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  • EVH Articles and Interviews

    A plethora of interviews, Stories and Articles with Eddie Van Halen!
    • Atomic Punk
      1979 rolled into 1980 and Van Halen released their third album, "Women and Children First". An album that was different in sound and feel to Van Halen and Van Halen II. It is another great album from Van Halen that also sold very well. The Band was to continue to grow in popularity. The songs "Everybody Wants Some" and "Romeo Delight" from Women and Children First are instant favourites with people attending Van Halen's concerts.
      It was in either 1979 or 1980 that the now "Infamous" story about "There are to be no Brown M&M's in the Backstage Area" at concerts was written into their Tour Rider. The true story behind this is a great one!
      Word got out to the Music Press that David Lee Roth saw a Bowl of M&M's and went to examine it to see if there were any Brown ones in it. Low and Behold, David Lee Roth did indeed find an offending Brown one and proceeded to "Throw a Tantrum". He then did some minor destruction to the Backstage Area. Apparently, David Lee Roth did $250,000 worth of damage. The band Threatened to cancel the concert because of "Breach Of Contract". That in itself is a good story and actually happened.
      In actual fact, The Van Halen Tour Rider was very extensive. Even as far back as 1979/1980 Van Halen were a band of Mammoth proportions!  It was written into the contract that a Venue's stage must be able to handle a certain amount of weight as Van Halen's production was huge.
      What happened was...Van Halen arrived at the venue, the roadies started to set up all of the equipment and lighting rig to play the concert..
      The Venue didn't read the weight requirements and after a short while after the equipment was set up.......the entire stage in the Venue collapsed!!!! That is where the $250,000 figures worth of damage came from.
      After this story was in The Press, Venues made sure the read the contract properly before signing it. It was this kind of stuff that made the World of Van Halen more "Colourful And Full Of Fun" than all of the other Bands at the time that took themselves far too seriously!
      Sometime in 1980, Eddie also sought out Frank Zappa. Both Frank and his son Dweezil became good friends with Eddie. This led to Eddie and Studio Engineer Don Landee producing Dweezil's first single "My Mother Is A Space Cadet" in 1982 which also included Moon Unit Zappa on vocals.
      It was also in 1980 that Eddie became friends with Toto and Studio guitarist Steve Lukather. For years Eddie spoke of the brilliance of members of Toto.
      As far back as 1979, David Lee Roth had big ambitions saying to anyone that would listen that he was going to be the "Most Famous Person in the World and that one day he was going to Marry a Movie Star"
      It turns out that it was Eddie that would "Marry a Movie Star". In 1980, Eddie met Actress Valerie Bertinelli and in April of 1981, they got Married.
      I think this somewhat annoyed Dave as it stole his thunder but I could be wrong.
       
      Denis McCarthy (EVH Group) 

