EDDIE VAN HALEN ON ROCKING SOBER AND THE FUTURE OF VAN HALEN
June 1, 2009
Guitarist speaks out about new album, departure of Michael Anthony and his fresh start
Backstage in the celebrity green room of Spike’s Guys Choice Awards in a booth next to his fellow honoree Clint Eastwood sits Eddie Van Halen — rock’s ultimate guitar slinger — with his fiance Janie Liszewski as he prepares to make an exceedingly rare public speaking engagement. In a star-studded night that will find Mel Gibson getting called “sugar tits” by Brad Pitt and Halle Berry making out with Jamie Foxx, Van Halen provides the clear emotional highlight when he receives Spike’s first ever Guitar God Award from Robert Downey Jr. and is called “a rock & roll revolutionary” ( RS called him a Guitar Hero last year, too). Shortly before taking the stage at Sony Studios in Culver City, Van Halen spoke exclusively to Rolling Stone‘s David Wild about his fears of accepting the honor: “I never go to anything. That’s why I’m actually a little nervous to get up there,” he says. “I don’t even know what to say. Especially sober, shit.”
Eddie, this is not the first time you’ve been called a god. But what did it feel like when you heard Spike wanted to give you the Guitar God Award — the first ever?
Well, it’s a little overwhelming, I guess. I mean, who ever would have thought? I was seven years old when we came to America with my mom, my dad, my brother with 50 bucks and a piano. Who ever would have thought I would be a guitar god, you know? If I’m a guitar god, then my son would be Jesus, right? That means on the next tour, he’d have to walk on water.
The Van Halen tour was such a success. Were you pleasantly surprised?
You never know. But I do know this. Janie and I are getting married on the 27th of June, and then we’ll go on a honeymoon. Then Dave, Wolfie, Alex and I are going into the studio and record some new music and go on tour about a year from now.
Did the Van Halen tour help fire up some new musical ideas?
No, I am always writing, you know. But we’re a true band now. It wasn’t just a reunion one-off thing. I’ve already gone to Dave’s house four or five times over the last month. I’ve got so much music. It’s just trying to figure out what Dave’s into because we haven’t written together in a long time. But it’s great. It feels like we’ve always felt in the beginning. But I’m sober, so it’s different. He’s sober, so it’s different. It’s a wonderful feeling.
The entire interview can be read at http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/28478547/eddie_van_halen_on_rocking_sober_avoiding_beef_and_the_future_of_van_halen.