Tribute to Eddie Van Halen – Great international musicians tell us exclusively for Rock Culture their best memories about the guitarist ESP/ENG

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Great international musicians tell Rock Culture exclusively their best memories about Eddie Van Halen

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See page for author, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Eddie Van Halen was a wild soul, a person of unrepeatable talent, an inventor, a creator, a showman. But overall, he was a person who always had a smile on his face, a happy guy who enjoyed what he did and someone who always had that bright light in his eyes that only children have and that, at some point in life, it disappears when we become boring adults.

Eddie was known, in addition to being a great guitarist, for being the “inventor” of the tapping technique (he really perfected it and made it his own after taking some ideas from great musicians, he has always admitted that). If you want to know what is tapping about, here is a video where Eddie talks about it.

But it would be very unfair to limit his legacy to that… I will try to explain why:

The Brown Sound! That is the key. Eddie left for us a new way of playing the guitar, many new techniques, yes, but above all, his legacy is a sound, a sound that became a new “standard” in recording rooms all over the world. Everyone wanted to sound like Eddie. But… what is the brown sound? The brown sound was named like that by Eddie, but he was not referring to his guitar, Eddie was referring to the characteristic sound of his brother Alex Van Halen’s snare drum that, according to him, was warm, organic and powerful, like the earth, the brown earth. Those statements went around the world and the definition of the sound was so liked that the rest of the musicians worldwide used it to name Eddie’s guitar sound. That sound was known by its very high power and gain, something that was achieved by setting the amplifiers “All to the 11” until they were about to burn and explode, and its exactly that moment when they put out a powerful, organic, pure, wild sound with tons of sustain that allowed the notes to sound almost endless. He also added a few very distinctive custom effects and  with all that signature cocktail he got that Van Halen Brown Sound. It really was a new twist on what Hendrix did in his day and that seemed, to date, an insurmountable barrier. But Eddie, who never gave up, got a sound that exceeded all the limits, an indomitable sound, a sound that with just a single small playing mistake ruins everything… you had to be perfect playing guitar to tame that wild horse, but once it was tamed It becomes a beautiful, pure sound, full of details and textures, we could say that it was even liquid, like syrup pouring over pancakes… that sound was and will be the trade mark of Van Halen.

Another amazing thing that Eddie did was to stand out at that time… I’m talking about late 70’s early 80’s, surely there would not be a single bad guitarist, it was the great explosion of hard rock. Sunset Boulevard was a hive of talent, the Whiskey a Go Go, the Roxy, The Troubadour, it was a parade of rock stars, a fight of egos to be the best, a continuous party that marked the golden age of hard rock and AOR. If the walls of the Rainbow Bar and Grill spoke they would tell incredible stories of all that and it was just at that time when rock was mainstream and the musicians were all amazing when Eddie stood out above all, which makes his legend even greater, as a kind of modern Leonardo Da Vinci in the rock renaissance years. And most importantly, all the musicians of the time agreed that Eddie was the best … And we are talking about musicians who surely were not able to agree on absolutely nothing…

Having all that in mind, we could place him in a guitar Olympus where very few chosen ones changed history … Page, Clapton, Robert Johnson … very few, and we can say without a doubt that he is, along with Jimi Hendrix, one of the two musicians who most revolutionized the concept of electric guitar, turning everything upside down and writing a new page in history.

Despite all that, Eddie was just a big kid with a big heart, he was a kind nice guy, a guy who decided to bury his second most important guitar with a fan who had been murdered. I’m talking about the legendary black and yellow Van Halen II guitar, a guitar that could have been auctioned for tons of money but that Eddie wanted to put inside that boy coffin, the same boy he had met a short time before after a concert. That boy was Dimebag Darrell. That’s how Eddie was like, a guy that everyone loved and admired, not only for his music but for his way of being. As I said before, Eddie was the kid who had grown up but who kept the bright in his eyes.

