My favorite Van Halen track is “And The Cradle Will Rock…”
It used to be “Runnin’ With The Devil,” but I got hooked on the remastered version of “And The Cradle Will Rock…” on 1996’s “Best Of Volume 1.” I drove around in my BMW with the Alpine changer in the trunk and the ADS speakers all around and cranked it up and it made me feel so good when I had more questions than answers. And the funny thing about Van Halen records is when you hear them you can’t stop playing them, kind of like “Unchained.” Which was featured in the CNN clip above, I had to pull it up in Spotify and now I can’t turn it off.
Change, nothing stays the same
Ain’t that the theme of the day.
But a great record, when done right, is FOREVER! Even if poorly recorded and heard through the speaker in the dashboard, when the magic is encapsulated on wax you can’t resist it. Which is why classic rock maintains. But the Beatles were in the sixties, Zeppelin the seventies, but by time we hit the eighties, the rock saviour was…
Which is kind of surprising. It’s not like they were a secret, they played at the Starwood endlessly. Gene Simmons even cut a demo. But it wasn’t until they got signed by Warner Brothers and got hooked up with Ted Templeman that they became a household word.
And never underestimate the cheekiness of David Lee Roth’s lyrics. But what puts Van Halen over the top, makes them sensational, is Eddie Van Halen’s guitarwork (and keyboards too, come on “Jump”!) And when Eddie wanted to donate 75 guitars to the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation, I felt the two worlds Felice and I grew up in, from “Moon River” to “Eruption,” had finally come full circle and were complete.
So, when I was talking to producer Ben Bamsey in the green room at CNN before an appearance and he told me he wanted to feature musicians talking about charity I told him about Eddie and Felice.
It was the easiest pitch I ever made. Ben was all over it. And last night they did it.
And the funny thing is you think you know everything and then you learn something new. I didn’t know that Eddie and Alex played on the boat over from Holland. And you see we want to know everything about our heroes, we want to fill in all the holes, for they are family members.
And when I’m on CNN I hear from some people tuned in.
But when they featured Eddie and the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation, donations started to come in, the rock press covered it in droves, because that’s the power of Eddie Van Halen, that’s the power of music.
The thing about music is it’s limitless, it allows you to express your innermost feelings, your angst, your happiness, your questions, your answers, you can do all that through your instrument.
And in a world where we’re told what to do every damn day, who to be, to color inside the lines, that’s positively a revelation.
Which is why the arts are so important. They set souls free.
But we live in a country where the bottom line now rules. Music is seen as expendable. But it’s the most powerful force other than sex, just look at social media, it’s ruled by players.
And I had no plans to write this, but when I clicked on “Unchained”…
The first thing I had to do was turn it up.
And then I thought how the guitar in the intro sounded like a sweet chainsaw.
And when Eddie started throwing off those notes at 1:49 and Dave was asked for a break I felt like my whole life wasn’t wasted, dedicating it to this music.
It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock and roll.
And when I talk to Eddie and he still evidences the same intensity of yore, is still passionate about the sound, it gives me hope.
These are our leaders. Not the bloviators in D.C. Nor the billionaires eviscerating our jobs. But the musicians. With the power of their playing who transport us into the stratosphere, even though our rear ends are firmly planted, who set our minds free, who illustrate the possibilities, who give us hope.
No, I don’t ask for permission
This is my chance to fly
Maybe enough ain’t enough for you
But it’s my turn to try
P.S. The above CNN video plays best in Chrome or Firefox, but if you must watch it in Safari, read this: