Guitarist Eddie Van Halen of the rock band “Van Halen” is most likely to be connected with the song “Jump,” which was featured in their landmark album 1984 (1984). With the group, Van Halen also produced the albums Van Halen II (1979), Women and Children First (1980), Fair Warning (1981), Diver Down (1982) and Van Halen III (1998). The musician recently contributed two songs for an adult film titled Sacred Sin (2006). Van Halen, who is famous for his two-handed tapping technique, became one of nine candidates for the 2007 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction.
“I really don’t feel like I’ve done s**t yet.” Eddie Van Halen on his greatest accomplishment as a guitarist
Van Halen has a famous guitar named Super Strat “Frankenstrat,” which he built by hand using an imperfect body and a used neck. The black and white guitar was later given the trademark red and white stripes. In 2004, Van Halen donated his yellow and black guitar from the Van Halen II album cover to the late Dimebag Darrell at his funeral. He and his son then painted a 10-foot-tall Fender Stratocaster guitar for a benefit auction in February 2006. The proceeds benefited the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Van Halen has had a long fight against alcoholism and often performed on stage drunk. In 1999, he underwent hip replacement surgery. Around the same time, he also revealed he had oral cancer. However, the guitarist refused to give up his smoking habit, insisting the cause of the cancer was the frequent metal pick held in his mouth.
Van Halen was married to Valerie Bertinelli from 1981 to 2005. They share a son named Wolfgang William Van Halen, who is now part of the Van Halen band.
Childhood and Family:
Edward Lodewijk Van Halen was born on January 26, 1955, in Nijmegen, Holland, to a Dutch saxophonist father (Jan) and an Indonesian mother (Eugina). When he was 13, the whole family moved to California.
Along with brother Alex, Eddie took classical piano lessons. He later switched to guitar, while Alex focused on drums. After meeting David Lee Roth (vocals) and Mark Stone (bass), the Van Halen brothers set up a band called Mammoth. However, Mark later quit and was replaced by Michael Anthony. The band’s name was then changed to “Van Halen.”
Eddie married actress Valerie Bertinelli in April 1981 and has a son with her named Wolfgang William Van Halen (born on March 16, 1991). The marriage ended in divorce in 2005.
Eddie Van Halen and his hard rock band soon became a staple performer in many Pasadena and Hollywood clubs. In 1977, KISS bassist Gene Simmons noticed them at a local club and decided to finance their first demo tape, which resulted in the songs “House of Pain” and “Runnin’ With the Devil.” It immediately brought Van Halen to the major label Warner Bros, with which the band released their first album.
Launched in 1978, Van Halen’s self-titled debut album immediately gained platinum status thanks to its singles: “Runnin’ With the Devil” and the cover of the Kinks’ “You Really Got Me.” It was then followed by a string of Van Halen’s multi-platinum albums: Van Halen II (1979), Women and Children First (1980), Fair Warning (1981) and Diver Down (1982).
Van Halen reached the peak of their fame with the album 1984 (1984), which featured the band’s only No.1 and signature song “Jump,” as well as the hit “Hot For Teacher.” The recording stayed at No.2 on the Billboard charts behind Michael Jackson’s Thriller (in which Eddie played the guitar solo for “Beat It”). After Roth’s departure, the vocal position was filled by ex-Montrose frontman Sammy Hagar and then ex-Extreme singer Gary Cherone. At the time, the group did not fare well with the album Van Halen III (1998).
Meanwhile, Eddie Van Halen’s fame brought him to the screen world where his voice could be heard as Hank in a 1993 episode of the sitcom “Frasier.” The same year, he guest starred as the street musician in “Cafe American.”
The guitarist, along with his band, also provided soundtracks for movies like The Wild Life (1984, “Donut City”), Over the Top (1987, “Winner Takes It All”) and Lethal Weapon 4 (1998, “Fire in the Hole”). He has collaborated with musicians Brian May, Dweezil Zappa, Jeff Porcaro, Roger Waters, and Thomas Dolby. In 2004, he briefly reunited with Sammy Hagar for a Van Halen’s tour.
In 2006, Eddie Van Halen recorded the tracks “Rise” and “Catherine” for the adult film Sacred Sin, produced by Ninn Worx pictures. In late September, he performed with drummer Brian Tichy for a private launch of the porn movie dubbed “The Gathering.”
The musician recently recruited son Wolfgang to replace his band’s bassist Michael Anthony. He and Wolfgang first appeared on stage together in the 2004 Van Halen tour. On the recruitment, Eddie commented, “If I excel at the speed of sound, he excels at the speed of light. This kid is just a natural.”
Eddie Van Halen, who is heavily influenced by Eric Clapton, Queen guitarist Brian May and fusion guitarist Allan Holdsworth, became an inspiration for other guitarists thanks to the innovative two-handed tapping techniques, the use of natural and artificial harmonics, speed and his rhythmic sensibility.