Remembering Eddie Van Halen: The Real Guitar Hero

Eddie Van Halen, the founder of the hard rock band Van Halen, passed away Tuesday of cancer at the age of 65.

Born Edward Van Halen on January 26, 1955, in the Netherlands, he moved with his family to California in the early 1960s. While growing up in Pasadena, California, Eddie and Alex Van Halen took classical piano lessons, playing mostly improvised classical, and Eddie, in particular, proved to be an early musical standout. As teenagers, the brothers switched instruments, Eddie to guitar and Alex to drums, leaving Classical music behind and spearheading a rock band called Mammoth.

He formed Van Halen in 1974 with his brother Alex. Eddie’s quick-fingered guitar riffs and David Lee Roth’s onstage antics caught the attention of KISS guitarist Gene Simmons in 1977.

Simmons discovered Van Halen at a local club in 1977 and financed and recorded the band’s first recording session. Not long afterwards, Eddie Van Halen and his band Van Halen signed a record deal with Warner Brothers, and in 1978, the band put out its self-titled debut album, which featured the hit “Runnin’ With the Devil.”

The combination of Eddie’s incredible guitar riffs and Roth’s vocal antics, launched the album to platinum status within six months of its release.

Some Van Halen’s most-known songs include “Jump” and “Panama” on the 1984 album “1984”. “Runnin’ With the Devil” and “Erupon 1978’s “Van Halen”.

The album “1984” also showcased the now classic mega-hit “Hot For Teacher”. The videos for “Jump”, “Panama”, “Hot For Teacher,” each lit up MTV.

During his time in the industry, Eddie Van Halen teamed up with Michael Jackson for the guitar solo in Jackson’s hit song “Beat it”, and also welcomed a new frontman in 1985, by the name of Sammy Hagar.

If I took the time to list all of Van Halen’s hits through the years, we’d be here all day. When people discuss the greatest guitarist in Rock history the two names that are seemingly always in the conversation are Slash, Van Halen, Jimi Hendrix, Allen Collins, among others.

It’s safe to say that Mr. Eddie Van Halen has cemented his place in Rock and Roll history.

Rest In Peace, Eddie, we love you brother.

Source: Twitter

A Picture Worth A Thousand Words: You Never Know Who Will Realize How Much You’ve Been Through

Last night, some friends of mine in a rock band out of Jackson, Mississippi came to town for a show in Millbrook.

I knew they were bringing a supporting act, but I didn’t really know who the supporting act was. I had heard his name several times but never really sat down and listened to his music. But from what I had heard in the past, I knew he was going to be good.

About a week or so prior to the show, I read an article from the Jackson Free Press and reached out to him to tell him I was looking forward to the show.

We talked for about two weeks, by the end of those two weeks, I knew every word to every song he sang.

His name is Chad Wesley, a blues guitarist, who is also out of Jackson, Mississippi.

Last night as I was listening to his music, I could really feel the emotions that he was pouring into his guitar as he was playing.

They just seemed to radiate throughout the room. As he finished his set, he called me over to his merch table.

When I reached the table where he was standing, I said “Good job tonight, man.”

He knew my story because I told him my story two weeks prior. He shook my hand and gave me a “bro hug”, after that he said “I want you to meet my nephew, he has CP, you said you were born with CP (cerebral palsy), right?”

I responded “Yes sir.”

He introduced me to his nephew, Will, and then pulled me aside and told me something that I was glad to hear.

Chad said, “I love seeing people like yourself and Will just out here killing it despite the odds, it really inspires me.”

At this point, all I could think was “Wow, he seems really inspired.” As time went by, the bassist for Chad’s band, Michael Bernard, called me over to the table where he was sitting.

Michael and I talked for a while and then he asked to meet my dad, brother, and my brother’s girlfriend, who were there also.

I walked Michael over to the table and introduced him to all three of them.

After a while, Chad came and sat beside me, I took the opportunity to ask him for a picture, to which he quickly responded “Absolutely.”

As he was leaving, he walked up to me, shook my hand and said “It was nice to meet you brother, be safe.”

You see, it’s not all about me, it’s not about what I’ve been through.

It’s about inspiring others, young, middle-aged and old to continue to strive for the best in life, because you never know what people are going through, so be positive.

You never know, your words and your story may help save somebody’s life or in Chad’s case, inspire them to be the best that they possibly can.

Shine a light in this dark world.

Music is the Best Medicine

It all started back in May of 2014, I went through a lot of tough times back in 2014, and my friend was having her 16th birthday party somewhere around the 15th or 20th of that month and I had heard that a rock band called Framing The Red, out of Jackson, Mississippi, would be playing the party.

