Just ask Eddie Van Halen.
Extreme’s Nuno Bettencourt did.
The guitar wizard is facing his own ghosts on the upcoming Van Halen release, the band’s first with original lead singer David Lee Roth in more than 25 years.
The new VH also represents a few milestones:
• First new VH music since 2004
• First new VH album since 1998’s “Van Halen III”
• First new VH music with Roth since 1996
• First recordings with bassist Wolfgang Van Halen
Back in January, Bettencourt was in L.A.’s Henson Studios for a songwriting session when he had a chance encounter with his guitar hero.
“As I was about to enter the room, my ears demanded that my feet stop in their tracks,” writes Nuno in the upcoming Neil Zlozower book, “Eddie Van Halen,” due this fall. “What caused me to stop was a familiar sound from the room across the hall. This sound was desperately trying to break through the double-thick walls of the studio. It was faint, but even so, there was no mistaking the power of the sound that was seeping through those walls, because there can only be one Edward.”
“I looked around to make sure no one was around, and then walked over and put my ear to the wall,” continues Bettencourt. “I closed my eyes and listened intensely, and between the vibration and what I actually heard—poof!—I was transformed from forty-four to fourteen years old. Then, for the next three minutes, like a burst of electricity running through me, I saw and heard the soundtrack of my life flash before me. Back to the minute I walked into my brother’s room and heard “Running with the Devil” for the first time and I froze, staring at the record player with my mouth open like I was seeing porn for the first time, trying to comprehend what I was hearing. If that wasn’t scary enough, my brother then played another track, which opened with the thunder of the greatest, most individual and under-celebrated drummer in the world, King Alex Van Halen: PaDaLaBum PaDaLaBum . . . “Eruption!” At that point I looked at my brother and asked if we were being invaded by aliens, and what planet Edward Van Halen was from.”
“I ran into Edward an hour later in the hallway,” Nuno writes, “and after receiving a hello and a warm hug from the man who changed the world, I asked, ‘How’s it coming along in there?’ And Ed said, ‘It’s cool. . . . I’m a little nervous, though.’ I said, ‘Nervous? You!? Eddie Van? The Master? Do you have any idea what you have done? The gifts you have given us for over thirty years? You single-handedly changed the history of how we play guitar!’”
“And with that grin that we have been seeing on Eddie’s face for as long as we can remember, he looked me in the eye and said, ‘I know . . . why do you think I’m nervous?’ Then he walked off like John Wayne, straight back into the studio.”
Check out Nuno’s full story from Zlozower’s book as published by the Van Halen News Desk here.
No title or release date has been confirmed for the VH album; the band plays the Soundwave Revolution festival for dates across Australia starting in late in September.
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