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Ultimate Classic Rock

Watch a Tour of Eddie Van Halen’s ‘5150’ Studio and Tape Vault

MTV Classic has posted a tour of Eddie Van Halen 's 5150 Studio that the guitarist gave Chris Connelly in 1998. In the seven-minute clip, Van Halen shares some interesting stories about the studio's construction and the creation of one of Van Halen 's biggest hits.

You can watch the clip in the Facebook post below.

The guitarist said he built the studio in 1983 so he could spend more time writing songs after Diver Down was padded with cover songs. But constructing a studio in his home went against local zoning laws, so he told the inspector he was building a racquetball court.

When the inspector noticed the thickness of the walls for soundproofing purposes, he said to Van Halen, "Man, you must really worry about your neighbors." The guitarist responded, "Yeah, you know, I play late at night and I hit the ball really hard."

Van Halen also showed Connelly a wall of shelves filled with tapes of everything he had recorded in the studio. He and longtime engineer Donn Landee sorted through all the boxes, creating a numbering system and entering the details into a RadioShack computer so he'd know what was on each tape.

But at some point, as he put it, "the computer took a dump on us." Attempts to restore the hard drive proved unsuccessful, and Van Halen was unwilling to hire somebody to go through it again because "the only person that can do that is me, because nobody knows what I like."

Even though he lost the ability to call up the information on the tapes with just a few keystrokes, the mishap resulted in a moment on inspiration. One day, he climbed up the ladder and pulled out a tape from 1983, before he had even written "Jump," and wound up fashioning the discovered music into the 1992 Van Halen hit "Right Now."

Van Halen also shows Connelly his original Frankenstrat guitar and how it got its distinctive tone, and relays a funny story about teaching his son Wolfgang about improvising and how it got him into trouble at school.

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‘5150’ Visits 5150 Studios

March 6, 2017 —by VHND Leave a Comment

Visit_to_5150_Studio_EVH

Here’s a RARE, intimate look into a visit to 5150 Studios.

Exactly 25 years ago today Michel Schinkel, the president of the Dutch Van Halen fan club got to visit Van Halen at their studio headquarters.  

At the time, Michel published a magazine in Holland, called “5150”. This was written mainly in Dutch, with occasional parts in English and was published from 1990 to 2004. It ran 54 issues and included the latest news, interviews, (bootleg) reviews and more.  

Here Michel shares his story with the Van Halen News Desk. And it’s a very special one, because it’s very rare that people were welcomed into the hallowed grounds of 5150!  

“5150” at “5150”

Ever since the making of ‘Balance’ I was in close contact with Van Halen’s Dutch sound engineer, Erwin Musper. Many times I interviewed him for “5150″, the Dutch Van Halen magazine, about the progression on the album. It turned out to be a rare view in the kitchen. Same when Erwin worked on the ‘Twister’ project and the two new tracks with David Lee Roth. And again when Gary Cherone joined the band and they started working on what would become “Van Halen III”.

When I was having diner with my friend Erik I came up with the idea to go to see Edward at “5150”. To interview him and the rest of the band about the new album. So the next thing to do was contacting Erwin and explaining our plan. Not longer than 24 hours later I got the okay. We were welcome at “5150”! So I called Erik to tell him the good news. “We have to let him know when we want to come, so he can make some time to show us the studio and let us hear some new stuff.” “Did Erwin say that?”, Erik asked. “No, Edward”, I replied. “ What ?” Erik was full disbelief that Eddie Van Halen was willing to see us in his home studio.

4a

Next time Erik and I meet is at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport on Friday February 28th. For Erik it will be the first time to meet the band and even the first time to fly. When we arrive in our hotel many hours later we directly contact Erwin who informs us that the band is going to do rehearsals for new songs on Monday. The idea is to visit the studio several times for short periods of time so the working process will not be interrupted too much and that way we are able to interview everyone in the band.

On Sunday night we call Erwin again to verify next days plans. But he tells us that Edward has the flu. Rehearsals are put back to Friday, the day that we will be leaving again! What a bummer!

By that time Erwin’s duties are taken over by Scotty Ross, the band’s tour manager. He is surprised that we didn’t arrange this trip through him. Understandably he feels left out because after all this is part of his job. He is even more surprised that Edward had agreed to see us because the policy is not to do interviews since the band with their new singer Gary Cherone is not officially presented yet. Keep in mind this is a year before the release of ‘Van Halen III’. We get a bad feeling about this. 

Erik and I are in Los Angeles for six days. On one day Erwin takes us for a ride in his red Oldsmobile through Hollywood. On the stereo he plays us some recordings of the new Van Halen. The vocals were done the day before so this is brand new and sounds better than the final result. I got lots of respect for Edward but the way Erwin was treated in the end is not okay. He ended up in the credits as Erwin (mucho mic’s) Musper. The real deadly remark towards him is ‘mixed and fixed by Robbes and Edward’. Later Erwin told me he wished his name wasn’t there at all. I think Edward owes Erwin an appology for that remark. Deep in his heart Edward knows that he did wrong on ‘III’. Don’t forget that Erwin Musper was the man responsible for the sound on ‘Balance’, ‘Humans Being’, ‘Respect The Wind’, ‘Me Wise Magic’ and ‘Can’t Get This Stuff No More’. Those were the best sounding tracks since the debut. By the way, that makes Erwin Musper the only engineer to work with all three singers.

On Monday, Edward luckily already feels much better. In the meantime, manager Ray Danniels had showed up. He single handedly changed the plans: no interviews with Mike, Alex and Gary. A group photo is no option. No scoop on that part. The positive thing about this all is that Erwin tells us that Edward will be more relaxed since the band is not recording at the time, so he will have more time for us.

On Tuesday we get the okay from Scotty that we are welcome the next day. He will call us around noon for the exact time.

That next day was March 5th, 1997.

Since we don’t have a cell phone yet, we stay in the room waiting for the call which comes around two in the afternoon. It’s Erwin asking us to come over in an hour. Gary and Mike are still there at the moment but they are about to leave. So instead of waiting in the hotel we decide to leave directly and wait at the gate of the Van Halen mansion instead. That turns out to be a good choice because not long after we park the car we see Valerie leaving. Next is Michael and we don’t let him slip away. He is with ‘the family car’ and about to pick up his daughters from school but is glad to say hello to us. I hand him over some “5150” magazines to sign. They will end up as prizes to win at the second Van Halen fan meeting in The Hague, Holland in June. While talking to Michael, Gary stops next to the family car. The black Trans Am is actually Alex’s. Since Gary is from Boston he didn’t bring his own car to Los Angeles. While in L.A. he stays at the guest house at the Van Halen mansion. 

2b

When we drive up to the gate the tension builds when we call in through the intercom. A quite exciting moment when the gate at Eddie Van Halen’s house opens for you, I can tell you! On our way up to “5150” we pass the house on the right and the guest house on the left. The first to welcome us is Sherman, Edward’s Dalmation dog at that time that can be heard on ‘Baluchitherium’. He especially likes Erik.

19a

We have to wait for a while so we enjoy the outside view, looking down on the house. We spot the indian shown on the “F.U.C.K.”-album. Back in 1997 the big “5150” numbers were not on the wall yet. That must have been done later.

Then Edward comes walking out of the studio and greets us in Dutch with “Hé kaaskoppen!”. Directly he has to go back in again but would return soon. Through the years I’ve seen Edward in different kind of moods but today at “5150” he’s in the best we could wish for. When he returns he walks up to us, greeting us very friendly and he doesn’t just hug us but he even kisses us on the cheeks. He makes us feel so very welcome. For me it’s the tenth time I see Edward but even I didn’t expect such a welcome.

When going inside we end up in the ‘living room’ where the band relaxes between recordings. In the corner we notice the Twister pinball machine which Edward describes as shit because it plays ‘Humans Being’ but “It’s not us!”. On the wall there’s a big black carpet/rug with a red VH-ring logo. On the wall to the kitchen there’s the award for the sale of 60 million records and a concept cover for the single ‘Me Wise Magic’. There’s also the written message from Erwin saying “The Dutch VH Fanclub president is in L.A. next week (March 1-7). He would like to interview Ed / Al / Mike & Gary on separate occasions (so the recording process will not be interrupted). Please let the guy know when he is welcome at 5150 (thru Erwin)”. Good job, Erwin!

Edward makes us feel welcome by pointing at the fridge saying we are free to take whatever we like. I remember seeing some non-alcoholic Coors Light beer. There was absolutely no alcohol to be found there.

After some time Edward noticed that my voice recorder wasn’t turned on, and asked,  “Why don’t you turn it on, it’s an interview right?” I then realized I forgot to turn it on, so I finally did.  That statement made me a bit nervous, because I’m not a professional. Edward grabs an acoustic guitar and proudly tells us that he only paid $75 for it. With a smile he adds that he had to pay $300 to put a different bridge on it. He wouldn’t let go of the guitar for the entire interview. Still the musician as he is.

25_rolmops

My original interview that day was conducted about 70% in Dutch. So this is a rare occasion where Edward’s words have to be translated to English instead of the other way around.

Some years earlier I got my hands on a video tape of Eddie’s live performance with the Jacksons . That was a one off. I decided to bring that tape, just in case. Remember that this was long before YouTube. As it turns out later, Edward never saw the footage but is curious to finally see it.

Edward: “I got to see that!”

Michel: “But it’s a very bad quality.”

Edward: “Well, it was a pretty bad show, too.”

So there I sit next to Edward on the couch forwarding the video tape to the part were Eddie comes in. Because I don’t have the NTSC [USA’s] video system at home [in Holland], I wasn’t able to put it on the right spot. But Edward remembers it was towards the end of the show. Then Scotty Ross walks in and is surprised to see the footage. During the forwarding of the tape the stories come up. About what went wrong during that performance. It seems nothing went right. 

Edward: “Here’s what happened. We were backstage and I tuned to the guitarist except he wasn’t in tune yet. We were all standing around, outside of the stage. Two seconds before I had to go out and play I said “Fuck… wait!”.”

Michel: “You have this on video?”

Edward: “No.”

Michel: “Did you ever see it?”

Since we have to fast forward the tape, we continue the interview. I show Edward a cassette tape which contains different songs that all have samples of Van Halen songs, including “Money” by The Decadent Dub Team amongst others. We also brought two CD-single’s which one of them is Apollo 440’s “Ain’t Talkin’’bout Dub”. It doesn’t ring a bell to Edward but he’s surprised that Van Halen got credits.

Michel: “Last time I was in L.A. there were the Rodney King riots and now there was a shooting after a bank robbery. When you moved from Holland wasn’t it very difficult for Alex and you to adjust?”

Edward: “It always has been like this. Where I used to live in Pasadena was even worse. As a kid the shit was kicked out of me. I was treated like a minority because I didn’t speak the language. All my friends were black. So I know how it feels to be part of a minority group.”

Then Erwin walks in with a picture of Edward on the toilet with a guitar. As you may know Edward has a small recording studio in his bathroom. “He comes up with some good shit”. “Leave the shit and fresh shit comes straight from the pot”, Edward adds with a smile.

Michel: “I took some questions from the [Intenet’s] Van Halen Mailing List. Many people ask the same questions. One of them is if you are planning to go on tour with a striped Wolfgang.”

Edward: “So far it never crossed my mind. Maybe, maybe not.”

Michel: “You got striped ones?”

Edward: “Yeah, I got one.”

Michel: “People want to see that. They like it when you go out and play an old guitar. For instance doing your solo spot on the old Frankenstein.”

Edward: “That one doesn’t work anymore. I made that one myself long ago. Not done so well. For many years it was lying somewhere with a broken neck. Just a month ago I put it back together. The Wolfgang is a far better guitar. I can’t believe that for so many years I played that old stuff. I will show you guys the Frankenstein later. It’s a piece of shit!”

If Eddie Van Halen offers you to show his Frankenstein, the Holy Grail, that makes your heart go beating faster!

Michel: “At the ‘Right Here, Right Now’ tour, the show opened with the national anthem…”

Edward: “Oh, Hendrix!”

Michel: “People on the internet wondered if you played it.”

Edward: “No, it was tape. A couple of times, I fucked around.”

Michel: “Oh, maybe that’s why there was confusion.”

Michel: “You got all digital recording machines here at “5150”?

Edward: “No, I got, we had two Studer Analog. I sold one and bought a Studer 48 Digital. I still got another 24 track analog. So now we have the best of both worlds.”

Michel: “For the best sound.”

Edward: “Yeah. So we record analog and save it to digital… (to Erwin) You explain.”

Erwin: “Analog is not as good as digital but sometimes you don’t want it to be good. You know what I mean? An old speaker sounds better than a new one. An old pair of jeans fits better than a new one. So if that is your goal, you record analog and save it to digital so it stays good. Analog gets worse every month. Digital not.”

Edward: “So we still record analog.”

13a

Michel: “About the Wolfgang. When will the availability get better?” (At that time they were hard to get)

Edward: “They only can make thát many, you know. They make as many as they can and I don’t want them to make more than than because of the quality that would get less.”

Michel: “It wasn’t exactly right, was it?”

Edward: “No. It took extra time because so many guitar companies forget the most important part… Look a guitar is just a piece of wood with strings on it. But it’s all about how high they are put on the guitar. If a string is that high (he pulls on a string on his guitar) and the neck is not straight, a kid is gonna pick it up and go ‘fuck this shit’. And he will buy the one that plays good. So I wanted to be sure that every guitar is okay. They send them all to me. The first hundred or two hundred came in here first and I send them out. Now, every once in a while I let them send me one, just to spot check, you know? The newer ones are better than the first ones because now they know what I want. You got guys at the end of the line who actually do the set up. One guy goes ‘Oh, I want it to be like this.’ Another guy goes ‘I want it to play like this.’ Hey, it hasn’t got your name on it! I want it to play like I want it to be! So now they get it. If you make your own guitar you can do whatever you want. But as long as my name is on it, I want it to be done the way I want it. And it’s not for everyone, you know? In my opinion this is a much better guitar than the Music Man. It’s got the D-tuner. The neck is slightly angled. It sounds better. It sounds better to me, it’s my personal opinion. Some people don’t like neither one. They don’t like the Music Man, they like the Telecaster or a Strat.”

Michel: “A friend of mine has got a Music Man and played on a Wolfgang and still likes the Music Man better. Feels better.”

Edward: “That’s because he’s used to that. It’s not for everyone. But it’s a better guitar. But everyone is entitled to their opinion. I wanted to add something else. Because of the shipping by UPS or Federal Express, sometimes things can happen, too. Accidents happen, you know. But if erverything goes well and you open the case, tune it, it’s ready to go. Perfect.

I just did a benefit for City of Hope with a lot of people like Steve Winwood, Sheryl Crow, Don Henley and John Cougar Mellencamp and there was that girl Michelle. She endorses Fender basses and she needed a bass for the show so they sent her a bass but she couldn’t even play it! My guitars don’t come like that. I saw some Music Mans… the editor of Guitar World of one of those guitar magazines. He brought one to an interview I did with him and he asked me to sign it. I asked him: ‘Did you buy it like this or did you do the set up yourself?’ He said: ‘I don’t even play guitar.’ The strings were up real high and it wasn’t the way like I did it. So I wanted to be sure that this time the Wolfgang is exactly what I use. No bull shit about it!”

Michel: “So you will keep checking every once in a while?”

Edward: “Oh yes! Like last week there was one with a cold solder joint. It might work and an hour later not anymore. So the solder was not done right. They did it too quick. So the front pick up didn’t work. So I call up, start yelling and screaming you know, because if someone buys that guitar and it don’t work they go ‘Hey, what a piece of shit is this?’ For me it’s quality control.”

Michel: “They look at you if it’s not good.”

Edward: “It’s got my name on it. But it’s cheaper than the Music Man. And it’s got a D-tuner. It’s costs a lot of money to make.”

Michel: “In Berlin (June 1995) you told me that it would cost around $900.”

Edward: We come out with one that will cost between $600 and $900. We don’t know yet what we will do. I’m not sure but I want to call him Wolfgang Jr.. But I don’t know if I’m allowed to because of Les Paul.”

Michel: “The Les Paul Jr. You had a little Wolfgang made especially for Wolfie, didn’t you? 

Edward: “Oh yeah, for him.” (Edward says it very proudly)

7a

Michel: “When did you start writing new songs? The songs that you are recording now, did you write those from the start when Gary joined or is there also older material?”

Edward: “Everything is new.”

Michel: “Do you have any plans working on older stuff?”

Edward: “There is so much music. A whole wall full with tapes. The same as the song ‘Right Now’. I wrote that in 1983.”

Michel: “That’s from the movie ‘ The Wild Life ’.”

Edward: “The intro part yeah. But the whole song I had already written.”

Michel: “You don’t like it, the music you did for ‘The Wild Life’, do you?”

Edward: “It was just a drum machine. Bullshit!”

Michel: “But there’s a lot of good stuff.”

Edward: “I remember when I was at Universal at the dubbing of the sound to the movie. It was all union, so I wasn’t allowed to touch anything.”

Michel: “You didn’t have any control on it?”

Edward: “I asked that gentleman ‘Could you do a little bit like this?’ I asked ‘May I try?’ ‘No, don’t touch anything!’ Then I said: ‘Okay, but how about… you put your hand on the faders…   (Edward demonstrates this by showing us that he put his hand on the man’s hand and through that way working the faders without touching them himself.). He went so mad! I just left. See you later, fuck you!”

Michel: “So that’s actually the reason you don’t like that movie?”

Edward: “I swore to myself that I’d never do anything for a movie again.”

Michel: “But you also said that if it don’t work out with Gary, you will quit the band and go make soundtrack music.”

Edward: “Working with Jan de Bont was a pleasure.”

Michel: “But did you mean what you said?”

Edward: “Oh yeah, He’s the last singer. But it works! He’s really normal. Just as normal as Alex, Mike and I.”

Michel: “But didn’t you have that same feeling when Sammy joined the band in 1985?”

Edward: “I was drinking so much. I didn’t even know… we were only glad we had a singer.”

Michel: “No kidding!”

Edward: “He’s the biggest con I ever met in my life. In an interview for a guitar magazine he says that everything I say is a lie.”

Michel: “I don’t believe that.”

Edward: “If you believe hím, that I am… I don’t even know what to say. It’s fucking ridiculous. Call Jan de Bont.

Michel: “That doesn’t sound fair.”

Edward: “That’s what I mean. He’s not fair. And for years I didn’t know that.”

Michel: “When I got to know him, I think he was a very nice guy.”

Edward: “Yeah, he’s good at it! I only found out when I stopped drinking. I saw who he was and he didn’t like it.”

At some point during our visit Wolfie comes running in and his dad asks him to greet us in Dutch but the little one gets scared when he sees us. He was less than two weeks away from turning six years old. He leaves the room as quick as he entered. If someone would have said that less than ten years later he would be the bass player in Van Halen we would have died laughing.

Michel: “So now there are two box-sets released.”

Edward: “What?”

van-halen-japan-box-set-1

Edward: “Oh, really?”

Michel: “Didn’t you know? Two years ago one with all CD’s with Sammy until the live CD.”

Edward: “Really? I don’t know anything about that.”

