Eddie Van Halen

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Phone interview with Eddie 1982

In this section of a Eddie Van Halen interview in 1982, Eddie talks about things that happened in 1982:


Music UK September 1983

Weren't you also involved in producing an album for Allan Holdsworth?

EVH: Yeah. We originally scheduled to go in (to record) when I got off tour but I wasn't exactly sure how long the tour would go. Anyway, Allan didn't want to wait, he was climbing the walls. He would only have to wait a month but he didn't want to, so he produced it himself. I think he made a big mistake because Ted Templeman (also scheduled to work on the project) could have made his ideas reach a lot more people. Allan is a fantastic guitarist but needs direction. Everyone does. I'm not trying to be holier than thou because I need it too. It's easy to get one-sided about something and you need an outside person or persons.

And I think Allan, Donn Landee, Ted and I could have done a great job. I don't know what was involved because I wasn't there. It was between Warner Brothers and Ted. But I do know he was signed because of my interest and Ted's.

Didn't you do some work with G.I.T. (Guitar Institute of Technology)?

EVH: I did a semi-seminar with Allan Holdsworth one day. It was right after I played at the Roxy with Allan. (Van Halen guested on an encore number when Holdsworth played the Roxy, a live music club in Hollywood, some time ago.) He spent the night at my house and the next day he had to do a seminar at G.I.T. so I brought my guitar along and played with Jeff Berlin and Allan and Gary Husband (Holdsworth's drummer). It was a lot of fun considering I didn't know what the hell I was doing. I was playing along with Allan's stuff and Jeff Berlin was whispering the chords to me. I ended up playing chromatically the whole time. But I surprised myself. I freaked myself out because I landed on my feet. I love doing that too, just going out and playing in weird keys and stumbling and landing on your feet. It's a great feeling. It's like doing a backward flip off the high dive and landing right.


Excerpt from Eddie Van Halen interview, Guitar Player April 1980

GP: Has seeing other guitarists ever inspired a change in your playing?

EVH: Allan Holdsworth -- that guy is bad! He's fantastic; I love him. He’s got a rock sound. I love his solo in “In the Dead of the Night” on the U.K. album. I love the solo in “Hell’s Bells” on One of a Kind. (Drummer) Bill Bruford plays hot on that album. Holdsworth is the best in my book. I can kind of play like him, but it doesn’t fit our style of music. He’s a real artist. He plays a guitar like mine, too. He wears it up high, like a jazz guitar. I could play all that stuff, too, if I played with my guitar up that high, but how would a rock and roll kid look with a guitar up like that? I do have to sacrifice the amount of movement I do onstage for the way I play. I like playing much better on a stool. I don’t do it, though, not even in the studio, because then it would sound like I’m sitting on a stool.


Excerpt from Guitar World Jan 1981

But do you still reach any new plateaus?

"Sure I do."

Can you point some out on your records?

"The solo on Cradle Will Rock is different. One guitar player who I respect and think is the baddest, is Allan Holdsworth. I do one short lick on Cradle which is very spontaneous. That came out because I've been listening to this guy. On the second album I expanded a little more on harmonics."

Would you like to be thought of as a great player?

"I'd Just like people to like what I play. I don't want people to say, 'You're Number One.' It's a matter of taste. To me Allan Holdsworth is Number One. Other kids might listen to him and not even understand what he's doing. Older people might think I suck."


Excerpt from Eddie Van Halen interview, Guitar For the Practicing Musician, Nov 1988

By John Stix

VH: I remember once at GIT Allan Holdsworth was doing a seminar and he asked me to come down and I said, "Me play with you, with your music?" He said, "Just wing it." I ended up doing it and it was great. That was really weird, totally blindfolded for me. I didn't know the song structure or where I was going. I was guessing and playing chromatically, hoping to land on my feet. I sure wish we could have worked together like we were supposed to. All he had to do was wait six weeks till I got home from South America. He ended up doing it himself.

GPM: It was still a good record.

VH: I didn't hear much of it. I was almost afraid to listen to it because he had a couple of riffs that I thought were great and I heard them completely differently than he did. I would have just liked to have him try doing it the way I heard it. I know that he didn't, because I never talked to him and told him what I wanted. I'm sure his record ended up the same way as the demos that I heard, which are very tunnel vision. Very much Allan. I don't mean it was a bad thing, I think I could have possibly had him look at his music in a different way. He had this one riff that I hear like a Zeppelin tune. He heard it with brushes. It could have been neat. He can do amazing things that nobody can do on a guitar. It kind of pissed me off that I never got a chance to hear some of the things that I wanted to hear.

