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    Default Steve Lukather on Eddie Van Halen - Guitar World

    Steve Lukather pays tribute to Eddie Van Halen:

    ”The worst thing that could have happened to Eddie would have been guitar lessons”

    By Guitar World Staff
    First Published 3 hours ago

    The Toto guitarist reflects on his friend's unique guitar style and their collaborations

    I first met Eddie at the California World Music Festival in 1979. Van Halen was headlining one night after their first album. Toto’s first album was out and we had a hit with Hold the Line.

    I loved him from the moment we met. It was like I’d known the guy my whole life.

    I was close with Ed for 40-plus years. And he was more than my guitar buddy. Of course, we played each other whatever we were working on, just showing off our shit and going, “Look what I’m doing!”

    But we didn’t speak about guitars a whole lot.

    With Ed, he always showed me love, and I had the deepest respect for him.

    And there’s no doubt he was one of the greatest of all fucking time. Who could ever dispute that – how he changed everything?

    But he was just a humble little guy who just loved to mess with shit and do things different.

    Like, the worst thing that could have happened to Eddie Van Halen would have been guitar lessons.

    When it came down to details about equipment and how he liked to do things, he always had an “adventure” mentality. He knew what he wanted.

    And he wanted really weird shit.

    We co-wrote a song for my first solo record [Twist the Knife, from 1989’s Lukather]. He said, “Yeah… I have this riff, I want you to learn it.”

    So I got to get inside his head for a minute. And what he did was he gave me a guitar and he said, “Tune it up a whole step and take an A bass string and tune it to B.”

    And I go, “What? The neck’s gonna bend in half. What the fuck?”

    He goes, “Trust me.” I did it and I got a good take out of it, and that’s the record.

    We did a few things together. I sang some background vocals on a couple Van Halen tunes, and Ed and I got to do that crazy Michael Jackson record that was fluke-ishly put together.

    I was working on the album [1982’s Thriller] already. Long story short, they did a version of Beat It, and they sent it to Eddie to do the solo.

    But he cut the tape because he wanted to play over a different section. So Quincy [Jones, Thriller producer] called me and [Toto drummer] Jeff Porcaro and said, “I need you guys to fix this record for me because Eddie cut the tape!”

    Ed, he didn’t give a fuck.

    It’s like, “We’re in my studio, we do things my way.”

    He didn’t do sessions. He said to me later, “I didn’t get paid…”

    I said, “You didn’t go to the union and pick up your check, Ed. It’s probably still there – your thousand bucks for the session.”

    He goes, “I never thought about that!”

    Ed fucking changed the world.

    I remember him telling me, “Look, man, I never meant to turn [tapping] into this parlor trick thing – it’s just the way I play.”

    It’s playing rhythm and lead at the same time, you know? He found a new way to fill out the sound.

    He created a whole orchestra on the instrument.

    You have to look at things pre-Van Halen and post-Van Halen when it comes to guitar.

    I’m really upset. What do you say? Somebody you spent 40-odd years with. The good, the bad, the ugly. Marriage, divorce, kids.

    We spent a lot of life together. He would drop by my house and we’d sit and talk for hours. Wolfie’s doing this, my kid’s doing that…

    We were both proud parents. And he was the same cat I met in 1978, all the way up to the end.

    Steve Lukather was speaking to Richard Bienstock.
    Last edited by James in New York; 02.08.21 at 06:32 AM.
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    This article feels like a small tip of a big iceberg. In a good way.

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    The California World Music Festival in 1979 was actually a couple of weeks after Van Halen released their 2nd album. I'm still pissed at myself for missing it.
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    Nice article. I'm sure Steve had some great times with Eddie.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiveBomb View Post
    This article feels like a small tip of a big iceberg. In a good way.
    Yeah, Luke sounds like he’s full of emotion and has hours of reasons and explanations why Ed is the best to ever play the instrument. Would love for him to work with Vai on a book about Ed. Luke probably knows Ed the best, Vai knows him well and can put down on paper eloquently and articulately the combined thoughts. Could be a really unique and in-depth insight into Ed’s genius.

    Typicall when there’s a lot of emotion that you tend to get disjointed thoughts that kind of jump around. Not a criticism of Luke. God bless him!
    Destructo

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    Be birds singing in the rose gardens of immortality, lions roaring in the forests of knowledge and wisdom.

    -Baha'i Scriptures

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    Quote Originally Posted by Raldo View Post
    Nice article. I'm sure Steve had some great times with Eddie.
    Agreed!

    I remember reading some old 1982/83 GW with an interview with EVH, the good one about releasing of Diver Down. He was happy with that record because he thought it was VH's funniest album so far. Then he mentioned showing Little Guitars to Steve Lukather and how he came up with it - the thing of watching TV and buying some Montoya records to learn what was going on and stuff. EVH mentioned Lukather coming to his place - Steve was really impressed of how it was recorded, not being a overdub tune. He already knew the genius EVH was, but I think Steve discovered that day the Freak of Nature that Edward was. No one will be like him - he was unique and untouchable. The best guitar player and I never saw him playing live for the matter. Yet, to me, no one will never get close to EVH. EVER!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Destructo2 View Post
    Yeah, Luke sounds like he’s full of emotion and has hours of reasons and explanations why Ed is the best to ever play the instrument. Would love for him to work with Vai on a book about Ed. Luke probably knows Ed the best, Vai knows him well and can put down on paper eloquently and articulately the combined thoughts. Could be a really unique and in-depth insight into Ed’s genius.