Michel: “You don’t know? How is that possible? Now just in January a set with the first six CD’s was released.”

Edward: “Through Warner Brothers?”

van-halen-japan-box-set-2

Edward: “In Japan they can do whatever they want. Don’t ask me.”

Michel: “You don’t get involved with things like this?”

Edward: “Our manager should know about it. Japan is different. They always want a bonus track. In Japan everything is different.”

Michel: “But the songs are also remastered.”

Edward: “So who did that? Is there a name on it?”

Michel: “I don’t have the box yet but on the internet there’s talk about ‘Fair Warning’ sounding so much better. So someone did something.”

Edward: “The old tapes sound like shit. You digitally remaster something, you get highs and lows, you get more punch. Of course that sounds better. But anyone can do that. Just add bass and treble. That’s all there is.”

Then Edward takes a break to go to the bathroom.

So we turn to Scotty who still is behind the computer. He’s probably the best tour manager a band could wish for. He never forgets a detail. (Years after he left Van Halen, he won the well deserved award of ‘Best Tour Manager’). Scotty has always been very good to me when on tour. But he’s a man of not many words.

Michel: “What do you do when you’re not on tour?”

Scotty: “What you see, taking care of little stuff.”

Michel: “Full time?”

Scotty: “Yeah, full time”

Michel: “Sometimes they don’t tour for a couple of years.”

Scotty: “It has been a year and four months, right now. November 5th was our last show.”

Michel: “And when are you planning on going again?”

Scotty: “Fall.”

Michel: “And this time you start in Europe?”

Scotty: “Hopefully.”

When Edward returns he says in absolute real Dutch “Ik vind het altijd zo moeilijk om zonder peuk te schijten.” (you go figure it out, haha)

All the time the Jacksons video is still playing.    

Edward: “You don’t have any clue after which song it is? I remember he said: ‘Come on Eddie, come on Eddie!’”

Michel: “I like to see it myself.”

Edward: “Yeah, me too. It was not in the beginning that I played. It was one of the highlight songs of the show.”

Michel: “You only did it once, didn’t you?”

Edward: “Oh yeah, I didn’t go on tour with them, no! We did three or four nights at the Reunion (July 14 to 16, 1984 – Michel)… is that Dallas?

Scotty: “Yeah”

Edward: “He did two nights at the Stadium.

Scotty: “Wasn’t it one of the encores?”

Scotty might be right here because soon after the lights go out and everyone is waiting for the encore — The people in the audience back then, and now ourselves at “5150”. There’s a tension. Everyone is looking at the big screen in the room.

Edward: “I don’t know. Maybe it was. Yeah, I guess that’s right because I was tuning in the dark. I couldn’t hear a fucking thing! They’re all surrounding me. I’ve seen a picture in Billboard, it was a great shot. They’re circling around me, all the brothers and I was going ‘I can’t hear anything’. But they were really nice to me. ‘Beat It’ was a big thing. When I came out, the crowd went nuts.”

Finally we come to the point were we all have been waiting for. Edward can’t resist it and starts to play ‘Beat It’ on his acoustic guitar.

Scotty: “The Jackson Six. Didn’t you change that whole song Ed?”

Edward: “Oh God, that’s a story to tell.”

Michel: “They put your part in another segment of the song didn’t they? You played the solo but it was completely cut afterwards, wasn’t it?”

Edward: “No, I cut the whole fucking song apart. I rearranged the whole fucking song.”

Michel: “So the solo wasn’t cut at all? That’s what I always read about it.”

Edward: “No, they’re interpreting it backwards. I walked in and I asked Quincy (Jones – the producer), ‘What do you want me to do?’ ‘Anything you want.’ And I said ‘Anything?’ He said ‘Yeah’. I said ‘O.K.’. I turned to Bruce Swedien, the engineer and I go, ‘Cut this tape here, take that part out, because I wanna have a solo over that part. Make a copy of this part, put it in here.’ You know, I changed the arrangement of the whole fucking song. Then, when they put it together, I played two solo’s over it and I said, ‘You guys pick which ever one you want.’ That was it. But the thing is they forgot that you can not cut master tape with SMPTE (a time code to keep two machines synchronized). I didn’t find this out until Steve Lukather, who played the rhythm guitar said ‘Don’t you know what you caused? It took them six months to figure out how to restripe that tape with SMPTE.”

Michel: “You almost fucked it up.”

Edward: “It was their fault! Bruce, the engineer and Quincy should have fucking known that you can’t cut master tape with SMPTE stripes on it. They cut the master tape right there in front of me. They could at least used a safety. I didn’t know if my ideas would work. In my head they did. But I had no fucking idea that it would work or not. Thank God they did! It took me half an hour to have them edit the song the way I wanted it. Played two solo’s and left. And it took them six months to put it back together. I didn’t say ‘Hey don’t forget, it got SMPTE stripes on it.’ That’s not my job! But no if they think they edited my solo, it’s completely backwards.”

Michel: “That’s interesting!”

Edward: “Yeah, because they wanted me to solo over… (plays the rhythm guitar intro to the solo on the acoustic guitar). Over that, just that. I said, ‘No, no, no let’s just start with that.’ I   didn’t want to solo over one key. What makes ‘Stairway to Heaven’ good is that it’s the same progression (plays the rhythm part during the solo of this classic). If it was just in A, it sounds like shit. That chord movement underneath makes the solo interesting.”

Michel: “I like the result of ‘Beat It’.”

Edward:   “Yeah, I cut out a lot of crap. I can’t believe it. I heard it thirteen years later. Steve Lukather just told me when we did the Jason Becker benefit [October 5, 1996 ] . Somehow we came talking about Quincy. ‘You know what you fucking caused, man?!’”

Michel: “So you didn’t know all that time?”

Edward: “No, I had no idea until recently. No one told me. Well, I’m sure they’re not going to tell me what idiots they were. At least Quincy Jones and Bruce Swedien who were both Grammy, Grammy up their ass winners and they were so stupid to edit master tape with SMPTE on it. I mean, I love them both, I’m not bad rapping them, but I guess they were excited or whatever and they overlooked a very, very big thing. You know, because all the electronic drum machine stuff, it wouldn’t sync up anymore. It would all run off the SMPTE. They just went straight to the master tape, just like I had it all planned out! I just came up with the idea right then and there. I said, ‘Try this.’ Thank God it worked musically. I didn’t find out until a few months ago. I thought it was hilarious actually.”

Having this conversation on tape feels like having gold in my hands. It’s the first time Edward tells this story and would until today never tell it again in so much detail.

Edward and Erik are smoking all the way through and everytime Erik grabs a cigarette, Eddie lights him up for Erik.

Michel: “This week we were at the Hard Rock Café in Hollywood and we noticed a Van Halen striped guitar but it looked fake. Did you ever give them one of your guitars?”

Edward: “How would I know? What can I do? Walk around every Hard Rock and check? That is not my job.”

Michel: “I ask this because I want to do a story for “5150” about Van Halen stuff at the Hard Rock Café’s.”

Edward: “Peter Morton who owns Hard Rock Café, he’s a great guy, a good friend of mine. He doesn’t know… It’s like the Hard Rock I think in Vegas bought from Sotheby’s, which is a very famous auction place. Now, they claimed that they had my original Frankenstein.”

Michel: “No way!”

Edward: “Yeah. And Hard Rock bought it for $ 20.000 or more. And I said ‘How much did you pay for that?’ It was an outrageous amount of money. And I’m going, ‘I’m sorry, that guitar… mine is at home. That ain’t for real. Where did you get this?’ They went ‘Sotheby’s’, I went ‘How can Sotheby’s do that? They’re respectable. They need documentation.’ So they gave the money back. But it’s very strange. Peter Morton is a great guy but he’s got other things, so many things going on. I don’t think he personally walks by and goes, ‘Is that really Eddie’s?’ I’m not bad rapping Hard Rock at all. They treat me well, they’re very nice to me.”

Matthew Bruck, Ed’s longtime assistant, is about to leave and depite the fact that he will be back tomorrow he says goodbye like he will not be back for weeks. “Drive safe” his boss says.

Michel: “You produced the demo of Matt’s first band Zen Boy, didn’t you?”

Edward: “Yes, but it was not… the guys that played in there were not serious about it, you know? Matt is the same as me. It’s his life. Music is his life. Now finally he’s got two other guys who feel the same. Like us, finally. After twenty years. It’s not just for the fame and money but it’s it’s for the music, you know? It’s easy for me to say because you come here and see the big house and this and that. If you see my bathroom were I spend 99% of my time, it’s like a jail cell. That’s were I write… spend most of my time. That’s were I’m happy. For ten years I lived in that house (he points at a smaller house behind the studio) and the only reason that we built that house (points at their current, larger house) is because we thought it would be too small to raise a child. But if I look back, I would never have done it. It doesn’t rain here very often but when it does, the roof is leaking. So next month we have to move back because everything has to get fixed. For me it’s how bigger the room, the more junk I get. We have so much stuff, if the house is smaller you say ‘We don’t need that’. Now with a big house, you just leave it. And sometimes you bump onto things ‘Oh, here it is.’ Just because the house is too big. I use the bathroom, the bedroom… the kitchen. That’s it. The rest I don’t even use.”

3b

Michel: “You have any plans to work with others in the future?”

Edward: “We just begun working with Gary!”

Michel: “I ask this because in the past you played with people like Alan Holdsworth and you’ve said that you would like to play with Peter Gabriel.”

Edward: “Everybody dreams. I first want to live this dream. It’s all going so slow. My mom had cancer… so many things going on. We just began working finally, a few weeks ago.”

Michel: “So is your mom doing better now?”

Edward: “Yes, she’s amazing. She’s didn’t even believe she had cancer. She’s so stubborn. How do you say that in Dutch? She thought that cancer could not get to her. For two months, four doctors said ‘You have a tumor.’ You could feel it. I said, ‘Mom, you’re not pregnant and you didn’t eat a basketball. So what is this?’ ‘Oh, that’s nothing.’ It took us two months to finally get her to the hospital. She said ‘I’m only going if it just takes one day.’ ‘Okay’, I said and I didn’t lie, I just didn’t tell her the whole truth. I told her ‘Yes, one day’, because the surgery takes one day. But you have to stay in the hospital for one week. I didn’t tell her that.”

Michel: “How is your hip doing?”

Edward: “It’s okay. Believe it or not but if my mother didn’t have cancer and all this and all that. The interviews we had to do and all that bullshit. That took months. I had thought that we would have been half way the new record around Christmas. So I had set an operation date for December 18th. Oh, and I was alone with Wolfie for two and half months because Valerie was in Park City, doing a mini series. So for two and half months I got up at half past six, made his breakfast and lunch and brought him to school. Pick him up after school. And what else… yeah, I was Mr. Mom. So I had my hands full. I still could write but we didn’t have the time to record. So we have just started.”

Michel: “You are still planning on the operation?”

8a

Michel: “You did well, last tour [‘Balance tour in 1995].”

Edward: “Yeah. But actually it doesn’t hurt that much. For a while I took pain killers, two years ago. But when I quit, I didn’t have a clue how it would feel like to quit pain killers. It was even worse then when you have been drinking for years. You get shakes… detox, you know? So I told him ‘No more fucking pills. No pills please.’ He said, ‘But I thought they helped.’ ‘Yeah, they helped me feel like shit.’ It’s a strange phenomena. Ever since I was twelve years old I smoke and drink and I play guitar. So I don’t know anything different. For almost thirty years, twentynine years I did it only one way. When I stopped drinking… the music comes from… God gives it to me. When I still was drinking, I always was afraid. ‘Ah I have to write’. But now it comes natural.”

Michel: “But in the past songs came spontaneously, too, didn’t they?”

Edward: “Yeah, but it became more difficult each time, you know? Drugs are just a funny thing. It’s like the first time you drink a beer, it’s probably the best beer you’ll ever drank by the first time you get drunk. After that you’re chasing that same feeling. It like cocaine addicts or whatever. The first time they do it, it’s the best. That’s why they do it again. They want to get that same high. More, more, more. It’s the same with alcohol except it takes longer before it stops working. And it didn’t work for me anymore.”

Michel: “It’s not good for your health either.”

Edward: “No, not at all.”

Michel: “Too many died because of it.”

Edward: “Yes… I stopped drinking October 2nd, 1994. Then I did the tour and only took a few beers at the last show in Japan.”

Michel: “And that’s what Sammy used against you in an interview.”

Edward: “Of course! But I got the tape and he sang like shit. Because he was more plastered than me! I got the tape. He’ll get his.”

Michel: “So how do you feel now? What if you walked onto Sammy?”

Edward: “I don’t have a problem with the guy. I just don’t understand why we can’t be friends. I mean… he quit! I didn’t kick him out.”

Michel: “That’s what he claims, isn’t it?”

Edward: “That’s what he says. I wish I had recorded the conversation. Valerie stood next to me. He even claims that I called him . And he has to say it was Father’s Day. I don’t even think it was Father’s Day. Valerie stood next to me and he claimed that I was plastered. If I had been plastered, Valerie would have kicked my ass! And she couldn’t believe it. She was counting, one, two… how many times I told him over and over ‘Sammy, if you want to do one more record and one tour, you’ll have to be a team player. It’s not your way or no way. It can not go on like this.’ I told him over and over and over. I said, ‘Sammy, forget the past. Forget everything. If you want to do one more record, you have to be a team player.”

Michel: “And Gary?”

Edward: “Ooh God… first time in my life that I… he just gives me lyrics. And I write the music and the melody and everything.”

Michel: “A lot of energy is coming off of it.”

Edward: “Actually, he’s one lost brother. There’s a reason for everything, you know?”

Michel: “People talk a lot of bullshit.”

Edward: “God yeah!”

Michel: “On the internet there were rumors that Mike is gone. The worst is that people make it bigger and bigger.”

Edward: “Yeah, I can’t stand that! You know what it is? There are only two or three people doing that. It seems like a lot of people do that but there are only two or three people saying the same things. Same shit. Ah, it’s fucking ridiculous.”

Michel: “But because of that, it got to the press. Total Guitar published it.

Edward: “What? That Mike is out? You gotta be kidding?!”

Michel: “And Kerrang.”

Edward: “That is… that is crazy!”

Suddenly Mrs. Valerie Bertinelli is in the door opening around 5.10 p.m.. She’s not in her best mood and doesn’t really bother to say hello to us. She asks how much longer this interview is gonna take. Edward had planned time for us until 6 p.m. but his wife disagrees with this. He has to spend time with their son. She asks Edward to round up in ten. She sounds kind of harsh but then again Erik and I are in their home environment. Because of Valerie’s interference, Edward has to rush and end our visit. So quickly we take our cameras and start shooting some pictures. That isn’t a problem for Edward at all, after he has put on his sunglasses. He’s even okay when we film. So I hand over ten “5150” magazines for Edward to sign as prizes to win. While he was doing that, I was filming it.

5a

Edward: “I’m writing on Gary’s face. No I better not. He can sing like an angel with elephant balls. Ever heard an angel sing with elephant balls?”

Erwin Musper: “Heavy angel!”

Edward: “And they don’t fly so good either.”

My filming turns out to be silly. When I zoom in on Erik he suggests to film Edward instead. The guitarist resonds funny by looking the other way. Then he says ‘Film this’ and puts on ‘Beat It’ again. It turns out that this recording is the best quality of this footage I own and I filmed it straight from Eddie Van Halen’s TV! Isn’t that weird? Since I can’t play the tape at home, I decide to leave it at “5150”, so now Edward owns a copy as well.    

9a

Edward invites us to go upstairs where he keeps his guitars and amps. Below the stairs there’s a stack of Wolfgang bodies. When walking the stairs we pass a lot of guitar necks on the wall. Also on the wall there was a T-shirt with the very first logo as designed by Mark Stone, the original bass player.

17a

In the room upstairs we see amps on shelves on the right side and guitar cases on the left. In the middle of the room there are mostly double neck guitars. One of them is a red-striped Kramer which according to Edward was made for him. The other one is the famous yellow-black-striped one that Edward used during the ‘Diver Down’ tour for ‘Cathedral’ and ‘Secrets’. There’s a studio used Ernie Ball guitar pick lying around. Edward picks it up and put it in Erik’s hand. “Keep it”, he smiles.

11a

Because the second Fan Club Meeting is coming up, we ask Edward if he is willing to give the people a message. He agrees so we keep the camera rolling. He shows the camera an old suitcase which was his fathers. It is older than Edward himself because his father used it at the time he travelled the world and ended up in Indonesia where he met his wife Eugenia.

12a

Edward informs the viewers about the upcoming album and tour with Gary. He ensures everyone that the new material will be to everyones satisfaction. After shooting the message it is time for Edward to go and spend time with Wolfie. But before he leaves he comes up with the mini synthesizer he used for ‘Sunday Afternoon In The Park’. It’s made of carton. In front of our camera he starts ripped it apart. With laughter he says “See, it’s just a kid’s toy I plugged in to my Marshall.” Hilarious!

16a

While outside again and saying goodbye Edward asks Erwin if he could make a copy of the tape I showed him earlier. After all he was curious about the recordings using Van Halen samples. I’m not surprised because I learned Edward’s a control freak.

Because Edward is still waiting on his hip operation to take place his walking isn’t going so well and therefore even small distances he travels by car. So after saying goodbye he steps in his Ferrari to drive back to the house downstairs. By honking, the Ferrari even makes more noise than it already does.

18a

Erwin and us leave together and while driving down the lane and passing the house and guest house the gates open up for us again. When back in traffic, in the real world, we wonder if this just really happened.

The next day Erwin comes by our motel to return the tape and to bring some drum sticks and a bag of Eddie’s guitar picks. I guess about 30 of the same picks which were never used during touring. These collector’s items all have found their way to Van Halen fans. Not for crazy e-Bay prises. For free.

Before leaving home, we call Mike like he asked us to do. He promises to take care of us when Van Halen will tour Europe next time. Again he apologizes for not being at the studio the other day. He don’t have to do that because we know it was down to their manager. That’s the way Mike is. Always good to talk to him. 

10a

EPILOGUE (2022)

This story is based on my publication in “5150” issues 41 and 42. Because it was done in 1997, much has happened since. Michael did end up getting replaced but that was nine years later. First the band reunited with Sammy in 2004. Edward’s mom died in 2005, aged 89. And worst of all of course, we lost Edward in 2020. I still can’t believe he’s gone. After seeing and reading responses on Edward’s death by famous musicians I realized how special it was that I’ve known Edward personally and that he was willing to see me so often. 

Erik and I spent about two-and-half hours at “5150” but we never got to see the studio itself. Later Erwin told us that the reason was the fact that there was a lot of stuff that Edward didn’t endorse. If he had asked me not to mention it, I wouldn’t have. Now so many years later I guess it’s safe to say this.

Edward was very open in other departments. Even without asking about it he told us that he had an almost death experience at the time Van Halen was still playing the clubs. He must have been referring to the story as described later in ‘ Van Halen Rising ’ by Greg Renoff. He concluded that story by telling us that the Bridge Benefit concert in 1993 was the last time he used coke. Unfortunately the cassette ran out of tape before replacing it, so there’s no proof he ever said it, but he did. But Edward had no problem it being recorded otherwise he would have turned off the recorder like he did a couple of times during the interview. And that was not even during heavy subjects. Not when he was talking about Sammy or anyone else but when he was telling a joke. He didn’t want that to be recorded. 