GPM Is that something that you'd still like to do?


Excerpt from Eddie Van Halen interview, Guitar World, February 1990

GW: You were pretty involved with Holdsworth's career for a while there.

VAN HALEN: Yeah, I got him signed to Warner Bros. because I just hated to see this guy who's so amazing selling guitars to stay alive. So I got him signed. I was supposed to co-produce the record with Ted Templeman and Donn Landee. Then I hate to say this-while we were on tour in South America he just didn't wanna wait like two weeks, you know? So he did it himself...and it ended up being just another Allan Holdsworth record. The guy needs direction, you know what I mean? We did a couple of demos before I went to South America, and one of the songs was great. So he blew it, I think. I really think I could have, well, not necessarily pulled him back, but steered him in a different direction, you know? I was just over my friend Steve Lukather's house, and he played me Allan's new record, and I tell you, I couldn't tell the difference between that and his other records. I don't wanna rag on the guy, because he's an incredible player and he's a good friend. I love him. He just needs direction, that's all.

GW: Have you worked with him since that episode?

VAN HALEN: Yeah, I talked to him on the phone about a month ago. He called and asked if I'd want to do something with him. And I'd love to, except I don't really have the time right now. When the time is right, sure. It'll be fun. I don't give a damn if it's good or not. Like that thing I did with Brian May; that wasn't good, but it was fun.

VAN HALEN: I'd sure like to see how Holdsworth does some of his stuff, but I never had the nerve to ask him. It takes me two hands to do what he does with one. I don't know how he pulls it off.

Excerpt from Guitarist 1993

Are there any players around who you find yourself getting excited about?

“Beck, Steve Lukather… I don’t know, I generally like everything and at the same time, nothing really inspires me, if that’s what you mean. I think the last guitarist who moved me was Holdsworth. Just because he was so out there, y’know?

“I wanted to work with him and try to bring him back to earth, so to speak, and make him more accessible, but it never quite materialised. The guy just has some insane technique, if he’d only make it a little more melodic.


Eddie recalls playing with Allan, VHlinks 2013

Ask Eddie: Have You Played With Allan Holdsworth?

Posted on September 13th, 2013 by MDuffy

Category | Eddie Van Halen Updates

In the latest edition of Ask Eddie, Karl Everhart of Colorado had a special question for legendary guitarist Eddie Van Halen.

Everhart: Eddie, did you and Allan Holdsworth ever get to play live together?

Van Halen: Hi Karl,

Yes, Allan and I did have the opportunity to play live together a couple of times. The first time was by complete accident. I was in the process of helping him get a record deal with Warner Bros., so I picked him up, took him to some meetings and somehow he ended up spending the night at my house. When we woke up, Allan said, “Shit, I have to be at GTI (Guitar Institute of Technology) at noon to do a seminar.” So I raced him down there just in time. Before I knew it, I was on stage with him and his band, and we were both answering questions and playing together. It was quite fun actually and very interesting, especially for the students/audience. Because Allan and I play very different, we answered the same questions very differently. I was very nervous at first because I didn’t know any of the songs, but I managed to improvise my way through it.

The second time Allan and I played together was at The Roxy in Hollywood. I got up and played the last song with them, which was a riff that Jeff Berlin (Allan’s bass player) and I came up with, so I was more comfortable because I was familiar with what we played.

Thanks for asking Karl.

All the best, Eddie

Source: http://www.evhgear.com/news/2013/09/ask-eddie-have-you-played-with-allan-holdsworth/

Archived at http://web.archive.org/web/20140226150908/http://www.evhgear.com/news/2013/09/ask-eddie-have-you-played-with-allan-holdsworth/


A beginners guide to (Classic Rock 2000)

"Eddie (Van Halen) brought the President of the company along to hear me and essentially got us signed," he says. "Then it all went wrong because they wanted a different drummer and singer. But I'd already hired the band with Paul Williams on vocals. Ted Templeman, the producer, listened to shit over the phone - I mean, how can you listen to shit over the phone? - and said he wanted a different singer.