Now all of us who love rock, hard rock, metal, or music in general are a bit orphaned. This is why I thought it would be a nice initiative to open the contact list and ask some relevant musicians of different styles to answer us three questions about Eddie to serve as a tribute to a truly unique artist. But also to serve to understand the greatness of his legacy and how he has influenced not only hard rock guitarists, but bluesman, pop artists, flamenco guitarists, bassists, drummers, even violinists and saxophonists. Because his musical legacy has reached everyone in one way or another.

The 3 questions I asked them were:

  • When and how did you listen to Van Halen music?
  • What would you highlight about him?
  • If you had to choose an Eddie Van Halen song, riff or solo, what would it be?

Below you will find the responses of all these great artists. I am very grateful that they have been able to share a little of their time with us to remember the great Eddie Van Halen together. The response has been massive both international, national and local, a real madness that shows all the love we all feel towards King Edward Van Halen, I have no words. Thank you all!


Brent Hinds

(Guitar player of Mastodon)

The first time I listened to Van Halen was on 8 tracks cassette in friend’s car. As a kid in the early 80’s not really on the radio you know ? It was the album Fair Warning.
I would highlight that he was obviously the best right out of the gate!
I’ve always really loved Spanish fly and Eruption of course!

BRENT-HIND
Foto: Picfromthepit – Pedro Hernández

John Tempesta

(Drummer: The Cult, White Zombie, Testament, Exodus)

Foto: Picfromthepit – Pedro Hernández

Seen Van Halen opened up for Black Sabbath at Madison Square Garden in 1978, My friends and me had no idea who they were and blew our faces off!!! Also blew Sabbath who was our favorite off the stage! Never seen anything like it
When Eddie did Eruption he turned his back to the audience at the time so people couldn’t see what he was playing. We all went and bought the record the next day Thats how much impact they had on us
There’s so many great VH songs but Atomic punk is probably my favorite, Light up the sky too.
R.I.P. King Edward

Alex Skolnick

(Guitar player of Testament, Alex Skolnick Trio)

The first time I heard Van Halen I was around 12 years old. They’d been around a few years but it wasn’t until some friends in school knowing I played guitar told me I had to hear them. So I listen to the first the album all the way through and I was never the same. Before then I wasn’t sure what type of guitarist I wanted to be and hadn’t attempted much soloing. But hearing the debut VH album marked first time I knew I wanted to be a soloist, all thanks to Eddie.

Foto: Picfromthepit – Pedro Hernández

There’s so much to say about Eddie it would take up an entire book. He took individualism to a new level doing everything his way from, his songs to his sound to his solos and even his sense of color and design. All of these elements were so far outside the box and light-years beyond anything else at the time. They caught on because we didn’t know we needed them. It’s often said the no one should be put on the same level as Jimi Hendrix, but Eddie Is the lone exception. He was the Jimi Hendrix of his generation, as well as mine and many to come. I’m there will ever be anybody else in that category.

It’s difficult to pick just one song that I usually go for I am the one which is not only a fun, high-energy song to listen to but it seems to contain a little bit of everything from Eddie: his bluesy feel feel, his swinging groove, his high-speed picking, his two- handed tapping and great whammy bar and harmonics that no one heard before and rock. It’s still as dazzling as it ever was. This tune has nearly all of my favorite types of licks that he did, crammed into one song.

Buddy Whittington

(Guitar player for: John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, Buddy Whittington Band)

Foto: Picfromthepit – Pedro Hernández

The first time I heard Eruption and You Really Got Me I was parked in front of my drummer friend’s house in my old 1964 Ford Falcon, must have been 1978. I was in a Top 40 Rock band, a pretty good bunch of players. But when I heard Eddie that first time I thought “That’s it for me, I might as well go find a day job doing anything besides music. I had an idea of how he was doing the tapping thing, but could never figure out what he is doing and how he was getting his wonderful ‘Brown Sound’.” He is truly a legend in his time and there won’t be another EVH.