    • Atomic Punk
      A lot's been written about this over the years. According to David Lee Roth, Eddie and Alex didn't want to tour. Both Eddie and Alex were drinking and taking way too much Party Substances for their own good. So David Lee Roth either left Van Halen in 1985 or he was fired.
      The Van Halen Brothers had their version of what happened as did David Lee Roth.
      "The Truth Is Out There...."
      Something that was said was David Lee Roth was going to make a Movie. That indeed was something that was being worked on until the Film Company he signed up to work with went Bankrupt.
      So Dave assembled a "NEW BAND" with Greg Bissonette on Drums, Billy Sheehan on Bass and Steve Vai on Guitar. It also should be noted that 99% of Van Halen's staff including the roadies and support personal went to work for Dave.
      Eddie had a lot of music written and they needed to find a Singer. The Singer would be Sammy Hagar. Apparently, they had a mutual friend who looked after their Ferrari's and he gave Eddie Sammy's Phone Number.
      Sammy goes up to Eddie's House, they jammed together with Alex Van Halen and Michael Anthony for half a day. Eddie and Alex decided he was the perfect choice as New Singer for Van Halen.
      Both Van Halen and David Lee Roth set out to make new Albums that had their own unique approaches.
      Sammy Hagar was a very accomplished Vocalist, that combined with Eddie's ability to write with "Pop Sensibility" turned out be very successful with the album "5150", if you consider "The Star" of the band left.
      David Lee Roth's approach on the "Eat 'Em And Smile" album was to get the best players he could possibly find to literally Out Van Halen, Van Halen. Greg Bissonette, Billy Sheehan and Steve Vai are Virtuoso's on their instruments. In terms on "Chops" and "Licks", The David Lee Roth Band surpassed just about everyone in Rock Music.
      It was evident that Van Halen's style of music would see David Lee Roth leaving and Sammy Hagar joining the Band. It really became a "Whole New Band".
      With David Lee Roth.....The "LIVE SHOW" got even bigger than it was on Van Halen's 1984 Tour. On the 1984 Tour, Van Halen had 18 Tracker Trailers to carry all of the Bands Instruments, Amps and Lighting Rig.
      I am not sure who it was who first called Van Halen "The Mighty Van Halen" but I suspect it was David Lee Roth.
      Just about every show of the 1984 Tour Sold Out....if not every single one. It is fair to say that Van Halen were the biggest band in America in 1984. The "1984" album along with the hit songs "Jump", "Panama" and "Hot For Teacher" were massive! "1984" sold 10 million albums in America.
      You would think Van Halen would have been sitting pretty after that? Nope.....Not the case at all. With all of the expense of bringing 18 Tracker Trailers and literally 100 personnel on the road to make the "Spectacular" Mighty Van Halen's Show happen to cost an absolute fortune!!!
      When Sammy Hagar first joined Van Halen he couldn't believe how much of a financial wreck both Eddie and Alex were in. Alex Van Halen was flat broke and was in debt to the IRS and Eddie wasn't much better off either.
      This wasn't the fault of manager at the time, Noel Monk either. As well as the massive overhead for the production of the "1984" tour, The band also racked up massive bills for damages to Hotel Rooms, Money Blown on Drugs and Alcohol on the Tour etc. The tour when all of the expenses were paid just about broke even.
      By "1984", None of the members of Van Halen were getting along and most of Noel Monk's time was spent dealing with the band fighting amongst themselves...
      At the same time, The Band made sure they lived up to the image of "The Biggest Band In the World"......
      Dave or Eddie would say to Noel Monk "We need ____, you are our guy, Noel. Make this happen". It got to the point to where Noel would do what was asked for a quiet life.
      Another thing that didn't help Eddie either was that he was taking advances(Money) ahead of what the Tour was pulling in. The reason for this was Drugs. Eddie had a very big Cocaine habit by this time. In fact, Eddie had his own personal Drug Dealer. Yes, Noel spoke to Eddie about Drugs being a problem several times but it fell on "Deaf Ears".
      Van Halen with the help of Noel Monk were making a fortune but Eddie and Alex simply spent every penny they made.
      Van Halen became a whole new Band with Sammy. It was no longer "The Mighty Van Halen". On the 5150 Tour, Van Halen brought less equipment with them, played slightly smaller venues and in fact made money from the tour.
      It is fair to say David Lee Roth made money on the "Eat 'Em And Smile" tour as Greg Bissonette, Billy Sheehan and Steve Vai were hired hands and not getting a percentage of the tours take.
       
      More to come on Van Halen..
      Denis McCarthy (EVH Group) 
       