Allan Holdsworth (Guitar Player 1982)

How did you come to jam with Eddie Van Halen?

That was at the Roxy in Los Angeles. I met Edward a few years ago when I was working with U.K.; I didn't know him then, but we said hello to each other. He came down to our first gig at the Roxy, and I was trembling in my shoes at the thought of all the people being out there. At any rate, he came to the gig, and I was talking to him afterwards, and I said we're coming down in the afternoon to do another soundcheck. Why don't you bring your guitar? I talked to Jeff, too, and told him to come down. So we had a bit of a blow in the afternoon. We thought it would be a good idea to do a jam together at the end of the night. So we worked out one of Edward's tunes. We finished our set, came back on and played this tune together. It was great. It was fun -- kind of a nice contrast to the rest of the gig.

Allan Holdsworth (Music UK 1983)

‘Edward Van Halen brought a guy from his record company to see us when we played at the Country Club in Reseda, and he liked it and from that we managed to get a record deal.'

As you'll know if you read September's issue, Eddie Van Halen is the self-confessed number one Allan Holdsworth freak, and it's obvious that Allan appreciated the way in which Edward, as he likes to call him, put himself out for the band's sake. He also appreciates his new band. ‘Jeff Berlin is such a strong player, especially in the trio context, he's so harmonically happening, it makes my job a lot easier. Having Chad Wackerman is great - he plays fantastically, they're both really nice guys, and they don't particularly give me a hard time you know, which is really important . . . I don't get any headaches, and they're not continuously complaining at me all day making me feel bad. So I'm a lot happier about it now, and I feel freer to play the guitar and get on with that rather than worry about what somebody's thinking.'

When the new album is in the can Allan Holdsworth's IOU will play a string of dates in the US and I queried Allan whether we might see the Halen/Holdsworth partnership on the same bill?

‘I don't think so, I don't think it would be a particularly good combination, but that's only my opinion,' he replies.

Allan Holdsworth (Sound Waves 2012)

You spoke earlier about the people that influenced you. Now, I want to ask you about the people that you have influenced. In addition to all the jazz and fusion players that were influenced by you, there's a lot of what you could call “shredders” that were also influenced by you. I'm talking about guys like Eddie Van Halen, Yngwie Malmsteen, and John Petrucci, just to name a few. Are you comfortable being at least indirectly associated with that style of music?

Well of course. All of those guys are amazing. It's just like anything else. You try really hard to do something, and then someone else comes along and kicks your groin. It's just the nature of music. I think it's great. I love all those guys. The music is one thing, and the playing is another.

Is it true that Eddie Van Halen helped get you signed to a major record label for the “Road Games” album?

Yeah, he did. Absolutely, it was Eddie. The album was a total disaster, the whole process of recording and dealing with the producer. The whole thing was a nightmare. That was no fault of Eddie's. He was just trying to help, and he's a sweet guy and a tremendous guitar player as well. He got us signed to Warner Bros. It was a failed attempt, because they didn't realize that I can be a bit stubborn. I didn't want to do what they wanted me to do, and that was the end of that.

Allan Holdsworth Talks SynthAxes, Jaw-Dropping Solos and More (Guitar World 2017)

Your guitar playing leaps through the mix on Road Games, yet on Wikipedia it states that it's one of your least-favorite records. Why? —Anthony Fragnito

I had no control of that record whatsoever. It was a clusterfuck. [Executive producer] Ted Templeman took everything out of my hands. Eddie Van Halen got me the record deal with Warner Bros. The problem was the record company didn't let me do what I intended.

I think they wanted to push my music in a more commercial direction, but I was too stubborn to listen to them so they dropped me after that record. There are only six tracks on it because the record was never finished. It was a miserable period for me. I thought it was going to be great to be signed to a major label, but it turned out to be the exact opposite of what I expected.

Allan Holdsworth's New Horizons (Downbeat 1985)

"Holdsworth is the best in my book, He's' fantastic. I love him."


Castles Made Of Sand (Guitarist 1987)

What do you think of the new wave of speed merchant, rock guitarists?

