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  1. #1
    Hang 'Em High James in New York's Avatar
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    Default EDDIE FUCKING VAN HALEN



    Eddie! Eddie!
    The last guitar hero
    by David Holthouse


    Oct. 8-14, 1998 / Vol. 7, Ed. 40





    No other longhair ever did or will rock a fretboard and tremolo bar with the same ’80s metal ferocity and pyrotechnic splendor as Eddie Fucking Van Halen.

    Fuck Yngwie Malmsteem. Poodle-hairdo'ed sissy little bitch couldn't even get a real name. “Yngwie.” Shit. Sounds like a new fragrance strip in GQ. And while we're at it, fuck Steve Vai. I mean, really, what's up with taking a role where he “cuts heads” with Ralph Macchio at the end of Crossroads and loses? “And introducing Steve Vai as Jack Butler, the devil's guitarist, who gets his ass kicked by the Karate Kid.” Get the hell outta here. As if the devil couldn't hire better talent than Steve Vai. That's David Lee Roth's job; that and getting busted trying to score a dime bag of weed in Washington Square Park.



    And even then, David Lee Roth can eat my dick, just for ever thinking he was the show above all others. Same goes for Sammy Hagar. You know who else can eat my dick? C.C. Deville from Poison can eat my dick. Also, anyone who ever played lead guitar for Krokus, Judas Priest, Ratt, Great White, White Snake, White Lion, Night Ranger, Iron Maiden or Quiet Riot. They can all eat a dick. Except Randy Rhoads, who quit the Riot for Ozzy's band before they ever cut a record anyway.

    Randy was indisputably wicked, rad, bitchin' before his plane crashed — only he was fit to touch the hem of any sleeveless, torn T-shirt worn by the Best, Last and Greatest Heavy Metal Guitar Hero: Eddie Fucking Van Halen. (You may call him “Eddie!” if you're chanting the name in a stadium pungent with pot smoke, otherwise, it's proper to use the full, reverential title).

    No other longhair ever did or will rock a fretboard and tremolo bar with the same ’80s metal ferocity and pyrotechnic splendor as Eddie Fucking Van Halen. One word: “Eruption.” No question, end of argument, the best recorded hard rock guitar solo in the history of the world. How do we know this? Simple: the buttrock kegger test.

    During the early to mid ’80s in Anchorage — or any other buttrock town where punk never really broke and the only other option was New Wave, and New Wave was for pussies — if you were a 15-year-old kid with rock star fantasies, a distortion pedal, and a kicked-down Stratocaster, and if you showed up to a kegger thrown by rockers, jacked in to the house amp, and started throwing down licks like wannabe rappers do at block parties in Compton, and if you could nail even a few passages of “Eruption” at even three-quarter speed, you'd get a place of honor in the keg line and a blowjob in the absent parents’ bedroom. Playing C.C. Deville's solo from “Talk Dirty To Me,” on the other hand, might just get your ass kicked.

    Say what you will of the form, but Eddie Fucking Van Halen revolutionized Heavy Fucking Metal. And then he dodged a fade to black. He kept his band together under the implosive force of the delusional egos of perhaps the two worst prima donnas in the history of buttrock, David Lee Roth and Sammy “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” Hagar, always managing his own hero status with modest grace.

    Eddie Fucking Van Halen has always come off as a working guy, whose job just happens to be making millions as a 1980s guitar god who can still sell out stadiums across the world on the cusp of the year 2000.

    Even when he took his almost obligatory dive into substance abuse, Eddie Fucking Van Halen didn't do it on heroin or coke or designer drugs, he did it with booze, the working man's poison. Then he got himself dried out, saved his marriage to Valerie Bertinelli — that hot chick from “One Day At a Time” — and resumed a career that’s peaked, but is on a glorious, prolonged decline, like a Roman candle ball.

    Sure, the new Van Halen album, the first with new lead wailer Gary Cherone (the black-haired guy from Extreme, for those of you keeping score), is pathetic. It sounds like a good Journey record, which is pretty fucking bad. But live review after live review of Van Halen's current world tour posted by fans on the Web says the same thing: In 1998, Eddie's no has-been. He still is.

