This week we learned the sad news that Eddie Van Halen is dead. He passed away due to lung cancer.
Many musicians around the world are expressing their sympathy about this tragic news. For me, this news makes me simply sad.
Another one of my musical heroes is gone. He will be missed for sure.
All I am is a fan of the band, Van Halen
I am not a musician. Nor do I play guitar. I am not a music critic.
Simply put, I am a Van Halen fan. Nothing more, nothing less.
Maybe you are like me in that when I heard the news regarding the passing of Eddie Van Halen I was sad.
Van Halen wrote the songs that were the soundtrack to my formative years, especially the middle school and high school years.
Eddie was a musical genius
When I think about Eddie Van Halen the first one that comes to mind is genius. It is well known that Eddie did not know how to read music.
But, man could he play guitar. I remember the first time I heard the debut album by Van Halen.
Right away I could tell there was something different about them. The guitar playing was mind-blowing.
How in the world did one guy create that much sound from a single guitar?
Eddie was an innovator
Eddie could hear the music he wanted to create in his head, but he struggled to produce it using the current instruments and techniques of the day.
What did he do?
He invented and built his own equipment and playing techniques. That is the true mark of an innovator.
Building something new so that he could create the music he wanted.
Imagine what the world would be like if there were more innovators like Eddie Van Halen.
He inspired other guitar players
Eddie Van Halen inspired a whole generation of musicians to pick up the guitar and play.
Countless lead guitarists joined a band because they wanted to become the next Eddie Van Halen.
If you didn’t get the opportunity to see him play live, watch some of his Youtube videos. They are amazing.
I wonder if I will ever be as good at what I do for a living as Eddie Van Halen was at playing the guitar. I doubt it.
He wrote great guitar songs
Van Halen released a long string of awesome albums full of great songs.
The thing that impressed me the most was the fact that the band came back strong after firing David Lee Roth.
They were smart enough to hire Sammy Hagar as the new lead singer. The first “Van Hagar” album was 5150.
It is a tremendous album full of great song after great song. In fact, it is my favorite Van Halen album from that era. They nailed it with that one.
I will miss Eddie Van Halen
Like many of you, I am going to miss Eddie Van Halen. These days, I don’t listen to a ton of their music.
Every now and then I will crank up one of their albums mostly for nostalgic reasons. Eddie’s passing is a reminder that I am getting older and my heroes are disappearing from this world.
A sad thought is a reality for all of us as time goes by.
I don’t want to be Eddie Van Halen
Just so it is clear, I recognize the fact that Eddie Van Halen lived like a rock star, and paid the price for many poor decisions he made.
I don’t envy his personal life, nor do I endorse it.
Rather I realize that Eddie struggled with the same things many rock musicians do — sex, drugs, and alcohol to name a few.
It is worth noting that he seemed to be a good father to his son Wolfgang. I cannot find much fault in a fellow man if he is a good dad.
Greatness is my desire, not fame
Eddie Van Halen was a great guitarist. It makes me wonder if I can be as great at anything as he was at playing guitar.
Hard to say. I think it is worth spending some time pondering this topic.
My challenge to you is to think about it as well.
What can you become great at doing? Figure it out and then get after it. The world is waiting to hear from you.
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I write a blog for my sons called Doug Keating Letter to Sons. I am sharing content from my blog here. I hope you enjoyed it. All feedback is welcome. Thanks for reading it.