Well it's funny. It's great! Some of them are like "chops up the ying yang" but there's only a few guys that I like and they're generally not those guys because there's something about the music that I don't particularly like. It's harmonically totally uninventive and if one guy is rabbiting around at a million miles an hour on one chord, it doesn't exactly turn me on. But, for example, I love Scott Henderson's playing and I really like Eric Johnson. To me he's the only guy in the rock vein who's come around who makes a different sound and plays in a different way. Most of them are slightly derivative of Eddie and are into the two handed thing. But there are a few guys who don't use that technique at all, and that's great.

Guitar Like A Saxophone (Guitar World 1987)

Mr. Holdsworth has this dilemma. On the one hand, he's revered by nearly every aspiring six stringer m the free world, and a guru to guitar heroes like Ed Van Halen, Frank Zappa, Gary Moore and Neal Schon. And yet, this guitar hero's hero can't seem to get over with the record-buying public.

Guitar Phenom Allan Holdsworth Says He's Not That Impressed By Flash (The Georgia Straight 1983)

Eddie Van Halen calls him “fantastic”. Gary Moore says “he's frightening. He's definitely dangerous and getting better all the time.” Carlos Santana gives him “more credit than anyone for just pure expression in soloing.” Journey's Neil Schon says: “If you play guitar and ever think you're too good, just listen to that guy.” And Pat Thrall calls him “The most innovative guitarist to come to rock.”

Why did you record Road Games as a mini-album rather than a full-size one?

That was the record company's idea. I was pushed around a lot by them. They gave me a hard time, basically. Ted Templeman [the producer] gave us the run-around, because originally Eddie Van Halen and he were supposed to coproduce the album. But because of their schedules, Eddie's always working and Ted is a real pain to pin down.

I would have been a hundred years old before I'd have done the album. So I just said, “No, I'm not gonna wait,” and they said, “Okay, go ahead and do it on your own.” But they didn't really want me to do that, and they just harassed me the whole time. It made it very difficult.

I've noticed on the back cover of Road Games there's a “special thanks” to Eddie Van Halen.

Well he was there when the first demos of the songs that we were going to record for Warner Brothers were done. And also he brought Ted Templeman to see I.O.U. in the first place.

He's quoted as saying, “Holdsworth is the best in my books.” What do you think of his playing?

Oh, he's great!

Are there any other rockers that impress you?

No, not really, ‘cause I'm not really that impressed by flash. A lot of rock guitar players are just flash, but Eddie's thing seems to have evolved completely naturally, on its own. And I respect anybody who can do that.

Guitarist's Guitarist (Jazz Times 1989)

He's the guitarist most young guitarists place near the top of their list of favorite performers. He's a player whose own, favorite musician is John Coltrane, yet who was recommended for a major label record contract by rock star Eddie van Halen. He's a performer whose still-small, but intensely dedicated fans will go to almost any lengths to hear him play.

When Eddie Van Halen joined Holdsworth on stage at the Roxy gig and promised to ask Warner Brothers to sign him, it seemed as though the guitarist was well on the way toward a real American success story. But success stories can have a way of getting sidetracked.

"Edward Van Halen was a great guy," said Holdsworth, and he tried to help. That's all he had in mind. He brought a Warner Brothers producer named Ted Templeman to my gig, I started talking with Ted and he said they were interested in doing something, I thought, ‘Oh, this is wonderful. Now I'll finally get a chance to do what I really want to do, and get some major label assistance. But in actual fact, it was the absolute 6ppe-site. I think Ted Templeton [sic] didn't really want to sign us at all. I think he was doing it because of Eddie. And also, I think that they really wanted to change my music. They signed me, and then decided they didn't like what I did. I couldn't believe the way the whole album was made - with Ted listening to different vocalists singing over the telephone - with them eventually saying that if I didn't get somebody famous they wouldn't even release the album.


Over the years Allan Holdsworth developed a technique that allows him to create guitar parts in a smooth linear succession, with beautifully sustained notes. The effect is such that his guitar sounds something like a saxophone. Big-name rock stars like Eddie Van Halen and Neil Schon of Journey caught on to Holdsworth's style, and before long there was a real buzz about him in music publications everywhere. But he doesn't feel the accolades from the hard rock community have helped his career that much, since he doesn't normally play that kind of music.

“I think it might have helped as far as making guitar players aware of me, but I'm not really interested in that at all because I don't really like playing to guitar players. It's like being a Volkswagen mechanic and being surrounded by a lot of Volkswagen mechanics, talking shop. I'd rather just play to regular people.”

