1. “I’m writing, and just doing the same thing I always do.”

2. “Everything I did is because I wanted to do it. If I weren’t playing this arena, if I were playing a club, I’d still be doing it because that’s what I want to do. I love playing the guitar.”

3. “Music kept me off the streets and out of trouble and gave me something that was mine that no one could take away from me.”

4. “I’m the one in the band that said I’m not going on tour unless we do a record.”

5. “We’re musicians. We make music for a living. It’s that simple. Nothing else matters.”

6. “I don’t really know what inspires me to write the music I do, but usually, the music will set the tone for the lyrics.”

7. “I’ll be making music ’til the day I die. I’ve done all kinds of stuff, and more is coming.”

8. “Rock stars come and go. Musicians play until they die.”

9. “To hell with the rules. If it sounds right, then it is.”

10. “Every song is like a kid. How can you have that many kids and have a favorite? Which one do I like to hang most with?”

11. “I have selective hearing.”

12. “It’s all about sound. It’s that simple.”

13. “Bass is for people who can’t play guitar.”

14. “I’m just a normal schmo like anyone else.”

15. “Best believe that needle hurt you Best to see these true colors Than follow one of your false virtues A little secret to make you think: Why is the crazy stuff we never say, poetry in ink?”

16. “There are really three parts to the creative process. First, there is inspiration, then there is the execution, and finally, there is the release.”

17. “I’m just a guitarist in a kick-ass rock and roll band. What more could I ask for?”

18. “The piano is a universal instrument. If you start there, learn your theory and how to read, you can go on to any other instrument.”

19. “Eventually you’ll take the phrases and rhythm patterns you’ve copped and begin to put your own mark on them.”

20. “If you want to be a rock star or just be famous, then run down the street naked, you’ll make the news or something. But if you want music to be your livelihood, then play, play, play and play! And eventually, you’ll get to where you want to be.”

21. “Most beginners want to learn lead because they think it’s cool… Consequently, they never really develop good rhythm skills… Since most of a rock guitarist’s time is spent playing rhythm, it’s important to learn to do it well … Learning lead should come after you can play solid backup and have the sound of the chords in your head.”

22. “It’s funny when bands or younger musicians ask me: ‘So, what does it take to make it?’ 23. Well, first explain to me what you mean by ‘making it’: Do you want to be a rock star or do you want music to be your livelihood?”

23. “I’m not a drunk anymore, but since they cut out my tongue, I sound drunk.”

24. “Actually, if I could deliberately sit down and write a pop hit, all my songs would be pop hits!” 25. “Let’s put it this way. I play what I like to hear. And sometimes I like to hear something poppy, and sometimes I don’t.”

26. “I mean it’s funny, playing music, how of course you want it to do well, you want them to like it, but it’s not competitive like an election, it’s the Olympics, it’s not a Formula 1 race. The Billboard charts are just to show you what people like.”

27. “I just consider myself slightly left-of-center. I’m not your average bear. I—what’s the word? I’m not—normal.”

28.“Practice. I used to sit on the edge of my bed with a six-pack of Tuborg. My brother would go out to party and get laid, come home at 3 am, and I would still be playing with myself.”

29. “I boil the strings so they stretch.”

30. “A guitar is just theoretically built wrong. Each string is an interval of fourths, and then the B string is off. Theoretically, that’s not right, all the strings should be off.”

31. “I started doing all kinds of weird stuff on the guitar, which became part of my playing. I started doing harmonics and tapping on the guitar and pulling off strings and doing all this weird stuff that no one had ever done before.”

32. “A guitar is a very personal extension of the person playing it. You have to be emotionally and spiritually connected to your instrument. I’m very brutal on my instruments, but not all the time.”

33. “Rock & Roll is feeling, and after you know most of the basics … chords, rhythm, scales, and bends … getting that feeling is just about the most important aspect of playing guitar.”

34. “If you have a great-sounding guitar that’s a quality instrument and a good amp, and you know how to make the guitar talk, that’s the key. It starts with the guitar and knowing what it should sound and feel like.”

35. “The one thing I do have is good ears. I don’t mean perfect pitch, but ears for picking things up. I developed my ear through piano theory, but I never had a guitar lesson in my life, except from Eric Clapton off of records.”

36. “The stainless-steel frets were a major breakthrough, because of the amount of playing and bending that I do. I have to get my guitars refretted every couple of months.”

