How Eddie Van Halen Helped Shape My Life
Like so many others the minute I heard Eruption/You Really Got Me played on the radio my life changed immediately. I had been already dabbling with learning the guitar for a few years when upon hearing the song, I knew right then it was time to take my playing a little more seriously. I took my guitar lessons more seriously, I studied my scales a little harder, I even stepped up how my rock poses looked in the mirror...I mean come on now, you have to carry the right swagger if you're ever gonna be a rock star right?
Eddie Van Halen raised the bar for so many of who played guitar at the time. Everyone I knew was furiously studying the finger tap methodology. We would play our gigs at the local bar carefully watching other guitar players to see if they had the method perfected. It was a crazy time but quite frankly much needed. The rock world both nationally and locally stepped up their skillset when it came to perfecting their craft and performances. Some local musicians mastered it, some didn't but regardless...everyone got better and that meant bands were better and as a result attendance at bars with live music thrived.
So here's how Eddie Van Halen's inspiration changed my life - because personally, if it weren't for Eddie Van Halen, I wouldn't have been able to:
*Make a living for many years by touring the Midwest playing in a band at bars and clubs in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana.
*Open for Spinal Tap at DTE Music Theatre (then known as Pine Knob)
*Get a slot on stage opening for Steppenwolf in the parking lot of the Palace at the first Palace Fest.
*Write, produce and distribute a CD of original material.
*Have a song I co-wrote played on the nationally syndicated Z-Rock radio Network and other local radio stations (which helped draw my interest in radio)
*Meet so may rock stars like Ozzy and Kid Rock and so many more.
*Tell tales from the road that are perhaps the funniest moments of my life.
Now obviously I did not posses the talent of one Edward Van Halen to go on and make it big time in the world rock but Eddie's influence did help me step up my game enough to get a few cool accomplishments under my belt that I would have probably otherwise missed out on.
The failed rock star career however did lead me into a much more successful radio career. See how it works? Eddie's inspiration led me to become a better guitar player, which lead me to fantastic life experiences, which eventually lead me to radio, which leads me to where I'm at today. Right where I should be. At RKR doing radio in Kalamazoo, Michigan. I couldn't be happier...so thank EVH. May you rest in Peace.