Thursday, October 08, 2020

I Didn't Appreciate Eddie Van Halen Like I Should Have

That is, I didn't appreciate Van Halen as a band when they were The Big Deal, and I didn't grow to appreciate Eddie as a guitarist in particular until the last few years after listening to other guitarists I admired talk about his talent and his influence on them.

Circa the early 1980s -- my high school years -- I just didn't find Van Halen as fun as, say, AC/DC, or as enabling of geek music snobbery as Rush, and it bugged the hell out of me to hear Eddie included in discussions of "best guitarist EVAH" alongside Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page.

I didn't dislike them. I thought they were OK. But to the extent that I liked them, it was because of David Lee Roth's personality and stage antics, not Eddie Van Halen's guitar chops. WTF was this "tapping" stuff, anyway?

Over time I got to like them better and better, though I never took to their post-Roth incarnation. And decades later, their music remains enduringly popular and continues to grow on me, and when I actually listen to or watch Eddie in particular I'm blown away like I should have been back then. Maybe I'm just entering my "oldies" phase?

Sorry I never gave you your due in life, dude. If there's an afterlife and if it includes a Guitarist Valhalla, I'm sure your personal throne is among those on the raised dais at the front of the hall.

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