People change so maybe some opinions published here are different nowadays. Reworking this story I see I wasn’t the best interviewer but I also think it was a good conversation between two people, not necessarily called an interview. I’m especially proud of the ‘Beat It’ and ‘Wild Life’ stories. Those were exclusives at the time and still are. And of course the fact that Edward was very open to talk about private matters like his mom. Edward was very honest to us and we believed him. But maybe he lived his own truth. Maybe he forgot about the fact that during the making of ‘Humans Being’ Sammy was living in Hawaii and was about to become a father again. Sammy had his reasons not to come to “5150” to work as a team player. Like Edward had reasons for the delay of ‘Van Halen III’. I never understood why Edward was so upset about Sammy originally writing lyrics about twisters for the song ‘Humans Being’. For a Dutch movie programme Edward himself proundly spoke about how the break part in the song sounded like a twister. What’s the difference? So I guess both were right and wrong. They were just not on the same level anymore. I never wanted to take sides.

Most pictures here are screen shots from the video and therefore not the best quality. No pictures were shot digitally anyway.

In 2017 I had doubts to go public on the internet with this story because I wanted to save it for a book I might write later, but I decided to give it to the VHND anyway. At the moment there are (too) many books being published so if I ever write one, it won’t happen for the next few years. But I think I might have something different to offer, from a Dutch point of view. In the meantime I hope you liked reading this story. Erik and I sure liked the experience! 

— Michel Schinkel

tour of 5150 studio

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  • Eddie Van Halen and his home studio: 5150
  • By A Pop Life (Erwin Barendregt) in Story

5150 Studios (pinterest.com)

5150 Studios

Introduction

In 1983 Eddie Van Halen started building his very own home studio. Never again dependent on others, no more hangers-on and finally being able to experiment and try out to his own will. A dream that was finally coming true.

Frank Zappa

In the spring of 1982 Eddie Van Halen was invited by Frank Zappa to come over and hang out and jam at his home. Zappa was impressed by Van Halen’s “reinventing” the guitar. That afternoon Zappa, Van Halen, Steve Vai and another band member of Zappa’s band at that time jammed. The 12 year old Dweezil Zappa listened along.

Eddie Van Halen witnessed first hand what owning your own studio could provide. To Zappa’s request whether Van Halen would produce Frank’s son Dweezil’s first single with Donn Landee (Van Halen’s engineer), both men agreed wholeheartedly. In May and June 1982 they recorded the song My Mother Is A Space Cadet at the Utility Muffin Research Kitchen , as Zappa’s home studio was called. The idea that Van Halen had been pondering over, was getting stronger with the minute. Zappa had gained independence by using his own studio, where he could experiment, record, try and play whatever he wanted whenever he wanted. No interference of producers, record companies or others, like annoying singers.

5150 Studios - Studio and contol room layout (thetapesarchives.com)

5150 Studios – Studio and contol room layout

His own studio

In 1982 the Van Halen album Diver Down was released, an album Eddie didn’t agree with. The band had agreed on taking a break and recorded the cover (Oh) Pretty Woman as a single-only release for 1982. However, after its success, the record company demanded a new album and the band caved. The resulting album contained 5 covers. Eddie Van Halen felt pressuered into it by producer Ted Templeman and singer David Lee Roth. A very own studio would give Eddie far more control over the music and the way it was recorded and produced.

While Van Halen was out on the Hide Your Sheep Tour , promoting the Diver Down album, Donn Landee started searching and buying equipment needed for the home studio. Early 1983 construction on Eddie Van Halen’s private property commenced.

Van Halen - Guitar World February 2014 (vhnd.com)

Van Halen – Guitar World February 2014

Guitar World, februari 2014

In The February 2014 edition of Guitar World Eddie Van Halen was interviewed on the occassion of the 30 year anniversary of the 1984 album. The construction of the 5150 Studios was mentioned as well. Below the bits and pieces surrounding the studio.

[…] But perhaps the most noteworthy attribute of 1984 is that it is likely the only Diamond-certified (sales of 10 million or more) album that was recorded entirely in a home studio. Of course, the facility now known as 5150 Studios is not the ordinary home studio. From the very beginning, 5150 was a fully professional facility, starting off as a 16-track studio equipped with classic gear that, while it seemed outdated during its time of installation in 5150, was more than up to the task of capturing Ed’s ideas in a polished, finished state that was suitable for release. 1984 was the first album to come from 5150 Studios, and the studio has remained Van Halen’s home base for all of the albums the band has recorded since then. The studio was built during a particularly fertile period of creativity for Ed that was also marked by his desire to protect his creative vision and oversight of how Van Halen’s records should be made. Fortunately, engineer Donn Landee, who had recorded all of Van Halen’s previous five albums, saw eye to eye with Ed’s thinking and played an instrumental role both in building 5150 Studios and recording the 1984 album. Landee even came up with the studio’s name, adopting 5150 from the California Welfare and Institutions Code for involuntary confinement of a mentally instable person deemed to be a danger to themselves and/or others. Donn overheard the code number one night while listening to police broadcasts on a scanner, and Ed and Donn jokingly called themselves “5150s” after many around them said that they were crazy to build their own studio. Both agreed that 5150 was the perfect name for their new “asylum.” […] What inspired you to build your own studio at your home? I used to have a back room in my house where I set up a little studio with a Tascam four-track recorder to demo songs. I really wanted to record demos that sounded more professional than what I was doing. I used to spend so much time getting sounds and writing. I have a tape of me playing in the living room at five A.M., and you can hear Valerie [Bertinelli, Ed’s ex-wife] come in and yell that she’s heard enough of that song. That was another reason why I built the studio. The bottom line is that I wanted more control. I was always butting heads with [producer] Ted Templeman about what makes a good record. My philosophy has always been that I would rather bomb with my own music than make it with other people’s music. Ted felt that if you re-do a proven hit, you’re already halfway there. I didn’t want to be halfway there with someone else’s stuff. Diver Down was a turning point for me, because half of it was cover tunes. I was working on a great song with this Minimoog riff that ended up being used on Dancing In The Street . It was going to be a completely different song. I envisioned it being more like a Peter Gabriel song instead of what it turned out to be, but when Ted heard it he decided it would be great for Dancing In The Street . Fair Warning ‘s lack of commercial success prompted Diver Down . To me, Fair Warning is more true to what I am and what I believe Van Halen is. We’re a hard rock band, and we were an album band. We were lucky to enter the charts anywhere. Ted and Warner Bros. wanted singles, but there were no singles on Fair Warning . The album wasn’t a commercial flop, but it wasn’t exactly a commercial success either, although for many guitarists and Van Halen fans, Fair Warning is a hot second between either Van Halen or 1984 . The album was full of things that I wanted, from Unchained to silly things like Sunday Afternoon In The Park . I like odd things. I was not a pop guy, even though I have a good sense of how to write a pop song. How did 5150 go from being just a demo studio to a fully equipped pro facility? When we started work on 1984 , I wanted to show Ted that we could make a great record without any cover tunes and do it our way. Donn and I proceeded to figure out how to build a recording studio. I did not initially set out to build a full-blown studio. I just wanted a better place to put my music together so I could show it to the guys. I never imagined that it would turn into what it did until we started building it. Back then, zoning laws disallowed building a home studio on your property. I suggested that we submit plans for a racquetball court. When the city inspector came up here, he was looking at things and going, “Let’s see here. Two-foot-thick cinder blocks, concrete-filled, rebar-reinforced… Why so over the top for a racquetball court?” I told him, “Well, when we play, we play hard. We want to keep it quiet and not piss off the neighbors.” We got it approved. Donn was involved with the design. I certainly didn’t know how to build a studio. It was all Donn’s magic. We built a main room and a separate control room. When we needed to find a console, Donn said that United Western Studios had a Bill Putnam–designed Universal Audio console that we could buy that he was familiar with. We went to take a look at it, and it was this old, dilapidated piece of shit that looked like it was ready to go into the trash. Donn said, “Let’s buy it,” and I was going, “What the hell are you thinking?” He said that he could make it work, so we paid $6,000 for it and lugged it up here. He rewired the whole console himself using a punch-down tool. Donn used to work for the phone company, so he was an expert at wiring things. We also needed a tape machine, so we bought a 3M 16-track. Slowly, the studio turned into a lot more than I originally envisioned. Everybody else was even more surprised than I was, especially Ted. Everybody thought I was just building a little demo room. Then Donn said, “No man! We’re going to make records up here!” When Ted and everybody else heard that, they weren’t happy. It sounds like Donn wanted as much creative freedom as you did. Oh, definitely. We had grown really close and had a common vision. Everybody was afraid that Donn and I were taking control. Well…yes! That’s exactly what we did, and the results proved that we weren’t idiots. When you’re making a record, you never know if the public is going to accept it, but we lucked out and succeeded at exactly what my goal was. I just didn’t want to do things the way Ted wanted us to do them. I’m not knocking Diver Down . It’s a good record, but it wasn’t the record I wanted to do at the time. 1984 was me showing Ted how you really make a Van Halen record. […] You also mixed the album at 5150. Was that a challenge? The funniest story about the whole record was near the end, when Donn and I were mixing it. Ted seemed to think that we were already done, and we had a deadline to meet. The original plan was to release the album on New Year’s Eve of 1984, but Donn and I weren’t happy with everything on it. Donn and I would be in there mixing and the phone would ring. It would be Ted at the front gate to my house, wanting to come in. To this day, I don’t think that Ted knows what actually went on. My whole driveway is like a big circle. So Donn would grab the master tapes, put them in his car, go out the back gate, and wait as Ted was coming through the front gate because Ted wanted the tapes. He’d ask where Donn and the tapes were, and I’d say that I had no idea. This went on for about two weeks. Little did he know that Donn was sitting outside the back gate, waiting for him to leave. We had walkie-talkies and I would tell Donn when Ted was leaving. Then Donn would drive down the hill and come back in through the front gate, and Ted never saw him as he was going out behind him. It was a circus! Nobody was happy with Donn and me. They thought we were crazy and out of our minds. Ted thought that Donn had lost it and was going to threaten to burn the tapes. That was all BS. We just wanted an extra week to make sure that we were happy with everything. Ted just didn’t see eye to eye with the way I looked at things. That was my whole premise for building the studio. I wanted to make a complete record from end to end, not just one hit. As soon as “Jump” was done, he looked at the rest of the album as filler. It wasn’t that to me. It’s a good record because it was different. © February 2014 Guitar World

5150 Studios Inside (Book Edward Van Halen's 5150 Studio by Howard Weiss)

5150 Studios Inside

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  • Martin on 03/25/2024 at 10:18 PM

Why did I read, “New Years Eve of 1984”?

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  • A Pop Life (Erwin Barendregt) on 03/29/2024 at 4:59 PM Author

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  • John Gortmaker on 04/03/2024 at 7:19 PM

I can’t wait till Wolfgang releases some of the 10000 recordings of him playing guitar, Believe me we’ve only heard half of what Eddie can do!

  • A Pop Life (Erwin Barendregt) on 04/03/2024 at 11:18 PM Author

I sure hope some of it will be released soon!

Compliments/remarks? Yes, please! Cancel reply

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New Van Halen documentary takes us back to the early ‘80s to tell the story of how Eddie built 5150 Studios as the band were coming apart

Or how Eddie Van Halen helped pioneer working from home, reinvented guitar, befriended Frank Zappa and ended up producing My Mother Is A Space Cadet for a young Dweezil Zappa

Eddie Van Halen, live onstage in 1984

Things were changing for Van Halen in the early ‘80s. The music industry was changing, too, and the band’s maverick electric guitar wrangler, the peerless Eddie Van Halen , had an idea that could give him and the band more control over their sound, building a firewall between them and the label, between them and the outside world. 

Inspired by Frank Zappa’s independence, Eddie would build his own studio, and there is a new documentary on YouTube takes us back to 1981 to pick up the story.

Produced by The Tapes Archives , the Van Halen 1984 Documentary is a five-part miniseries made by fans that tells the story of the band arriving at their creative and commercial peak, and episode one has a wealth of material for audio engineering geeks and Van Halen fans alike. It’s a story that centres around Eddie and the producer/engineer Donn Landee's decision to build their own studio, close to but far apart – and in competition with – the many other commercial facilities in Studio City, California. 

It was a radical move. Only the radicals, like Zappa, had done so, but it would give Van Halen freedom. They had felt under pressure to write and record Diver Down. The amount of cover songs frustrated Eddie. Speaking to Guitar World in February 1990 , eight years on from the album’s release, it still pissed him off that the album was made of half-covers – especially that the synth part he wrote for the band’s cover of Martha and the Vandellas’ Dancing In The Street was intended for one of his original songs.

“At the time I had enough music of my own,” he said. “You know that Mini- Moog riff that opens Dancing In The Street? I’d written that for my own song, but everybody wanted it for Dancing In The Street. I said, ‘What?’ So that’s why I built my own studio. “Put it this way: I’d rather bomb with my own songs than make it with someone else’s. I don’t buy the philosophy of ‘If you redo a proven hit, you’re halfway there.’ That way, you’re not there. I’ve played enough cover tunes.”

There was no going back. Building his own studio, Eddie could keep Warner Bros at arm’s length. He could keep producers out. He could insulate them from outside pressures. And as the documentary discusses, it would also allow him to play around with sound, and for that he needed lots of gear. Sourced from a 1985 article in Recording Engineer Producer magazine, written by the studio designer Howard Weiss, it lists 5150 Studios initial gear inventory in detail.

You can read that article at The Tape Archives . Watch the first two episodes of the documentary above, with the second focusing on the run-up to the band’s legendary performance at The US Festival in 1983, when Eddie won the respect of The Clash’s Joe Strummer.

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Was building 5150 Studios the right move? It did cause tension. Eddie Van Halen admitted that it exacerbated tensions with frontman David Lee Roth , who tracked 1984 there before leaving the band and being replaced by Sammy Hagar for 1986’s 5150. But as Eddie explained to Guitar World, he ultimately did it for the band’s benefit.

“The way we did [5150] is basically how I would have liked to have done all the previous records,” he said. “And I think that’s another thing that maybe drove Dave away. Because for 1984, I built the studio and I started wanting to do things a little more my way, and I guess I turned some people off; I created a little friction. Not meaning to. I built the fucking story for the benefit of all of us, for the family, for the band.”

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.

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Eddie Van Halen revisits Van Halen's landmark '1984' album

EVH tells GW how Van Halen's Diamond-certified blockbuster came to be

Eddie Van Halen

This story originally appeared in the February 2014 issue of Guitar World.

When rock music fans first heard Eddie Van Halen’s radical, innovative tapping technique at the end of Eruption , many mistakenly thought that they were hearing a synthesizer.

Six years later when Van Halen released their 1984 album, there was absolutely no doubt that a synthesizer was generating the majestic and mysterious sounds that they heard this time around. In fact, the first note of Eddie’s guitar wasn’t heard until two minutes and 10 seconds into the album’s first two songs.

With the album’s initial single Jump , Ed proved that he could play keyboards every bit as well as he could play guitar, but even more importantly he also showed the world that he could craft a pop song that was as good as, if not better than, anything else out there at the time.

Van Halen’s use of a synth on Jump ushered in a new era of appreciation for the instrument, which previously was associated mostly with new wave bands and electro pioneers like Kraftwerk, Gary Numan and Tangerine Dream.

Almost overnight, sales of synthesizers increased exponentially, similar to the revolutionary boost in guitar sales that Van Halen influenced after the first Van Halen album made its debut, and fortuitously coinciding with the introduction of the first affordably priced polyphonic synths. 

Music store keyboard departments were soon filled with the sounds of aspiring musicians playing ham-fisted versions of Jump , much the same way that guitar departments were subjected to novices attempting to play Stairway to Heaven .

But there is much more to 1984 than Jump , which incidentally was Van Halen’s first and only song to reach the Number One spot on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. While three of the album’s nine songs are dominated by synths, the entire album features some of Eddie Van Halen’s hottest and most impressive guitar playing ever.

The pumping groove of Panama and the heavy-hitting House of Pain rocked as hard as anything the band had offered on its five previous albums, while Top Jimmy and Drop Dead Legs introduced entirely new territory that paved the way for the band’s next chapter.

Ed’s dazzling guitar solos even elevated the keyboard-dominated songs Jump and I’ll Wait . The showstoppers from a guitar perspective are Hot for Teacher , with its hot-rodded blues boogie shuffle, and Girl Gone Bad , featuring Van Halen’s signature harmonics, a dynamic progressive rock structure and a blazing solo filled with Allan Holdsworth–style legato runs.

The fact that every song on the album was as strong as anything else in Van Halen’s catalog up to that point in time is also impressive. In total, the album delivered four singles – Jump , I’ll Wait , Panama and Hot for Teacher – which all remain staples of classic-rock radio today. 

1984 went on to become one of Van Halen’s all-time best-selling albums, matched only by their debut album, which also sold more than 10 million copies in the U.S. alone.

1984 is further notable for being one of the best-selling hard rock albums of all time, sharing lofty heights with company like AC/DC, Def Leppard, Guns N’ Roses, Led Zeppelin and Metallica.

But perhaps the most noteworthy attribute of 1984 is that it is likely the only Diamond-certified (sales of 10 million or more) album that was recorded entirely in a home studio. [ Boston’s debut album is a close contender, but one of its songs was recorded in a pro studio. ] 

Of course, the facility now known as 5150 Studios is not the ordinary home studio. From the very beginning, 5150 was a fully professional facility, starting off as a 16-track studio equipped with classic gear that, while it seemed outdated during its time of installation in 5150, was more than up to the task of capturing Ed’s ideas in a polished, finished state that was suitable for release.

1984 was the first album to come from 5150 Studios, and the studio has remained Van Halen’s home base for all of the albums the band has recorded since then. The studio was built during a particularly fertile period of creativity for Ed that was also marked by his desire to protect his creative vision and oversight of how Van Halen’s records should be made. 

Fortunately, engineer Donn Landee, who had recorded all of Van Halen’s previous five albums, saw eye to eye with Ed’s thinking and played an instrumental role both in building 5150 Studios and recording the 1984 album.

Landee even came up with the studio’s name, adopting 5150 from the California Welfare and Institutions Code for involuntary confinement of a mentally instable person deemed to be a danger to themselves and/or others. 

Donn overheard the code number one night while listening to police broadcasts on a scanner, and Ed and Donn jokingly called themselves “5150s” after many around them said that they were crazy to build their own studio. Both agreed that 5150 was the perfect name for their new “asylum.”

Although Ed has never recorded a solo album and apparently never plans to, 1984 may very well be the closest thing to a Van Halen solo album that the world will ever get, as the record is overflowing with his creative input and inspiration. 

While 1984 is still a band record, distinguished particularly by Alex Van Halen’s powerful drumming and David Lee Roth’s street-poet lyrics and inimitable vocals, it also offers one of the most pure visions of Ed’s musical talents and breadth that he’s ever produced.

