DWEEZIL ZAPPA - "Music Was Changed Forever When EDWARD VAN HALEN Was Introduced To The World, And Now It Is Forever Changed By His Early Departure"
October 9, 2020, 7 months ago
As the rock world continues to deal with the shock of the passing of guitar god Eddie Van Halen, tributes to the man and his talent continue to pour in. Following is an excerpt from guitarist Dweezil Zappa's thoughts on Eddie:
"Every so often a guitarist comes along who does something so unexpected, even the guitar itself has no choice but to surrender. Edward Lodewijk Van Halen was such a guitarist and arguably, he inspired more people to play guitar than anyone in history. A perennial rule-breaker with a name mightier than most mythical beasts, he commanded the instrument to perform as a pure extension of his unbridled creativity all while smiling wider than the Grand Canyon. It was as if he space docked himself to the guitar prior to launching into the 'zone' where he was able to effortlessly summon otherworldly riffs.
Music was changed forever when Edward Van Halen was introduced to the world and now it is forever changed by his early departure from our world. To this day, there isn’t a more original guitar intro than 'Mean Streets'. It’s as perplexing now as it was 39 years ago when it forced all of us to ask ourselves, 'How is he doing that?' Which by the way, he had all of us asking the same question since the first VH album, when we all heard 'Eruption'. Because he was such an innovator, we may never stop asking that question.
For those of us old enough to remember living in an analog world where we listened deep and hard and caught all the nuances on every recording because we didn’t have search engines to offer us ubiquitous visual references yet, take a moment to cherish that feeling of being so completely blown away by Edward Van Halen's contributions to music. We lined up at record stores to pay for as much music as we could afford and camped out in the snow, in long lines with other worshipers to buy tickets for concerts we couldn’t imagine missing. We took binoculars with us hoping to catch a fleeting glimpse of Edward Van Halen demonstrating what in the actual fuck he was doing. We couldn't get enough and couldn't wait to see what he would come up with next. He changed our lives.
As athletic as his playing could be it was never flash over substance. He epitomized the fusion of technical precision and musicality. His intense rhythmic bond with his brother Alex fueled their music in a way that can't be accurately described in words but can most definitely be felt emotionally. It was glorious to watch the virtuoso Van Halen brothers doing what they do best and when Wolfgang joined the mix, the DNA trifecta was one of Edward's proudest moments. He loved playing music with them and we should all take a moment to recognize that the Van Halen family loss is deep. If 'Unchained' used to fire you up, it might make you cry your eyes out now.
We are the benefactors of Edward Van Halen's groundbreaking and timeless music, innovations, and design. We are the awestruck bystanders who witnessed a once in lifetime culmination of groove from the soul, harmonic complexity, and wicked tone wrapped up in a childlike grin. Edward Van Halen didn’t play the electric guitar like us, the guitar was filtered through him and his deft guidance. He made it look easy - we know it wasn't. For many, he will always be the king. Long Live The King!"
Read Zappa's tribute to Eddie Van Halen in its entirety here.