EVH – The Revolutionary

Have you ever sat in your car and arrived at your destination but didn’t want to get out because a song wasn’t over? I don’t think I’ve ever turned off a Van Halen song when I got to where I was going. I can’t. I have to sit there and listen to the rest of it even though I’ve heard it hundreds of times. I don’t know that there’s any one BAD Van Halen song. Now, I don’t mind some of the Van Hagar stuff but I grew up with the original Van Halen so that’s what I’m talking about here.

My friends and I had posters on our walls of the band and of Eddie; we would write the VH logo as best we could on the sides of our school books and on our tennis shoes and our notebooks. We would have the VCR ready to record MTV as soon as they played a Van Halen video. We had all their records and we get so excited when a new one came out. We would buy every magazine with Eddie or the band on the cover.

The first time (of a handful) that I saw them was in 1984 at The Mid-South Coliseum. I talked about it in the special tribute podcast that you can hear in Drake’s Takes. We were in 10th grade and I was so sick. Maybe I was just starting to come down with something because otherwise I don’t know how in the hell my mother would’ve let me go. But I remember being squished in the front (because back then you could get away with it) and loving it! I think I had fever and a sore throat. At one point, I had to go to the bathroom and throw up. After, I quickly made my way back to my friends at the front, and still, by far, the best concert ever!

Father, husband, brother, and one of the most iconic, revolutionary, legendary, masterful guitar players in the world, Eddie Van Halen was I’m sure WAY more than all of those things. He had that cute smile, those happy eyes and that sweet voice, and he always had the same look on his face when you saw pictures no matter what age he was. What a heartbreak to see him go. What a heartbreak for his son to announce it to the world on Twitter. What a heartbreak for his brother that they can never play together again. What a heartbreak that he was so young and that stupid cancer got him.

He never took guitar lessons. He taught himself to play. The sounds and songs he created will live on from the guy who said, “I’m not a rock star; I’m just a musician.” Nobody in the world can play like him and now he can’t even enjoy his family in peace.

When I heard the news Tuesday I was in the car and got two texts from friends. Tears started streaming down my face. I immediately went home and told Alexa to shuffle all songs by Van Halen. I think I did that for two days as I’m sure a lot of people in the world did. I found old concerts on YouTube and watched those. Seeing Eddie and that footage made me tear up again. Sure we’re all going to die at some point but this one really really hurts.

Here’s a look at him through the years. (NO BOZOS)

You sure were blessed, humble and one of a kind. RIP, EVH.