    For two years, I made a living interviewing and writing about rock stars and rappers. I've spoken with dozens in person, and hundreds over the phone, and Eddie Fucking Van Halen is one of the coolest guys I've ever thrown questions at for 20 minutes. I can smell fake modesty like dead flesh. This man is genuine. His conversational skills pale next to his guitar playing, but he's not trying to impress anyone with his wit, and he's got a healthy sense of humor for a man still idolized by millions.

    In short, I liked him, and I don't like most rock stars. One hour with Billy Corgan made me want to use that bald head of his to polish a parking lot. But Eddie struck me as a man who knows he's just a regular guy with a goofy chuckle. God or the Force or whatever just saw fit to place the power of lightning in his fingers and forearm tendons.

    I went into my interview with Eddie Fucking Van Halen expecting worse, as the Press had serious problems getting a time set up with the man (Yo, Jay in the Warner Brothers press office, this middle finger's for you, punk) until a friend in L.A. kicked us the cell phone number for Van Halen's road manager, Scotty Ross.

    to be cont.
    Last edited by James in New York; 08.29.06 at 07:29 AM.

  2. #2
    Hang 'Em High James in New York's Avatar
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    Default EFVH Part 2

    What follows is the transcript of my conversations with Ross and, eventually, Eddie!, all on the Tuesday before Van Halen's Oct. 13 show at the Sullivan Arena.

    First call: Tuesday morning. 8:48 a.m., Pacific Time. Scotty's cell phone rings nine times before he picks up.

    Scotty Ross [sounding exactly like the incessant ringing just woke his ass up]: Yeah?

    Me: Good morning. I'd say I'm sorry I woke you up, but I'd be lying, because I'm the guy who's been trying to get an interview with Eddie for five days now, and we've had two scheduled times fall through, and no one at Warner Brothers is calling me back, and my deadline is tonight, and I gotta tell ya — me and you? — we're on the same sinking ship right now, man. We're like on the Titanic, and the lifeboats are flying overboard, and we're about to miss the last one.

    Scotty: Jesus Christ, what are you going off about? What missed times? We don't miss times, man. If you missed a time, Jay [Warner Brothers publicity rep in New York City] must have spaced telling me about them. Look, it's no problem. We'll get you hooked up this week.

    Me: No, no, no. It is a problem. I'm not trying to be an asshole here, but you need to understand, we have a fucking emergency here. I'm based in Phoenix, writing for a paper in Anchorage, Alaska — that's your next road date, right?

    Scotty: Yeah.

    Me: OK. And the editors of the paper I'm supposed to write this story on Eddie for, they're freaking out. They saved a lot of space for a big Van Halen article before the big Van Halen show up there, and I haven't been able to come up with the interview, so you know what my editors are doing right now, while you and I are talking?

    Scotty: No.

    Me: They're fabricating the interview. They're just making the shit up.

    Scotty: What?

    Me: Yeah. And it's pretty funny, but it's not very nice. Here, let me read you the first few lines: "Eddie Van Halen: [gruffly] What time is it? Press: We're calling you in, uh, Lubbock, Texas, so it's an hour earlier than here, I think. EV: Oh. Right. [aside: 'Hey, baby, get me a chai, wouldja? And close that door.']."

    Scotty: We're not in Lubbock! Edward doesn't drink chai!

    Me: I'm with you here, man, but I'm telling you, they're panicking up there, and they're getting vicious. They're going to run it like a humor piece, with a disclaimer. It's perfectly legal, and it's not going to be pretty.

    Scotty: Look, let's fix this. Can we do it today at five?

    Me: Yeah, that's right up against the wire, but we can still get a save.

    Scotty: All right. Edward will call you at five.

    Second phone call. 4:48 Pacific Time.

    Me: Hello.

    Scotty [sounding like he got his coffee after our last conversation]: Hey, David. How you doin'!? This is Scotty Ross.

    Me: I'm fine. How are you.

    Scotty: I'm cracking up, man. This friend of ours, David Wells, he pitches for the Yankees, he's going out to the mound right now and they’re playing "Runnin' With the Devil" ("Running With the Devil" can indeed be heard in the background). He always gets them to play a Van Halen song when he takes the mound, every time. It's so fucking cool. Anyway, Edward will be calling you in the next fifteen, cool?

    Me: Yep.

    Scotty: All right, buddy. [hangs up]

    Third call: 5:03 p.m.

    Me: Hello?

    Eddie Fucking Van Halen: Uh, David? It's Eddie Van Halen.