Fabrizio Grossi

Producer : Steve vai, Billy F. Gibbons, Glenn Hughes, Alice Cooper, Laura Pausini and many more, Bassist: Supersonic Blues Machine, and his new Project Soul Garage Experience)

https://www.fabriziogrossi.com/

It was 1982 , I was in junior high, just started playing guitar (if you can call it playin) and i was hanging out with other friends , some of them older, that were already been playing for a while.
I could strum a few chords and riffs, but i was already getting familiar with what does what sound wise, other musicians stiles etc. An older friend told us about this American band (i was still living in Italy at that point), so 4 or 5 of us got together at my house and this older friend brought us Van Halen 1 to listen. When i first heard Running with the Devil, i was so taken that i’ve asked my friend to immediately re-play it. By the time You Really Got Me came on i was hooked , but it was when i’ve heard Eruption , which i first thought it was played with a keyboard (!!!), that I decided to leave the guitar alone and focus on bass (smile)

Foto: Picfromthepit – Pedro Hernández

Eddie changed the guitar game for everyone, he set a new rule : step the fuck up or get lost!! Up to when he came around, 90% or rock guitarists where still playing pentatonic scales in all colors and mostly were blues influenced….basically, the majority of the guitar community was still trying to digest-understand & mimic Hendrix (10 years after his death) and this dude comes around and overnight makes it even more difficult for everyone ahahahaha.
Jokes aside, Eddie’s main influences were Clapton and Leslie West, but he didn’t sound anything like them, he learned their lesson, and then it took it to space…..and always with a smile on his face…his simplicity and natural flow made it look soooo easy, but also made lots of people giving up guitar all together…..myself first ahahahah.
It’s hard to fathom a world without him !!!

Believe it or not , there’s nothing that Eddie played that i didn’t like, but , i’ve always preferred VH with David Lee Roth. Don’t get me wrong, with Hagar, they were a super band, and Sammy is a hell of a singer and guitarist, however Dave was Dave.
It’s like Sabbath with Ozzy….Dio was a way better singer, but Ozzy was OZZY !
So, I have to say that songs wise, the whole Van Halen 1 is my favorite VH record, and one of my favorite albums of all time. As far as riffs…..for that i would move a few records later and go with Mean Street …….now it’s just a VH riff, but when he first came out with it was the most bad ass and mean thing i’ve heard played on a guitar. As far as solo , i’s say Hot For Teacher.

Tim Stewart

(Guitar player for Lady Gaga, Rihanna, J-Lo, Mariah Carey, Miley Cyrus, Infectious Grooves, Suicidal Tendencies)

First time had to be when I was 9 or 10 because of my sister and cousins. Changed my life.

My favorite part of Eddie’s playing had to be his rhythm and songwriting. But really everything he played and created was magic.

One Song? That’s a really difficult one.. I have too many favorites. Aint Talkin bout Love, DOA, I’ll Wait, Mean Street

Fuente: Instagram

Robert Sarzo

(Guitar player of Hurricane)

robert sarzo
Fuente: Instagram

I got to know of Eddie Van Halen’s music when they released the cover of You Really Got Me.

Eddie Van Halen took the guitar sound of the 70s to the 80s with a positive fresh new guitar tone, his unique technical approach elevated a whole new level of guitar players.

Eddie Van Halen’s Eruption is what comes to mind as one of my favorite solo he created. It set him apart from all the other guitar players. May you RIP Eddie Van Halen.

 

Jimi Jimmi

(Bassist, Manager, Dead Sea Skulls, Glenn Hughes, The Dead Daisies)

One of my first introductions to Van Halen was in the Movie Back To The Future when Marty used a VH cassette in the walkman when he was impersonating Darth Vader…this to me was also a space age sound and nothing like the guitar playing I was accustomed to… I had to do my research and find out who this Van Halen was!

