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Speaking of Ozzy, you once auditioned to be in his band back in the 80s. How did that opportunity come about? “Ozzy was out on the road and doing promotion on the radio saying he was looking for a guitar player. I happened to be in Boston and called the radio station and started playing ‘Crazy Train’ over the phone. I told the people on the phone that I wanted to send in a demo tape. They told me where to send it and I actually got a call back. They told me they liked my demo and offered to fly me to Los Angeles to audition. It was a true Hollywood story: I flew out, they picked me up at the airport in a limousine and then proceeded to drive about a hundred miles an hour down Sunset Boulevard [laughs]. They brought me to a rehearsal studio where there was a line of guitar players, who all looked like me, wearing leather jackets. I was lucky enough to perform with Ozzy and his band that day. I was a huge fan of Black Sabbath and Ozzy growing up, so it was a dream come true. I wound up getting a call back the next day and played again. They really liked me, but Zakk [Wylde] was the perfect man for the job. Ozzy was the one who suggested I move to Los Angeles, and I did.” What happened after that? “When I first went to L.A., I did a lot of auditions. Then one day I decided that maybe I wasn’t meant to be a touring guitarist. Maybe I was supposed to do my own thing. I started doing solo records and scored ‘The Endless Summer II’ movie. “I began carving a niche as a guitarist and got to tour with guys like Brian May and Ted Nugent. The coolest thing is that my 19-year-old son plays guitar now and I think he’ll take on my legacy in the years to come. What excites you the most about his next phase of your career? “I’m excited to get past this virus, putting out new music, seeing all the fans and re-experiencing everything we’ve taken for granted. “After all we’ve been through, I’ve discovered a new appreciation for what I’m able to do. The little things now mean a lot. As far as Bethlehem goes, I’m looking forward to giving everyone a good night. It’s going to be intimate but very powerful.” just a girl who loves books face mask
The 2007 incident when Eddie Van Halen performed the classic Van Halen song “Jump” entirely out of tune has become a celebrated story among fans. The moment in Greensboro, N.C., is one of the few occasions when the legendary guitarist was seen to truly mess up onstage, and speculation has circulated for years that it was actually a problem with the keyboard backing track being played at the wrong pitch. One person who always knew the true story – Van Halen’s guitar tech, Tom Weber – said he’s kept quiet about it because it was a “sore point” with his late boss. But in a recent podcast co-interview with Jeremy White and Mitch Lafon, Weber finally recounted his memory of the moment. “It had nothing to do with the keyboards,” he said. “Ed loves to make noises with the guitar; we all know that … you’re liable to hear any unearthly sound that Ed can make with a guitar. … So, at one point, he took the guitar and literally jammed the headstock of the neck into the stage several times. … My job is to be ready for him with another guitar, which I was.” Despite lifting the spare instrument over his head to indicate it was available, Van Halen waved Weber away and appeared satisfied with adjusting the tuning of the one he had. The tech said it was “passable” but not perfectly tuned, so bassist Wolfgang Van Halen adjusted his own instrument to match. just a girl who loves books face mask
“So they’re in tune – you have guitar and bass in tune,” the roadie noted. You can watch the interview below. That worked fine for the closing songs of the main set. Usually the band came offstage before returning for the encore of “Jump,” but that night in Greensboro, the members remained on the platform, so Weber wasn’t able to swap Van Halen’s guitar as usual. “So now you have Wolfgang on his bass and Ed with his out-of-tune guitar on a keyboard song that is in tune,” he said. “Ed didn’t have keyboards in his monitor mix, so he didn’t hear that he was out of tune. So that’s where all that went.” He went on to say that the guitarist was oblivious to what had happened until several weeks later, when he was shown a video of the performance before another show. “So I got called to the dressing room full of people, and he said, ‘You handed me an out-of-tune guitar.’ I said, ‘No, I didn’t.’ I said, ‘If you’ll recall, you banged the headstock of the guitar into the stage that night several times and then you didn’t come off the stage to get the guitar at the end of the show for the encore.” You can watch the incident below. Van Halen claimed the headstock trick “wouldn’t make any difference” to the tuning and “proceeded to jam it into the dressing room floor,” Weber explained. “And in front of a room full of people it comes back up – and it’s way out of tune. I said, ‘Just sayin’ … .’ And that’s the last I ever heard about it.” As well as losing out on a fee from the Van Halen “kitchen sink” tour that was abandoned because of the guitarist’s ailing health, Weber noted he’s also lost out on a “banner year” of income when the live-music industry shut down over the coronavirus. He’s now fighting to keep his home. You can help by making a donation of any size at GoFundMe.
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