Eddie's Quotes

5150 Studio:

"We've done every album since 1984 here. It's where I go everyday, where I go to hang out. I even come up in my bathrobe. I usually get up at about seven in the morning- hey, I got a kid. Sometimes I'll bring Wolf and he'll bang around on Alex's drums. This place is like Fort Knox. Nothing happened to it during the earthquake in 1994. It's all two-foot cinder block filled with cement. It ain't going anywhere. Donn Landee actually designed this studio. It just started out as a demo thing, a place where I could go and have fun. We built it with a very small budget in mind, and then as it grew over the years, we started to go,'F***, we can actually make records here! Let's buy a new console, let's buy this, let's buy that!' It's not like I started out saying let's have a professional recording studio at home- it wasn't like that at all. You should have seen what we did 1984 on; a $6,000 piece-of-sh** console that came out of United Western, an old green World War II thing with big old knobs and tubes. Donn rewired it to make it work."

 

Hearing Loss:

"At 10k, I have the hearing of a 70 year old - at least that's what the doctor says, but it's just something that comes along with the territory, I guess. I mean, I like the feel of the sound, especially live. I take a certain amount of precautions. Like I generally only use my bottom cabinets. I feel sorry for Al, because drummers eat it by the cymbals. Cymbals are what get you. I think we all have some loss, but mostly Alex and I because of the frequencies of our instruments. Sammy's not generally right in front of my cabinets and Mike is safe at the low end. But I think in the club days days it was worse. Because we were on a very small stage with a low ceiling, standing up we were right at ear level with the cymbals. It would kill you. There's nothing you can do except wear ear plugs, and that makes me feel like I'm standing in another room playing. I can't be that removed. Loud sound inspires me."

 

Song Writing:

"I used to sit on the edge of my bed with a six pack of malt talls. My brother would go out at 7 P.M. to a party and get laid, and when he'd come home at 3 A.M., I would still be in the same place, playing guitar. I did that for years - I still do that. A lot of the basic ideas were things that I came up with when I used to practice on the edge of my bed. I would take those ideas to band practice. At the time, we were rehearsing in David's father's basement, so me and Al would go over by ourselves and jam on the ideas for hours until we came up with something we were happy with."

 

Recording Van Halen I:

"The whole story behind 'Eruption' is unusual. It wasn't even supposed to be on the album. I showed up early one day and started to warm up because I had a gig on the weekend and I wanted to practice my solo guitar spot. Our producer, Ted Templeman, happened to walk by and he asked,'What's that? Let's put it on tape!'. So I took one pass at it and they put it onn the record. I didn't even play it right. There's a mistake at the top end of it. To this day whenever I hear it I always think,'Man, I could've played it better'. I think they put it there because it was different, but I'm not really sure."

 

Recording Van Halen II:

"It was very hurried. We had just toured for a year and we only had two weeks to write and record. But I'll never forget the questions we got after the second record was released: 'Why does this record sound different from the first album?'. Because it's not the first album! It's always a Catch-22 situation, they hate you if you're the same and they hate you if you're different. But ultimately we were just plain rushed. That's why you hear that little riff fade out at the end of the album - Al and I didn't want to stop. We weren't done but we had a deadline."

 

"…And the Cradle Will Rock":

" Al and I jammed on the basic riff from 'And the Cradle Will Rock' two hours a day for two straight weeks. We didn't really know what to do with it, but we were having fun because it just sounded so wicked. Then, out of nowhere, the chorus came to us and it was finished. Some times you really have to work for inspiration but ultimately, it's not work because my brother and I genuinely love to jam. I'd say that's the way most things happen in our band. It usually begins with me and Al, which is funny in a way, because most people don't usually think of the guitar and drums as a unit. It's usually bass and drums."

 

Recording Fair Warning:

"I was starting to get more involved. But what I had to do to get involved was very strange. We'd work during the day and I wasn't very happy with the way things were going of the way people were approaching the whole recording process. I would sneak back into the studio at 4 A.M. with Donn Landee, the engineer, and completely re-record all the solos and overdubs the way I wanted them."

 

"Unchained":

"On the whole album I was angry, frustrated and loose. It's like the solo in 'Unchained." I love that song. It's rare that I can listen back to my own playing and get goose bumps. But that's one of them."

 

"Push Comes to Shove":

"That was Roth's idea of trying to cash in on the reggae thing. I said,'Okay, if you want that kind of beat, I'll see what I can do.'"

 

Diver Down:

"My frustration continued to grow when we made our next album, Diver Down. Half that album was damn cover tunes, and I hated every minute of making it. David Lee Roth had the idea that if you covered a successful song, you were half way home. C'mon - Van Halen doing 'Dancing in the Streets?' It was stupid. I started feeling like I would rather bomb playing my own songs than be successful playing someone else's music."

 

Parachuting:

"That was one of Roth's big ideas. I'm not even sure why, but he said, 'Let's parachute into the (Anaheim) stadium.' Of course, we couldn't do it ourselves, so we hired four professional sky divers to to jump out of an airplane before our set. The idea was that we would wear identical gear and run on stage and pretend it was us that jumped out of the plane. So there we were, wearing these crazy, heavy outfits, sweating our balls off, waiting for the sky divers to come down so we could jump on stage. It was silly, and it almost turned into a complete catastrophy, because while we were trying to get out of the gear, Al severely twisted his ankle and had to play the show with practically a broken foot."

 

His Rig:

"I plugged into an old 100-watt Marshall Super Lead through a 4x12 cabinet for that album. It's a '66 or '67 - nothing special. I've done all the Van Halen records with that same amp. We miked it with two Shure SM-57s - one directly in the middle of the cone and one angled to the side to get a little more meat out of it."

 

Panning the Guitar to the Left:

"I hated that! When the left back speaker in your car is blown, the guitar is gone."

 

His Guitar's Tone Knob:

"It's kind of a big joke. When you turn up the volume you get a nice tone. How many people do you actually know that even touch the tone control on a guitar anyways? On a bass maybe, but not a guitar."

 

"I've worked with such legendary guitar players as Allan Holdsworth, Ronnie Montrose, Eric Clapton, Lowell George and Steve Vai, but none of them come close to having Ed's fantastic combination of chops and musicianship." -Ted Templeman ( '91)