Eddie Van Halen is no longer with us, and the void he’s left is immense. You’ve only got to look at the outpouring of tributes from all across the entertainment world to realize just how influential he was.
Last week, we paid tribute to Eddie Van Halen. This week, we thought we’d let the man himself do the talking. In a follow-up to an article we posted a while back, here are more great, inspirational quotes from Eddie Van Halen.
On rock stardom:
“If you want to be a rock star or just be famous, then run down the street naked, you'll make the news or something. But if you want music to be your livelihood, then play, play, play and play! And eventually you'll get to where you want to be.”
“I'm not a rock star. Sure I am, to a certain extent because of the situation, but when kids ask me how it feels to be a rock star, I say leave me alone, I'm not a rock star. I'm not in it for the fame, I'm in it because I like to play.”
On the guitar:
“A guitar is a very personal extension of the person playing it. You have to be emotionally and spiritually connected to your instrument. I'm very brutal on my instruments, but not all the time.”
On building guitars:
“I destroyed a lot of guitars trying to get them to do what I wanted, but I learned something from every guitar I tore apart, and discovered even more things. Things like if the string is not straight from the bridge saddle to the nut, you're going to have friction.”
“And if I would have taken lessons I probably wouldn't have done it, and what forced me to do all this weird stuff on the guitar was I couldn't afford effects pedals, I didn't have all this stuff when I was a kid so I just tried to squeeze all the weird noises I could out of the guitar, which brings me to building guitars.”
“Music kept me off the streets and out of trouble and gave me something that was mine that no one could take away from me.”
“Imagine if Beethoven had a tape recorder. Then you'd know exactly what he meant. Maybe he meant 'Da da da da' instead of 'Boom boom boom boom!' Who knows?”
“Music is for people. The word 'pop' is simply short for popular. It means that people like it. I'm just a normal jerk who happens to make music. As long as my brain and fingers work, I'm cool.”
“I can't read music. Instead, I'd do stuff inside the piano, do harmonics and all kinds of crazy things. They used to put me in these annual piano contests down at Long Beach City College, and two years in a row, I won first prize - out of like 5,000 kids! The judges were like, 'Very interesting interpretation!' I thought I was playing it right.”
On the creative process:
“There are really three parts to the creative process. First there is inspiration, then there is the execution, and finally there is the release.”
What is your favourite Eddie Van Halen moment? Did you ever see Van Halen live? Share your stories in the comments.
Coming up with a great cover is an art in itself. Effectively, you’ve got to take a strong template established by someone else and rework it enough that your voice shines through, while retaining the integrity of the original piece. It certainly isn’t easy. When you think about it, there have been many, many cover versions released over the years, but only a minority of those can hold a candle to the original version.
“Playing the guitar is like telling the truth - you never have to worry about repeating the same [lie] if you told the truth. You don't have to pretend, or cover up. If someone asks you again, you don't have to think about it or worry about it because there it is. It's you.” – B.B. King