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Thread: Ed's Demons

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    Ed's Demons

    I havenít posted here in a reeeeeeeeally long time, but I just canít keep to myself about this anymore. Since most of my friends donít really care about Van Halen, they donít want to hear about it, but for some strange reason, I do. If youíll oblige, this is a post, which I think, could shed some light on the very person that is Eddie Van Halen through a particular personal relationships in my own life. Before I go on, this post isnít intended to make any moralistic or ideological point that you should support/hate/condone/feel sympathy for/boycott Ed. Iím agnostic about the whole thing from that level, however, the dude who inspired me to pick up and play the shit out of my guitar has, for all intents and purposes, objectively become a train wreck, and this wreck looks exactly like something Iíve seen in my personal life. So, if you give a crap to read on, here you go:

    Iíve been personally dealing with a severe alcoholic, who was my best friend, for about 15 years. The dreadful experiences Iíve had with this guy, who I love like a brother, is so eerily similar to the type of behavior that Eddie Van Halen is displaying, it is as if they are almost the same person (but my friendís tone deafness betrays him). For a few years, my friend was what you would call a ďfunctional alcoholic.Ē He could hold a job (actually he was quite good at it), be reasonable person, and generally put on a face in public where only those close to him knew he was a liability in front of the bottle.

    The problem with being a ďfunctional alcoholicĒ is that you are only delaying the inevitable point where you fall apart. The central issue here is that alcoholics donít learn how to cope with their emotions; whenever something happens to them, or they look inside themselves and see a mess, they anesthetize that feeling with booze. People who arenít substance abusers confront these issues for the most partówe grow, we learn, we live life with a bit more understanding and come to some kind of compromise with our personal weaknesses. But alcoholics are kind of like a human time capsule; they donít emotionally grow from the point that they really started hitting the bottle. In my friendís case, it is like he has emotionally dealt with life with the same level of maturity that an 18 year old does.

    The problem for the alcoholic is that, although they have intentionally become emotionally disabled, their brain doesnít shut off. They see some issues with themselves and the outside world, but the bottle allows them to run and anesthetize it further. Slowly, they develop an intense paranoia about the world around them because they know something is offómore importantly, they develop a deep and resounding paranoia about those that are closest to them. They know that they are dependent on something, but if they havenít acknowledged themselves as alcoholics, they will find other rationalizations. They then look at those close to them and suspiciously think that the disaster that is their life is the fault of others, no their own.

    Anyway, the connection to Edward hit me during the 2004 tour. Back in 2003, I visited my friend and we went to a pre-wedding party for some other friends that we grew up with. It was a great party, but my friend was ripped before he got there. At one point, he grabbed the mic, gave a deep speech where he started crying, and then later ended up rolling around on the stage incoherently rambling about how much he really hated how people just didnít get it--everyone sat there with their mouths wide-open. It was such a desperate cry for attention and when I saw Eddie Van Halen in 2004, rolling around the stage during the show playing like a sloppy idiot, and had cried awkwardly moments before, I knew exactly what I was looking at.

    I donít want to belabor this post any further, but one cannot discount the ferociousness of the disease the Edward is suffering from. Van Halen, the band, is absolutely fucked until Edward figures things outóand nothing will happen over night even under the best of circumstances. At this point, if the downward spiral of this once vibrant, bright and incredible innovator who has touched us with his music far more than many, is stopped, Edward will be lucky to be alive, let alone be capable of giving us the ďreunionĒ that we all really want.

    Edwardís recent behavior has been sickening, but it hasnít been inexplicable. My hope, for his sake and his family, is that he finds his way. However, 15 years later, my friend is still digging his grave despite all the people around him that are willing to help, so Iím not counting on Edward overcoming 50 years of sloshing himself silly. One thing is for sure: Dave and Alex will be miracle workers if they can hold things together over the summer. This isnít about supporting a tour, or being a fan of Ed, this is about objectively acknowledging a man who is drinking himself to death--and all the signs are glaring loudly like lights on a Vegas casino billboard.

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    Damage your reputation seenbad's Avatar
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    What he said.
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    great post

    totally understand
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    03.02.10 @ 03:28 PM
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    What a horrible, sad story -- for your friend and for Ed.

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    I thought of a very good friend of mine as I read your post.

    Though it's not entirely true, when Ed was "on the wagon" from roughly '94 to '99, he gave off the impression that he was more objective, optimistic, and idealistic. Those are qualities often not found in someone lost in their alcoholism, so it would seem he was really trying to battle the illness away in at least a mental way.

    All we can do is hope for the best for Edward. He's an amazing soul having to find his way through some major obstacles.

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    Great read man, and best wishes on your freind...You wonder if Ed has the right people around him?Probably not just a buch of yes man and or women...

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    agreed..

    You must take people for face value..Edd is an alcohalic and he is a cancer survivor .But he still smokes and drinks...Hes not the most responsable person in the world ...

