Eddie Van Halen is a Dutch born American guitarist, keyboardist, songwriter, and producer. Eddie is best known for being the lead guitarst and founder of the hard rock band Van Halen and for his fast guitar playing, tapping technique, and high frequency feedback in his music.
Eddie began playing the piano as a child, and won many talent shows while growing up. His older brother Alex also played piano but did not find it enjoyable and began to play guitar. Eddie then bought a drum kit and practiced with Arty Gomez. Eddie and Arty would practice for hours at a time. One day Eddie heard his brother perform the drum solo for the song "Wipe Out" and was upset his brother had already surpassed him as a drummer. It was then that Eddie decided to play guitar. Soon he would play guitar for hours on end and even would walk around his house while playing. Some of Eddie's biggest influences were Eric Clapton, Brian May, and Jimmy Page.
From the Gene Simmons produced demo
Van Halen started out as a band called "Genesis" in 1972. They were quick to find out there was already a successful band with the same name, so they then switched their name to "Mammoth". The band members were Eddie Van Halen, Alex Van Halen, and Mark Stone. Since the band had no P.A. system they began renting one from David Lee Roth. Eventually, Eddie got tired of being the lead singer, so he let Roth into the band to save money on the P.A. and put an end to the hassle of being a lead vocalist. Michael Anthony soon came in to replace Mark Stone. David Lee Roth said that the band should change their name after the last name of the two brothers, and the band officially changed their name to Van Halen. In 1976, Gene Simmons (KISS) saw a Van Halen show at Gazzarri's, in Hollywood. Gene liked what he heard and offered to pay for the band's first demo tape. The band accepted and was flown out to Electric Lady Studio's in New York City. On Van Halen's first demo tape, they recorded "House of Pain" and "Runnin' with the Devil". In 1977, Van Halen was offered a record deal with Warner Bros. Records. Later on in 1977, the band recorded their very first album "Van Halen I". The album was released in February of 1978 and was the pivotal point in launching the band into super stardom.
Van Halen released six albums between 1978 and 1984, "Van Halen ll", "Women and Children First", "Fair Warning", "Diver Down", and "1984". Though the band released so much together, they still had trouble working together as a band. In Gene Simmons' book "Kiss and Make Up", Simmons claims that Eddie Van Halen asked to join KISS, after Ace Frehley left the band. Apparently, Simmons convinced Eddie to return to Van Halen and a year later the group released their most successful album, "1984". The album produced their first number one hit "Jump" and ranked at number two on the charts right behind "Thriller" by Michael Jackson, on which Eddie had also played on the Jackson song "Beat It".
In 1985, David Lee Roth was replaced with Sammy Hagar. The band's sound went from hard rock to a more commercial rock sound. Eddie's song's became less aggressive and more songs began to feature keyboards, such as "Dreams" and "Love Walks In". Some of the band's fans began to refer to the group as "Van Hagar" because of the sound change. Although the Sammy Hagar era continued to sell extremely well, it has not stood the test of time like the David Lee Roth era. Sammy Hagar left the band in 1996.
The band then began auditions for a new lead singer to replace Hagar. Van Halen finally settled on the former front man for Extreme, Gary Cherone. Cherone thought that the band would be together for the next ten years. Van Halen lll was released, record sales tanked and Cherone was to take the blame, eventually being fired. The flop made the band realize that it was time to take a break.
On Febuary 2, 2007, the band's web site let the world know that the band would be reforming with David Lee Roth for a summer tour. The band, however, did not start this tour until August 13, 2007. The reason for the postponement was so Eddie could spend six months in a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center. The new line-up for the band featured Wolfgang Van Halen on bass, the only person to be changed in the line-up (besides vocalists) since Michael Anthony replaced Mark Stone. The tour was very successful, selling out arenas across the country and grossing more than any Van Halen tour before. As of now, David Lee Roth is an official member of Van Halen and they are currently writing and recording music for a soon to be released album. Eddie Van Halen is also the survivor of tongue and mouth cancer.
Eddie Van Halen Gear
Guitars & Pickups
The Frankenstrat is probably the most famous of the Eddie Van Halen guitars. Custom built by the man himself in the mid-70's, it features an ash strat style body, routed for humbucker,
two piece bird's eye maple neck, PAF pickup and one volume knob. The guitar was initially strung with Fender XL150's .09 - 40. Several different variations existed, including the black
and yellow guitar featured on Van Halen II. That guitar is now buried along with guitarist Dimebag Darrell.
Ernie Ball - EVH - signature model
Peavy Wolfgang guitar
All early Van Halen records were recorded with stock 1967 100 watt Marshall 1959 Plexi Super Lead
Amp voltage was lowered to 89 volts - 6 CA7 Sylvania Power Tubes.
Briefly used the Soldano SLO100 Super Lead Overdrive Head.
In the later years, the Peavey 5150 was custom made for Eddie.
Eddie used the MXR Phase 90, with speed set to slow, for all solos on Van Halen I. MXR now makes a signature model.
MXR Flanger (speed set to slow) was used on songs like "Unchained". Like the Phase 90, there is also a signature model, which includes an EVH button.
Echoplex - Maestro EP-3 Tape Delay
MXR 6 Band EQ (set to boost the mid's)
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Eddie Van Halen Discography
Van Halen (1978)
Van Halen II (1979)
Women and Children First (1980)
Fair Warning (1981)
Diver Down (1982)
For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge (1991)
Van Halen III (1998)