RIP Eddie

a brief history of Journey and Van Halen

Edward Lodewijk Van Halen 1955 - 2020
Eddie Van Halen, the legendary guitarist and co-founder of Van Halen, has died after a long battle with throat cancer.

Eddie was one of the most innovative guitar players in the history of music. He popularized the tapping guitar technique and has been an inspiration to countless artists in the last 40 years... including our beloved Neal Schon of Journey.

Dead... but definitely never forgotten

The news of Eddie's death brought sheer heartbreak in Absolute Journey. Our guitarist, Marko, has been greatly influenced by his work. Between the two eras of Van Halen (with David Lee Roth between 1972 and 1985 and with Sammy Hagar between 1986 and 1996) Eddie contributed chart toppers and legendary anthems that the tradition of music will never forget. May his music resonate in the halls of history for the centuries to come.

A brief history of Journey and Van Halen

Michael Anthony, Steve Smith, Neal Schon and Eddie Van Halen in 1978

During the Infinity Tour in 1978, Van Halen and Journey joined forces for the first time. Ronnie Montrose was the special guest act and Van Halen were at their first tour.
You can easily imagine that two bands of that caliber performing at the same event would start rivaling with each other. Both bands were at their prime, young and restless. 
 
During the tour Van Halen's hard partying habits and unruliness created a rift between the band and Journey, particularly with Steve Perry. Journey's lead singer threatened multiple times to kick Van Halen off the tour, but he got very close to actually doing it on one particular occasion.
 

The "guacamole incident"

One one eventful night a bowl full of guacamole was aimed at David Lee Roth by Eddie Van Halen in retaliation for the singer hurling a bowl of peanuts at the guitarist. But he missed and nailed Steve Perry instead. The tour manager found the Journey singer in the bathroom softly crying to himself and helped him get cleaned up for the show, likening the incident to "heartless mean children" picking on a kid in the middle-school cafeteria.

Despite this and other episodes, both bands always spoke highly of each other's musical prowess. A few years ago Neal Schon was remembering that touring experience and showed a tremendous amount of respect for the Van Halen members. He said that him and Eddie had a positive chemistry that was pushing both to do their best on the stage. It definitely showed.

A tribute to Van Halen on the Frontiers album?

This is more of an urban legend than actual history... but if you listen to the song Back Talk from the Journey album Frontiers, you can notice some of the sounds and songwriting styles of Van Halen in it. The guitar solo is probably the most notable part of the song in regard to stylistic similarities. Back Talk was not appreciated by critics and fans alike. Its aggressive sound and lyrics were a "Departure" (pun intended) from the classic Journey formula that made them one of the most loved bands in North America's history. Us at Absolute Journey consider it a bold effort in musical research. It definitely brings a welcome change of pace in the economy of the whole album.

Let us know what's your opinion regarding the song.

Also, please leave a few respectful words to honor the memory of one of the greatest guitar players in history: Eddie Van Halen.

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