1984 may have been released 30 years ago, but Ed Van Halen still fondly remembers many fine details of the album’s creation. The fact that Ed was able to complete this achievement during a tumultuous period that ultimately led to the band’s initial lineup breaking apart is somewhat miraculous, eclipsed only by the album’s phenomenal success.

What inspired you to build your own studio at your home?

I used to have a back room in my house where I set up a little studio with a Tascam four-track recorder to demo songs. I really wanted to record demos that sounded more professional than what I was doing.

I used to spend so much time getting sounds and writing. I have a tape of me playing in the living room at five A.M., and you can hear Valerie [Bertinelli, Ed’s ex-wife] come in and yell that she’s heard enough of that song. That was another reason why I built the studio.

The bottom line is that I wanted more control. I was always butting heads with [producer] Ted Templeman about what makes a good record. My philosophy has always been that I would rather bomb with my own music than make it with other people’s music. Ted felt that if you re-do a proven hit, you’re already halfway there.

I didn’t want to be halfway there with someone else’s stuff. Diver Down was a turning point for me, because half of it was cover tunes. I was working on a great song with this Minimoog riff that ended up being used on Dancing in the Street .

It was going to be a completely different song. I envisioned it being more like a Peter Gabriel song instead of what it turned out to be, but when Ted heard it he decided it would be great for Dancing in the Street .

Fair Warning ’s lack of commercial success prompted Diver Down . To me, Fair Warning is more true to what I am and what I believe Van Halen is. We’re a hard rock band, and we were an album band. We were lucky to enter the charts anywhere.

Ted and Warner Bros. wanted singles, but there were no singles on Fair Warning . The album wasn’t a commercial flop, but it wasn’t exactly a commercial success either, although for many guitarists and Van Halen fans, Fair Warning is a hot second between either Van Halen or 1984 . 

The album was full of things that I wanted, from Unchained to silly things like Sunday Afternoon in the Park . I like odd things. I was not a pop guy, even though I have a good sense of how to write a pop song.

How did 5150 go from being just a demo studio to a fully equipped pro facility?

When we started work on 1984 , I wanted to show Ted that we could make a great record without any cover tunes and do it our way. Donn and I proceeded to figure out how to build a recording studio. I did not initially set out to build a full-blown studio. I just wanted a better place to put my music together so I could show it to the guys. I never imagined that it would turn into what it did until we started building it.

Back then, zoning laws disallowed building a home studio on your property. I suggested that we submit plans for a racquetball court. When the city inspector came up here, he was looking at things and going, “Let’s see here. Two-foot-thick cinder blocks, concrete-filled, rebar-reinforced… Why so over the top for a racquetball court?” I told him, “Well, when we play, we play hard. We want to keep it quiet and not piss off the neighbors.” We got it approved.

Donn was involved with the design. I certainly didn’t know how to build a studio. It was all Donn’s magic. We built a main room and a separate control room. When we needed to find a console, Donn said that United Western Studios had a Bill Putnam–designed Universal Audio console that we could buy that he was familiar with.

We went to take a look at it, and it was this old, dilapidated piece of shit that looked like it was ready to go into the trash. Donn said, “Let’s buy it,” and I was going, “What the hell are you thinking?” 

He said that he could make it work, so we paid $6,000 for it and lugged it up here. He rewired the whole console himself using a punch-down tool. Donn used to work for the phone company, so he was an expert at wiring things.

We also needed a tape machine, so we bought a 3M 16-track. Slowly, the studio turned into a lot more than I originally envisioned. Everybody else was even more surprised than I was, especially Ted. Everybody thought I was just building a little demo room. Then Donn said, “No man! We’re going to make records up here!” When Ted and everybody else heard that, they weren’t happy.

It sounds like Donn wanted as much creative freedom as you did.

Oh, definitely. We had grown really close and had a common vision. Everybody was afraid that Donn and I were taking control. Well…yes! That’s exactly what we did, and the results proved that we weren’t idiots. 

When you’re making a record, you never know if the public is going to accept it, but we lucked out and succeeded at exactly what my goal was. I just didn’t want to do things the way Ted wanted us to do them. I’m not knocking Diver Down . It’s a good record, but it wasn’t the record I wanted to do at the time. 1984 was me showing Ted how you really make a Van Halen record.

You really were overflowing with creativity during the period between Diver Down and the middle of 1984 . During that time you also recorded Beat It with Michael Jackson, the Star Fleet Project with Brian May, The Seduction of Gina and The Wild Life soundtracks, and you and Donn produced a single for Dweezil Zappa.

I had a lot of music lying around, because all I did was write. I remember, we were rehearsing for the Diver Down tour at Zoetrope Studios when Frank Zappa called me and asked if I would produce a single for his son Dweezil.

I also did the Brian May Star Fleet Project then and the session with Michael Jackson. Val asked me to write some music for a TV movie she was doing. Until you mentioned it, I had forgotten that I had recorded the Wild Life soundtrack back then.

Now I remember that Donn wasn’t very happy, because he had to mix it on his own. I had to leave to go on the tour that we were doing with AC/DC in Europe that summer.

We also did the US Festival in the middle of recording the 1984 album, and before that we toured the U.S., Canada and South America and played about 120 shows. And I also had to build the studio during that period too! I don’t know how I pulled all of that off.

The US Festival proved that Van Halen were the biggest band in the world at the time.

What’s funny is that we made the Guinness Book of World Records for making $1.5 million for that one show. I remember hearing a DJ on the radio saying that we made so much money per second. What he didn’t realize is that we put every penny of that into the production. We didn’t make a fucking dime when it was all over.

You also spent about a month just preparing for that one show.

There was so much going on. We did that in the middle of making a record and I was doing all of this outside stuff. Then again, the Michael Jackson session only took 20 minutes, so it wasn’t like all of these things were taking that much time.

What is the first song you recorded at the studio?

That was Jump . Once Ted heard that song, he was full-hog in. He said, “That’s great! Let’s go to work.” When I first played Jump for the band, nobody wanted to have anything to do with it. Dave said that I was a guitar hero and I shouldn’t be playing keyboards. My response was if I want to play a tuba or Bavarian cheese whistle, I will do it.

As soon as Ted was onboard with Jump and said that it was a stone-cold hit, everyone started to like it more. But Ted really only cared about Jump . He didn’t care much about the rest of the record. He just wanted that one hit.

Alex was very supportive of everything we were doing. He wasn’t happy with his drum sound, especially on the first and second records. There was only one room at 5150 at the time, so we were very restricted. Recording drums there was a challenge. It really was a racquetball court, where one third of the space was the control room and the rest was the main room.

Because the space was so limited, Alex had to use a Simmons kit except for the snare. We all played at the same time. I had my old faithful Marshall head and bare wooden 4x12 cabinet facing off into a corner and Al was in the other corner. 

We set up some baffles to have isolation between my guitar and the drums. I would sit right in front of my brother and play without headphones. All I needed to hear was his drums. There were a lot of limitations.

You wouldn’t know it though when you listen to the end product. The sounds on that record are impressive.

I have to give all of the credit to Donn. His approach to everything was genius. I used the same Marshall amp to record the first six Van Halen albums, but my guitar sound on each album is different. The drum sounds are different too. That was all Donn. He is a man-child genius on the borderline of insanity. 

He would wear what looked like the same pants, shirt, socks and shoes every day of his life. Then you go to his house and see that he has a closet full of all the same type of clothes. He’s just like Einstein.

Alex and Donn got a lot closer on 1984 as well. Drop Dead Legs and I’ll Wait were more towards Al’s liking, as opposed to the first record. I remember when Al and I went to Warner Bros. to pick up the cassettes of the very first 25-song demo tape we did for them in 1977.

We popped it into the player in my van and expected to hear Led Zeppelin coming out, but we were kind of appalled by what we heard. It just didn’t sound the way we wanted it to sound. The first album sounds a little better, but it still wasn’t the way we imagined it should sound. It’s very unique sounding. I wouldn’t even know how to duplicate it, to tell you the truth.

Don’t ever venture into an amp or guitar forum. You’ll see page after page of arguments by people who still can’t figure it out either.

The overall guitar sound on the first record isn’t that difficult to duplicate, but the overall package of how the whole band sounded was not what Alex and I expected it would be. There is so much EMT plate reverb on it, which is something I never had really heard before. 

It still holds up today to a certain extent. It’s not in your face or all that heavy, but the songs are great. If you heard us live, we sounded different. We were much heavier, and that’s what Alex and I expected to hear on the record.

1984 not only sounds different than Van Halen’s previous records but each song also sounds different than each of the other songs on the album.

Someone played me his new record once, and every song on it was the same beat. Most of the songs were even in the same key. You could barely distinguish between the songs. He said, “Once you’ve got them, you don’t want to lose them.” That was so opposite of the way I think. 

I like to listen to records that go through changes and take you for a ride. I like things that come out of left field and keep your interest, where each song holds up individually and together they make a well-rounded collection. I prefer to make records that you listen to from beginning to end. I’m really not into recording just singles.

And then you recorded Jump , which became the band’s biggest single ever – even bigger than any of the cover songs Van Halen ever recorded.

Jump was the only Number One single we ever had. Outside of Jump , most of the other material was already written when we started to record the album.

For the first six records and tours, we all traveled together on the same bus, which Dave called the disco sub. All I did was write. You can hear the bus generator on all of the demo tapes I recorded.

I wrote Jump on a Sequential Circuits Prophet-10 in my bedroom while the studio was being built. Everytime I got the sound that I wanted on the right-hand split section of the keyboard, it would start smoking and pop a fuse. I got another one and the same thing happened. A guy I knew said I should try an Oberheim OB-Xa, so I bought one of those and got the sound I wanted.

I always carried a microcassette recorder with me. I recorded my idea for Girl Gone Bad by humming and whistling into it in the closet of a hotel room while Valerie was sleeping. I pretty much wrote the entire song in that state, and then when I got home I put it all together.

When the guys once asked me to write something with an AC/DC beat, that ended up being Panama . It really doesn’t sound that much like AC/DC, but that was my interpretation of it.

For Top Jimmy I had a melody in my head and I tuned the guitar to that melody. Steve Ripley had sent me one of his stereo guitars that had 90 million knobs and switches on it. That was too much for me to comprehend, so I asked him for a simpler version. He sent me one with a humbucker in the bridge and two single-coils at the middle and neck positions. It was just a prototype.

For some strange reason I picked up that guitar, tuned it to Top Jimmy , and that’s what I ended up using, because it sounded interesting. That rhythm lick I play after the harmonics sounds cool ping-ponging back and forth. You can’t really hear it unless you’re wearing headphones. It just fit the track.

Drop Dead Legs is one of the most unique songs on the album.

That was inspired by AC/DC’s Back in Black . I was grooving on that beat, although I think that Drop Dead Legs is slower. Whatever I listen to somehow is filtered through me and comes out differently. Drop Dead Legs is almost a jazz version of Back in Black . The descending progression is similar, but I put a lot more notes in there.

The solos almost always go into a different place than the rest of the song. Sometimes you even change keys, like on Jump , Top Jimmy and Panama .

I view solos as a song within a song. From day one that is just the way that I write things. I always start with some intro or theme and establish a riff, then after the solo there’s some kind of breakdown section. That’s there in almost every song, or else it returns to the intro.

What inspired you to record actual engine growls from your Lamborghini on Panama ?

Having the studio here gave Donn and I the luxury and freedom to do all kinds of things. They thought we were nuts to pull up my Lamborghini to the studio and mic it. We drove it around the city, and I revved the engine up to 80,000 rpm just to get the right sound.

We’ve done all kinds of silly things up here. One time a septic tank needed to be removed. Donn lowered a mic into it, and we threw an Electrolux vacuum in there. We called it Stereo Septic . I have a tape of it around here somewhere, although I’ve never used it on anything. It’s fucking hilarious.

I basically lived in the studio back then. If Valerie ever needed to find me, she just had to look in the studio, because I was always there. Even when we weren’t recording music for the band, Donn and I would be in there every day, putzing around, making noise, coming up with riffs, playing piano, or doing whatever.

It was a bummer when we stopped working together. Donn just totally left the music business. I went to his house once and asked him to reconsider. He said, “Nah. I probably wouldn’t even remember how to do it.” I said, “That’s bullshit. Everything we did we didn’t know what the fuck we were doing anyway!” We were just experimenting and having fun all the time.

It sounds like everyone was having fun on Hot for Teacher .

I’m a shuffle guy. I love fast shuffles. I think that stems from my dad’s big-band days. Every Van Halen record has a song like that – I’m the One , Sinner’s Swing . It was an extension of that – more of me! 

I distinctly remember sitting in front of Al on a wooden stool and playing that part during my solo where it climbs. Well, I can’t count, so Al needs to follow me. I’d sit right in front of him, and then he’d look at me like, “Now!”

Al’s drums on the intro sound like a dragster warming up before a race.

When he started putzing around with that, we were going, “Holy shit!” It really does sound like a hot rod or dragster. You can only pull that off with Simmons drums because they sound so unique. Regular drums don’t sound the same.

There’s something to be said about the years that we used Simmons. The only bad part was how those drums affected Al’s wrists. When you hit those things there’s no bounce or give. It’s like pounding concrete, and thanks to the amounts of Schlitz malt liquor we drank, we hit everything twice as hard. Al would hit them with sticks that were like baseball bats.

That first drum fill on I’ll Wait right before the vocals was an accident. It’s one of my favorite parts of the song. Al hit the hi-hat instead of the cymbal. The only way we could record in that room was to have Al play just the drums and then later overdub the cymbals. He just forgot to hit the cymbal. It reminds me of Ginger Baker on White Room where Ginger does a similar thing on the first verse.

You've said that I’ll Wait got the most resistance from others.

Ted hated that song. When I played it for him, he kept humming Hold Your Head Up by Argent just to piss me off. It doesn’t sound anything like that.

House of Pain originally dates back to the demos you recorded with Gene Simmons and the Warner Bros. demos, but the version on 1984 is different. How did it finally make the cut six albums later?

The only thing that’s the same is the main riff. The intro and verses are different, I guess because nobody really liked it the way that it originally was.

You also mixed the album at 5150. Was that a challenge?

The funniest story about the whole record was near the end, when Donn and I were mixing it. Ted seemed to think that we were already done, and we had a deadline to meet.

The original plan was to release the album on New Year’s Eve of 1984, but Donn and I weren’t happy with everything on it. Donn and I would be in there mixing and the phone would ring. It would be Ted at the front gate to my house, wanting to come in.

To this day, I don’t think that Ted knows what actually went on. My whole driveway is like a big circle. So Donn would grab the master tapes, put them in his car, go out the back gate, and wait as Ted was coming through the front gate because Ted wanted the tapes. He’d ask where Donn and the tapes were, and I’d say that I had no idea.

This went on for about two weeks. Little did he know that Donn was sitting outside the back gate, waiting for him to leave. We had walkie-talkies and I would tell Donn when Ted was leaving. Then Donn would drive down the hill and come back in through the front gate, and Ted never saw him as he was going out behind him. It was a circus!

Nobody was happy with Donn and me. They thought we were crazy and out of our minds. Ted thought that Donn had lost it and was going to threaten to burn the tapes. That was all BS. We just wanted an extra week to make sure that we were happy with everything. 

Ted just didn’t see eye to eye with the way I looked at things. That was my whole premise for building the studio. I wanted to make a complete record from end to end, not just one hit. As soon as “Jump” was done, he looked at the rest of the album as filler. It wasn’t that to me. It’s a good record because it was different.

It’s ironic that the only thing that kept 1984 out of the Number One spot on the Billboard 200 albums chart was Michael Jackson’s Thriller , which you also played on.

We had the Number One single, but he had the Number One album. Of course everyone blamed me. They said, “If you hadn’t played on ‘Beat It’ that album wouldn’t be Number One.” We’ll never really know who helped who more. I do know that when I played on his record, it helped expose Van Halen to a different audience.

Some of the best-selling rock albums of all time never made it to Number One on the charts, like AC/DC’s Back in Black , Led Zeppelin IV and Boston’s debut album. Peak chart positions aren’t always an indicator of success.

We were projected to go to Number One the week when Michael Jackson was filming that Pepsi commercial and burned his hair [on January 27, 1984]. Then that happened. Everyone was going, “Oh, Michael burned his hair! We’d better go buy his record.”

A similar thing happened with [Van Halen’s 2012 album] A Different Kind of Truth . It was supposed to debut at Number One, but it was released the same week as the Grammys when Adele won a bunch of awards, which suddenly spiked her album’s sales.

I knew that was going to happen. We sold close to 200,000 records, which would have made the album number one almost any other week of the year. But being number one doesn’t really mean jack fuck all. We sold twice as many records as other records that year that landed in the Number One position. 1984 and Van Halen are among a very small group of albums that have won RIAA diamond certification for selling more than 10 million copies. Neither one of those records ever went to Number One.

The 1984 tour was also one of the band’s biggest tours ever.

Our live show for the 1984 tour just could not get any bigger, but it was so over the top that we never made any money from it. We had 18 trucks hauling the stage and equipment. That was unheard of. The standard lighting rig had 500 to 700 lights, and we had over 2,000. 

We could never have topped that. We had the banners with the Western Exterminator guy on them [an illustrated character with a top hat, sunglasses and a large hammer, used in the company’s marketing]. We filled the entire place with equipment and lights. Great memories.

Was the Frankenstein still your main guitar in the studio on that album?

I had actually retired the Frankenstein by then. I’m pretty sure I used the Kramer 5150 guitar the most on that album – Panama , Girl Gone Bad , House of Pain , the solos on Jump and I’ll Wait .

You used a ’58 Gibson Flying V on several songs as well, particularly Hot for Teacher and Drop Dead Legs .

You are very right. The ride out lick that I play on the last minute and a half of Drop Dead Legs came afterward. We had already finished recording the song, and then I came up with that part, which I thought would sound great at the end of the song.

I’m not sure how Donn put it together, but we recorded it separately and added it to end of the song, even though it sounds like it was recorded at the same time. That ride out solo was very much inspired by Allan Holdsworth. I was playing whatever I wanted like jazz – a bunch of wrong notes here and there – but it seemed to work.

Your solos on the entire record are some of your most innovative playing ever. You really were going outside of your comfort zone and playing new, unusual lines, especially on your solo to Girl Gone Bad .

Allan really inspired me. There weren’t any other guitarists out there who were blowing my mind at the time other than him. I don’t think anyone can copy what he does. He can do with one hand what I need two to do. How he does it is beyond me. But sometimes his playing is so out there that people don’t get it.

I got Allan a record deal with Warner Bros., and I was supposed to co-produce the album with him, but he wouldn’t wait two or three weeks for me to get back from tour in South America, so he did it himself. I really wish that he would have waited. I believe I could have helped him a lot.

He had this one riff on his demos that I heard completely different than how it ended up on his record. That lick could have been a monstrous Zeppelin-style riff, but instead it turned into a lounge song. 

I feel bad for Allan because the album could have really been something good for him. I did everything I could to help him. It wasn’t his only shot, but it was a hell of a shot. If he only would have waited a few weeks, things could have turned out very different.

What is creating the chorus-like sound on the intro to Drop Dead Legs ?

I really don’t remember. That was all Donn, although Donn never added any flanging or phasing to my guitar. I think I may have used a little MXR Phase 90 on that. I played through the Eventide Harmonizer all the time back then, but I used it mostly to split my guitar signal so it came out of both sides. 

Back then I didn’t play in the control room – I was always out in the main room – so I never really knew what Donn was doing while I was recording tracks. I wouldn’t hear it until we were done playing, and I usually liked what I heard.

Your tone got drier on each successive album. On 1984, I really only hear reverb on House of Pain , Panama and parts of Girl Gone Bad .

That came from my dislike of that EMT plate reverb that our first album is bathed in. It had its time and place, but it strikes a bad nerve with my brother and me.

You didn’t get caught up in all of the production gimmicks that were prevalent during that period in the Eighties. As a result 1984 doesn’t sound dated like most other albums that came out back then.

I’ve never been in touch with what is going on in the world because I rarely ever listen to anything else. I think that the record did well because it was ahead of its time and it was simply different. It was even different for Van Halen, particularly because it had two keyboard songs on it. Having built 5150, it was a very special time in my life, and that shows in the music.

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Chris is the co-author of Eruption - Conversations with Eddie Van Halen. He is a 40-year music industry veteran who started at Boardwalk Entertainment (Joan Jett, Night Ranger) and Roland US before becoming a guitar journalist in 1991. He has interviewed more than 600 artists, written more than 1,400 product reviews and contributed to Jeff Beck’s Beck 01: Hot Rods and Rock & Roll and Eric Clapton’s Six String Stories.

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“There’s always been an open door… We were the only ones that knew what it’s like to have that extreme kind of fame, so that created a bond”: 10 times the Beatles and the Rolling Stones collaborated together

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tour of 5150 studio

tour of 5150 studio

Inside Eddie Van Halen's '5150' Home Studio

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Published 12 years ago on June 18, 2012

By Guitar Interactive Magazine

tour of 5150 studio

As  VanHalen  close out the string of dates before the famouspostponement of the rest of their tour, this month's iGuitarMagazine cover star  EddieVan Halen  has moved to reassure fans that it was, as hadbeen  reported , simply a matter of the band being tired. In a newinterview, the guitarist, and his son Wolfgang invited  CNN  into their home to quash any rumoursand give fans a peek into Eddie's famous 5150 home studio, wherethey invited cameras into drum room, the guitar room and the tapevault, which is filled with boxes of demos.

The band have considered recording another new album and, aswith ' A Different Kind of Truth ,' this room filled with oldrecordings and demos may just provide the inspiration for thesessions.

"I always kind of thought that it was just easier to write a newsong than [dig through all the old ones]," Eddie said. "But there'sa lot of music up there that's waiting to be heard."

 The duo also insisted that there were no conflicts withlead singer  DavidLee Roth . "He's hilarious," Wolfgang continued. "We watch himon stag. He makes us crack up all the time."

Watch the CNN interview and 5150 Tour below.

I G10_Cover

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The Tapes Archive

Building 5150 studios, the van halen 1984 documentary episode 1.

In 1984, Van Halen experienced great success with their album “Diver Down” and a highly successful tour. However, the band members were behind the scenes facing internal tensions and conflicts. The album included cover songs due to time constraints. During this time, Eddie Van Halen connected with Frank Zappa and had a jam session at Zappa’s studio. Eddie also produced a song for Dweezil Zappa. Inspired by their experiences, Eddie and his engineer, Donn Landee, decided to build their own home studio called 5150. The band’s relationships continued to deteriorate, leading to their separation after the Diver Down tour.

Building 5150 Studios transcript

Ed had the means to have his own home studio, while Landee had the know-how to build it. Technology was not the main factor in choosing equipment; the choices were based on what sounded good and what was available at local parts stores. So one of Landee’s first moves was to source out a Bill Putnam–designed Universal Audio console for $6k. (Bill Putnam is known as the inventor of the modern recording console.)

Ed said, “We went to take a look at it, and it was this old, dilapidated piece of shit that looked like it was ready to go into the trash.” Landee got it and then wholly rewired it. One of Landee’s next moves was to bring in studio designer and longtime work associate Howard Weiss. Weiss brought in a qualified crew of other studio specialists, electricians, builders, and Ed’s brother-in-law Drew Bertinelli.

While Ed was on tour with Van Halen, Landee, Weiss, and others continued building the new studio at the Van Halen compound. Weiss said: “The deadline we faced required us to work at all hours of the day and night. Valerie Van Halen suggested that “Club Daiquiris” were to be consumed in great quantities to maintain the proper state of mind; Donn insisted on the continuous viewing of Blazing Saddles while consuming daiquiris.”

Surrounded by tall trees and barbed wire, the Van Halen home located in the hills above the San Fernando Valley, north of Los Angeles. A guest house with an unused room sat at one end of their property. Initially, they considered this as a possible control-room site. After some investigation, however, they decided it’d be best to build the studio from the ground up. Zoning laws disallowed building a home studio on your property, so Ed told them it was for a racquetball court, and it got approved.

The space was divided into two areas, a control room being built 17 feet wide by 14 feet deep, with a ceiling height sloping from 12 to 10 feet. The remainder became the studio, measuring 17 feet wide by 23 feet deep, sloping again from 12 to 10 feet. The slab was covered with half-inch particle board and half-inch parquet flooring.

Two feet from the rear of the control room, yet another wall was constructed to house three 48-inch high racks of outboard gear, with tape machine. This wall was then carefully tested and found to be bulletproof with a 44 magnum at two feet.

One unique problem confronting the builder was a 50,000-watt AM radio station just three miles from 5150. It was also a necessity that Ed be able to play in any location facing any direction without hum, RF, or noise problems. The solution was building a pseudo chicken coop: standard chicken wire was used in the walls, flooring, and ceiling to surround the entire recording area. The concept worked flawlessly.

Due to the high heat retention of the exterior walls, a 64-degree inside temperature is maintained, while outdoor temperatures may vary anywhere between 29 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit.

In addition, Ed and Valerie’s two-car garage was commandeered to become a shop, tape library, instrument storage, and kitchen. The adjacent guest house also was taken to become the lounge.

For any gearheads, the list below was the initial studio equipment list. I’ll have a link in the description to an article that studio builder Howard Weiss wrote about building 5150 and where I got much of this information. UREI 24/12 console 3M M56 16 track Ampex MM 1200 24 track Ampex ATR 800 two-track Ampex ATR 100 two-track JVC 8200U U Matic video recorder Two Studer A 710 cassette recorders Revox B 225 CD player JBL/Augspurger monitor system H&H power amplifiers EMT 140ST plate reverb Quantec Room Simulator Four UREI 1176 limiters Two Teletronix LA 2A limiters Eight Valley People Kepex gates Lexicon Super Prime Time MXR delay Time Lexicon Prime Time Two Eventide Harmonizers Two Lang PEQ 1 equalizers Two Pultec MEQ 5 midrange equalizers Two UREI 550 filters Two Neumann U 48s, AKG C 12, four Neumann KM 84s, two Sony C 37As, two Neumann U 87s, two Sony ECM 50%, AKG 414, eight Shure SM 56s, four Sennheiser MD421s, and two Sennheiser MD441 microphones. 1912 Hamburg Steinway “B” piano (MIDI equipped)

Landee came up with the studio’s name, adopting 5150 from the California Welfare and Institutions Code for involuntary confinement of a mentally unstable person deemed a danger to themselves and others. Donn overheard the code number one night while listening to police broadcasts on a scanner, and Ed and Donn jokingly called themselves “5150s” after many around them said that they were crazy to build a studio. Both agreed that 5150 was the perfect name for their new “asylum.”

Once the control room was built and the sound system was ready to be tested, the tape that just happened to be within reach was the Dweezil tape. “My Mother Is a Space Cadet” would be the first music played in the new 5150 studio, and they were blown away by how good it sounded.

Later, the sound of Eddie and Alex playing would waft over nearby homes in the Hollywood Hills. Eventually, it became too much for Eddie’s neighbor, Lindsay Wagner – star of the ‘70s TV series The Bionic Woman – who would call Eddie’s wife, actress Valerie Bertinelli, to ask for the studio doors to be shut. Eddie would have to buy Wagner out of her property within a couple of years to get around the complaints.

While Landee and others finished the new home studio, the band continued to fracture at the end of the Diver Down tour; aka the Hide Your Sheep tour. Roth, the outgoing attention seeker, and Eddie, the borderline introvert who wanted to go back to the hotel room, play his guitar, snort coke, and drink, were pulling apart the fastest. Despite the growing estrangement, the band completed the tour on February 12, 1983, in Argentina. To the relief of everyone, they all went their separate ways. Ed would go back to his new 5150 studio, Michael Anthony would head back to his wife, who was his high-school sweetheart, and Alex Van Halen would rejoin his then-girlfriend Valeri Kendall, who would become his wife in June of 1983. Roth would head out on another excursion with his adventure crew named the Jungle Studs.

Copyright 2023 The Tapes Archive LLC

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Eddie Van Halen: The Joy and Pain of Rock’s Last Guitar Superhero

By Brian Hiatt

Brian Hiatt

I n 1983, when Eddie Van Halen first built his beloved 5150 home studio in the hills near Hollywood, he decorated its kitchen with a photograph of a squat old apartment building in a city more than 5,000 miles away. Every time he’d head to the fridge for a beer during his all-night recording sessions, which was often, he’d see the home where he spent most of his first seven years, at 59 Rozemarijnstraat in the city of Nijmegen, in the Gelderland province of the Netherlands, near the German border.

Eddie, the grinning, all-American guitar genius and musical mastermind for the most distinctly Southern Californian band since the Beach Boys, was a biracial immigrant who barely spoke a word of English until he was seven years old. His father was Dutch, and his mother was born in Indonesia, with Indonesian and Dutch ancestry. In the band’s early days, when Eddie and his older brother, Alex, Van Halen ’s drummer, got into occasional screaming arguments, they would lapse into Dutch. 

“It was one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen,” their onetime manager Noel Monk wrote. “These two ordinarily placid rockers, who usually spoke in a sort of pothead-surf patois, suddenly nose to nose, spitting and snarling and growling at each other in a foreign language, as if they had become possessed.”

Visit Our Special Tribute Package for More on Eddie Van Halen’s Music and Influence

Eddie, who died of cancer on October 6th, 2020, was, at his core, an eternally boyish, sweet-natured prodigy. The joy he conveyed onstage with guitar in hand was genuine and profound. But there were also darker currents in his emotional life he couldn’t express in words, even to those closest to him. He avoided the ups and downs of high school social life, and sometimes school itself, by holing up in his bedroom with his guitar and a six-pack. He went on to spend a good portion of his life in that realm of pure music, retreating into endless, meditative, alcohol-fueled jams in hotel rooms or in his studio. “It’s the universal vibration,” he told me in 2007. “It heals.” 

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“When he played,” his ex-wife Valerie Bertinelli wrote, “he disappeared into a world that was his. There he was most comfortable, and whatever he shared was of his own choosing. This interior world would confound, anger, and frustrate me to no end later on, but early on it was seductive.”

Eddie-Van-Halen-digital-cover

He tended to avoid confrontation, and let his frustrations build. He didn’t protest when frontman David Lee Roth and producer Ted Templeman used a funky synth riff Eddie had intended for an original song to anchor the band’s 1982 cover of “Dancing in the Street,” but then complained bitterly about the seemingly minor slight for decades.

You can, at times, hear anger and pain in his playing, alongside the ever-present mischief and unearthly virtuosity. It’s perhaps most evident on Van Halen’s heaviest album, 1981’s Fair Warning , but from early on, his own mother heard all of his bent high notes as “crying.” 

There was a fair amount of self-loathing in his makeup. His mom pushed classical piano studies so hard that Eddie took to casually comparing his upbringing to the movie Shine , in which parental pressure drives a musical prodigy into a mental breakdown. “The whole time I was growing up, my mom used to call me a ‘nothing nut — just like your father,’” he told Guitar World . “When you grow up that way, it’s not conducive to self-esteem.”

At the same time, as chronicled in Greg Renoff’s indispensable early-years bio Van Halen Rising , the Van Halen parents were supportive enough to stretch their finances to buy Alex a drum kit and Eddie a Gibson Les Paul in 1969. Eddie was still living with his mom and dad at the age of 25, when he had already made multiple platinum albums. At that point, his mom was still convinced it wouldn’t last, and that he’d have to go back to school.

At the height of his early success, with “Jump” all over MTV, he confessed to fearing he was “stupid,” and in another interview the same year, called himself “selfish” and a “sick fuck.”  “Ed – you are a good man,” Bertinelli wrote in her memoir’s dedications. “Believe it. When you do, you’ll be free.” Even as he was widely acclaimed as the most exciting guitar player alive, even as Templeman was comparing him to Bach and Charlie Parker in the same sentence, Eddie was plagued by insecurity, requiring liberal doses of alcohol and sometimes cocaine to overcome his anxiety. “Every time I walk into the studio it seems like the first time,” he said in 1996. “It’s like I’ve never written a song before. I am just as scared.”

Like his father and brother, he was an alcoholic. In the entire first decade of the band’s success, he didn’t have a single sober day. “I’m actually a shy, nervous person,” he said in 1998. “I used to be easily intimidated. That’s why I used to drink.” Despite years of struggle, he didn’t achieve lasting sobriety until 2008. 

Van Halen changed the way electric guitarists played, the sounds they strove for, even the physical construction of the instruments they used, with multiple patents to his name (and other technical breakthroughs, he credibly maintained, that were ripped off and capitalized upon before he learned how to use the patent office). He single-handedly gave the electric guitar an extra decade or more of cultural prominence, even as he’d try to duck blame for a generation of teased-hair shredders who “played like typewriters.” 

But he wasn’t just a guitar player. Eddie was an award-winning piano prodigy before he hit puberty, and there were periods when he abandoned guitar altogether for as long as a year, writing exclusively on piano and synthesizers. He took up the cello seriously in midlife, playing along to Yo Yo Ma recordings for hours late at night. Friends told tales of him picking up unexpected instruments — a saxophone, a harmonica — and playing them at a seemingly professional level. 

His most unbreakable bonds were familial. He and Alex played together from their preteen years all the way up to the end of Eddie’s career; in their first band, the Broken Combs, Eddie was on piano and Alex played saxophone. They had an uncanny musical bond, following each other’s rhythmic twists as if they shared a single musical intelligence. “We were probably the only rhythm section in rock & roll that was guitar and drums, not bass and drums,” Eddie told me.

Early in their marriage, he told Bertinelli he’d like to have enough kids to form an entire band. When Bertinelli became pregnant with their only child, Wolfgang, Eddie played guitar for him in utero. His son turned out to be a gifted multi-instrumentalist from an early age. At 15, Wolfgang joined Van Halen on bass, and Eddie was overjoyed (displaced bassist Michael Anthony less so). “I pick him up from school every day,” Eddie told me, with obvious pride, “and we make music. The kid kicks ass.”

Lead singers would come and go and come back, but Van Halen wasn’t the kind of group Eddie or Alex could or would leave (despite the occasional threat by Eddie during the original Roth years). It was their name, their band. Eddie’s tenure in Van Halen was temporary, he once joked: It would last “only as long as I live.”

Eddie and Alex’s father, Jan, was a hard-drinking, classically trained saxophonist and clarinetist who blew blazing solos in big bands. After fighting in the Dutch resistance in World War II, Jan traveled to Indonesia, in its last days as a Dutch colony, and married a woman he met there, Eugenia van Beers. When she and her husband returned to the Netherlands and started a family, they faced overt racism, even as Jan’s musical career was picking up. “My mom became a second-class citizen,” Eddie recalled, “because she was Indonesian.” With 75 guilders and a piano to their name, his parents, already in their forties, took Eddie and Alex on a nine-day boat journey to America.

Jan paid his way by playing in the boat’s band, and Eddie and Alex performed as well. Eddie never forgot that their performance earned them a place at the captain’s table for dinner. The boat landed in New York, and after a cross-country train trip, the family settled in Pasadena, California. Their new life in a new country was, at least at first, a complete disappointment. Eugenia cleaned houses, and Jan walked six miles each way to wash dishes at a hospital. Big bands were dead, but Jan rebuilt a semblance of a music career, playing in a polka band that would occasionally have Alex subbing on drums. 

Eddie, meanwhile, was bullied in school, at least by the white kids. “I wasn’t able to speak English and used to get my ass kicked because I was a minority,” he said in 1998. “All my friends were black, and they stuck up for me.”

Even as Eddie and Alex endured piano lessons from an elderly Russian musician who slapped errant hands with a ruler, life in America finally started to show promise when they heard rock & roll. When Eddie encountered the snare-heavy beat of the Dave Clark Five’s fantastically noisy “Glad All Over,” he was convinced he had found his musical destiny: He’d become a rock & roll drummer like Clark.

“My brother and I used to build model cars,” Eddie told me, “and after we blew up the model cars with cherry bombs and lighter fluid, we’d stick all the plastic parts back in the box and pound on the box, trying to make it sound like their records.” He got a paper route to pay for a drum kit, even as Alex started taking flamenco guitar lessons. “And while I was out throwing papers, my brother started playing my drums; he got better than me, so I said, ‘OK, fuck you, I’ll play your guitar.’”

Eddie and Alex played together endlessly as kids, while other musicians came and went. Their first gigging band was the Trojan Rubber Company, and around 1971 they’d formed a power trio named Genesis, eventually adding a kid named Mark Stone on bass. Eddie served double duty as frontman. While he could pull it off — his harmonies with Michael Anthony would become a backbone of Van Halen’s sound — the vocals were mostly an afterthought. 

In practically every interview he’d give later on, Eddie would tout Eric Clapton’s Cream-era playing as his sole influence. Entranced by what he heard as a saxophone-like tone and approach in Clapton’s playing at that time, he learned his solos note by note. On the wall of the bedroom Alex and Eddie shared were posters of Clapton and Ginger Baker. Cream, Eddie once told Guitar World , “made music exciting in a way I don’t think people really understood. It was almost as if the lyric and actual song structure were secondary. ‘Let’s get this shit over with so we can make music and see where we land tonight.’”

As he spent most of the Seventies playing with his brother in what became perhaps the greatest cover band in the state of California, Eddie also absorbed the style of just about every great hard-rock and metal guitar player, covering the Who’s Pete Townshend, Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi, Aerosmith’s Joe Perry, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons (whose part on “Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers” is notably proto-Van Halen-esque, from its chugging riff to a quick two-hands-on-the-fretboard moment in the solo), and countless others. (Later, he’d get into fusion-era Jeff Beck, and take particular inspiration from the fluid, harmonically adventurous playing of Allan Holdsworth.)  

Early on, the sheer speed of the playing on two songs caught Eddie’s ear and transformed his sense of his instrument’s possibilities: Alvin Lee on Ten Years After’s “I’m Going Home” and the underrated Jim McCarty on Cactus’ frantic version of “Parchman Farm.” As his own hands picked up velocity, Eddie became a local legend by the age of 15, an unknown kid already outplaying any rock guitarist his audiences had ever heard, backed by a drummer who could follow him anywhere. 

