Brat Halen

Brat Halen
Guitarist Eddie Van Halen of Van Halen.
PHOTO: AFP

The greatest party band of all time may now be senior citizens, but they still fight like little kids.

The most childish of all is of course Eddie Van Halen, the bratty 60-year-old guitar virtuoso who also displays considerable skill as a smack talker.

In an interview last Friday with Billboard magazine, he had some unkind things to say about former bassist Michael Anthony, who split from the US rock group in 2006.

Eddie recounted: "Every note Mike ever played, I had to show him how to play. Before we'd go on tour, he'd come over with a video camera and I'd have to show him how to play all the parts."

The mild-mannered Anthony responded to Eddie's accusations with class, saying he'd rather not get caught up in the "never-ending mudslinging".

Fortunately, Sammy Hagar is okay with mudslinging.

Hagar, who had his own acrimonious split from Van Halen in 1996, came to Anthony's defence in a YouTube video.

Hagar said: "Mikey didn't do anything, ever, to Van Halen. Mikey was the most loyal guy in the band, he was the first guy there at rehearsal, the last guy to leave."

Sigh. The really sad thing is that Eddie is doing so well now in both his career and his personal life, and yet he can't just be cool.

The former alcoholic has been sober since 2008. He's been married to a beautiful former stuntwoman, Janie Liszewski, since 2009.

Van Halen, with original singer David Lee Roth as the frontman, is embarking on a massive US tour next month.

Why can't Eddie just keep his mouth shut?

I think it's probably because he's a genius, and geniuses are nuts.

When you can do something better than everyone else in the world, it's because your brain works differently.

BORING

I frankly miss the days when musicians were eccentrics and cranks.

These days, everyone is so polished and polite and boring. For a variety of reasons, there's an awful lot of average-type people making music as dull as they are.

US rapper Kanye West is perhaps the exception that proves the rule - it's almost like no one can even believe that a pop star would act like an idiot child.

There was a time when ALL of them acted like idiot children.

In that same Billboard interview where he dissed Anthony, Eddie also complained about how his longtime frenemy Roth refuses to act his age, saying: "Roth's perception of himself is different than who he is in reality. We're not in our 20s anymore. We're in our 60s. Act like you're 60."

That's the thing, Eddie.

You're not acting like you're 60.

You're the same spoilt, super-talented rascal you've always been.

That's why I love you.

jjohnson@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on June 24 2015.
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