    But everone makes their own bed..I enjoy his music Im a huge VH fan but I dont want to dwell on his personal habbits..Its just a big shame he doesnt see the writing on the wall.....
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    To my knowledge, none of us here know Eddie on any level. With all due respect to your friend, I don't see how you or anyone else here is even remotely qualified/able/in a position to comment on problems Eddie may or may not have or demons he may or may not be battling.

    I understand where you are coming from and I'm not trying to slam you or anything. Ya I think Eddie is an alcoholic and has been for a long time. But I don't know shit about Eddie really and at the end of day we are all just speculating, which can be a very dangerous game. We might think we know somebody based on whatever life experience we have, but chances are that unless you personally know that individual very well, then you aren't really in a position to make the observations you have made.

    I hope your friend finds a way to cage his demons.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewThomas.net View Post
    Though it's not entirely true, when Ed was "on the wagon" from roughly '94 to '99, he gave off the impression that he was more objective, optimistic, and idealistic. Those are qualities often not found in someone lost in their alcoholism, so it would seem he was really trying to battle the illness away in at least a mental way.
    This was a point I was trying to work into my original post, but couldn't do it. You said it better than I could have anyway.

    It's funny, because my favorite Ed years were those around the Balance tour. You mentioned three characteristics that Ed displayed, and I felt that the man had never played better in his life. He was clean, aggressive and hungry. I saw him play 4 times on that tour and everyone couldn't believe how well Eddie sounded (even though he was immobilized by his hip).

    At that point, the dude was really trying to get his life on track, but part circumstance part deficient 15 year old emotional quotient, he just couldn't hold it together.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vhin04 View Post
    To my knowledge, none of us here know Eddie on any level. With all due respect to your friend, I don't see how you or anyone else here is even remotely qualified/able/in a position to comment on problems Eddie may or may not have or demons he may or may not be battling.

    I understand where you are coming from and I'm not trying to slam you or anything. Ya I think Eddie is an alcoholic and has been for a long time. But I don't know shit about Eddie really and at the end of day we are all just speculating, which can be a very dangerous game. We might think we know somebody based on whatever life experience we have, but chances are that unless you personally know that individual very well, then you aren't really in a position to make the observations you have made.

    I hope your friend finds a way to cage his demons.
    I hear where you are coming from, man. I understand that it is dangerous to speculate on someone who I don't know. I think it is dangerous to comment on specifics, just because we don't know what it truth and what isn't. However, just watching the YouTube videos of Ed since 2004, I can see a dude that displays some very classic symptoms of someone who is under the thumb of alcoholism. And not just someone with a drinking problem, but someone that has broken through to another level. Based on what I personally have witnessed with the guy, I'm worried that he is in real trouble.

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    to be fair ed him self acknowledged being a drunk.

    any discussions there on in are perfectly valid. you don't haveto know him to comment and play the armchair doctor.

    with that being said, ed's liver must be the size of a pinata.

    that dude doesn't have a long way to go, thats for sure. i really don't care too much about the vh legacy, dave killed the first incarnation, i just hope this latest scam is just ed trying to spend time with his kid because the writings on the wall.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reckless Fable View Post
    I hear where you are coming from, man. I understand that it is dangerous to speculate on someone who I don't know. I think it is dangerous to comment on specifics, just because we don't know what it truth and what isn't. However, just watching the YouTube videos of Ed since 2004, I can see a dude that displays some very classic symptoms of someone who is under the thumb of alcoholism. And not just someone with a drinking problem, but someone that has broken through to another level. Based on what I personally have witnessed with the guy, I'm worried that he is in real trouble.


    While I understand the thought, I don't think you can really compare the two......

    While, on some basic level, yes, they're alcoholics and have that in common, but your friend doesn't really have the benefit of thousands of adoring fans reminding him every day how fucked up and worthless he is, or how much his life and his art, just don't measure up to the standards of the past !

    Surly if he had that, he'd just snap out of it ! Gotta love the "tough love" approach.
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    We can only hope for the best...

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    I think the backlash from this tour is not going to be good for Ed in any fashion.
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    first off, definitely good luck with your friend...

    as for ed, you would think his brother would intervene at some point... who better? i'm sure that the drinking is what loused up ed's marriage... and ed's in his 50s, way to young to die... we may not know the specifics, but i think we're able to see the signs... it's unfortunate...

    we as fans don't get to look into his life... at best we're just enablers when we continue to buy product and tickets to see him live... we're hoping to see the expected brilliance of what he's capable of and then are discouraged if he doesn't show up at 100%...

    the other bad thing is that he's setting a really bad example for his son, and that may be the only way to get through to him... i'd hate to see teen wolf go down the path of the bottle, but look at what happened with ozzy's kid and drugs (he basically emulated his father, and got really messed up - he's apparently now been clean after a stint in rehab)... what would it take to scare ed straight? to see wolfgang get into major issues with alcohol himself?

    i don't pretend to know anything about dealing with someone's alcoholism, but if you have a loved one who you see cannot pull themselves from the wrong path, i think you have to jump in somewhere along the line before it's too late...

 

 

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