At the time, I only knew one of their songs and that is because I looked them up on YouTube. Besides that one song, I really didn’t know what to expect but I wanted to celebrate my friend’s 16th birthday with her.

When I got to the party, I could hear the music from outside of the venue, I knew the music must be good if I could hear it before even reaching the door.

I walked in and greeted my friend and several other friends that were at the party. As the night grew older, the music got better and I’m so glad that I went to the party because this band has become some of my best friends.

Unlike some bands, they play a majority of original with a few mixed in just to keep your attention.

As I was leaving the party that night, each member shook my hand and introduced themselves to me.

They have had a few changes over the years, but they haven’t let that slow them down at all. These guys play somewhere around 200 to 250 shows a year all across the country, from New York to California and everywhere in between. Thank you, Paul Cox for introducing me to this band. They definitely changed my life.

If you haven’t heard them, I highly recommend you go look them up on YouTube and everywhere else. If you like Southern Rock, you won’t be disappointed. Music truly is the best medicine.

Nice to See You Again, Old Friend

About two weeks ago, I was heading to Alpharetta, Georgia and I passed the place where I spent a large amount of my time growing up, Turner Field, now known as Georgia State Stadium, since it is the home of the Georgia State Panthers football. I still call it Turner Field, though, because that’s what I’ve always known it as. I witnessed many victories inside those friendly confines and very few losses. In fact, a few months ago, I did the math, and I realized that I had been to 42 Braves games, 41 of which game at Turner Field. The Braves home record when I attend is 31-10. I like to think of myself as the Braves ‘good luck charm’. Because they almost never lose when I’m in attendance. As I passed the stadium, I was suddenly taken back to my childhood, I felt the thrill that I felt as a little kid, I felt like a kid in a candy store all over again. I’ve seen so many Braves greats take the field there. I was taken back to when I was little and we would pull up to the stadium and I would blurt out the ESPN theme song, I could hear Crazy Train over the PA system in my head as I passed it. So many great memories were made there. I never visited the stadium when I didn’t thoroughly enjoy myself. It was like I was a little kid again for that split-second. So many life-long friends were made inside those four walls. I haven’t been inside SunTrust Park yet, but I did pass it as I was headed home that weekend and I plan to visit in 2020. Nice to see you again, old friend.

The Time I Raised Hell With Hank Jr and Kid Rock

This past Saturday, I went over to Alpharetta, Georgia with family friends where we met my aunt, who is from Charlotte, North Carolina for a Hank Jr. and Kid Rock concert. I had been looking forward to this concert for weeks, maybe even years before I knew I was going, because my grandmother always told me “If Kid Rock ever comes close, you go see him.” So I heeded her advice and went to see him and Hank Jr in Alpharetta. On the way over, it took what seemed like an eternity. I think that’s because of how long I had looked forward to this night. I didn’t see an Alpharetta sign the whole time until we reached the northern part of Fulton County, Georgia. When we reached the hotel, my aunt met us in the hotel lobby, anxiously waiting to go to the concert. We arrived at the 48 minutes before show time, so I understand why she was in a hurry, because I was too. When we got to the amphitheater, we waited in a line that wrapped around a curb, which meant we would miss Bocephus’ first two songs. But when we passed the metal detectors and entered, I could immediately feel the energy in the place even though Kid Rock wasn’t on stage yet. I knew I was in for a treat. At first, we accidentally sat in the wrong seats. (which didn’t turn out well for the actual seat owner, at all.) I’m not sure he knew who he was talking to. But while we were in the midst of the confrontation, I just sat back in his seat and enjoyed the show, because I knew he wouldn’t do anything, so I wasn’t worried in the least bit. My aunt had gone to buy merchandise so it was just the family friends and myself. I sat back, looked at him and crossed my arms while one of the family friends handled the situation. After we found our seats, which were a lot better than the seats we originally sat in, the energy kept building. When Kid Rock, an avid American, from Romeo, Michigan, a Detroit suburb, took the stage, I screamed my head off. In fact, I screamed every lyric to every song he sang that night. Which resulted in me completely losing my voice, but I was okay with that because I had a blast doing it and I know that my grandma was looking down from heaven with that innocent smile on her face and my grandad was doing the same. On Sunday, we met my cousin for lunch in Atlanta before heading back home where we sat, talked, laughed and enjoyed every minute. But then, on Sunday night, it dawned on me that I had a football to announce the next day and I had no voice. I thought “Well, this should be fun.” But I didn’t worry about it. I knew it was all worth it. If you ever get the chance, go raise hell with Kid Rock, you won’t be disappointed.