Saturday, December 21, 2013

How the Grinny stole Guitar Godhood - why I dislike Eddie Van Halen

I finally figured out why I dislike Eddie Van Halen - which, if you read this blog regularly, is no big secret.

For years, I've told myself that Van Halen's guitar playing isn't all that musical.

But I just figured out the REAL reason for my distaste.

It's that danged goofy grin that he has when he's playing. And he still had it, even in 2012:

[T]he black-and-white video for "Tattoo" steals a few moves from the classic Van Halen playbook, with Roth shimmying and shaking (while donning goggles, waving checkerboard flags and frequently changing his wardrobe) and Eddie Van Halen grinning while unleashing a flurry of his patented guitar licks.

And when you have that big goofy grin on your face, you can't (IMHO) be taken seriously as a rock god.

Don't believe that a big goofy grin can change one's estimation of a musician? Let's take a look at some alternate history.

It's Madison Square Garden, and Led Zeppelin is playing their anthem, "Stairway to Heaven." As is normal, the song has been building up. One John has been setting the atmospheric tone, the other John has been building up the percussion to a level of ferocity, Robert is now screaming, and Jimmy is playing an outstanding guitar solo - with a big goofy grin on his face.

Kinda takes the magic away, doesn't it?
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