Recently, Esquire Magazine conducted an interview titled
'Edward Van Halen Is Alive' in which the guitarist opened up about
his well documented alcohol issues, his tempestuous releationship
with singer, David Lee Roth and what it's like to play alongside
his son Wolfgang in the new-original Van Halen line-up.
Whilst most interviews since the release of the new album 'A
Different Kind Of Truth' have been handled by the outspoken
frontman David Lee Roth, this interview offers a refreshing insight
into Eddie's new-found energy for life and the band and a couple of
well kept secrets too, most notably the reall story behind
the the Variac and his amp.
Here are some highlights from the
"The funny thing is, about the whole alcoholism thing: It wasn't
really the partying. It was like - I don't mean to blame my dad,
but when I started playing in front of people, I'd get so damn
nervous. I asked him, Dad, how do you do it?' That's when he handed
me the cigarette and the drink. And I go, Oh, this is good! It
works! For so long, it really did work. And I certainly didn't do
it to party. I would do blow and I would drink, and then I would go
to my room and write music."
On feeling better after getting sober:
"There was one day, I think. Because I must have laid on the
couch for a year. Just watching Law & Order.What's funny is:
When I drank and did drugs, I never watched TV. Wolfie never, never
saw me watch TV growing up. I was always in the studio, making
music, and now, nothing. All of the sudden I'm on the couch
watching TV, going, 'This is a fucking trip.'"
On recording the new album:
"Before we decided to actually make a full record, we said,
'Hey, let's do some old demos.' And we actually recorded three of
them already. And I engineered She's The Woman, Out Of Space and
Bullethead, and it ended up turning into a whole record. But we
figured: Why not give fans the era that they liked, you know?"
On his son, Wolfgang, and his brother,
"I can't think of anyone more blessed than me. For one, you know
all the bullshit I've been through in my life. To have a brother
that I've been playing with since day one, and now my son. I don't
think anyone else in music can actually say that. I don't know
anyone who has a son and brother that they play together."
On David Lee Roth:
"We never really hated each other. I think the press blew that
out of proportion. He did kind of blindside us by leaving - we
certainly weren't ready for that. But we always, if we argued - you
know, now it's always about, about the structure of a song. It's
never personal. We've never on a personal level not gotten
The story of the Variac and his amp:
Dave and I did an interview promo thing before the first record
came out... The guy's going, 'We have Van Halen, a brand-new band
from L.A. here in the studio. So Dave, tell me' ... And here's
Dave, 'Bop, bop, yabba, dabba, doo,' you know? Then he turns to me
and says, I understand you and your brother, Alex, are from
Amsterdam, Holland.' And I went, 'Yeah.' Dead air.
"So afterwards, Dave goes, 'Here's what you're gonna do. You're
gonna lie. You're gonna make up some shit so they don't remember
it.'...So anyway, I do my first full-blown interview with Guitar
Player, and that whole thing is in my head.
"I had my 100-volt Marshall. I bought one through the recycling
or the newspaper that was from England, and it was set on 220
volts. I didn't know. So I plugged the thing in, but I'm going,
'Fucking thing doesn't work. I got ripped off.' I just let it sit
there. After about an hour, there's sound coming out, but it's
really quiet, cause it's running on half voltage. So I go, 'Hey,
wait a minute. It sounds exactly like it's supposed to all the way
up, but it's really quiet.' So we had a light dimmer in the house,
and I hooked up the two leaves from the amp to the light, so I did
it backwards, blew out the fuse box.
"Then I went down to DOW Radio and asked, 'Do you guys have any
kind of super duper light dimmer?' They go, 'Yeah, it's all Variac,
variable transformer, you know.' And on the dial you could crank it
up to 140 volts or down to zero. So I figured, if it's on 220 and
it's that quiet, if I take the voltage and lower it, I wonder how
low I can go and it still work... So, my Variac, my variable
transformer was my volume knob. Too loud, [makes knob turning
sound] I'd lower it down to 50.
"I told people the complete opposite. I told them I raised it up
140 volts. I felt so bad. I felt so fucking horrible, man. They
said, 'Please don't attempt what Eddie Van Halen said in the last
interview,' because everyone was blowing their amps.'... I felt so
bad. I never lied again after that."
On being tight with Dave:
"The last tour, I'd go over to Dave's room and he was all the
way over on the opposite side. He kind of kept to himself. We're a
lot tighter. It feels more like a band, and it is more of a band.
It's family to me, you know. Always has been. I think - was it the
Hanson press gig that we did? - where Dave just came up to me, gave
me the biggest hug and he just said, 'Your fuckin' son, man. He's a
motherfucker. He's risen to the occasion and beyond.' That made me
You can read more of Eddie Van Halen in Esquire here.
Meanwhile, Van Halen have also added another 18 concerts to
its highly successful 2012 North American tour. The newly added
dates begin July 7 with an encore performance at the Mohegan Sun
Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
The newly added dates are as follows:
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