    Typicall when there’s a lot of emotion that you tend to get disjointed thoughts that kind of jump around. Not a criticism of Luke. God bless him!
    It appears to me that while they bonded due to a shared interest in music... Edward and Steve Lukather had much more of a personal friendship over everyday regular life stuff. The music and artistic collaboration apparently was secondary.

    I've never been under the impression that Steve Vai and Edward worked or collaborated on much together. Vai could explain things both musically and technically for the gear, recoding and sound processing elements... but I don't know that he spent enough direct time with Ed to share what was in the mind of the genius.

    The book idea sounds somewhat interesting... but if you delve much below the surface of the personal relationship elements of Edward's life it would be rather difficult to avoid a lot of dark areas, which are many, that most people are respectfully avoiding while sticking to the positive attributes of EVH's impact on others. For this, I doubt many books on those subjects will be forthcoming...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simon Ribeiro View Post
    Agreed!

    I remember reading some old 1982/83 GW with an interview with EVH, the good one about releasing of Diver Down. He was happy with that record because he thought it was VH's funniest album so far. Then he mentioned showing Little Guitars to Steve Lukather and how he came up with it - the thing of watching TV and buying some Montoya records to learn what was going on and stuff. EVH mentioned Lukather coming to his place - Steve was really impressed of how it was recorded, not being a overdub tune. He already knew the genius EVH was, but I think Steve discovered that day the Freak of Nature that Edward was. No one will be like him - he was unique and untouchable. The best guitar player and I never saw him playing live for the matter. Yet, to me, no one will never get close to EVH. EVER!!
    In 1984 VH was my favorite band because of Eddie. He just did things on the guitar that seemed otherworldly. After watching him play at the Cow Palace on the 84 tour I witness a human being go beyond mastering his instrument. You couldn’t help having an emotional reaction to what he was doing. I’d seen many amazing guitarists, but what he was doing was not human. I saw more jaws dropped that night than one can possibly imagine. And to have that affect on non musicians equally on the musicians I went with was just par for the course with Ed. He truly was loaned to us from God or a distant universe.

    It’s criminal we don’t have a complete pro-shot of that solo or even one from 80-82. I’m just glad I was physically there to witness it. Amazing stuff... As I have said, if you love his playing on LWAN, you’d shit yourself if 84’s solo was properly recorded and released.
    Destructo

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    Quote Originally Posted by Destructo2 View Post
    In 1984 VH was my favorite band because of Eddie. He just did things on the guitar that seemed otherworldly. After watching him play at the Cow Palace on the 84 tour I witness a human being go beyond mastering his instrument. You couldn’t help having an emotional reaction to what he was doing. I’d seen many amazing guitarists, but what he was doing was not human. I saw more jaws dropped that night than one can possibly imagine. And to have that affect on non musicians equally on the musicians I went with was just par for the course with Ed. He truly was loaned to us from God or a distant universe.

    It’s criminal we don’t have a complete pro-shot of that solo or even one from 80-82. I’m just glad I was physically there to witness it. Amazing stuff... As I have said, if you love his playing on LWAN, you’d shit yourself if 84’s solo was properly recorded and released.


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    Yeah, can you imagine a cleaned up pro-shot version? My memory is they added two extra dates at that stop. (Which sold out as quickly as they went on sale.) The Cow Palace was the oddest venue located in San Francisco of all places.

    Thanks James!
    Destructo

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    Thought Id heard everything, but that is the craziest version of his solo Ive heard, EVER! AMAZING!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Destructo2 View Post
    Yeah, can you imagine a cleaned up pro-shot version? My memory is they added two extra dates at that stop. (Which sold out as quickly as they went on sale.) The Cow Palace was the oddest venue located in San Francisco of all places.

    Thanks James!
    Yeah, his 1984 solos blow away the LWAN solo. It is just a damn shame we don't have a proper pro shot version of one of those masterpieces, especially the flip up tray piano tapping piece he wrote on that tour. The Judgment Day solo does NOT do justice to the more complex and melodic stuff he was doing with that technique on the 84 tour.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JUNGLE DRUMMER View Post
    Yeah, his 1984 solos blow away the LWAN solo. It is just a damn shame we don't have a proper pro shot version of one of those masterpieces, especially the flip up tray piano tapping piece he wrote on that tour. The Judgment Day solo does NOT do justice to the more complex and melodic stuff he was doing with that technique on the 84 tour.
    My older brother, a big Allman brothers and Hendrix fan, but also a Van Halen fan, took me to see them in 1984 at MSG, and Eddie's solo, especially that flip up piano tray guitar solo part, blew both of our minds that night!

    My brother entered MSG with Hendrix #1, Eddie #2...and left the building with Eddie #1...
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