Instagram

I love how Eddie was all about the music…he just had this naturally unorthodox side to him and had no real music schooling so he just played from the heart and invented what HE wanted to do… He once said “Its music THEORY not music FACT”. Music is open to interpretation and Eddie did his own version!

My favorite VH song has to be Panama for the hard pumping 4 to the floor riffage, but Eddie’s approach to soloing was the real jewel in the crown…his solo on BEAT IT for Michael Jackson was mind blowing to be in a pop song. He turned up and, as the story goes, he laid it down in like 20 minutes and that was the result…Real, raw and unusual. Apparently Steve Lukather wanted to play the solo but when he heard Eddie’s he just knew that was the real deal.

 

Antonio Bernardini

(Guitar Player Sôber)

I met Van Halen during Sammy Hagar years, that was my generation. And he blew my mind. I was about 15 years old and couldn’t believe what he could do with a guitar. A few years later I bought all his records and understood everything. I think he has been the guitarist that has influenced me the most.

antonio-bernardini
Foto: Picfromthepit – Pedro Hernández

I would highlight, above all, and above the technique (which is masterful), the fact of being in the continuous search for sound, to improve, to innovate … It changed the way of understanding the modern guitar, of customizing everything … He invented gadgets that only he had in his head and that have changed us all. Today, for example, one of the amplifiers he designed is a benchmark in all rock / metal records in the world. I was very lucky to meet him in Los Angeles and I can’t forget a second of those 5 minutes.

My favorite song without a doubt is Human Being … it’s from a soundtrack … but it has everything, the strength, the harmony … without a doubt, it is my favorite song.

Alvaro Suite

(Solo artist and guitar player with Bunbury)

I discovered Van Halen, and therefore Eddie, in the early 90’s, because of You Really Got Me  cover (The Kinks) that they released in 1978 on their debut self-titled album. In those years my band, named Lovely Lord, was dedicated to entertaining schools, small pubs and birthdays with cover songs set lists with songs like You Really Got Me or Stairway to Heaven; crazy nights!

alvaro-suite
Foto: Picfromthepit – Pedro Hernández

The sound, the picking, and the inventiveness when it comes to energizing the songs. There are a lot of heavy metal guitar players, but Eddie was attacking with a knife like “Kizz” (Keith Richards) did with the Stones too.

Spanish Fly, from Van Halen’s second album, Van Halen II (1979). It’s amazing to hear what he does with a fucking Spanish guitar !!! I, who like many of us learned to play the guitar with cheap spanish guitar, put myself in Eddie’s shoes and I can only admire the technique and the impudence with which he faces such an interpretation and decides to catch the Spanish and not a Strat. He is the man!!!

Paco Ventura

(Guitar player of Medina Azahara)

I had been listening to his first album for some time and it was brutal, each one of his songs and his famous Eruption made you not believe that all those sounds came from his guitar. One day watching the tv show “Aplauso” (Spanish TV), José Luis Fradejas announced them and I got as close as possible to the television to see Eddie’s tricks playing, but although the director did not focus on him when he did the solos, I enjoyed it like a child and knew that he was forging the legend of King Eddie.

Foto: Fernando Lezaun

When I started playing in the eighties, there were a legion of great guitarists who were the inspiration for future generations. The one who stood out the most was Eduard Van Halen, his way of playing the guitar by introducing new techniques such as taping and the way to use his tremolo lever was a complete revolution. His attitude on stage, the decoration of his guitars and amps with colorful stripes and his way of jumping on it was impressive, at that time and even now, there was no one like him. Since Hendrix, no one had appeared to turn the guitar world upside down.

From the early Van Halen era, which is the most authentic and wild, I would highlight Ain’t Talkin ‘Bout Love. The beginning of the song with that Riff with the phaser as an effect and the harmonics that he takes out of his guitar, the sound so powerful and clean and that rawness in the production makes it unrepeatable. I really like his time with Sammy Hagar, but his early days were magic.

