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A real rocker will tell you that rock music has always been there: as if it existed at a time when there was no concept of such a life-giving musical instrument as the guitar. There were no such inconceivable and sometimes terrifying sounds, bursting out of the most hidden corners of the soul, passing through the heart, flowing out of the fingers of the hands and then falling down on people's heads with natural thunder from huge loudspeakers... But what we can definitely say with certainty is that with the appearance of Van Halen the notion of rock music, and probably of hard rock music, embraced something completely new and original. It's not just rock anymore - now it's that heavy mixture of emotion, desire and power, about which we can definitely say that it lives on fire!
Brothers Alex and Edward were born in Holland in 1953 and 1955 respectively, where they lived until 1962, and then the Van Halen family moved to Pasadena, California. They were a real musical family. Jan (their father) was a skilled clarinist, so Alex and Ed began studying to be concert pianists at an early age. But then they were interested in more modern music, so they decided to change their instruments: Ed decided to play drums, and Alex started playing guitar. But as it happened, when Alex decided to try playing on his brother's drum kit Ed realized that Alex was awakening a real talent for playing this instrument. And Eddie, in his turn, began to play his older brother's guitar. Things started to get much better with this lineup, and so they began.
After graduating high school, where Ed played in various cover bands, he was put in charge of the vocal duties. That's when Eddie and Alex met David Lee Roth, who was performing with the local band The Red Ball Jets. He moved to Pasadena with his father from Bloomington, Indiana, in 1972. Ed himself hated singing lead vocals (except backing vocals), so he convinced Dave to join their band, which later became Mammoth.
One of their many rehearsals was with the band Snake. The vocalist and bass player in Snake was a guy named Michael Anthony. He was from Chicago, Illinois. The band invited Mike to a jam session and then asked him to join the band, because they needed a bass player as well. And since he was very impressed with them, he gladly accepted their offer. After a while the guys found out that there was already one band with the same name as they had, so they decided to change the name to something more appropriate. They went through various names for a long time (Rat Salade was even among them) until they finally stopped at Van Halen.
At that time they played in various music clubs. But one day, when they were playing a gig at "The Starwood" club in Los Angelis, a man named Gene Simmons saw them. He decided to produce their demo tape: it had early versions of "House of Pain" and "Running with the Devil". Personally, Edward felt uncomfortable in this studio, as he had to play on someone else's equipment and it didn't have a simple multi-track recording system. As a result, this demo was deemed unacceptable by all the major record companies.
In 1977, a year after the unsuccessful demo, Warner Bros. producer Ted Templeman saw Van Halen at a club in Los Angelis. In fact, it was still the same club where Simmons first saw them. Templeman convinced his partner Mo Ostin to work with the band. And in 1978, Van Halen released their first album of the same name. From that moment on, everything changed for the better in the world for the band.