Magazine article Guitar Player

Encore: Eddie Van Halen

Magazine article Guitar Player

Encore: Eddie Van Halen

Article excerpt

The day an advance copy of the first Van Halen album arrived at Guitar Player the editors sat around doing what guitarists everywhere would be doing in a couple of weeks--listening to "Eruption" and shaking out" heads in amazement. Jas Obrecht's first lengthy conversation with the new sensation in rock guitar covered Van Halen's kamikaze/chainsaw approach to guitar modification, as well as his radical soloing techniques. In these excerpts from that April '80 cover story, Van Halen talks about how he saw his role in America's most popular and influential band of the late '70s and early '80's.

What do you think when you hear other players using your licks?

They say imitation is the highest form of flattery, but I don't like it when someone takes what I've done, and, instead of innovating, they do my trip! Some of the things I do, I know no one has done--like the harmonic runs, the clock chime-like sound, and the "Eruption" solo. I learned from Clapton, Page, Hendrix, and Beck, but I did my own thing.

Do you make money on tour?

We break even because we put all our money into sound and lighting. The only thing that sells us is our live show. Everything we do is a reverse of other people. Just the thought of playing to a machine [in the audio], to me, would lose feeling. So I said, "Can I just play it live?" When recording, we apply our live show to plastic, whereas people like Boston and Foreigner do it the opposite way--they work it out in the studio, and then have to rehearse before they go out on tour. …

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