    • Atomic Punk
      Lots has been written about the various Guitars, Amps and effects Eddie used over the years mainly to do with his "LIVE" Setup. In this Article, That will be discussed and also some of the studio gear that was used to record the Van Halen Albums.   Way before van Halen recorded Van Halen.....in fact when David Lee Roth joined the Band and were first called Van Halen......Eddie was believe it of not playing a Gibson ES335!!! The Gibson ES335 was a great sounding according to Eddie but the rest of the band said to him "You ain't Roy Orbison". So then I believe Eddie played used a LesPaul for a while but didn't like the fact a lot of player were using them at the time.   I am guessing this is because Jimmy Page used one and many players were all about copying Jimmy Page. So then Eddie started using a Fender Stratocaster. Now, Eddie really liked it the vibrato bar but the sound of it was very buzzy and thin when overdriven.   It was around this time I believe that Eddie thought to himself "What if I put a pickup from a Gibson in my Stratocaster". There are photos of Van Halen from 1975 - 1976 where Eddie is indeed playing a Fender Stratocaster style guitar with a Humbucking Pickup in the Bridge postion of the guitar.   I say "Fender Stratocaster Style Guitar" as I am not 110% certain the guitars in the photos are Original Fender Stratocasters.   Ok!!! Here is where the funs begins......   The Original White with Black Stripes "Frankenstrat" Guitar   Let me start off by saying there's been so much written about this guitar not just by Eddie himself in interviews over the years, but by all kinds of "Experts" on Youtube in the past few years.   All kinds of "Misinformation" is being banded around about what Eddie played. It's ridiculous, honestly,  so let me give you the facts about the guitar as far as I can remember them from reading some of the first interviews Eddie did with Jas Obrect in Guitar Player Magazine from 1978.   The Body and the Neck of the Guitar were purchased from Charvel. The Body was an unfinished second (defective) Boogie Body made of Ash that Eddie paid $50 for. Eddie paid $80 for the Maple Fingerboard Neck and was unfretted and didn't have a nut.   Eddie commenced to paint the body himself using "Bike" paint. Lots has been written about this before. He then proceed to "Fret" the Guitar using "LARGE GIBSON ONES" as this was his preference. He also installed a Brass Nut on to the Neck. The Tuners on were made by Schaller.   The vibrato system came from a 1958 Fender Stratocaster. The Pickguard Eddie cut out and drilled himself to fit a 1950's Gibson Patent and applied For Humbucker and a single 250 Ohm Volume Pot. According to Eddie at that time, he didn't know how to wire  guitars for pickup switches etc. so that was the reason he used one pickup in his guitars.   There are a couple of things that are never talked about by the first fFrankenstrat. The first being Fender and Gibson guitars have different string spacing, so in order to get the pickup poles of the Gibson PAF Humberbucker to line up with the string space of the Fender Stratocaster Vibrato/Bridge the pickup was set at an angle. You can see this in pictures of the guitar.   The Vibrato/Bridge of the Guitar was set so it was resting to the Guitar Body to help with Tuning Stability when Eddie used the Vibrato Bar. This is a vital thing for keeping a Fender Style Vibrato in tune when Dive Bombing. Another thing was the Eddie just used a single "String Tree" for the B and E strings. According to Eddie if you have a "String Tree" also for the D an G strings......the strings get "caught up" in it when using the Vibrato Bar and go out of tune. This is indeed fact as I know from personal experience.   In addition to this there was a 1975 Ibanez Destroyer, which was a copy of a Gibson Explorer that was also used in the "Club Days" and was featured on the "Women and Children First" Album Cover.   Not too much has been written about Eddie's Guitars apart from the "Frankenstrat" and "The Bumblebee" from early in Eddie's Career. It is known that Eddie would experiment and change Pickups in his Guitars from time to time. What type of Pickups? Eddie tried both DiMarzio andSeymour Duncan as well as Gibson PAF's.   On the Kramer 5150's(There were 2 of them), I know they had Seymour Duncan Pickups in them. More about the Kramer 5150's in another article to come here.   Anther Total Myth regarding Eddie's Guitar Tone was the now "Infamous" Marshall 100 watt Super Lead Plexi from 1966/1967/1968. Lots has been written about this too!!! Too much in fact!   For alot of years Eddie said the Amp was Modified by Jose Arredondo. This isn't true. Eddie said this to bring in Business for him. Jose did re-tube the Amp for him and might have rebiased it at some point.   One thing about that Marshall Amp is that it was imported from England and ran on 240 volts. Did Eddie use a "Variac" on the Amp? There are so many people saying he did or didn't it is anyone's guess!   There is then also "the discussion" about what tubes Eddie used in his Amps. Eddie used "XXXX"(insert name) tubes then someone will say Eddie used "XXXX"(insert name) brand tubes in his Amps. Trust me.....I have seen those discussions for past 20 years on the Internet.   Also going back about 20 years ago, The big thing was PEAVEY 5150 AMP....   I had all kinds of discussions of with "Edheads" from both The Vhlinks and rotharmy about the PEAVEY 5150 AMP.....Some of them changed the Transformers, Tubes etc. in them to get "CLOSER" to the EVH tone.   At one point it got to the point when I was speaking to the guy who setup the Vhlinks about the PEAVEY 5150 AMP and I told him to stop "F*CKING ABOUT" and told him to go buy a Soldano. Well....after a few weeks....maybe a month.....he bought a soldano and he told me it has the "Van Halen Tone". He thanked me.   Eddie and Soldano Amps is whole other article!   The effects Eddie used in the early days(1975 to 1978) were a couple of Maestro Tape Echoplexes, an MXR 6 Band EQ, an MXR Flanger and an MXR Phase 90. At that point, Eddie didn't have a Reverb Unit in his Rig.   The Reverb used on the first Van Halen to give it the unique sound it has was done by the use of an EMT Plate Reverb. For anyone reading this and thinking I want that Van Halen sound and then looking on Google to buy one of them.   I will save you some the time and the effort......   They cost about £250,000.   As for replicating the Van Halen tone.....there are so many ways to get the Van Halen tone.....   For actual guitar tone.....ignoring effects. As mentioned above......   Eddie for most of his career used guitars with Maple Fingerboards. Maple fingerboards have a "brighter" tone than Rosewood or Ebony. That is a big part of Eddie's tone.   Something that isn't talked about much like it was 10 or 15 years ago is replacement. As mentioned above Eddie used Gibson PAF Humbuckers in his guitars in the early days. Since 1986, DiMarzio have made a PAF Pro Humbucker Pickup which has a similar sound to the Gibson PAF. I know this as I use them myself. This for people with Guitars that already are fitted with Humbucking Pickups. I should point out that there are "F" spaced Humbucking Pickups for guitar that have Floyd Rose Style Tremolos, that goes back again to "String Spacing" mentioned earlier here.   For Guitarists that have a Fender Stratocaster or Fender Stratocaster Style guitars, there is the DiMarzio HS2 and HS3 stacked Single coil Humbucking Pickups that have the same "Magnetic Window" to the DiMarzio PAF Pro Humbucker.   ^This was something I spoke with virutoso guitarist James Byrd about a few years ago.   In the early days, Eddie used a totally uncompressed tone and the pickups I've spoke of provide that and aren't "High Output" which is what Eddie went for in the early days.   That is a guideline going from my own experience as far as pickups are concerned. I think it is fairly accurate. Much of it depends on the Amplifier the player is using.   High Gain Pickups with a High Gain Amp is not a good combination.   Low Gain Pickups with a High Gain Amp is fine generally.   Medium Gain Pickups with a High Gain Amp is generally ok as well.   As far as effects go, there are a ton of options! People can simply buy all of the EVH brand stuff. It is fine and good.....nothing wrong with it!!!! The EVH Brand stuff has "EVH" buttons on it to give the Van Halen settings.   I will say this however, the standard MXR Phase 90 gets the exact tone Eddie used on the first Van Halen. There is no need to get the Red with White and Black Striped EVH Phaser. You will save well over $100/£100/100 euros too!   As for a Flanger, there are dozens of Flangers out there that will get the Van Halen sound, if you are willing to spend the time to look up Eddie's approximate Flanger settings. By all means get an MXR EVH Flanger.   If you need it......by all means get an MXR 6 or 10 band EQ Pedal. Eddie used this when changing guitars to keep the signal from his Guitars to Amp consistent.   One thing I can say for sure that should be a part of a players rig that is looking to get the early Van Halen tone is a Dunlop Echoplex Pedal. A Tape based Echoplex is totally impractical for a regular hobbyist/Semi professional /Professional Guitarist because of reliability issues. Not to mention the price the Maestro Echoplex's cost because Eddie Van Halen, Andy Summers and Eric Johnson etc, used them back in the 1970's and early 1980's.   As Steve Lukater said on his Starlicks Video from 1984 "$10,000 for a Reverb Unit is fine if you are vocalist is fine but if you are a guitar player you are simply pissing away money. I have done this and I am telling you not to do this!"   Yes, I have 2 Echoplex effects in My Rig as I have Yamaha SPX 90 and Yamaha SPX 900 Rack Units. At the moment though I am only using one of the Yamaha SPX's for Echo to create ambience and widen my tone. I am using the other one for Chorus.   The other thing I might have forgot to mention here that up until Van Halen's 1984 album, Eddie tuned his guitar one half step to Eb, Ab, Db,F#/G Flat, B Flat, Eb. And he also dropped the low Eb to C# for much of Fair Warning.   This article covers Eddie live rig from the "Club Days to Women And Children First"   For people reading this and if they wondering if I am a Guitar Player....Yes indeed, I am a Guitar Player!   By all means feel free to critique this article and ask questions!   Denis McCarthy (Diamond Den). EVH Group