Alberto Marín

(Guitar player: Def Con Dos, Mónica Naranjo, Ankhara)

Alberto marin
Foto: Picfromthepit – Pedro Hernández

Well, I don’t remember how old I was when I listened him for the first time, but quite young, probably 12 years old or so … when I saw the Hot for Teacher videoclip on MTV and it drove me completely crazy !!!

For me, he is the guitarist who turned everything upside down and revolutionized the way of playing guitar until then! I would highlight everything, but in addition to his tapping and solos technique, I would highlight his special way of playing riffs and that he always had a smile on his face and made everything he played seem soooo easy…  but it really was something almost almost impossible to play!
A song? hum… that’s hard to answer!!! I’ll say Runing with the devil.”

 

Danny Gómez

(Guitar player and musical director – Consultant in Orange Amplifiers)

I discovered Van Halen through the first Guitar magazines that came to Spain. He already had a super career, but here we were still not aware of the “super animal” that Eddie Van Halen was, so it was through those first Guitar magazines that I began to know and become passionate about it. I entered into the Van Halen world in the “Van Hagar” years, the first era with David Lee Roth is something I discovered later.

dani-gomezFrom Van Halen I would highlight that, in addition to being an innovator as a guitarist, he was also an innovator on the scene and on the stage. That way of playing so happy… so “Let’s go party!” While playing really very difficult things… There were guitarists with a lot of attitude but they weren’t as technical as he was, and there were also very technical guitarists who didn’t have any attitude at all. I would really highlight his facet as a creator, developer, inventor that, among many other things, inspired me to create my own pedals, my own guitars and customize all my gear just like he did with his, each one to his own personal taste.

My favorite Van Halen song is from the Balance album, Can’t Stop Lovin’ You. Surely it is not the best Van Halen song but it is very special for me, it was also on the tour where I saw them live in Madrid at the Palacio de los Deportes and it was the first time I heard a guitar with “piezo” and that opened my mind a lot. ( the Piezoelectric explained in a simple way is something like a “pickup”  that makes an electric guitar sound as if it were an acoustic guitar without having to change the instrument).

 

Santiago Campillo

 (Blues and Rock Guitar player solo artist, founder of M Clan)

Santiago Campillo
Foto: Picfromthepit – Pedro Hernández

I suppose I discovered Van Halen almost at the same time as everyone else, in the 80s, with his single “Jump” which was a worldwide hit. For me it meant a lot because it was when I started to play and it was like an unattainable goal… Well, and it still is… He was a great guitar virtuoso, a top inventor, he was one of the forerunners of Tapping and the “heavy metal sound” from the 80s. After that, many imitators have come out, but nobody has been like him. Even Michael Jackson called him to record, it was a real revolution, it was a guitar revolution, guys like him come out one every century … It’s not the style I like the most, but I recognize his mastery, I’ve also seen him play other styles and the guy was amazing, he was a wild animal! A revolution! Nobody played like him doing those “weird things” that only he did.

The song I like the most is When it’s Love, I think it’s a great song, with a very good harmony. There are several other songs that I like a lot, but if I have to choose just one, I’ll stick with When it’s Love.

 

El Amir (Amir John Haddad)

(Flamenco and fusion guitar player solo artist, Hans Zimmer, Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller, Peter Murphy, Juno Reactor, Radio Tarifa, Latin Grammy nominee)

I was around thirteen years old and my first full Van Halen album was OU812 in 1988 (it was years later that I understood the meaning of the title) Prior to that I had listened to a cassette from the older brother of my best friend at the time. He had put together a Rock playlist with amazing songs! Some where from the debut Van Halen album.

el-amirEddie was a unique, special and brilliant soul. He has achieved to be true to his heart and his vision since a young boy. Everything he has accomplished seems to be based on passion, constant work and love for creating and finding new paths. Also just having fun in life was important for him, I think. He never stopped until he found what he was looking for. That’s how he created his own guitars and his techniques. His musical approach and concept on a guitar was so innovative and new that he changed rock history over night. What I like about him is that every lick is full of musical intention and dynamics! He was full of natural greatness and talent. He also seemed to be very humble, down to earth and a very nice person.

