Alex Van Halen Toasts Late Brother Eddie: ‘The View from My Drum Set Will Never Be the Same’


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Rock Cellar Magazine
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This past Saturday, May 8, marked the 68th birthday of drummer Alex Van Halen — and he took the time out to send a special birthday dedication to his dearly departed brother, guitarist Eddie Van Halen, who passed away back in October at the age of 65 after an arduous fight with cancer.

Alex, who doesn’t have official, public social media accounts of his own, issued a statement via the Van Halen News Desk website, which also included a throwback photo of the two Van halen brothers, as snapped by rock photographer Neil Zlozower.

“First birthday without you, Ed. The view from my drum set will never be the same. VH forever!”
– Alex Van Halen, May 8th, 2021

Since EVH’s tragic passing in October, the tributes and outpourings of love from across the music world were abundant — befitting a legend such as Eddie, whose legacy is unmatched and unrivaled.

Just this past Friday, May 7, Heart’s Nancy Wilson released her very first proper solo album. The record closes with the tender acoustic song “4 Edward,” which is Nancy’s salute to her friend.

The song also has a pretty special back story that Nancy told Rock Cellar’s Frank Mastropolo in our recent feature interview:

Nancy Wilson: Eddie was one of the sweetest souls, a really beautiful soul. He had a lot of joy, you could just see it when he played. He always had a big Cheshire cat grin, a big, happy energy that came with him. And those guys would party like no other partiers in the world. Heart was on a tour with them here and there and they introduced us to the Kamikaze at a bar in some hotel one time. And we were like, “Whoa! Wow! How do you drink more than one of those?”

He said one time, “The way you play your acoustic guitar, you’re a really good player.” And I said, “Oh no, you can’t tell me that,” because here’s the wizard. “Why don’t you play more acoustic?” And he said, “I don’t really have an acoustic.” And I said, “Well, that’s impossible, you have to have an acoustic right now.” So I gave one to him.

And then fast forward to the break of dawn the next morning, it’s still dark outside, and he calls my room, “Listen, listen, listen, listen, I’ve made this song, you gotta check it out.” He played me this beautiful piece of instrumental acoustic music, just beautiful, kinda classical, and then a little rock, and a bit of classical at the end. After he left us and I was making this album, I said, “I gotta do something to pay tribute to my friend Eddie.” So I talked about it in the press before I even started it because then I had to face the challenge of actually doing it. So I painted myself into a terrible corner [laughs].

I was determined to make something great, something beautiful, at least. I used a little bit of the melodic content from “Jump” in there, just a tip of the hat to “Jump.” It all came together finally. I was so nervous when I was trying to record that. My hands were shaking. It was like, “Can I really do this for Eddie?” He must be looking down from the Angel Ballroom going, “Oh yeah, good luck with that“ [laughs].


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