By 1972, Genesis became Mammoth, after realizing their old name was taken by a certain British prog act. Mammoth were the rowdiest and most talented band in Pasadena’s thriving, police-hounded backyard party scene, where hundreds of sunburnt kids would gather near the pool of any house that vacationing parents were foolish enough to leave in the custody of teenagers. 

An ambitious, cocky, charismatic, off-puttingly motormouthed local kid named David Roth soon set his sights on the band, offering himself up as a new frontman. They considered it, until they determined that he could not, in fact, sing. Undeterred, Roth went off and started his own competing party band, working hard on his vocals. Eventually he made it into Mammoth, in part because the band was already renting the PA system purchased for him by his dad, a highly successful eye surgeon. The band began practicing in Roth’s spacious basement.

Roth had his sights on the Hollywood clubs and well beyond. He pushed the band into more concise, poppier, danceable territory, even getting them to cover K.C. and the Sunshine Band, James Brown, and the Isley Brothers (though their version of the Isleys’ “It’s Your Thing” somehow sounded like Black Sabbath).  The Van Halen brothers were musical purists, stepping onstage in street clothes, aiming to impress with note-perfect covers of album sides.  For Eddie, any frontman would always just be a “throat,” almost a necessary evil, and Roth, as Eddie once put it, was “no opera singer.” But it was his showmanship and sex appeal, along with his love of pop and R&B, that pushed the band out of backyards. It was Roth’s idea, in the end, to name the band Van Halen. 

In 1974, the band recruited a new bassist, Michael Anthony, a good-humored guy whose sturdy physique reflected his playing style. He had been the lead singer in another popular party band, and his powerhouse background vocals, in harmony with Eddie’s, helped create a new signature sound for Van Halen, bringing in a hint of sunshiny pop that few other hard-rock or metal acts of the era would even attempt.

When Eddie was 12, his dad gave him his first drink and cigarette, in a misguided effort to calm his nerves (young Eddie was either upset after an attack by a German shepherd or nervous before a musical performance, depending on the account). By the mid-Seventies, Eddie’s drinking was starting to ramp up, and he was already using cocaine. By 1977, the drug was enough of a staple of the band’s daily lives that they had a pet name for it, “Krell.” There were some early warning signs of trouble: One day in 1972, Eddie snorted PCP he thought was coke and suffered a near-fatal overdose, ending up in the hospital. 

As the band began working original songs into their set, moving up in the club world from the sleazy, unhip Gazzarri’s to the more desirable Starwood, the prospect of a record deal loomed. After a false start with Gene Simmons of Kiss that ran afoul of that band’s internal politics, they signed with Warner Bros. in February 1977. Templeman, a Warner exec, became their producer, and his commercial instincts and deep regard for Eddie’s musicianship served them well. 

In an evolutionary leap that required true genius, Eddie’s already spectacular playing suddenly transformed in 1977. It started late the previous year, when he assembled a Stratocaster copy, gutted it, and stuck in a humbucking pickup, the kind usually reserved for Gibson guitars. He’d eventually douse the thing in spray paint — black paint on a white body at first, later to become red.  

“I said, ‘Eh, I’m gonna put some masking tape on it, paint it black, take it off, and see what it looks like,’” he told me. “Went to the bicycle store, bought some spray-paint cans, went to my backyard, just hung it up with a coat hanger, and painted it.” The Frankenstrat would become one of the most famous instruments in rock history, ending up on display in the Museum of Modern Art. It looked like Van Halen sounded: “barely controlled chaos,” as Eddie put it to me. 

Armed with the Frankenstrat, Eddie began making extensive and inventive use of the note-warping whammy bar, teasing out elephant roars, horse whinnies, rocket-engine bursts of noise, and disorienting octave jumps. He could make it sound like his guitar was laughing in disbelief at his own virtuosity. Many post-Hendrix guitarists had avoided the whammy bar, because it knocked guitars out of tune. Eddie, never a Hendrix devotee, had long admired Ritchie Blackmore’s use of it on 1970’s Deep Purple in Rock, apparently filing the technique away for seven years. 

Eddie’s other 1977 transformation was a true paradigm shift: He started two-hand tapping. Eddie was far from the first player to use his right hand along with his left to fret and pull off notes (Steve Hackett of Genesis was one of many predecessors), but no one else had employed the technique anywhere near as extensively or effectively. Now, his solos were spiked with hornlike note flurries and liquid neoclassical arpeggios. 

It didn’t hurt that he already had one of the best guitar tones in rock, thanks in part to the brilliant innovation of using a Variac voltage limiter to allow himself to crank his amp to creamy — or Cream-y — levels of tube-melting distortion without excessive volume. Star Wars hit theaters that same summer, and the bursts of impossible speed that the two-hand technique brought to his playing were the sonic equivalent of the Millennium Falcon blazing through hyperspace. 

Van Halen seems to have gotten immediate inspiration for the move from guitarists Harvey Mandel and Rick Derringer, according to Renoff. But Eddie told me, in an anecdote he often repeated, that he’d started pondering the possibilities of two hands on the fretboard in the early Seventies, after watching Jimmy Page do one-handed pull-offs on Led Zeppelin’s “Heartbreaker.” (Eddie maintained that he’d been actually using the trick since 1972, but no one seems to have witnessed that, and there’s no evidence of it on bootlegs and demos. Even geniuses can be unreliable narrators.) 

“Basically all it is, is, you get an extra finger on this hand,” Eddie told me, indicating his left. “And you can put it anywhere you want and you can add other fingers. Yeah, I was watching Jimmy Page go” — he sang a hammer-on riff — “and I was going, ‘Oh, OK. I can play like that.’ You wouldn’t know if I was using this finger or this one. But you just kind of move it around, and it’s like you got one big hand there, buddy. That’s a hell of a spread!”  

In May 1978, Eddie Van Halen sat in a Parisian hotel room, weeping. His band had a hit debut album, had just played their first European headlining dates, and would soon embark on a tour opening for Black Sabbath, where they would routinely blow the older band off the stage. But Eddie was done. “I want to go back to L.A.,” he told his then-tour manager, Noel Monk, according to Monk’s memoir, Running With the Devil. “I don’t want to do this anymore.… Fucking David — that asshole — he wants to be a big rock star.… I don’t want to be a rock star. I hate this bullshit!” Monk reminded Eddie how many people were counting on him, and that if the success continued, he’d be able to buy his parents a house. The crisis was averted. 

Once Van Halen finally managed to get signed, there had only been a few other speed bumps. Templeman, unimpressed with David Lee Roth’s vocal skills, briefly considered having the band bring in sturdy former Montrose frontman Sammy Hagar. But Roth kept working on his singing, even taking vocal lessons, and Templeman came to appreciate Roth’s gift as a stylist and lyricist. With Eddie on guitar, there was already so much music in Van Halen that Roth’s frequent jive-y detours into talk-singing and just plain talking were as clever as they were necessary, making room for the band’s other assets. 

The band began recording their still-astonishing self-titled debut album in late August 1977. Proving the value of a prolonged party-band apprenticeship, they knocked the whole thing out in two weeks, capturing near-perfect live takes in the studio. (Roth and Templeman quietly worked together for hours afterward to capture acceptable lead vocals.) They spent only $54,000 in the process, according to Renoff, a pittance even for the time. Along the way, engineer Donn Landee was savvy enough to hit “record” while Eddie was running through his stage guitar solo, which became the epochal instrumental “Eruption.” Even as generations of guitarists risked tendinitis trying to master the piece, Eddie always maintained that he could’ve played it better.

In the wildly productive years between 1976 and ’78, Van Halen had amassed so much material that they were able to draw on the stockpile during the entire Roth era. Which is fortunate, because they released an album a year five years in a row under increasing commercial pressure from Warner Bros., while maintaining a brutal touring schedule. A lot of their evolution had already happened: Even some songs that seemed like giant leaps ahead, such as 1980’s impressive, Who-like multipart suite “In a Simple Rhyme,” actually predated their record deal.

The band rarely had enough time in the studio, and on 1981’s Fair Warning, Eddie began staying up all night with engineer Landee, lacing the songs with overdubs and some of the most unhinged solos he’d ever play. It was also, in his mind, a way of pulling the album away from Roth and Templeman without face-to-face conflict.  As Eddie saw it, Templeman and Roth started to fear he was “out of control.”

“He sat there with his engineer and tinkered with ideas until he either got them the way he wanted,” Bertinelli wrote, “or ran out of booze, coke, energy, or inspiration, or all of the above.” Eddie felt endless pressure, she continued, to come up with “something better, something catchier, something Dave approved of, something the record company liked.” Around that time, Eddie revealed later, he was so frustrated with Roth that he actually contemplated quitting the band. As a rule, Eddie wrote riffs and instrumental tracks, not finished songs. He needed his singer to write vocal melodies and lyrics, which only added to his continual frustration.

On April 11th, 1981, 18 days before the release of Fair Warning, Eddie married Bertinelli, then a 20-year-old TV actress. He had met her only eight months earlier. No one in the band was particularly happy about it, least of all Roth, who already resented the level of attention Eddie was getting. (Rather churlishly, Roth wrote in his memoir that he had “no interest” in Bertinelli when she’d first come backstage to meet the band the year before.) Bertinelli wrote in her memoir that Eddie claimed to have overheard Roth saying, “That fucking little prick, not only is he winning all the guitar awards, he’s also the first to marry a movie star.”

Van Halen and Bertinelli fell in love on the road, while the band supported 1980’s Women and Children First. A Van Halen tour was, to say the least, a strange place to start a monogamous relationship. It was Roth and Alex who took close interpersonal contact with fans to new levels, with the singer inventing a system of rewards for roadies who wrangled attractive young women backstage. But the only member who avoided road hookups altogether was long-married Michael Anthony.  

“We were punch-drunk in love,” Bertinelli wrote. “And just plain punch-drunk. We drank Southern Comfort and vodka tonics. He also drank his Schlitz malt liquor.… He was almost nocturnal, and if I hadn’t stayed up drinking and doing coke with him, we would have been on completely different schedules.” After the tour, they moved in together and started planning a wedding, filling out forms for the priest while each held their own vial of cocaine. The wedding day was a near-disaster, with Eddie getting so wasted that he threw up before the ceremony even started.

Fair Warning became a favorite of serious Van Halen fans, and the VH album of choice for Nineties alt-rock stars including Billy Corgan and Dave Navarro. It was also the slowest-selling LP of the Roth era. Band members decided they needed to stop rushing through their albums, so they came up with a plan that would entirely backfire. They recorded a cover of Roy Orbison’s “Pretty Woman” as a standalone single, figuring it would be their only release of 1982. Instead, it became a pop hit so big that Warner Bros. demanded an accompanying album, immediately. They had to bang out an LP in 12 days, and Eddie was particularly unhappy about it.

Diver Down included no fewer than five cover songs, plus two guitar instrumentals, including the remarkable “Cathedral,” on which Eddie uses his volume knob to create organ-like swells, turning it so fast and hard that he ruined the mechanism. There was a lot of that kind of destructive friction in Van Halen at the time: Eddie hated cover songs; Roth despised Roth-free guitar instrumentals. (“Fuck the guitar-hero shit,” Roth would say, according to Eddie. “We’re a band!”) Roth was a gifted narcissist who grated on almost everyone but his fans; Eddie was a quiet-to-a-fault virtuoso who was drinking too much and doing too much coke. Alex was taking in so much alcohol that, within a couple of years, he’d complain of hallucinations. 

In the summer of 1982, Eddie received a phone call from Quincy Jones, who was working on Michael Jackson’s Thriller. They had a hot R&B-rock song called “Beat It,” with a riff and rhythm guitar from Eddie’s friend Steve Lukather, and they needed a guitar solo to match. Eddie shrugged and said sure. He came into Westlake Studio, suggested a few changes in the song’s arrangement, and then laid down a 30-second solo that would become the most-heard bit of music he’d ever make, a growling, dive-bombing, squalling mini-masterpiece that concluded with a blast of finger-tapping, a speed-picked trill, and one last show-off-y tug on his whammy bar. The fresh context was a reminder of how exciting Eddie’s playing could be, as dazzling as the moonwalk Jackson would soon debut.

Eddie didn’t tell his bandmates about his work that day. And for reasons he had trouble articulating, he didn’t accept any payment or royalties for his work on “Beat It.” Instead, if you believe Roth’s account, Eddie would end up paying a heavy price. Roth learned of the collaboration the following year, when he heard “Beat It” blasting out of a car parked outside an L.A. convenience store. By that time, Eddie had also recorded a couple of instrumentals for one of Bertinelli’s TV movies, and was contributing solo tracks for the soundtrack of the Cameron Crowe-penned film The Wild Life.   

In his memoir, Roth described that moment as a turning point in his thinking: “It was at that time, I said to myself, ‘How many solo projects will he do while I stand guard at the gate of dreams worth dying for here?’ Saying, ‘No, no, I’m not going to act, I’m not going to write, I’m not going to be on television.…’ It was at that point I said maybe I’ll do something on the side as well.” Within two years after the release of “Beat It,” that decision would lead to the end of the original band.

During the Diver Down sessions, Eddie tried to interest his collaborators in a synthesizer piece he was particularly excited about, built around a catchy sequence of ascending chords. It was quickly tossed aside. Eddie played that initial version of what became “Jump” over the phone for journalist Jas Obrecht in 1982, and judging from the leaked audio of that conversation, it was still undeveloped, with the main chord progression almost buried amid frantic, trippy keyboard noodling.

Ever brand-conscious, Roth was wary of synths, fearing sounds associated with New Wave would offend Van Halen fans’ tribal loyalties. “We had intentionally stayed away from keyboards,” he said in 2004, “because up till then, what instruments you used indicated which neighborhood you were part of.” Templeman, meanwhile, felt that if Van Halen had to use keyboards, they should be as ferocious as Eddie’s guitars, as in Women and Children First ’s “And the Cradle Will Rock,” built around a heavily distorted Wurlitzer part.

So when sessions began in 1983 for what would become 1984 , and Eddie again presented a version of the “Jump” track to the band, there was again a distinct lack of excitement. But by that point, Eddie had a secret weapon. On his property off Coldwater Canyon, he had recently broken ground on what, as far as the city zoning commission was concerned, was supposed to be a racquetball court. It was, instead, the first incarnation of his 5150 Studios, a clubhouse where he could record all night — or for days on end — while maintaining complete control.

In an overnight session at 5150 early on, Eddie and Alex laid down a basic track for “Jump” that suddenly made the song undeniable. As Templeman recalls in his recent memoir, Ted Templeman: A Platinum Producer’s Life in Music , he disliked the clean, bright sound Eddie settled upon for the main chordal riff, comparing it to an organ in a baseball stadium. But in the track Alex and Eddie created, “Jump” drew its hard-rock power almost entirely from a fierce drum performance (on an electronic Simmons kit) that offset any synth cheesiness. Roth took a cassette into his 1951 Mercury convertible and blasted the recording over and over for an hour while he wrote lyrics and came up with a melody. It took about an hour, and when Roth was done, Van Halen had officially written their biggest-ever song.

The rest of the album did not go as smoothly. Eddie and engineer Donn Landee were in a deep mind-meld, avoiding Roth and Templeman. The pair would record for days straight and then crash. (Eddie once called Landee, with deep admiration, “a man-child genius on the edge of insanity,” though it was unclear which of the two men he was really describing.) In the end, the situation deteriorated to the point where Roth and Templeman were mixing one version of the album, while Landee and Eddie finished another entirely separate mix, using master tapes they were literally hiding from their producer.

In the end, the album was, for the most part, brilliant, with an effervescent air and youthful energy that betrayed zero signs of its ugly birth. “Panama,” based around a sparkling monster of a riff, was a perfect Van Halen song, with one of Roth’s greatest vocal performances. The shuffle “Hot for Teacher” featured a startling drum performance by Alex, pummeling his digital kit with the same disconcerting speed his brother mustered on his fretboard.

The tour featured a band that was hitting its peak, and about to fall off a cliff. Eddie and Roth, never exactly pals, had begun avoiding each other as much as possible offstage. “By mid-1984, Van Halen was a glossy but depressed replica of its former self,” wrote Monk, who was in his final days as the band’s manager by that point. Eddie, for one, had a personal cocaine dealer following him around the world, kept lines of coke on one of his onstage amps, and took to chugging vodka straight from the bottle, according to Monk.

Roth was increasingly imperious, and always in character, even in private rehearsals. He banned band wives from a Life Magazine shoot, hired two little people as his backstage bodyguards for what he intended as comic effect, and held court after shows, chiding the crew and his bandmates for mistakes, as if possessed by the Van Halens’ old piano teacher. “I was domineering,” Roth acknowledged in 2004. “I was demanding. I was exacting.”

Midway through, Roth and the Van Halens found something to agree upon, according to Monk: Unhappy with Anthony’s lack of songwriting input, they asked him to sign a document retroactively revoking his writing and publishing royalties from 1984. In the end, he signed it, to Monk’s horror.

In August 1984, as the band prepared for the final leg of the 1984 tour, Roth informed his bandmates that he had already recorded a solo cover of “California Girls,” and planned to release it as part of a solo EP that January. They were not thrilled. Things only got worse when Roth practically took over MTV early the next year with the garish hit videos for that song and his “Just a Gigolo/I Ain’t Got Nobody” medley. Roth became convinced he was destined for multimedia superstardom, and began writing a script for a movie he planned to star in, imagining that Van Halen could do the score. Eddie found the idea insulting. 

In early 1985, the band attempted rehearsals for what was supposed to be Van Halen’s next album, without much progress. “There were constant delays and screaming,” Roth wrote. “The chemistry had turned rotten.” Eddie later said that Roth didn’t want to make the album (though the singer had told David Letterman he was looking forward to it that January); Roth, in turn, claimed the brothers didn’t want to tour anymore, though it seems more likely that they just didn’t like Roth’s idea of going back on tour before they had completed the new album. 

Either way, Roth quit. The singer recalls warning Eddie about his brother’s drinking; Eddie remembers Roth suggesting he might come back after his movie, which was never actually made. As inevitable as the split may have seemed, Eddie was shell-shocked. “He really hurt me,” Eddie told journalist Steve Rosen in 1986. “At the height of our career, when you work at something that long, and someone just pulls the plug on you? That’s, y’know, kind of cruel.”

The second incarnation of Van Halen began , appropriately enough, at a repair shop for ultra-luxury sports cars. A former Ferrari test-driver named Claudio Zampolli in Van Nuys was the go-to mechanic and sales broker for temperamental Italian cars and the rich L.A. guys who owned them, and his clients included both Eddie Van Halen and the journeyman rock singer Sammy Hagar, of “I Can’t Drive 55” fame. The Van Halens had always admired Hagar’s work in his first band, Montrose, whose debut album had been co-produced by Templeman.

At Zampolli’s shop, Eddie admired a rare Ferrari that turned out to belong to Hagar. Zampolli, who knew of the Van Halens’ dilemma, handed over the singer’s number and urged him to call, which he did, right from the shop’s phone. Hagar showed up at 5150 in a pressed Armani jacket, only to encounter two drunk brothers in a filthy studio that “smelled like the worst bar on the planet,” as he wrote in his memoir. Beer cans, cigarette ashes, and old pizza boxes were everywhere.

