Happy Birthday Alex Van Halen
Drums/percussion were my first instrument. When I was younger I’d always have this trepidation about getting behind the kit, mainly because the thought of screwing up the entire tempo was scary. The drummer can derail the whole song and that freaked me out. I had help getting over it thanks to my heroes though. Alex Van Halen was my first drumming hero, without a doubt I wanted to play just like him. I picked up other influences in my early years; Ian Paice, Travis Barker, Terry Bozzio, Riley Breckenridge, but nobody topped Alex’s intensity and incredible pocket grooves. I’d always position the crash cymbal on my school’s drum kit directly to my right because I remembered how Alex had one next to his right side as well. I’d beat the living hell out of those drums as I did not have a drumset at home because it was too expensive and noisy (I lived in apartments in the San Fernando Valley growing up). I remember that I studied and internalized every groove on all the Van Halen records as a middle schooler just so I could play them on the school kit before the symphonic band class started (after which I would then have to move to the Timpani, my main instrument). Time went on and my influences grew exponentially as did the music that I played for the drums, but Alex was still the inspiration. Even if I was grooving on the congas during jazz concerts in high school, Alex was the guy I was trying to emulate.
Happy Birthday man.