    Me: What's up, man? Good to finally talk with you. You know, Scotty keeps calling you Edward.

    EFVH: Oh, either's fine. I don't mind. Me: Well, I don't know about Edward. I'm gonna stick with Eddie. So David Wells' theme song is "Running With the Devil?"

    EFVH: Yeah, it's cool. We've been getting a lot of endorsements from athletes lately. Tiger Woods is a good friend of the band, too. He actually listens to us every time before he goes out to play.

    Me: I wouldn't have figured Tiger Woods for a Van Halen fan.

    EFVH: Why, because he doesn't have long hair?

    Me: No, more because he's a golfer.

    EFVH: Huh. Yeah, I guess I can see that.

    Me: Anyway, how was Vegas [Van Halen's last tour dates before Anchorage were at the Hard Rock Cafe in Las Vegas].

    EFVH: We blew the roof off that place, man, but the stage was so small, that I was standing right in front of my amps, and it was like [makes an excellent imitation of a guitar rocking out]. It was cool, though. I just got my ears blown away.

    Me: You know, your web site, it says the Vegas shows were your last before you left the U.S. for Japan.

    EFVH: Yeah.

    Me: Well, you're playing in Anchorage before Japan.

    EFVH: Yeah.

    Me: [Pause] Well, Alaska is part of the United States.

    EFVH: Oh shit, that's funny. [Gives the trademark EFVH goofy chuckle] I mean, I know that. Don't put that I didn't know that. They must have meant the continental U.S. We were supposed to play Puerto Rico, too, but that hurricane stopped us.

    Me: Well, Puerto Rico's a commonwealth.

    EFVH: What?

    Me: Uh, this will be your first show ever in Alaska, right?

    EFVH: Yep, this is it. We started this tour in New Zealand, and we've never played there, and we played Helsinki, and now Anchorage. We're playing all these places we were supposed to before, and didn't. I don't want to get into it too deeply, but there are reasons we didn't in the past, but we're a band now, we're four guys who see things the same way for a change, and we're really looking forward to finally playing in the Last Frontier.

    Me: Well, evidently you've got a fan base with deep pockets up there. The venue you're playing, they've got this area right up by the stage they're calling the "Golden Circle," and the tickets there cost $96.50, and they sold out months ago.

    EFVH: $96.50!?

    Me: Yeah. Does that surprise you?

    EFVH: Yeah. Wow. That's a lot. Wow. Are you sure? That's such weird number. Ninety-six-fifty.

    Me: Yeah I know, it's like “What's up with the fifty cents, if I show up with only ninety-six bucks, you're not going to let me see Van Halen?”

    EFVH: Yeah, no kidding. [chuckles] Man, tell those people thanks. That's quite a compliment.

    Me: So I don't want to talk about your past lead singer problems, because everyone talks about your past lead singer.

    EFVH: Thanks. I'm sorta sick of the subject myself.

    Me: But I was curious if you caught Sammy Hagar's major television debut last week.

    EFVH: He was on TV?

    Me: Yeah, he guest-starred as a bail bondsmen or some shit on “Nash Bridges.”

    EFVH: Sammy was on TV with Don Johnson? [chuckles] I'm sorry I missed that. Actually, I'm not. I don't follow anything he does now.

    Me: Oh. Well listen, I heard Alex [Eddie's brother and Van Halen's drummer] got fucked up in some weird accident in Europe not to long ago. What happened?

    EFVH: Yeah, it was quite a situation. We had to cancel our European tour. What happened was, we were doing some festival stadium dates, and we had a day off in Hamburg, and that's where Warner Brothers is based in Germany, so we figured, why not play a club and have a little Warner Brothers party. Well, during sound check, the ceiling came down on us.

    Me: You mean literally?

    EFVH: Yeah, it was a real old building, and we played too loud, and the ceiling caved in. And we're not talking any plaster here, either, this was cement. And most of it landed on Alex. I was like “Alex, Alex,” and one chunk just tore into him. It ripped through about two inches of muscle in his right forearm. We had to cancel the rest of our European tour and wait for it to heal.

    Me: So is he playing with a cast now, or what?