    • Atomic Punk
      In 1981 we saw Van Halen release Fair Warning!!!! And Fair Warning we were certainly given!!!!
      "....AND SOMEONE SAID Fair WARNING LORD WILL STRIKE THAT POOR BOY DOWN, TURNED FROM HUNTED INTO HUNTER WENT TO HUNT SOMEBODY DOWN..."
      For myself and many die hard Van Halen Fans, this is their best album. It is the album that represents all of the finest elements of Van Halen at their fullest. It is somewhat darker in feel to their other albums yet is full of fun and joy at the same time.
      Of course, for guitar players this is Eddie Van Halen at the absolute pinnacle of exploration in his playing. The intro alone to Mean Street is almost as iconic as Eruption. More than on any other album Eddie utilised the array of effects he had at this time. Throughout every song, The Flanger/Chorus and Phaser are used to an incredible effect. However, they are not used to the point to where they completely affect  Eddie's dry guitar signal. The balance between the wet and dry signal is perfect.
      It is very much like someone adding the exact right amount of seasoning and sauce to a perfectly cooked steak.
      The main riff in the song "Unchained" was borrowed, loaned, copied or totally stolen by dozens of guitar players throughout the 1980's and well into the early 90's. Just a couple of years ago spoof 1980's band Steel Panther borrowed it for one of their songs.
      Eddie is drawing from so many styles of music in Fair Warning. Mean Street has a certain funk feel to it. You could just about hear this in an episode of Starsky and Hutch. Something that isn't mentioned too much about Fair Warning is how in touch Eddie was with what was happening at the time.
      Tracks such as Hear About It Later and Push Comes To Shove sound very similar to what Andy Summers was playing in The Police around that time. At the same time.......Eddie's solos on Fair Warning have a heavy use of Syncopation that is more associated with guitarists John McLaughlin and Allan Holdsworth.
      "Allan was also a huge influence on the next generation of rock guitarists. I believe Eddie Van Halen, for example, got a lot from him." - John McLaughlin
      "I don't know if he did or not. I'm pretty sure whatever influence I had wasn't from the beginning, because when I was on the road with U.K. we played with Van Halen before they had become famous, and Eddie already had a lot of that going on before he ever heard me." - Allan Holdsworth. 
      "However it happened, Eddie is a great player, and I feel that what he's done for pop guitar - particularly his solo on Michael Jackson "Beat It" - is really good....." - John McLaughlin. 
      From an interview from Guitar Player Magazine 1995
      My personal favourite song is Push Comes To Shove......The solo in that song in my opinion is Eddie's best! This is the album when Eddie is at the height of his creativity.
       
