Music journalist Michael Christopher is a senior writer for the online music magazine Vanyaland, where he was a founding member and later managing editor. He contributes regularly to Ultimate Classic Rock, Loudwire, and LA Weekly. Christopher joined Ian Punnett (Twitter) to discuss the life and legacy of Eddie Van Halen, and why so many are feeling the loss of this guitar legend. He began with the story of Eddie and brother Alex Van Halen's immigration to the U.S. from Holland when he was only six years old. Although he came from a musical family, Eddie Van Halen was entirely self-taught, and would sit in his room and practice "for hours on end" trying to create sounds with the instrument that had never been heard.
Christopher recounted the early days of Van Halen and how the band eventually went through multiple personnel changes while still retaining their originality. He said that when established singer/guitarist Sammy Hagar joined the band, it was "like a supergroup," but that it freed Eddie, even more, to "explore different textures with himself and in his own band." He concluded that while many rock musicians were more interested in accolades and partying, Eddie Van Halen was always "most at home with his guitar." Christopher also spoke on the death of AC/DC vocalist Bon Scott and the possibility that he succumbed to a heroin overdose.
First up on Open Lines was Ralph, calling from Louisiana and feeling the effects of hurricane Delta. He said that winds were about "35-40 mph" and asked if he could sleep through that, he replied, "I don't sleep. I listen to y'all." Carlos in California suspected that Eddie Van Halen is now having "a concert in heaven with Jimi Henrdrix, Janis Joplin" and others. He also mentioned rumors of "a secret military base" in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles. Bob in Hawaii recalled his teen years going to parties in Pasadena, where Van Halen used to play cover songs. He recalled that Eddie Van Halen "always had that pleasant smile."
Mary called from California sharing an experience she had when her mother was dying of pancreatic cancer and in great pain. She said that she prayed to the Virgin Mary for her mother, and she "went two years longer with no pain at all." 'Millenial Mike' phoned in to make a few comments, and Ian suggested he start his own podcast. Jeff in California lamented the fact that two music industry giants had passed away in this year: Van Halen and Neil Peart, the drummer of the band Rush. Caller Victor, also from California, claimed he wrote Michael Jackson's song "Thriller," as well as Robert Palmer's "Addicted to Love."