Mike Pachelli Show (video transcript 1991)

MP: I understand Edward Van Halen got involved with your career around that time

AH: Yeah, he's a really great guy, he's got a big heart and really helped us out but it just wasn't to be – the situation that came from it just wasn't – as much as I would have liked it to happen, and I'm sure Edward wanted it to happen you know but, there was too many problems with the whole thing, you know the record company – I think the record company were only interested in it because of him, and then they wanted me to get rid of the guys in the band and start a new band – you know – basically stop doing – I saw it as stop they wanted me to stop doing what I was doing, which seemed pointless. Why get a deal with a major label if they don't want you to do what you do? Might as well stay where you are.

No Record Contract, No Big Hoopla, But The Fans Have Kept The Faith For Allan Holdsworth (Guitar World 1982)

I happen to think he's really great. But ask Eddie Van Halen, ask Neal Schon, ask Carlos Santana or Andy Summers. They say he's great, in print, right in their interviews. Ask all the people who stood in line for his shows in New York and L.A. Allan Holdsworth is a legend, and he's been gone for three years.

Holdsworth, unlike, say, Tony Mottola, isn't even a contender for the Most Recorded Guitarist award. But his fans held out for every note. After Ponty, there was silence.

Silence, that is, until last spring, when he returned to the States with his band I.O.U. He repaid the fans who'd kept the faith and waited, fans who'd kept his name from disappearing entirely. Allan's achievements had become obvious - so obvious that guitar king Eddie Van Halen asked to jam with Allan during his gigs at New York's Roxy. What? Eddie asking for a guest spot? Yes, and it was like a student asking to sit in with his teacher. News of the apocryphal encounter spread far and wide.

What happened during his three year absence from the scene? Things were a bit rough in England for Allan, and he's very candid about them.

"I was just about to give up playing altogether," he says, "so I'm glad that eventually we did get over. For the last three years I haven't worked as a musician, as such. I was repairing amplifiers and I'd fix guitars. So when the opportunity came to tour and play here, it was fantastic! I was seeing magazines with people like Ed [Van Halen] in them. saying they liked my playing a good deal. But back in England those mentions didn't help at all."

Guitar history was made in Los Angeles. where Van Halen jammed with Holdsworth at one of his shows, and acknowledged the Englishman as a champion of the guitar. Allan didn't brag about it; rather, he concentrated on his appreciation of such a gracious gesture. He explained to me how it came about: "Jeff Berlin and his band were playing with us that night, and we just thought it would be nice if Eddie would play with us. I met Ed originally about three or four years ago while I was working with UK. Just briefly. you know, I didn't get to know him that well then. At my first Roxy gig we talked, and Ed - he's really a great guy. I said, ‘Come on down in the afternoon when we're playing,' and he and Jeff came down and we had a bit of a fertile afternoon session. Then we came up with the idea that we should all get up and play a bit at the end of the show. Eddie worked out this tune, and we did it that night in L.A."

"It's a perfectly legitimate way to play logically. The only thing is, I've never been a two-handed player like a lot of guys, like Ed, with two hands on the guitar neck. I mean both right and left hands on the fingerboard, prodding. I don't prod. I've seen thousands of guys do that. I guess there must be something to it. Guys do it in a limited way, not too many in a more extended way. Guys do it like the odd thing; I've done the odd thing like for a chord, but it's not something I do the whole time. I've always tried instinctively to stay away from that. Who knows... maybe I'll be doing that soon. Ha ha.

The Innocent Abroad (Musician 1984)

Indeed, fans of Holdsworth's dazzling playing with Tempest, Gong, Jean-Luc Ponty, Tony Williams, Bill Bruford, and, more famously if less artistically, Soft Machine and U.K., came out of the woodwork in droves and packed the small houses. Then came gigs in L.A. and suddenly Holdsworth was, if not red-hot, at least looking at a modest but nonetheless welcome positive cash flow. Even America's reigning Emperor of Guitar, Eddie Van Halen himself, came to pay homage, telling the world Holdsworth was in fact the rightful owner of the scepter of speed. Eddie's label, Warners, took him at his word and inked the artful refugee.

