Tuesday, October 06, 2020

RIP Eddie Van Halen


Update: Don't miss the 1982 interview below. Make the time. It is worth it.

Known for his mastering of the guitar, Eddie Van Halen also embraced synths in his music. As you are likely well aware of, Eddie played the OB-Xa in the classic Jump video above. You can see him solo at 2:34. The keyboard lines in Jump have essentially become to keyboardists what the guitar lines in Stairway to Heaven have become to guitarists.

He passed away today at the age of 65 after a battle with cancer. To say he will be missed is an understatement.

Interesting note: Eddie was also a classical pianist.

Eddie Van Halen on How He Switched From Kid Classical Pianist to Shredding Axeman


"The legendary guitarist talks to Billboard about his rock'n'roll start as a kid and how a good guitar riff 'engulfs you.'"


Eddie Van Halen Interview 1982 | Plays 'Jump' Keyboard Riff On The Phone

SimpsonMusic Productions


And and interview with Sammy Hagar, post Jump and David Lee Roth, on Eddie's love for synths:

Who's to "Blame" for Van Halen's Use of Keyboards? | AUDIO ONLY


Eddie Van Halen before Van Halen

Rock Pills


Pic via Project EVH

One with his classic guitar via tumblr.

And some interesting history from Wikipedia:

"Born in Amsterdam,[3] Netherlands, Edward Lodewijk van Halen (Dutch: [ˈɛdʋɑrt ˈloːdəʋɛjk vɑnˈhaːlə(n)]) was the son of Jan van Halen and Eugenia van Halen (née van Beers). Jan was a Dutch clarinetist, saxophonist, and pianist, and Eugenia was an Indo (Eurasian) from Rangkasbitung on the island of Java in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia).[4][5] The family eventually resettled in Nijmegen.[6]

In February 1962, the Van Halen family moved from the Netherlands to the United States, settling in Pasadena, California.[5] Both Eddie and his older brother, Alex van Halen, naturalized as U.S. citizens.[7] The brothers learned to play the piano as children starting at the age of six.[8][9] They commuted from Pasadena to San Pedro to study with an elderly piano teacher, Stasys Kalvaitis.[10]

We came here with approximately $50 and a piano, and we didn't speak the language. Now look where we are. If that’s not the American dream, what is?[11]

Van Halen revealed in an interview that he had never been 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.[10] 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.[12] Consequently, while Alex began playing the guitar, Eddie bought a drum kit and began practicing for hours every day."


You can find additional posts mentioning Van Halen here. You'll find some demos and other interesting synth connections.

The following is a video I found while searching on YouTube. I was going to post this separately, but I thought it was a nice tribute to the song and an example of the influence Eddie has had on people in the synth community.

Van Halen's 1984 & Jump Covered on Oberheim OB-8


"First I play '1984' on the OB-8 and then 'Jump' along with the original song's stems. The ending I crafted is modeled after how they performed the song live on the 1984 tour. (Check out Jump + Montreal on youtube and you can see my inspiration.) I did this by editing together individual drum hits, guitar and bass parts from the split stems and other Van Halen songs."

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