       
      Denis McCarthy 
      EVH Group

    • Atomic Punk
      Peter Gabriel's Album from 1986 is the last album Eddie paid any attention too. He said in a Guitar Player Magazine interview from 1987 he really dug this album. Furthermore Eddie said in Guitar Player Magazine in 1993 that the last album that he thought that was great was Peter Gabriel's So. What is interesting is that for many years Eddie was asked if he would ever do a solo project. For the longest time Eddie brushed off the idea saying "I write all of the music in Van Halen and I get to do whatever I want". I have the feeling though that when it came to the time Van Halen recorded Van Halen 3 it was very much a solo effort from Eddie. The influence of the So album by Peter Gabriel is very evident of Van Halen 3. The song Once sounds very much like it could have been on Peter Gabriel's So.
      It might seem strange that Eddie Van Halen would be influenced by a L musician such as Peter Gabriel that is as far away from the Hard Rock Music was known for pioneering. Eddie was good friends with Frank Zappa. Eddie and Frank Zappa had a great mutual respect. Frank stated many times that Eddie "Re-invented" guitar playing. In fact, Frank Zappa said in an interview in Guitar World 1982 that everything possible had been done on guitar. I think Frank Zappa's statement from back then holds true.
      There were a few occasions when Eddie appeared on other people's records such as Michael Jackson's "Beat It", which had Eddie playing a solo that is now Legendary. Much has been written about Eddie playing on "Beat It". Eddie simply asked Quincy Jones to get him a couple of crates of Beer for doing it apparently. Recently, Steve Lukather said Eddie was paid $1000 for playing on "Beat It" but Eddie didn't bother to pick up his check.
      Eddie also played Bass on Sammy Hagar's solo album "I Never Said Goodbye" that Sammy was still contracted by Geffen to put out in 1987 although Sammy joined Van Halen in late 1985. It turned out according to Roger Waters of Pink Floyd that Eddie was a very competent Bass Player. Roger Waters and Eddie met when he was working on "I Never Said Goodbye". Roger and Eddie would work together on the song "Lost Boys Calling" for the soundtrack to "The Legend Of 1900" by Ennio Morricone in 1998.
      In 1992, Eddie also contributed on the tracks "Eastern Bloc" and "Close But No Cigar" on Thomas Dolby's "Astronauts and Heretics" album. Thomas Dolby is also as far away from the Hard Rock Eddie is known for. "She Blinded Me By Science" is nothing like anything Van Halen ever recorded. Then more recently Eddie worked with the Rap singer LL COOL J. As has been mentioned in other articles on the site Van Halen's music has been sampled by many musicians. It goes to show that some musicians keep their ears open and receptive to do something different and not expected.
      Something that isn't widely known about is that Dweezil Zappa recorded an album in 1993 called "What Was I thinking?" that has yet to be released which included dozens of famous guitarists including Eddie Van Halen. According to Dweezil Zappa it is due to be released sometime in the future.
      In one the last interviews Eddie did in Guitar World Magazine he said "hadn't listened to any new music in years because he was too busy working on his own stuff". For the longest time though Eddie was very, very in tune with what was happening in the music scene. Articles regarding this will be added to this site in the near future.
      Something we can hopefully look forward is the "10 albums worth" of material Eddie had recorded to be released eventually. You can be assured Eddie created alot of avante garde and experimental music for
      his own amusement!
      Denis McCarthy 
      EVH Group