I.O.U. then made their tabled emigration and Americans greeted the band as long-lost old friends, which at that point they were starting to feel like. Still, for all the buzz, they were unable to interest anyone in the LP so they decided to put it out themselves, pressed it and worked it as best they could. It was then that Holdsworth was "discovered" by Eddie Van Halen. Edward had actually met Allan in the U.K. era, so he came down to the Roxy to catch I.O.U. After a post-gig chat, Van Halen was invited to come to sound-check the next afternoon and they had "a bit of a blow." For an encore that night, they worked up one of Eddie's tunes, which went over big; very big. Van Halen immediately began working on his producer, Ted Templeman, and his label, Warners, to sign Holdsworth. What exactly was understood between Holdsworth and Van Halen was never pinned down, however. Allan logically assumed that Warners wanted the I.O.U. band. Paul Williams maintains that during all the negotiations for the deal, no one at Warners corrected that impression:

Meanwhile, Ted Templeman and Van Halen had very different plans for the upcoming album. Williams reports, "They wanted to put all stars on it, change the music completely, do a guest artist trip. It was like an arm-twisting situation, as far as I could see. Eddie really admired Allan, had gotten him on the label, and said, ‘I want to play with Allan!' And Allan said, ‘Well no, not on this record, because I'll just be selling Eddie Van Halen and I want to do my own thing. Maybe on the second record....' So of course Eddie got very upset, basically sulked, I suppose, and that's when it started falling apart, immediately after that. Well, you know, Allan's an artist. He doesn't like to be told which way to do it, and I think they would've torn the whole concept to pieces."

What began then was a determined war of nerves. The plan called for Van Halen and Templeman to co-produce, but scheduling a time when both were free became insurmountable; for month after month, Allan was left hanging. "They were obviously busy people. First of all it's really difficult to get hold of either of them; I can spend weeks just trying to reach one of them on the phone. That gets to be a nightmare!" Finally it seemed Christmas of ‘82 was it, but it got postponed again. Then an April date was set, but two days before, Templeman had to cancel. Says Allan, "That was it for me, the old steam whistle, with the lid open at the top of my head. I couldn't cope with that; I just said, ‘Forget it, let's not even bother.' Then, after a bit of hemming and hawing, they called back and said, ‘Okay, do it on your own.' As far as I was concerned, I would've had a walking stick and crutches before the album came out!"

The Man Who Changed Guitar Forever (Guitar Player 2008)

“Holdsworth is so damned good that I can't cop anything. I can't understand what he's doing. I've got to do this [does two-hand tapping], whereas he'll do it with one hand.” —Eddie Van Halen

Untitled (Guitar Magazine? 2001)

Q: Tell me about the story of Eddie Van Halen with you who admires you the most as a guitarist.

A: I met him at the band U.K. tour at the first time, I played with Van Halen when he was not so popular. He was a good guy, he treated me nicely. He helped me to contract Warner Brothers for ìRoad Gamesî. He pursuade the WBS. A problem was that the company didnít let me free. It was the big matter and I had a quarrel with them. It seems that all of ìRoad Gamesî were war. Therefore the album was not the work I intend.

A Different kind of Guitar Hero (BAM 1983)

BAM: How did you meet Edward Van Halen?

AH: I first met Edward while I was working in U.K. We were the support band to Van Halen on a couple of gigs. Then he said a lot of nice things about me in magazines, which is really nice. Then he came and played with me at the Roxy.

BAM: Where do your two styles meet?

AH: I think of Edward as being a real innovator – because of the way he plays the guitar, not in the way of the context of the music so much. What he’s doing with the guitar is definitely different from what was happening before. So, he did something different. I guess that’s a similarity.

BAM: Why did you and Edward decode to work together?

AH: I guess it started when he brought Ted Templeman to see the band at the Roxy. It’s something that probably wouldn’t have happened had we just done it on our own – if we’d just said “well, let’s play at such a gig and come along”. But I suppose Ted listened to Edward and decided to check it out, and I think he liked it. At least I think he saw some potential there, because he offered us a deal with Warner Brothers.

BAM: How do you feel about working with Edward and Ted Templeman as producers?

AH: All right. I think they [Warner Bros.] are hoping that they’ll make sure we don’t go over the top in the wrong way, suppose. Some outside ears, basically. So, I hope we'll still be friends at the end.