Rockstars come and go. Musicians play until they die – Eddie Van Halen
The passing of Eddie Van Halen was yet another blow for us in the crazy ass year of 2020. For me, Eddie was a rock god! The way he played, the charisma, the way he changed the guitar, he had it all. He was a musician and kept on playing. And now he is gone and all we have left are the memories. His death hurts for sure. Eddie was one of the most influential guitarists of all time, and he changed how the guitar was played and how it was made! I always like to reflect on a person that was someone that influenced me, and there are many lessons we can learn from Eddie and his music career.
If there was ever a word for what I can use to describe Eddie, it is passion. You need that to love what you do. I’ll take it a step further and call it healthy obsession passion. That is the good passion that gets you up out of bed when you do not want to get out of bed. One of the best quotes I heard from Eddie was “practice. I used to sit on the edge of my bed with a six-pack of Schlitz Malt talls. My brother would go out at 7 pm to party and get laid, and when he’d come back at 3 am, I would still be sitting in the same place, playing guitar. I did that for years — I still do that.” Whatever your career path is, you need that healthy obsession passion. If you are not getting out of bed excited for the day, then you are in the wrong field. You are going to have days where you do not feel like it, but its that passion that gets you moving time and time again.
Eddie said it in that above-mentioned quote. He practiced. So many of you throw shit at the wall and hope it works. When it does not go your way after a few attempts you get pissed and quit. Eddie never quit. He practiced. He got better. Even when he was great, he was always improving. You must put in the work. The best musicians out there all have that in common, the work their ass off. They do not stop at some point and say I’m great! They keep on improving.
All the greats are known for something unique that sets them apart. Eddie was no exception with the guitar. He changed how people viewed the guitar. He stated, “I started doing all kinds of weird stuff on the guitar, which became part of my playing. I started doing harmonics and tapping on the guitar and pulling off strings and doing all this weird stuff that no one had ever done before.” If you truly want to change people’s lives or make an impact, you have to do what has not been done before. You have to take risks, you have to experiment, and not be afraid of doing something different.
I see so many of you out there trying to do the same shit other people are doing. You are just repackaging or repurposing someone else’s content. Its sad. Sure, you are going to be influenced significantly by someone, but get out there and be your own person. Take that influence and change how things are different. Be bold. Be you. That is what Eddie Van Halen did all of his life.