|Eddie Van Halen dies at 64 of throat cancer...|
Posted by: LateForLunch ® |
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...which really is not fair, considering how many wicked, nasty verminous louts are still alive well past his age.
That being said, Eddie was a chain smoker for a long time. He had part of his tongue removed surgically because of a medical condition several years ago. Van Halen himself stated that he believed a large part of the blame for his mouth ailments was not so much from smoking as from holding metal guitar picks in his mouth a lot.
All due respect, I'd be willing to bet the smoking was more to blame than the metal picks, although they may have had something to do with it for sure.
Van Halen was from a city near where I grew up - he was middle class (or lower) for most of his life. His band needed to borrow money from singer David Lee Roth's father (a wealthy doctor) so they could concentrate on their music career and not have to work other jobs for a living.
Eddie was by all accounts well-liked. He did however like to "party" which translates from pop-speech into "take a lot of illegal drugs and drink a lot". Any time someone does that for months at a time while on tour, it seems to me that they might well be causing long-term damage to their body, including their immune system or DNA.
Whatever the cause, it's a shame we lost such a talented fellow. He was not only adroit in technique, but he also dabbled in electronics, modifying his pick-ups by dipping them in wax was a pioneering method now widely in use.
His trademark hammering technique on the fret board grew out of his inability to afford effects pedals, etc. To provide flash and glitter to his guitar playing he came up with a variety of tricks to embellish his performance such as the whammy-bar / hammering techniques.
What's interesting is that he started as a drummer and keyboard player (although he never learned to read music) and only later took up guitar because his brother had more talent on drums. So Eddie settled for the guitar and made the most of it. Yes, he did.
Eddie's music was always very popular with the military. One of the proud moments of his life, he said, was seeing a video of a military assault by an armored group in Afghanistan or Iraq, blasting his music inside the tanks as they rumbled to their target area.
That was not an isolated event. Many military people liked to have his music in combat settings - and I'm fairly sure it wasn't because of David Lee Roth's singing. heh
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