UnNews:UnNews remembers Eddie Van Halen

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On the early Van Halen records, producer Ted Templeman always panned Eddie's rhythm guitar tracks hard left in the stereo mix.

UnNews remembers Eddie Van Halen

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  • PF4Eva, UnNews head writer
  • Thursday, October 8, 2020

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On Tuesday, October 6, 2020, the unthinkable happened. The rock and guitar worlds lost one of their mightiest titans. I lost one of my teenage heroes. The world said "Happy Trails" to one of the greatest guitarists to ever fret, bend, whammy or tap a note. A god among men. Nijmegen's favorite son, Eddie Van Halen.

It's happened. Eddie is gone. His tongue cancer spread to his throat and brain. This is a crushing blow to all of us at Uncyclopedia and UnNews, and everyone who has ever picked up a guitar. Eddie reinvented the instrument with such superhuman classics as "Eruption," "You Really Got Me" "Jamie's Cryin'," "Little Dreamer," "Atomic Punk," "Panama," "Intruder," "Unchained," and "Hot for Teacher," and introduced synthesizers to his repertoire with "Jump," "I'll Wait," "Dreams," "Love Walks In," and "Right Now." He could make a whammy bar sound like an elephant or a power drill. Hell, he even actually used a power drill on "Poundcake."

Eddie and his eponymous band, Van Halen combined hard rock, pop, and shredding into an exciting new sound that pushed the guitar to its limits. If it wasn't Jimi Hendrix, then surely Eddie Van Halen popularized tuning your guitar a half-step down to Eb. One reason he did this was to suit David Lee Roth's vocals. The other reason was so reduce boredom.

While most of Eddie's musical contributions were with Van Halen (the band), one of his biggest hits came courtesy of the King of Pop. Eddie played the guitar solo on Michael Jackson's "Beat It." He did so for free as a favor to Quincy Jones, not realizing he could have made a fortune. Vincent Price made the same mistake when agreeing to record the rap from Thriller.

My earliest exposures to anything resembling Van Halen would perhaps be when "Dreams" featured in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie, and the Dexter's Laboratory character Valhallen (whose name was a portmanteau of Van Halen and Valhalla, despite bearing little resemblance to either). In the early 2000s, I was introduced to classic rock, and with it bands of all shapes and (ahem) stripes such as Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Who, The Rolling Stones, late-period Beatles, Bob Dylan, and of course Van Halen. These artists and more were mainstays on my radio during my high school years when I could've been listening to popular music from this century, with its crunk and bling and (non-)bubblegum-poppy sound. At least pop music doesn't suck as much anymore, but in the meantime at least I had the classics to rely on. Buying the CDS, I went from being a casual fan to an intermediate fan.

Van Halen was the last actual concert I attended, in 2008... and it was loud as hell. How was Eddie not deaf? It was actually the same day Heath Ledger died. I went at the last minute, thinking it may be the last time they ever play with David Lee Roth. Little did I know I was worrying about the wrong band member. So it was definitely worth it, especially now in hindsight.

We at UnNews are so shocked and saddened by Eddie Van Halen's death that we've only eaten brown M&M's since Tuesday and we're all hallucinating about a fly on Mike Pence's head during the Vice Presidential Debate with Lost in Space actor Jonathan Harris. We're more incompacitated write now then Donald Trump with dexamethasone blasted up his ass. We cant' eevn typ properyl.

Eddie said he got tongue cancer from using metal guitar picks and holding them in his mouth. This was part of his Nu metal phase with Extreme lead singer Gary Cherone of all people screaming over the music of Van Halen. This musical cacophony was entitled Van Halen III and fell victim to "They changed the lead singer, now it sucks" syndrome, along with such disasterpieces as Genesis's Calling All Stations with Ray Wilson, Motley Crue's self-titled album with John Corabi, and INXS's Switch with J.D. Fortune.

Eddie showed that you could play the guitar without plucking a single note, just flap your greasy, sloppy fingers on both hands across the fretboard and see if it sounds musical. A two-year-old could do that! Except a two-year-old can't do it like Eddie Van Halen.

I'm not really in a joking mood right now, too sad. Damn, where's Don Rickles when you need him?

Don Rickles 1973.JPG

Did somebody say Don Rickles?

Don Rickles? I thought you were dead?

So did I! Pee, you're dying faster than Trump, so I figured I'd bail you out.

Sure. Go ahead, Mr. Rickles.

The world lost a legend in Eddie Van Halen, but don't tell him that. He would've told everyone giving him praise, compliments and accolades to get a life. My God, you'd think we were talking about The Second Coming of that Jewish carpenter from Bethlehem, whatshisname. Or Kim Jong-Un. Anyway, Eddie was a rock star who was too humble for that crap. He didn't need everyone to grovel at his feet or kiss his ass.

Van Halen had more lead singers than I have underwear. You don't really need underwear in Heaven. We're all just a bunch of freeloading hippies. But Van Halen had three lead singers. They had that flamboyant Jew David Lee Roth with the assless spandex pants. Then you had that Montrose guy, Sammy Hagar. Then you had Roth again, for all of five minutes. And then that Cherone guy. Then back to Hagar the Horrible. Then back to the Jew. The band went back and forth like a student driver about to crash into a tree!

Eddie could've had any woman he wanted, and who did he pick? One of the girls from One Day at a Time. You'd think he'd pick Mackenzie Phillips, considering her musical lineage, [Her father was legendary singer-songwriter and Mamas and the Papas founder John Phillips. -Ed] but no, he instead chose Valerie Bertinelli. That's like, Barbara Bach could've had any Beatle, and she chose Ringo. Why? And who the hell names their kid after Mozart? Wolfie. Makes him sound like a werewolf.

And "Beat It." If I played the guitar solo on one of the biggest hits of all time, I'd kindly ask you to pay up. By the way, Pee, my invoice should be coming around the same time as your ballot and your Fangoria. I'd never turn down easy money like that. Hell, I would've played the solo on "Eat It." I did those Toy Story movies because I knew they'd make fat stacks. You think I seriously did those movies to be part of the proud tradition of animation, or to usher in that computer doohickey? I can't draw to save my life and I can't even set the time on a VCR.

Anyway, I'd hate to split, but I need to get ready for my date with Eartha Kitt. You're on your own, Pee.

Thanks. Don Rickles everybody!

My condolences go out to Alex, Wolfie, Dave, Mike, Sammy, Valerie... and even Gary Cherone (for different reasons).

Eddie Van Halen
January 26, 1955 — October 6, 2020
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