Hagar, who was eight years older, didn’t know what to make of it all. But when he stepped to the microphone and started improvising over what would become the song “Summer Nights,” they all realized they had, at the very least, a viable product. Or as Warner Bros. exec Mo Ostin put it after he heard the conglomeration, which he thought they should rename Van Hagar: “I smell money.”

The band had considered other possibilities for a singer, including at least one woman, Scandal singer Patty Smyth (a friend Bertinelli feared Eddie was in love with, though Smyth always insisted their relationship was platonic). Eddie had talked to Pete Townshend about some kind of collaboration, before literally losing the Who maestro’s phone number. That discussion was apparently separate from another abandoned idea: an all-star Van Halen album where singers from Joe Cocker to Phil Collins would appear. Former Journey singer Steve Perry also recently told Rolling Stone that he got a call from Eddie during this period, but nothing came of that either. 

Hagar was a hard-working, unpretentious dude, a naturally melodic songwriter with a likable manner and an undeniably powerful singing voice, a contained howl that always sounded thoroughly commercial, radio-ready. He was armed with some of the best business instincts in rock, but unlike Roth, he was no intellectual — his subtext-free lyrics were often as undercooked as they were crass. (“Wham, bam, oh, Amsterdam,” he would sing, in a dubious celebration of Eddie’s birthplace.)

The new lineup quickly recorded its first album together, 5150 , and it charted higher than any release of the Roth era, hitting Number One. The follow-up, 1988’s OU812, also topped the charts. The eccentricity and experimentation of the best of the Roth era was increasingly hard to find in Eddie’s songwriting, which was leaning toward sleek, concise constructions, with more and more keyboards. 

The band still managed some pleasingly unhinged hard-rock songs. But on other tracks, Eddie’s newly streamlined tendencies — combined with Hagar’s polished voice — pushed Van Halen toward the gleaming corporate-rock of Journey, a band the wild, old Van Halen mocked. Even so, Van Halen had survived a lead-singer transplant, an all-but-impossible feat, and it was Eddie’s talent that made it possible.

With Hagar, Van Halen went from “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love” to howling about the subject repeatedly. On 5150 alone there was “Why Can’t This Be Love,” with the fantastically insipid line “Only time will tell if we stand the test of time,” and “Love Walks In,” followed on later albums by “When It’s Love” and “Can’t Stop Lovin’ You.” (At least “Don’t Tell Me (What Love Can Do),” which attempted to address the death of Kurt Cobain, took a slightly different tack, at the Van Halen brothers’ insistence.)

In December 1986, with the new band fresh off the road from its first tour together, Jan Van Halen died, after suffering a heart attack earlier that year. Told by his doctors that alcoholism had weakened his health, Jan asked his sons to stop drinking in his last days. Alex, always an even heavier drinker than Eddie, managed to get sober by the following spring. Eddie just wasn’t ready. If anything, his alcohol and coke intake ramped up as he mourned.

In the fall of 1987, Bertinelli left him for the first time, and the couple was separated for three weeks. She returned and staged a tearful intervention for Eddie, who shipped off to Betty Ford for his first attempt at rehab. It didn’t take. “After I got out of Betty Ford,” Eddie told Rolling Stone’ s Steve Pond in 1998, “I immediately went on a drinking binge, and I got a fucking drunk-driving ticket on my motorcycle.”

Meanwhile, OU812 ended up selling less than 5150, and the band’s attempt to move up to stadiums didn’t quite work. Eddie and Alex again teamed up on Anthony, reducing his share in the band’s partnership to 10 percent. Incredibly, according to Hagar’s book, the singer was the only member of the band who voted against the move — Anthony, who knew he mostly played what Eddie told him to, came out in favor of reducing his own stake.

The night the Eighties ended, Eddie was with Bertinelli’s family in Malibu. Perhaps fearing the end of the decade he’d help define, he was downing Jägermeister and turning belligerent. When he decided he’d drive away, he and his wife tussled over the car keys. Bertinelli’s dad, a boxer in his youth, punched Eddie in the face, shattering his cheekbone. Eddie ended up in rehab again, for 28 days. As 1990 went on, Eddie and his wife reconnected, and by June, Bertinelli was pregnant. Wolfgang Van Halen was born on March 16th, 1991. “Sometimes I caught Ed staring at Wolfie with a look of disbelief,” Bertinelli wrote, “as if he couldn’t have helped create something that miraculous.” 

Eddie had curtailed his drinking during the beginning of the pregnancy, but the pressure of writing for what became Van Halen’s third album with Hagar, For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge, ramped his intake back up. The album was the most ferocious of the Hagar era, with Alex returning to a real drum kit, and Eddie taking a power drill to his guitar on the fantastic single “Poundcake.” But Eddie was losing it. Around September 1991, when Wolfie was still six months old, Eddie visited Bertinelli in North Carolina, where she was shooting a TV show, and went on a drunken rampage, shattering the window of a rental car in front of Bertinelli’s mom. 

The biggest MTV hit off of F.U.C.K. (the title was at least superior to the original idea, Fuck Censorship ) was the portentous tune “Right Now,” based around a piano piece Eddie wrote years earlier. Incredibly, the high-concept video for the song (which spawned a lucrative if deeply uncool ad for the short-lived Crystal Pepsi) won Video of the Year at the MTV Video Music Awards in 1992, beating Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” 

The very success of Nirvana was perceived as a rebuke to the hair-metal era Van Halen helped spawn, but Eddie was a fan of Kurt Cobain. “It was just his feel that moved me,” he said. “There’s no particular technical proficiency, but it didn’t matter. I loved his voice and his songs. It came from his heart. It was real.” Eddie showed up, incredibly wasted, at a 1993 show by the band, and asked to jam, which was never going to happen — even before Eddie directed a racist remark at guitarist Pat Smear.

In October 1993, Ed Leffler, who had gone from being Hagar’s manager to managing the latter-day Van Halen, died of thyroid cancer. He was a gruff, sometimes threatening presence to outsiders, but had kept the band close. Without him, yet another Van Halen lineup would start to unravel.

The Van Halen brothers were sick of Hagar, barely getting through the recording process for what turned out to be their final album with him, 1995’s Balance. “Lead singers are hell,” Eddie said that year, in a conversation with Slash of Guns N’ Roses, who was deeply sympathetic to that point of view. “You gotta be a prick to be a lead singer — that’s half the deal.”

Just as they finished Balance, in October 1994, Eddie took his most serious stab at sobriety yet. “The last time I got hammered, I did an all-nighter, and I stumbled in about 8 a.m.,” he told Rolling Stone the next year. “And my son looks at me and goes, ‘Are you all right, Daddy? What happened?’ When your kid knows, it’s time to give it up.”

Eddie was drinking again by the end of the Balance tour, but stayed sober long enough to realize that his substance use had been hiding severe pain in his hip. He hobbled through the shows on painkillers, and soon learned he had avascular necrosis, a condition often aggravated by alcoholism (though he blamed it on years of feeling-no-pain stage antics), and would require a full hip replacement. Alex, meanwhile, wore a neck brace for the entire tour after damaging his spine. Barely 10 years past their youthful peak, the Van Halens were in rough shape, not unlike the prematurely aged Black Sabbath they had met back in 1978.

After a ludicrous blowup over the lyrics and logistics of soundtrack work for the 1996 movie Twister, Hagar was out of the band. And amazingly enough, after 12 years, Roth was back in. Sort of. They enlisted Roth — somewhat humbled in the wake of a foundering solo career  — to record two new songs for a greatest-hits package, while simultaneously exploring other options for singers.

In what must stand as one of the most bafflingly self-destructive PR moves in the history of show business, the band agreed to appear with Roth at the 1996 Video Music Awards. They were, at most, lightly considering a true reunion with their old singer, but the world assumed otherwise. When the foursome stepped onstage to present an award for Best Male Video (it went to Beck), the crowd leaped into a prolonged standing ovation. Eddie looked genuinely nauseated. Roth milked the moment, all but tap-dancing across the stage. Eddie told reporters that the band hadn’t committed to a new singer and that he was more focused on his planned hip replacement. Backstage, he and Roth got into a screaming argument, and the reunion imploded.

Van Halen soon announced their third singer: the Freddie Mercury disciple Gary Cherone, of the Nineties hard-rock band Extreme, best-known for their 1991 hit “More Than Words.” Hagar and Roth had been, at least, equals to the rest of the band; Cherone, as if to emphasize his subordinate position in the group, took up residence in Eddie’s guest house.

Eddie, once again talking up a temporary period of sobriety, told journalists that his longtime therapist had helped him finally learn how to write songs without getting drunk first. Alcohol, he was now convinced, had been blotting out “the light” of his talent. For the album that became Van Halen III, Eddie seized control of the band, taking over for Anthony on bass on all but three tracks, and even doing some of the drumming himself. On the Roger Waters-esque ballad “How Many Say I,” he croaked out lead vocals, not unappealingly.

Though it had its moments, Van Halen III became a notorious critical and commercial flop, and Cherone was out of the band by 1999. It turned out that a lead singer was more than just a “throat.” Eddie never talked about it directly, but it must have been agonizing to face the rejection of the only set of songs he ever wrote sober, and his most experimental and wide-ranging compositions at that. He would live for another 23 years, but would never release another album of new songs; Van Halen’s only other album, 2012’s A Different Kind of Truth, was almost entirely revamped Roth-era demos.

“When people see Van Halen … it conjures up a certain image in their minds,” Eddie said in a bitter moment in 2013. “If there’s just one albino pubic hair outside of that image, they won’t accept it. And if we do put something out, the first thing people are going to say is that it isn’t as good as the classics.”

For Van Halen, there really was only one path left: go back to Roth. They gave it another try around the turn of the century, managing to write and record a few still-unreleased songs that Roth always maintained were fantastic. But legal issues between Roth and the band seem to have gotten in the way, and yet another reunion fizzled.

In January of 2000, Eddie learned that a bump he felt on his tongue was cancer. Contrary to later claims, he went through conventional therapy, including chemo. He came up with a theory that his cancer stemmed from electromagnetic radiation after holding a metal guitar pick in that spot in his mouth. His doctors pointed, instead, to his mammoth intake of cigarettes. “Ed, you are never to smoke again,” his doctor told him, after he had one-third of his tongue removed.

For the first time in 33 years, Eddie Van Halen quit smoking. For about a month. As the habit returned, he hid his cigarettes at first, but was soon puffing away in front of his family. After 20 years of marriage, this blithely suicidal behavior was the breaking point for Bertinelli, who had hung around for years of alcoholism and a series of infidelities. A few weeks later, when she caught Eddie with cocaine that he’d brought on a plane while traveling with a 10-year-old Wolfgang, Bertinelli was thoroughly done. The couple separated, and officially divorced six years later.

Over the next six years, Eddie spiraled into the bleakest period of his life. He drank wine straight from the bottle, pulled his own teeth, became terrifyingly thin, and wore ragged clothes and boots covered with tape. He jammed with Limp Bizkit and then supposedly threatened Fred Durst with a gun. 

He and Alex reunited with Hagar for one last tour in 2004, and Eddie had sunk so far that those around him told Bertinelli they “feared for his life.” For the first time, his substance use was truly damaging his vaunted musicianship, and sound engineers actually turned him down in the mix. He was so wasted that his very personality seemed altered, He turned angry and violent, at one point smashing a wine bottle against the window of a private jet. 

In his memoir, Hagar describes a horrifying failed intervention on that tour. “I will kill the first motherfucker that tries to take this bottle away from me,” Eddie said, if you believe Hagar’s version. “I left my family for this shit. You think I’m going to fucking do this for you guys?”

In the end, Eddie Van Halen somehow found his way out of the darkness. First, he bottomed out in 2006, a year that included an unhinged interview with Howard Stern (Eddie claimed, among other things, to have come up with an illegal cure for cancer) and a collaboration with a porn director named Michael Ninn, whose visual skills Eddie compared to Steven Spielberg, adding, “Everybody masturbates.”

In his only output of the decade, besides three bonus tracks with Hagar, Eddie recorded two instrumental soundtrack songs for Ninn in 2006. One of them, “Catherine,” featured some of the most blatantly anguished-sounding playing of his career; the other, the slightly cheesy “Rise,” had a triumphant air, as if to suggest a rebirth in progress.

Something was, in fact, changing: Wolfgang Van Halen, now 15, had started playing with the family band, and in the process, seemed to be bringing his father back to life. Eddie had long been fed up with Michael Anthony; he and Alex had tried to keep him off of the 2004 Hagar tour, and when he came along at Hagar’s insistence, they forced the beleaguered bassist to sign away his remaining interest in the band. And when Anthony started playing live with Hagar, with the pair sometimes billing themselves as the Other Half, Eddie took it as an official resignation. “You can’t be in two bands,” Eddie told me, cheerfully enough.

Wolfgang filled the hole, and the three Van Halens began jamming daily in 5150. When I spoke to Eddie and Alex in early 2007, they were rehearsing for a planned tour and celebrating their impending induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (to which only Hagar and Anthony actually showed up). At that point, they didn’t officially have a singer, but everyone assumed it had to be Roth. “The most interesting thing,” Alex told me, “is that whoever is singing is going to be surrounded by Van Halens.”

It was Roth. The band announced a 40-date tour, and the singer called up Rolling Stone for his first interview about the reunion. “It was the most obvious phone call ever,” Roth told me of his invitation back to 5150, adding, with a laugh, “It was sort of like they were having a Van Halen family basketball game, and the devil showed up in a pair of sweats looking to throw the ball around. It was very easy. The politics were not fragile at all. … I just showed up, and 20 minutes later, it was the usual: ‘How’s the wife, how’s the kids, let’s play.’” Roth seemed confident that this time the whole thing wouldn’t fall apart, which it soon did. The tour was canceled, with Eddie headed back to rehab at the urging of Alex and Wolfgang.

But it took only a few months for the band to revive itself one more time. On September 27th, 2007, David Lee Roth rejoined Van Halen for their first show together since 1984, kicking off a tour that would run through the following year. ( The show led off with “You Really Got Me, “ with Roth singing the line “I only wanna be by your side” directly to Eddie. ) Technically sober, Eddie soon realized he was now addicted to the Klonopin doctors gave him at rehab the year before. After a couple of rocky shows, the tour paused in the spring of 2008 for what seemed to be one last stop in rehab. This time, it stuck, though Eddie later said the withdrawal from Klonopin and the antidepressants doctors prescribed in its stead left him feeling “catatonic” for months, as an Esquire profile put it. In 2008, he married his second wife, Janie Liszewski, a stuntwoman-turned-publicist.

Though Roth and Eddie never managed to become friends, the band got through two more tours, and the solid A Different Kind of Truth album in 2012. That year, Eddie revealed that he’d had a recent recurrence of cancer, which had spread to his throat; a number of dates on that tour were canceled. Van Halen played their final tour in 2015, with a gleeful, high-jumping Eddie continuing to perform at a high level. After a show-ending “Jump” at their last concert , on October 4th, 2015, Wolfie, Alex, Eddie, and Roth walked to the front of the stage together, and took what turned out to be a final bow.

As the decade progressed, the cancer returned, spreading to his lungs. Eddie’s family and friends maintained silence around his illness. “I don’t know why people want to know what only my wife and son and maybe my best friends have a right to know,” he said in 2001, during his initial diagnosis.

In Eddie’s final months, he heard from many old friends, and some erstwhile enemies. Earlier this year, Sammy Hagar reached out to him, and the two men reconciled. His old engineer and producer stayed in touch as well. “Donn Landee and I would call him up when he was at the hospital at Cedars and try to make him laugh the best we could,” Ted Templeman told Rolling Stone . “Then it got to where they took him home and stuff I don’t want to talk about. The misery he was going through is really hard to relate to or think about, so I blocked that out.”

Eddie Van Halen died on the morning of October 6th, 2020, with his family around him. “I’m so grateful Wolfie and I were able to hold you in your last moments,” Valerie Bertinelli wrote. 

His illness was, by all accounts, not an easy one. And he left with work unfinished, with archives full of music. “I’ve got tons of music,” he told me in December 2008. “Close to a million CDs, cassettes, boxes and boxes and boxes.” The styles ranged from classical to world music, Janie chimed in on the phone. “The stuff is gonna come out,” Eddie promised. “Hopefully people will enjoy the many sides of me. I trip on it myself.”

At the time of that conversation, he was looking forward to his impending wedding to Janie and to planned recording sessions with Roth. He was overwhelmingly proud of Wolfgang, who, in his eyes, was not only carrying on his legacy, but surpassing it. “My son is the most insanely gifted person I’ve ever fucking met,” Eddie said. “I never thought my own son is the one to kick my ass.”

After 30 years, Eddie had beaten his addictions.”I feel like it’s just the beginning,” he said.  “Sounds like it’s going to be a good year,” I replied. You could almost see Eddie Van Halen break into that smile of his over the phone. “It’s a good life, man,” he said.

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WATCH: Eddie Van Halen Gave MTV A Tour Of His 5150 Home Studio In 1998

Eddie Van Halen gave MTV's Chris Connelly a tour of his home studio back in 1998 where they talked about the space, guitars, and being a dad.

One thing I noticed - there is an entire wall full of reel to reel tapes in the archives. My first thought when I saw that was "maybe one day some of that stuff will see the light of day." Then a few hours after I posted this, Van Halen's manager Irving Azoff told Pollstar that Wolfgang and Alex will be going into the studio at some point to go through everything to see if there is anything worth releasing!

Check out the must see video below or on YouTube .

Photo: Getty Images

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  • Cast & crew

Building 5150 Studios

  • Episode aired May 24, 2023

Edward Van Halen in Building 5150 Studios (2023)

In 1984, Van Halen experienced great success with their album "Diver Down" and a highly successful tour. However, the band members were behind the scenes facing internal tensions and conflic... Read all In 1984, Van Halen experienced great success with their album "Diver Down" and a highly successful tour. However, the band members were behind the scenes facing internal tensions and conflicts. Eddie then created 5150 Studio In 1984, Van Halen experienced great success with their album "Diver Down" and a highly successful tour. However, the band members were behind the scenes facing internal tensions and conflicts. Eddie then created 5150 Studio

  • Mark Enochs
  • Michael Anthony
  • Donn Landee
  • David Lee Roth

Edward Van Halen in Building 5150 Studios (2023)

  • (archive footage)

David Lee Roth

  • Alan Berry (uncredited)
  • Mark Enochs (uncredited)
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  • May 24, 2023 (United States)
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  • Runtime 19 minutes

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tour of 5150 studio

Taylor Swift 'Eras Tour' Complete 2024 Setlist: New 'TTPD' Songs Included

Taylor Swift updated her "The Eras Tour" setlist following the release of her 11th studio album, "The Tortured Poets Department."

The "1989" hitmaker adjusted her 44-song setlist to accommodate and include some of her newly released songs. Per Business Insider , the updated show now has 46 songs.