Now that he has gone and we are responsible to keep growing and creating own musical path. I am very grateful that I had the chance of living in an era where he was delivering guitar music at its finest.

My favorite Eddie Solo is Jump I love the key change right from the beginning of the solo and the way in ends again in another key! That’s the most beautiful progression. It sounds awesome.
I love to play that solo too!! I always jammed along his songs and albums for the purpose of learning and growing as a musician and guitarist.

I consider myself being influenced by his style a lot!!

Ramón Arroyo

(Guitar player of Los Secretos)

I listened to Van Halen for first time whith Jump. The first thing I would like to highlight about him

ramon-arroyo
Foto: Picfromthepit – Pedro Hernández

is that he was an excellent guitarist. People know him for his extraordinary ‘tapping’ technique. Many years ago, Harvey Mandel, a blues guitarist and member of Canned Heat, was tapping in a much simpler way, but Eddie took it to its finest, some say as an extension of piano technique, an instrument he also played.

Regarding his songs, I would highlight Jump, it is his most significant song, a perfect song from the keyboard of the intro to the singing of David Lee Roth and of course the solo that blew the minds of many at that time.

 

Susan Santos

(Blues, Rock and americana music guitar player, new record “The L.A. Sessions” )

Indirectly I have been listening to Van Halen since I was learning to walk … My older brothers played it at full volume in my house, so for me his music is also a memory of my childhood. Then, beeing a teenager, I began to listen to Van Halen on my own, I already had all the records at home so I grab them from my brothers.

Susan Santos
Foto: Picfromthepit – Pedro Hernández

He was a great guitar innovator, just like Hendrix was at the time, Van Halen has marked an era and a lot of guitarists and bands that would not have existed or at least not in the same way they are now, without Eddie’s legacy. When their first album came out, he blew everybody’s mind when they heard Eruption. Of course, I would also highlight that he has left us a lot of good songs and records.

Deciding on one single song is difficult for me … Jamie’s Crying freaks me out with the groove of the song and Dancin ‘the night away that makes me happy every time I listen to it… In fact, one of the things that I love is that his songs give good vibes and cheer up your mood.

 

Pablo Novoa

(multi-instrumentalist, producer, guitar player in Golpes Bajos, Ivan Ferreiro, Late Motiv Buenafuente band)

I discovered Van Halen around 1980. His first album sounded in many places and I appreciated how powerful they sounded and looked. It is also true that I was more interested in punk music and the new wave, and did not pay much attention to the news of the Hard Rock world.

Eddie was a guitar marvel. Lots of musicality and mastery with the instrument. I always admired his knowledge of the blues. He played it very well.

A song that I really like is a blues from not long ago, I think. The apolitical blues.

Fuente: Instagram

Judith Mateo

(Violinist and writer)

I remember seeing the  Jump music video on MTV when I was a child and I was freaking out with the singer’s dancers’ jumps, long hair and clothes.

Judith Mateo
Foto: Picfromthepit – Pedro Hernández

I would highlight the refined and clean technique that he had and that has left its mark on many guitarists… His tapping technique took another step forward in the evolution of the guitar and the current sound we have with the instrument; he has been and will be a teacher of teachers.

I have several favorite songs by Van Halen … Jump, Panama or Can’t stop loving you among many others. I think the guitar solos are impressive and that they mark that point of difference from being a song to being hits; also Michael Jackson’s Beat It song, in which Van Halen plays an awesome solo, he added his personal touch and turned a repetitive song into something wild.

Mac Hernández

(Bass player: Sex Museum, Coque Malla, Ariel Rot, Late Motiv Buenafuente band)

I discovered Van Halen when Michael Jackson’s Thriller came out and everyone was blown away by the amazing solo on Beat It.