    • Atomic Punk
      "Wait till you see this guitarist. Just amazing! The front man is incredible! And by the way, we got them for a steal." Carl Scott of Warner Bros. Records to Noel Monk, Van Halen's Road Manager in 1978. That was "Icing On The Cake" as far as Warner Bros. was concerned. Needless to say Noel Monk priority as Road Manager for Van Halen was to see everything ran as smoothlessly as possible. He also got on really well with Eddie, Dave, Alex, Mike. As soon as he heard Van Halen he knew they had something special happening. So within the first year of them being signed to Warner Bros. with Marshall Berle as their Manager and the band finding out they were getting ripped off everyway possible, they asked Noel Monk to be thier Manager.

      This was probably the smartest thing Van Halen as Band in their career. No longer would the band be charged for everything at astronomical fees with everyone having their hand in the pockets. That all changed. No more antics of the Band getting charged $20,000 for Celebration Parties due to their success and the likes of that. It had to be that way. Although the Band had sold a million albums and toured
      for almost an entire year.....they were flat broke and owned Warner Bros. Records $1 million in expenses. The Royalty Checks from the sales from Van Halen hadn't landed in the pockets of the band yet either.

      So with very little in the way of resources Noel Monk set out being the Manager of Van Halen, working out of a Hotel Room for the Office of one of the Hottest up and coming bands in the world. He hired the minimal amount of staff needed and got on with the task at hand. With all of that said Noel Monk would get paid 20% of all Van Halen's earnings throughout his time as Manager of the Band. Something that wasn't widely known at the time within the "Music Business" was Record Companies would pay publications such as Billboard and Hit Parader to Advertise their bands. Noel Monk only learned of this practice when he became Manager of Van Halen. These payoffs would either be in cash or cocaine or a combination of both of these things. The same thing applied to Radio Stations as well through something called "Payola". You want to get your Band played on radio, you would have to pay radio stations to cash and cocaine to play the bands record in the hope people would then go out and buy it and to make sure the concerts a band would on tour would sell out.

      There was also something called "The Black Book" that was internal in Warner Bros. Records to show how quickly a record was selling over a 10 day period and then on the strength of the sales a Band or Singer would have their promotion budget allocated from that. Noel Monk got to hear about this in passing with a meeting he had with a member of Warner Bros. Records but was told "Don't Worry About It". It was fortunate that Noel did worry about this and was dating a secretary from Warner Bros. at the time and asked her about it. Well, it turned out that these "Black Books" would simply be thrown out a dumpster at the end of every week so Noel went "Dumpster Diving" and did indeed find one of these "Mystery Black Books". Low and Behold, he did indeed find one of them in a dumpster at Warner Bros. Records and could see exactly what every signed Band and Singer at Warner Bros. sales and allocations were.

      After reading the "Mystery Black Book", Noel Monk learned that although Van Halen were selling a massive amount of records, they were being nowhere near the amount of money they should have been for promotion. This plus the pittance in Royalties Van Halen were being paid (that they had yet to see a dime of) made Van Halen and Noel Monk understandable angry.

      Something many people don't realise is that Van Halen were only signed to a 2 album deal with Warner Bros. with a clause in their contract they could be resigned again for further albums by a certain date with exact same Royalty rate as the first 2 albums at a pittance. If this didn't take place an entire new contract would have to be signed. So a meeting was held between Van Halen and Noel Monk about 6 months before the contract was to expire.

      Noel explained the situation in full to the Band. David Lee Roth said "Is there anything that can be done about this?". Noel replied "I am not sure but I know if I can run enough interference between myself and Warner Bros. querying everything they might just be too tied up and might forget about the due date".
      Dave looked at the rest of the band and said to Noel "We trust you Noel, Do what you can". 
      Over the next few months Noel did everything possible to annoy, harass
      and badger Warner Bros. querying everything imaginable. So much so
      that when Warner Bros. Management told Van Halen it was time to record their next album, Noel Monk informed them a meeting would be needed to discuss it. The meeting was held with Mo Austin (Head of Warner Bros. Records) where Noel Monk told Mo Astin that Van Halen was out of contract with Warner Bros. Records. Noel was told that he "Didn't Know What Fuck He Was Talking About". Mo Astin soon learned however that
      Van Halen were indeed out of contract and free agents. So instead of letting all of the lovely money Van Halen could make them slip away.

