Boulevard.

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Preceded by
Lead Singer of Mammoth/Van Halen
1972 – 1973
Succeeded by
David Lee Roth