I would highlight his sound, totally different from any other, his revolutionary technique, his composition and the apparent ease with which he played.

It is very difficult to say just one song but Ain’t Talking ‘Bout Love is without a doubt one of my favorites.

Cecilio Sánchez-Robles

(Guitar player: Ankhara, Tequila Sunrise)

The first time I listened to Van Halen I was a child, I was 9 or 10 years old, I listened to “1984” and it was as if I was hit on the head with all those riffs, that sound, those choruses and those pieces of Guitar solos. From then on, I did my best to get all of Van Halen’s previous records and the more I listened the more I was hooked on that signature guitar tone.

Foto: Picfromthepit – Pedro Hernández

As a guitarist he is one of my biggest influences, I have always admired both his work and his attitude. I think there is a before and after Eddie Van Halen in music. Basically everything that is done now is an important part of his legacy, the type of riffs, the structures of the songs, etc. What impresses me the most about Van Halen personally, besides the obvious, is the riff technique he had and his enormous compositional skill.

Personally, I think that within all the awesome records that Van Halen has, it would be impossible to choose ten songs, imagine how difficult is choosing just one… To name one Panama, the riff in the intro seems to me  something made by a genius, the whole song is built from it, a formula that I personally love when I have to writte music, and that was typical from him. Van Halen has made a great contribution to music and has inspired millions of guitarists around the world, it has been a great loss but fortunately, we have his music forever.

Jorge Gómez

(guitar player of Navajita Plateá, Raimundo Amador)

jorge-gomezThe first time I heard Van Halen I was in Germany at a friend’s house. He had the entire album Fair Warning on vinyl. That was in 1984 and I was 14 years old.
I like the fact that he was always smiling on stage while he played. For me this is a sign that he enjoyed his work all the time and had very positive energy while he was playing. I think these are basic ingredients for a musician and performer.

I like the tapping introduction and the riff of the song Mean street of that same album I mentioned above Fair Warning. That was the first Van Halen song I heard and it was like a Big Bang.

 

L.M. Moreno “Pirata”

(multi-instrumentalist specialized in sax, actor, founder of Los del Gas, Rock Kalean, we could say that he has played with all the greats as it could not be otherwise, he is Rentería legend of the horns)

I discovered Van Halen when I listened to Jump, to a group from my neighborhood in Errenteria, with that unmistakable keyboard intro. Later I listened to the band other records and I liked it. What to say about him… We were all amazed by his virtuosity and how sharp and clean he played the guitar. I don’t have a favorite song, although Jump is the one I’ve had to play the most as a keyboard player.

pirata

Jose de Lucas

(Guitar player of Pistones)

I heard them for the first time in the year 79 at a friend’s house … when I was 14 years old.
The mastery and mixture of techniques, we were used to listen to guitarists going up and down the neck but this was completely different from all we had before…

Spanish Fly a super short song with incredible technique on a rock guitarist.

jose-de-lucas
Foto: Picfromthepit – Pedro Hernández

 

Silvia Penalba

(Guitar player of Ecléctica)

I don’t remember when it was, but I knew about him from a ‘Guitar Player’ magazine where the transcription of Eruption was. I looked for the song to listen it and I was in shock by how personal and unique the sound and the performance were.

Silvia Penalba
Foto: Picfromthepit – Pedro Hernández

I would highlight his overwhelming personality on stage, both in his way of playing and in his sense of aesthetics and his performance on stage. Besides being a fantastic guitarist!
Although it is a difficult decision to choose only one song, maybe Jump is my favorite, I heard the intro once and it stayed in my mind forever, for me is brutal!!

 

Johnny Lorca

(Guitar player of Hitten and solo with his new album Noches en Blanco)

Jhonny Lorca
Foto: Manu Hernández

I was about 13 or so when I discovered Van Halen and my older brother brought a video “borrowed or stolen” from a good friend of us. That video had a strange mix of the two live shows Live without net and Right here, Right now and I remember that changed my life completely. I spent like two years just listening and trying to play Van Halen and dreaming about being like Eddie.