      Noel renegotiated a new contract for Van Halen for DOUBLE THE ROYALTY
      RATE they previous got and several other advantageous accommodations
      thrown in. Needless to say the members of Van Halen and Noel were very pleased with this new arrangement. There is alot more to be said about Van Halen's climb to fortune and stardom. It will be posted here in the near future!
      Denis McCarthy 
      EVH Group

    • Atomic Punk
      You released your first album and within 6 months it's sold over 1 million copies. Not only that but you are the opening act in England for one the bands that are a one of the biggest in Heavy Metal music.
       
      You think you'd have it made! The harsh reality for Van Halen was far from that! Just about everyone thinks that as soon as a band or singer have made a million selling album that are automatically millionaire(s). That simply isn't the truth of it.
       
      I first read about this in an interview Eddie Van Halen did with Steve Lukather from 1993 in Guitar For The Practicing Musician. Van Halen toured with Black Sabbath in 1978..played 25 gigs in 26 days and did alot more touring in 1978 to really promote their debut album and guess what?
       
      Although Van Halen had sold a million albums and toured non l-stop throughout all of 1978 by the end of year they owed Warner Bros. Records $1 million! That dispelled the myth that if you sell a million albums you are "Set Up For Life". All of this stuff is never talked about at the time in interviews etc. and only comes to light years later.
       
      It gets worse..When Van Halen were opening for Black Sabbath to sold out venues of 3000 to 5000 people they were getting paid a flat fee of $750 split four ways between each band member. Add into that the record deal they signed with Warner Bros. meant that the band would eventually only getm paid about 90 cents for every album sold for their first 2 albums. That is 90 cents split again four ways then manager, agent and lawyer fees etc. have to be deducted from that.
      Then each of the 4 members of the band had to also pay the IRS.
       
      As soon as 1979 arrived soon afterwards Van Halen were pushed back into the studio to record their second album Van Halen II. Warner Bros. liked the money and success Van Halen was bringing in. Something worth noting is that you will see photos of Eddie wearing a gold necklace with the Van Halen logo on the Van Halen II album cover. This was a gift from Marshall Berle their manager at the time. This defies belief but Marshall Berle actually charged each of the 4 members of
      Van Halen and put it in as part of his managers fee.
       
      Also as part of the great success Van Halen had from the first years records sales and touring, Marshall Berle threw a huge party for the band with the finest of Food and Drink. Van Halen were totally blown away by Marshall Berle's generosity.
       
      David Lee Roth commented to their road manager Noel Monk at the time how great of Marshall it was of him to do that to which Noel Monk said to Dave "Thanks, Dave. It is you and the band that are paying for all of this". The bill for this great party they were having was $20,000.
       
      I guess you say all of this is just part of "The Price Of Fame". Van Halen weren't the only band to get well and truly screwed by Record Companies and Managers at some point in the careers. The fortunate ones(and you could look at literally) learn fast that at the end of the day.
       
      Very few in any of the suits in the Music Business don't care about Musicians or Artistry, all they care about is making money....After all It is called "The Music Business" for good reason.
       
      It is a Business just like any other Business and mostly it is a "Dirty Business".
       
      Van Halen though were fortunate and had a few very close allies and friends. Shortly after they realized what was going on with the business end of things they learned fast and things changed rapidly for them.
       
      Many more articles like this one will be post here in the next coming days, weeks and months. We are in this for the long haul to give the members and readers here an interesting look and insight into the world of The Mighty Van Halen's Music and Career.
       
      Denis McCarthy 
      EVH Group

    • Atomic Punk

      Cathedral

      By Atomic Punk, in Equipment,

      That was what Eddie Van Halen was told when Diver Down was being recorded. It seems one of the latest pieces Eddie was working on at the time which would get recorded called "Cathedral" didn't meet with David Lee Roth's approval.   Cathedral went on to become another one of Eddie's countless innovations. It is so unique because unlike other musicians that had used Delay Units he used them entirely differently. In the late 70's, Jaco Pastorius used to 2 Delays live, One as a Looper and another to play melodies on his "Third Stone From The Sun" Bass Solo.   The equipment Eddie used to play this was simple. Just a 1961 Fender Stratocaster, A Roland Space Echo RE-201 and Roland Digital DC-50 Chorus. Whereas many players then were using the Boss CE1 Chorus Ensemble, Eddie used the far better sounding Roland Digital CD-50 Chorus.   The way Eddie played Cathedral was by hammering on the notes with his frethand and using the volume pot to turn the volume on and off on the Stratocaster to get the the notes to repeat with the Roland Space Echo RE-201. No one had ever heard a guitar sound that way before Eddie recorded Cathedral.   Once again when people first heard it like with Eruption they were wondering if it was done a Keyboard or Synthesizer if it had been recorded using overdubbing! If you think back it is no surprise that people might have though Eddie used a Synthesizer or Guitar Synthesizer as the Roland GR300 Synth and Roland G303 and G808 Guitars were very popular since their release in 1979.   Hordes of players including Pat Metheny, John McLaughlin, Robert Fripp and Andy Summers had been avid users of GR300 Synth and G303 and G808 Guitars.   Eddie didn't need those things. As Eddie famously said in Guitar Player Magazine in 1978 "It's not in the equipment, it's in the fingers!". One of the most ironies is that generally guitar players are always looking to get the latest and greatest of gear, the greatest innovator of all time on guitar was more concerned with the actually playing and making great music above everything else. That is not to belittle any of the other great players but Eddie simply had that something special which can't really be put into words.   Denis McCarthy EVH Group Chief Moderator

    • Atomic Punk
      The guitar and musical landscape in rock totally changed when Van Halen's debut album was released in 1978. That has been stated time and time again for decades. Yes, there were many great guitar playerst hroughout the 1970's. By the time Van Halen's first album wasr eleased Hard Rock music was well and truly in desperate need of something totally new and innovative.
      It needs to be pointed out that most of the equipment Eddie Van Halen used on that first album barring his guitar was totally stock. Many players were using MXR pedals, Echoplex's and Marshall and Fender Amps. What we seen and heard was a whole new approach to playing the instrument which no one had done before.
      We are not just speaking of  "Tapping" but Eddie's entire approach to playing. Before the first Van Halen album, Tremolo Picking was rarely used by any player we can think of. Also the only player we can think of that used legato technique as a key component of their playing was the late great Allan Holdsworth. Something that is not talked about enough is how Eddie Van Halen listened to dozens of great players such as Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Billy Gibbons, Ritchie Blackmore, Tony Iommi and beofe mentioned Allan Holdsworth.
      Eddie managed to combine all of the great aspects of their playing and create a style all of his own.
      No other player barring Jimi Hendrix has or will have the influence on the guitar. Van Halen wasn't just a band that had a truly incredible guitar player. They were and are an incredible band that wrote great and timeless songs.
      The songs Jamie's Cryin' and Ain't Talkin' Bout Love alone have been sampled dozens of times by various other musicians and singers. The song Wild Thing by Tone Loc virtually samples the whole of Jamie's Cryin' from the Drum Track to the Guitar Track. Apollo 440 used the intro riff of Ain't Talkin' Bout Love for the basis of their track Ain't Talkin' Bout Dub in the early 90's.
      It took Eddie Van Halen just 1 minute and 42 seconds to change everything forever with Eruption from the first Van Halen album.
      Since that first Van Halen the question serious guitar players ask other players is "Can you play Eruption?". If someone can play Eruption they are good player!
      For the next 10 years after the first Van Halen album was released there were dozens of guitar players using guitars with Floyd Rose Locking Trems, Modified Marshall Amplifiers and actual studio quality reverb, delay, chorusing and pitch shifting rack units in their rigs in attempt to get that "Van Halen Sound".
      Dozens of players including George Lynch, Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani and Buckethead have cited Eddie as their primary influence on the guitar.
      Eddie's influence of guitar can't be stated enough. Throughout the years Eddie continued to innovate and inspire players all over the world.
      When Floyd Rose first designed the Fine Tuning System on the Floyd Rose Locking Tremolo System he asked Eddie for his ideas on how hes hould design it. Original The Floyd Rose Locking Tremelo was going to have a half step tuning distance on the Fine Tuners but after consulting with Eddie Van Halen Floyd Rose changed it to have a Whole Step Tuning Range.
      Lots of people have spoke about Eddie's guitars and equipment over the years and there is a lot of false information out there, In the next coming months we will be adding correct information about Eddie's guitars and equipment.
      Stay tuned!


    • EVH Group
      The two guitar legends spend time together in this recently released 1996 video. An amazing meeting took place on August 31, 1996. That’s when Eddie Van Halen spent the day with a guy who had followed in his footsteps playing alongside David Lee Roth—Jason Becker. Jason had been diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, and was not in good shape. Van Halen came to Jason’s house to give love and support—as well as a guitar

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