Geek Of The Week: Eddie Van Halen

Geek Of The Week: Eddie Van Halen

If you asked the average person to name a guitar hero, chances are they’d say one of two names. The first is Jimi Hendrix and second is this week’s geek Eddie Van Halen. Alas, he passed away this past week, but we here at are big fans and wanted to make sure he received a tribute from us. You are sorely missed Eddie.

Van Halen was born in Amsterdam and his family moved to the US in the early-60s. Eddie and his older brother Alex both were naturalized as US Citizens. Additionally, both took piano lessons as children. Eddie showed a lot of promise on the piano, but wanted to play drums. Conversely, his brother wanted to play guitar. Eventually, the two brothers switched instruments and clearly… that was the right move. The Van Halen brothers formed their first band while they were still in elementary school. Eventually, they formed Van Halen with Eddie on guitar/vocals, Alex on drums, and Mark Stone on bass. In 1974, the lineup changed as they added Michael Anthony on bass and David Lee Roth on lead vocals. This led to the group’s first record deal in 1977.

valerieeddie Geek Of The Week: Eddie Van Halen
Van Halen & Bertinelli, circa 1981

Eddie Van Halen demonstrated tremendous skill on the guitar and it earned him notoriety throughout the music world. He became synonymous with 1980’s guitar style and influenced countless musicians to start playing. He married actress Valerie Bertinelli in 1981 and they had a son named Wolfgang. Eddie’s son would eventually play with Van Halen on modern reunion tours. In addition to his work with Van Halen, Eddie collaborated with other musicians including Michael Jackson, Brian May, Roger Waters, Gene Simmons, Nicolette Larson, LL Cool J, and more. Eddie was a DIY guy who often modified guitars and one of his creations, called the FrankenStrat, became his main instrument for the majority of the Van Halen tours. He eventually started his own line of instruments and amps known as EVH.

For the last several years of his life, Eddie Van Halen battled throat cancer and, unfortunately, his lost his battle on October 6, 2020. He is gone but he will never be forgotten.

About the Author

avatar KALE: A geek who works in the IT field and lives in Dallas, TX. He is also a music geek who has played in several local bands. Previous to his IT career, Kale worked as a photojournalist. He brings technical advice and artistic counterpoint to the podcast.