The best from Eddie was his originality to compose, to understand the guitar, his attitude on the stage and we must not forget that he taught us how to have fun on stage and that we must always smile.

I couldn’t choose a song, but If I have to I would go for 5150, it was a record that I had as a favorite for all my teenage years and that riff meant and means a lot to me.

Freddy Cantos

(Guitar player of The Golden Lips, Jamones con Tacones, Georgina…)

It would be 1996, I was in the car with a friend and he put on a CD. Jump started playing, from 1984 album… Those first bars were really surprising, the guitars were not the most important part of the song, but step by step they are gaining strength until he arrives to the solo and booom!!! Damn!!! who is this guy with such dexterity, class and mischief at the same time?

Freddy-Cantos
Foto: Picfromthepit – Pedro Hernández

I would like to highlight his eternal smile, his way of enjoying himself and true love for the guitar, his humility towards the world of music, above his invaluable contribution to Music and especially to the 6 strings. Along with Jimi Hendrix, he is possibly the person who has most changed the course of the electric guitar as we know it. The rest of us learn, the two of them created.

A song? A Riff?… The riff of Drop Deep Legs, for me is beasty! And that mix of dynamics with the guitar, that’s Eddie van Halen for me. The section just before the solo, hahaha, is simply great, how the solo is preparing, and how it uses the forced harmonics, the bar, the licks… Well, it is a genius of the 20th century.

Javi Cobretti

(Old School hard rock guitar player from Murcia, godfather of the AOR local scene)

The first thing I heard (if I remember correctly) was Jump on some foreign channel that broadcast music videos … It would be “the super”. At that time I was very young, I know I liked it, but it was so young that I did not understand anything or know how to see anything more than just fun music that people played while having a great time … It wasn’t until later that I started to realize what that really meant. In this small part of the world (Murcia) reaching Van Halen 25 or 30 years ago was not an easy thing, I could almost say that it was a music only for the initiated in hard rock or metal music. If you were starting to move into the heavy metal scene, etc … hardly any tape of Van Halen was going to fall in you pocket, only most popular bands like Maiden, Metallica, Guns and roses were available at stores… Only when your tastes began to go towards hard rock lands was when, following the steps of those who came after Eddie, you found the treasure, and holy shit, what a treasure!!! Everything was there and everything that came after comes from there.

The most interesting thing about Eddie is that it seems that Eddie arrived at that high level from the innocence of a child, from curiosity and daring he burst the limits of the instrument, beyond all the techniques that he contribute to the vocabulary of the guitar of rock. For me, the most important thing is how he did it, the energy and the feeling behind each of his riffs, solos, melodies, behind all that, what gave life to each of those unrepeatable phrases was an unrepeatable person. For me that is his legacy: be yourself, find your way and smile please.

A song? It’s really difficult, I’ll wait from the 1984 album, it’s not by far its most guitar hero theme, there’s hardly any guitar until the solo, but it’s pure magic … it could have been another 20,000, I enjoy all his records. Van Halen with David Lee Roth for me is the perfect match.

Samu Baeza

(Drummer of Corderos Negros, Santiago Campillo)

I remember being very young when I discovered him, and one of the first things I learned to do was to put records on my father’s turntable, and I remember finding one called Van Halen III. I remember playing that record day after day, I keep special affection for that album and those memories.

Samu-Baeza
Foto: Picfromthepit – Pedro Hernández

From Eddie I like his ability to always know where everything should or should not go, both in the rhythmic side and as a lead guitar, creating something like perfect fusion of all this. And his energy playing, speaking with his instrument, always with his mischievous smile
A song … Judgment Day. It seems to me a song with a very strong base, a very powerful guitar riff and a very good chorus. Perfect song.

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