    EFVH: Yeah, it's actually just a soft cast, because if you tear a muscle, it's a tricky situation, because it can heal short. So you have to do physical therapy, you have to keep it warm, and keep it from getting stiff. Actually, I have one too. It's just like this rubber thing that warms up your arm, and keeps it limber. I used one the other night. I hadn't played in like 13 days, because I was busy helping a friend mix a demo, and all of a sudden, had to play the Vegas dates, so I asked Alex “Hey, you got another one of those rubber things?” Because, these days, I don't play guitar for a couple of weeks, and those tendons tighten right up.

    Me: But you still look so young. It's getting almost freakish, man, like you're this vampire or something.

    EFVH: Yeah. That's the secret. Drink a lot of blood. [laughs] No, seriously, I think I just have good genes, and a good frame of mind, and I take care of myself now. I cut out the crap, and it's served me well.

    Me: So when you're waiting backstage, and there's thousands of people chanting "Eddie! Eddie!," is it still a rush after all these years, or are you like "Yeah, very good, that's my name."

    EFVH: No, no. I mean, yeah, god, it's still a rush. It's great, but it's also embarrassing, although it definitely gets me up to do a great show.

    Me: Why is it embarrassing?

    EFVH: Because, I just play guitar, man.

    Me: You don't just play guitar. You're Eddie Fucking Van Halen! You're the last, greatest heavy metal guitar hero! [I really said all this].

    EFVH: Oh, thanks man. I really appreciate that, but even now, that's embarrassing to hear, because am I supposed to wear a mask and cape, or what?

    Me: Would you? I mean, Ace Frehley does.

    EFVH: Absolutely not.


  3. #3
    Atomic Punk
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    Default

    Third call: 5:03 p.m.
    Me: Hello?
    Eddie Fucking Van Halen: Uh, David? It's Eddie Van Halen.


    If this was a phone call interview, why does the transcript make visual details such as;

    [makes an excellent imitation of a guitar rocking out]
    [Gives the trademark EFVH goofy chuckle]


    ??
    "Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.” -- Gen. George S. Patton

  4. #4
    Atomic Punk MikeL's Avatar
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    A guitar sound and a laugh aren't visual details...

  5. #5
    Top Of The World MeWizeMagic's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by voivod
    Third call: 5:03 p.m.
    Me: Hello?
    Eddie Fucking Van Halen: Uh, David? It's Eddie Van Halen.


    If this was a phone call interview, why does the transcript make visual details such as;

    [makes an excellent imitation of a guitar rocking out]
    [Gives the trademark EFVH goofy chuckle]


    ??
    because you can HEAR a chuckle and you can HEAR a vocal imitation of a guitar rocking out....
    She got a doorbell sign that said:
    "bring it or don't ring it."

    She's the woman

  6. #6
    Atomic Punk smithjc's Avatar
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    EDWARD!!!


    Kewl read about my favorite subject, true or not.
    RIP - Classic Van Halen

    "A lot of people take Van Halen more seriously than we do." The Diamond One



  7. #7
    Atomic Punk fast98dodge's Avatar
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    Totally cool!!!
    Jet City Super Stealth
    Marshall 50th Anniversary JCM-1H and Class 5 Combo
    Austin Speaker Works KTS-60

  8. #8
    Atomic Punk
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeL
    A guitar sound and a laugh aren't visual details...
    and when you read it wrong like I did, they never will... <LOL>
    "Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.” -- Gen. George S. Patton

  9. #9
    Hang 'Em High James in New York's Avatar
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  10. #10
    Sinner's Swing! ED-A-HOLIC's Avatar
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    EDDIE!!EDDIE!!EDDIE!!
    "I could call it anything, but the only word I can think of is Brown. It's just a warm sound. Warm, big, majestic" - Eddie Van Halen on his Tone

    "Van Halen is definitely a ladies band, and I´ve got the Polaroids to prove it". - David Lee Roth

    WOLFGANG did the IMPOSSIBLE, he brought back VAN HALEN, DEAL WITH IT.

  11. #11
    Eruption vistadelrey's Avatar
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    this thread is where i belong.
    and a middle finger to those who don't . I'm tired of it already.
    EDDIE! EDDIE!

  12. #12
    Hang 'Em High James in New York's Avatar
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  13. #13
    Forum Frontman It's Mike's Avatar
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    that was a real fun tour. The show I say you couldn't wipe the smile off Eddie's face. It was so nice to see the band have that kind of fun.

 

 

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