Eddie Van Halen on Band’s Early Cover Song Days: ‘We Sounded Pretty Silly’
Van Halen has issued the third in their videotaped series of self-interviews, and this episode finds the three current and original members of the group joking and laughing about their early days as well as their ill-fated attempts to accurately cover hit dance songs of the era.
Talking about the early gigs when Van Halen was employed to perform popular songs at small clubs, guitarist Eddie Van Halen noted that when they tried to replicate hits such as the Isley Brothers’ ‘It’s Your Thing,’ the results came out more like Black Sabbath: “We sounded pretty silly playing some of that stuff.”
Not that they’re apologetic. “Tone separates this band” from the others, notes Van Halen. “It’s my voice… a lot of it has to do with the way I play.” He teases Roth for his attempts to get the group to sound more like the original records, to which Diamond Dave sheepishly explains, “That was more of a financial imperative.”
The singer goes on to explain that he is still surprised that more people don’t pick up on what he perceives as his own obvious attempts to pay tribute to some of his singing heroes on Van Halen records. “To this day, I laugh when nobody gets it. Cause to me, it’s so obvious I’m imitating so and so…”
The group also fondly remembers the hotel they were at when they found out about their first gold-selling record, and how they were thrown out not for trashing the place but rather because a crew member stole a pillow. We strongly suggest you watch every minute of this interview, it’s great to see these three together like this.
In fact, we’d like to suggest that all classic rock bands line up in front of this very same oriental rug set and tell old stories for two hours, and that the resulting program be put on television in place of ‘The Voice,’ ‘American Idol’ and ‘X Factor.’ Who’s with us?
Watch Van Halen Talk About Their Cover Song Days
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