Here are the songs that await Swifties who will attend her upcoming tour stops:

RELATED: Taylor Swift Eras Tour 2024 Changes Revealed: New Setlist, Costumes, 'TTPD' & More

Swift's seventh studio album was released in August 2019. It was her first album following her departure from Big Machine Records. For the updated "Lover" set, she debuted a new body suit.

1. "Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince"

2. "Cruel Summer"

3. "The Man"

4. "You Need to Calm Down"

"Fearless," Swift's sophomore album released in 2008, is the most-awarded album  in the history of country music, according to PR Newswire. For this set, Taylor wore a shimmery dress inspired by her 2009-2010 tour.

6. "Fearless"

7. "You Belong With Me"

8. "Love Story"

In every "Red" set on her tour, the 34-year-old singer-songwriter gives away a "22" bowler hat to a lucky Swiftie.

10. "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together"

11. "I Knew You Were Trouble"

12. "All Too Well" (10 Minute Version)

RELATED: Taylor Swift's 'Eras Tour' Exercise Routine Revealed; 'Tailored' Workout Will Make People 'Throw Up'

"SPEAK NOW"

For Taylor's "Speak Now" set, in honor of her third album, she only performs one song now. Previously, "Long Live" was included in the setlist.

13. "Enchanted"

"REPUTATION"

The "Reputation" album was released in November 2017. The record "aims to clear her name and inaccurate public image," per Genius .

14. "...Ready for It?"

15. "Delicate"

16. "Don't Blame Me"

17. "Look What You Made Me Do"

The billionaire singer released "Folklore" as a surprise album during the pandemic, in July 2020. For the continuation of her tour, she has new outfits for this set.

18. "Cardigan"

19. "Betty"

20. "August"

21. "Illicit Affairs"

22. "My Tears Ricochet"

During Taylor's "Evermore" set, she performs with her moss-covered piano. Her ninth studio album was released in December 2020.

23. "Champagne Problems"

24. "Marjorie"

25. "Willow"

The songstress kicked off the European leg of her tour in Paris in early May and debuted a new outfit for the "1989" set.

26. "Style"

27. "Blank Space"

28. "Shake It Off"

29. "Wildest Dreams"

30. "Bad Blood"

Swift debuts her "The Tortured Poets Department" set after "1989" and makes a strong opening with "But Daddy I Love Him."

31. "But Daddy I Love Him"

32. So High School"

33. "Who's Afraid of Little Old Me?"

34. "Down Bad"

35. "Fortnight"

36. "The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived"

37. "I Can Do It With a Broken Heart"

SURPRISE SONGS

In "The Eras Tour," Swift always performs a two-song acoustic set that is a surprise to Swifties. Her first-ever surprise song, performed in Arizona, was "Mirrorball."

38. Surprise song no. 1

39. Surprise song no. 2

"MIDNIGHTS"

Ending her tour setlist are songs from her 10th studio album, "Midnights," released in October 2022.

40. "Lavender Haze"

41. "Anti-Hero"

42. "Midnight Rain"

43. "Vigilante S**t"

44. "Bejeweled"

45. "Mastermind"

46. "Karma"

"The Eras Tour" is officially set to end in December. However, there are rumors that it will extend until the summer of 2025.

Taylor Swift performs on stage at the Paris La Defense Arena as part of her The Eras Tour, in Nanterre, north-western France, on May 9, 2024. (Photo : JULIEN DE ROSA/AFP via Getty Images)

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Where to watch movies for free in Moscow this summer

People watching a movie in a Pioner 24-hour open-air cinema in Gorky Park.

People watching a movie in a Pioner 24-hour open-air cinema in Gorky Park.

Temporary cinemas will be popping up across Moscow very soon, starting from July 16. All of the spots are brilliant examples of either constructivist or avant-garde architecture, so expect striking settings. A selection of classic Soviet films will be aired using cinematic equipment from the last century. All the screenings are free although online registration is required beforehand, while there will also be guided tours of the spaces, organized by the “Moscow through the Engineer's Eyes” company.

Registration will be open soon at mos-kino.ru

Bread factory

Bread factory 9  / Bezik (CC BY-SA)

Following the success of former factories transformed into art spaces (VinZavod, Arma, Trekhgornaya manufacture), Khlebzavod (“bread factory”) No 9 is one newly opened joint that is attracting creative types from all over the city. The movie Time! Forward! will be screened in the building’s boiler room on July 16. It follows workers from the Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works, one of the largest steel companies in Russia, and is based on a novel by Soviet writer Valentin Kataev.

What’s more, Khlebzavod is a monument to constructivist architecture. Where better to watch such a film?

Novodmitrovskaya St. 1

Roof of the Narkomfin Building

Narkomfin Building / Kirill Zykov/Moskva Agency

The Narkomfin Building was originally designed to house high ranking employees at the Commissariat of Finance. It was built by architects Moisei Ginsburg and Ignaty Milinis. Also a fine example of constructivism, it’s currently in a state of disrepair, locked down, and fairly difficult to get into - which is like a red flag to a bull for more adventurous types.

However, on July 30 the place will be opened up and people will be welcomed onto the roof to watch the film Faith and Truth.

Novinsky Blvrd . 25b1

Khrushchyovka courtyard

Cheremushki district / Alexander Scherbak/TASS

A courtyard located in the 9th experimental block of the Novye Cheremushki district will turn into an outdoor cinema this summer. Cheremushki is the first district where Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchyov decided to build the iconic Khrushchyovka apartment blocks in the 1950s. As a result, thousands of Russians were given their own pads after decades living huddled together in communal apartments known as kommunalka .

Cheremushki is the adapted film-version of Dmitry Shostakovich’s operetta and will be shown here on Aug. 6. The organizers of the multiple screenings - the Moskino cinema chain - say they will revive the Soviet tradition of neighbors meeting in courtyards for a good old tongue wag. There will also be a guided tour of the block.

Address to be confirmed at mos-kino.ru

Pioneers Palace

Pioneers Palace / Legion Media

If you want a slice of the postwar Soviet avant-garde style, head to the Pioneers Palace at Vorobyevy Gory. Pioneers Palaces were youth centers for sport, creativity, and hobbies for Young Pioneers (a communist organization for children) during the Soviet Union. There were dance classes, martial arts, drawing, and many other activities.

To Love a Man , a movie about two young architects building a new town in Siberia, will be shown here on Aug. 22. There will also be a lecture about building experiments in the 20th century.

Kosygina St. 17b2

A secret place

A secret place / Press photo

The last cinema venue remains a secret. On Aug. 27 there will be a screening, but at the moment no one knows where. Information will appear on mos-kino.ru but those who attend all four screenings above will be able to guess the last location.

A talk about architecture and Soviet history also will be hosted here.

Read more: Relics of Constructivist Architecture in post-Soviet countries

If using any of Russia Beyond's content, partly or in full, always provide an active hyperlink to the original material.

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Out of the Centre

Savvino-storozhevsky monastery and museum.

Savvino-Storozhevsky Monastery and Museum

Zvenigorod's most famous sight is the Savvino-Storozhevsky Monastery, which was founded in 1398 by the monk Savva from the Troitse-Sergieva Lavra, at the invitation and with the support of Prince Yury Dmitrievich of Zvenigorod. Savva was later canonised as St Sabbas (Savva) of Storozhev. The monastery late flourished under the reign of Tsar Alexis, who chose the monastery as his family church and often went on pilgrimage there and made lots of donations to it. Most of the monastery’s buildings date from this time. The monastery is heavily fortified with thick walls and six towers, the most impressive of which is the Krasny Tower which also serves as the eastern entrance. The monastery was closed in 1918 and only reopened in 1995. In 1998 Patriarch Alexius II took part in a service to return the relics of St Sabbas to the monastery. Today the monastery has the status of a stauropegic monastery, which is second in status to a lavra. In addition to being a working monastery, it also holds the Zvenigorod Historical, Architectural and Art Museum.

Belfry and Neighbouring Churches

tour of 5150 studio

Located near the main entrance is the monastery's belfry which is perhaps the calling card of the monastery due to its uniqueness. It was built in the 1650s and the St Sergius of Radonezh’s Church was opened on the middle tier in the mid-17th century, although it was originally dedicated to the Trinity. The belfry's 35-tonne Great Bladgovestny Bell fell in 1941 and was only restored and returned in 2003. Attached to the belfry is a large refectory and the Transfiguration Church, both of which were built on the orders of Tsar Alexis in the 1650s.  

tour of 5150 studio

To the left of the belfry is another, smaller, refectory which is attached to the Trinity Gate-Church, which was also constructed in the 1650s on the orders of Tsar Alexis who made it his own family church. The church is elaborately decorated with colourful trims and underneath the archway is a beautiful 19th century fresco.

Nativity of Virgin Mary Cathedral

tour of 5150 studio

The Nativity of Virgin Mary Cathedral is the oldest building in the monastery and among the oldest buildings in the Moscow Region. It was built between 1404 and 1405 during the lifetime of St Sabbas and using the funds of Prince Yury of Zvenigorod. The white-stone cathedral is a standard four-pillar design with a single golden dome. After the death of St Sabbas he was interred in the cathedral and a new altar dedicated to him was added.

tour of 5150 studio

Under the reign of Tsar Alexis the cathedral was decorated with frescoes by Stepan Ryazanets, some of which remain today. Tsar Alexis also presented the cathedral with a five-tier iconostasis, the top row of icons have been preserved.

Tsaritsa's Chambers

tour of 5150 studio

The Nativity of Virgin Mary Cathedral is located between the Tsaritsa's Chambers of the left and the Palace of Tsar Alexis on the right. The Tsaritsa's Chambers were built in the mid-17th century for the wife of Tsar Alexey - Tsaritsa Maria Ilinichna Miloskavskaya. The design of the building is influenced by the ancient Russian architectural style. Is prettier than the Tsar's chambers opposite, being red in colour with elaborately decorated window frames and entrance.

tour of 5150 studio

At present the Tsaritsa's Chambers houses the Zvenigorod Historical, Architectural and Art Museum. Among its displays is an accurate recreation of the interior of a noble lady's chambers including furniture, decorations and a decorated tiled oven, and an exhibition on the history of Zvenigorod and the monastery.

Palace of Tsar Alexis

tour of 5150 studio

The Palace of Tsar Alexis was built in the 1650s and is now one of the best surviving examples of non-religious architecture of that era. It was built especially for Tsar Alexis who often visited the monastery on religious pilgrimages. Its most striking feature is its pretty row of nine chimney spouts which resemble towers.

tour of 5150 studio

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Zvenigorod Museum of History, Architecture and Art

tour of 5150 studio

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tour of 5150 studio

Zvenigorod Museum of History, Architecture and Art - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

IMAGES

  1. The Building of Eddie Van Halen’s 5150 Studio

    tour of 5150 studio

  2. Watch a Tour of Eddie Van Halen's '5150' Studio and Tape Vault

    tour of 5150 studio

  3. "THE FRONT ENTRANCE TO EDDIE VAN HALEN'S 5150 STUDIOS!" #evh #

    tour of 5150 studio

  4. Eddie inside 5150 studio.

    tour of 5150 studio

  5. VHND’s All Access Photo: 5150 Studio

    tour of 5150 studio

  6. 35 Years Ago: Van Halen Plays Final Show Of '5150' Tour [RARE VIDEO]

    tour of 5150 studio

VIDEO

  1. Т/к «5 канал». Утро на 5

  2. VICTOR CUSTOM 5150 studio lead preamp demo

  3. Video Of The 5150

  4. David Rysdahl FX’s "Fargo" Year 5 Premiere Event Blue Carpet Arrivals

  5. Фабрика звёзд-5 Аллы Пугачёвой

  6. Гитарист-виртуоз Денис Щербаков в программе "Утро на 5". 22.06.2015

COMMENTS

  1. Watch a Tour of Eddie Van Halen's '5150' Studio and Tape Vault

    YouTube. MTV Classic has posted a tour of Eddie Van Halen 's 5150 Studio that the guitarist gave Chris Connelly in 1998. In the seven-minute clip, Van Halen shares some interesting stories about ...

  2. 5150 Studios

    Owner. Wolfgang Van Halen. 5150 Studios is Wolfgang Van Halen 's recording studio in the Studio City neighborhood of Los Angeles. [1] The studio was built by his father Eddie Van Halen and is located at 3371 Coldwater Canyon. It was built so Eddie Van Halen could have more control over the recording process than he had in the past.

  3. 25 Year Ago: '5150' Magazine Visits Van Halen's 5150 Studios

    Exactly 25 years ago today Michel Schinkel, the president of the Dutch Van Halen fan club got to visit Van Halen at their studio headquarters. At the time, Michel published a magazine in Holland, called "5150". This was written mainly in Dutch, with occasional parts in English and was published from 1990 to 2004.

  4. The Building of Eddie Van Halen's 5150 Studio

    The electrical panel is located between the control room and studio, away from tape machines and other equipment that is field sensitive. 5150 uses a 220V 100A panel with ample circuits for future expansion. We ran three #00 stranded copper wires from the main house to 5150 (a run of over 200 feet).

  5. 5150 Tour

    5150 Tour (1986) OU812 Tour (1988-1989) The 5150 Tour was a concert tour by American hard rock band Van Halen in support of their seventh studio album, 5150. Background. This was the band's first tour with Sammy Hagar on lead vocals (and second electric guitar), ...

  6. Eddie Van Halen and his home studio: 5150

    While Van Halen was out on the Hide Your Sheep Tour, promoting the Diver Down album, Donn Landee started searching and buying equipment needed for the home studio. Early 1983 construction on Eddie Van Halen's private property commenced. ... The construction of the 5150 Studios was mentioned as well. Below the bits and pieces surrounding the ...

  7. Eddie Van Halen's Home Studio (1998)

    MTV's Chris Connelly visited Eddie Van Halen's home studio in 1998 to discuss building the space, breaking down guitars, and being a dad.#MTVNews #VanHalen #...

  8. Epic five-part documentary focusing on Van Halen's crucial 1983-1984

    The documentary will be split into five parts, which will focus, in order, on: the construction of 5150 Studios, the lead-up to, and aftermath of, the band's performance at the US Festival, the making of 1984, the 1984 tour, and what led to frontman David Lee Roth's departure from Van Halen. The first two parts of the film premiere this ...

  9. New Van Halen documentary takes us back to the early '80s to tell the

    Sourced from a 1985 article in Recording Engineer Producer magazine, written by the studio designer Howard Weiss, it lists 5150 Studios initial gear inventory in detail. You can read that article at The Tape Archives. Watch the first two episodes of the documentary above, with the second focusing on the run-up to the band's legendary ...

  10. Eddie Van Halen revisits Van Halen's landmark '1984' album

    But perhaps the most noteworthy attribute of 1984 is that it is likely the only Diamond-certified (sales of 10 million or more) album that was recorded entirely in a home studio. [Boston's debut album is a close contender, but one of its songs was recorded in a pro studio.Of course, the facility now known as 5150 Studios is not the ordinary home studio.

  11. Inside Eddie Van Halen's '5150' Home Studio

    Inside Eddie Van Halen's '5150' Home Studio. As VanHalen close out the string of dates before the famouspostponement of the rest of their tour, this month's iGuitarMagazine cover star EddieVan Halen has moved to reassure fans that it was, as hadbeen reported, simply a matter of the band being tired. In a newinterview, the guitarist, and his son ...

  12. Building 5150 Studios

    This documentary is not an official or authorized documentary of Van Halen.In 1984, Van Halen experienced great success with their album "Diver Down" and a h...

  13. Van Halen

    Van Halen5150 StudioLos Angeles, CA1993-01-28Promotion for the Live Right Here , Right Now AlbumInterview and 2 live songsDreams 18:10Won't Get Fooled Again ...

  14. Building 5150 Studios

    The Van Halen 1984 Documentary Episode 1. In 1984, Van Halen experienced great success with their album "Diver Down" and a highly successful tour. However, the band members were behind the scenes facing internal tensions and conflicts. The album included cover songs due to time constraints. During this time, Eddie Van Halen connected with ...

  15. Eddie Van Halen: The Joy and Pain of Rock's Last Guitar Superhero

    I n 1983, when Eddie Van Halen first built his beloved 5150 home studio in the hills near Hollywood, he decorated its kitchen with a photograph of a squat old apartment building in a city more ...

  16. WATCH: Eddie Van Halen Gave MTV A Tour Of His 5150 Home Studio In 1998

    Oct 8, 2020. Eddie Van Halen gave MTV's Chris Connelly a tour of his home studio back in 1998 where they talked about the space, guitars, and being a dad. One thing I noticed - there is an entire wall full of reel to reel tapes in the archives. My first thought when I saw that was "maybe one day some of that stuff will see the light of day."

  17. "Van Halen 1984 Documentary" Building 5150 Studios (TV Episode 2023

    Building 5150 Studios: Directed by Alan Berry. With Michael Anthony, Donn Landee, David Lee Roth, Alex Van Halen. In 1984, Van Halen experienced great success with their album "Diver Down" and a highly successful tour. However, the band members were behind the scenes facing internal tensions and conflicts. Eddie then created 5150 Studio

  18. Elektrostal

    In 1938, it was granted town status. [citation needed]Administrative and municipal status. Within the framework of administrative divisions, it is incorporated as Elektrostal City Under Oblast Jurisdiction—an administrative unit with the status equal to that of the districts. As a municipal division, Elektrostal City Under Oblast Jurisdiction is incorporated as Elektrostal Urban Okrug.

  19. Van Halen

    Van Halen - Balance EPK (Electronic Press Kit)

  20. Taylor Swift 'Eras Tour' Complete 2024 Setlist: New 'TTPD' Songs ...

    Check out the songs included in Swift's' updated "Eras Tour" setlist. Taylor Swift updated her "The Eras Tour" setlist following the release of her 11th studio album, "The Tortured Poets Department.

  21. Where to watch movies for free in Moscow this summer

    Temporary cinemas will be popping up across Moscow very soon, starting from July 16. All of the spots are brilliant examples of either constructivist or avant-garde architecture, so expect ...

  22. The Black Keys Quietly Cancel Entire North American Arena Tour

    Last month, the Black Keys shared Ohio Players, their 12th studio album.The rock band was slated to start a North American arena tour in September, but the run has been canceled. All of the dates ...

  23. 5150 Studio Session 1993 VAN HALEN

    [Set List]Dreams 3:58Won't Get Fooled Again (The Who Cover) 10:11One of the footage I collected to study EVH's guitar.【MUTS music EVH method】https://www.yout...

  24. Savvino-Storozhevsky Monastery and Museum

    Zvenigorod's most famous sight is the Savvino-Storozhevsky Monastery, which was founded in 1398 by the monk Savva from the Troitse-Sergieva Lavra, at the invitation and with the support of Prince Yury Dmitrievich of Zvenigorod. Savva was later canonised as St Sabbas (Savva) of Storozhev. The monastery late flourished under the reign of Tsar ...

  25. Zvenigorod Museum of History, Architecture and Art

    Write a review. All photos (100) Suggest edits to improve what we show. Improve this listing. The area. Savvino-Storozhevsky monastyr, Zvenigorod 143180 Russia. Reach out directly. Visit website. Call.