37. “I destroyed a lot of guitars trying to get them to do what I wanted, but I learned something from every guitar I tore apart and discovered even more things. Things like if the string is not straight from the bridge saddle to the nut, you’re going to have friction.”

38. “I have pictures of me sitting in the racquetball court in my pajamas with an acoustic guitar, and Wolfgang is probably just two-and-a-half feet tall. I’ll never forget the day I saw his foot tapping along in beat! I knew then, I couldn’t wait for the day I’d be able with my son. I don’t know what more I could ask for.”

39. “Music is for people. The word ‘pop’ is simply short for popular. It means that people like it. I’m just a normal jerk who happens to make music. As long as my brain and fingers work, I’m cool.”

40. “It’s always about the music, never about anything else.”

41. “My son, Wolfgang, plays drums, guitars, and bass.”

42. “I can’t read music. Instead, I’d do stuff inside the piano, do harmonics, and all kinds of crazy things. They used to put me in these annual piano contests down at Long Beach City College, and two years in a row, I won first prize – out of like 5,000 kids! The judges were like, ‘Very interesting interpretation!’ I thought I was playing it right.”

43. “Some people think a song without words isn’t a real song. Tell that to Beethoven, and he’ll kick your ass!”

44. “You’ve only got 12 notes and however you mix them up is your thing.”

45. “I’m not a rock star. Sure I am, to a certain extent because of the situation, but when kids ask me how it feels to be a rock star, I say leave me alone, I’m not a rock star. I’m not in it for the fame, I’m in it because I like to play.”

46. “I played ‘Eruption’ two times for the record, and we kept the one that seemed to flow … there’s a mistake at the top end of it whenever I hear it, I always think, Man I could’ve played it better … but I like the way it sounds. I’d never heard a guitar sound like that before.”

47. “On ‘Honeybabysweetiedoll’ I used a Whammy, a Boss OC-3 octave box, a Sustainer, and a Line 6 DL4 Delay Modeler. That’s only on the intro, where all those weird noises are happening.”

48. “And if I would have taken lessons I probably wouldn’t have done it, and what forced me to do all this weird stuff on the guitar was I couldn’t afford effects pedals, I didn’t have all this stuff when I was a kid, so I just tried to squeeze all the weird noises I could out of the guitar, which brings me to building guitars.”

49. “You know, most people, they want to go to Hollywood. They want to be a star. They want to be a rock star. That thought never entered any of our minds, the Van Halen family.”

50. “Jimmy Page is an excellent producer. Led Zeppelin I and II are classics. As a player, he’s very good in the studio, but I’ve never seen him play well live. He’s sloppy. He plays like he’s got a broken hand, and he’s two years old. If you put out a good album and play like a two-year-old, what’s the purpose?”

51. “I’ll always leave the same set of strings on my guitars when I’m recording. If I break one I’ll just replace it instead of putting on a whole new set of strings.”

52. “David Lee Roth had the idea that if you covered a successful song, you were halfway home. C’mon Van Halen doing ‘Dancing in the Streets’? It was stupid. I started feeling like I would rather bomb playing my own songs than be successful playing someone else’s music.”

53. “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge took a year to record; that’s why the playing on it might sound somewhat labored. ‘Balance,’ on the other hand, was written and recorded in only four months, so the whole process was quicker and more immediate.”

54. “It comes back to the same old question people are always asking me: ‘When are you going to do a solo record?’ Well, if I did, it would probably be similar to ‘Baluchitherium,’ meaning it would be Van Halen music—which I write anyway—but without singing.”

55. “When I was growing up and listening to bands like the Dave Clark Five, the groove was what initially got me going. I really like that funky, heavy groove.”

56. “Nirvana was huge, but it didn’t appeal to everyone.”

57. “Imagine if Beethoven had a tape recorder. Then you’d know exactly what he meant. Maybe he meant ‘Da da da da’ instead of ‘Boom boom boom boom!’ Who knows?”

58. “I was trying to take the band in a direction that I thought was appropriate, and Roth was trying to take the band in more of a Las Vegas direction. And there he is.”

59. “The only band I was really over-into was Cream. And the only thing I really liked about them was their live stuff ’cause they played two verses, then go off and jam for 20 minutes, come back and do a chorus, and end. And I love the live jam stuff, the improvisation.”

60. “If I can help a kid discover a liking or even a passion for music in their life, then that’s a wonderful thing.”

61. “Like I’ve always said, if you like what you’re doing, you’re halfway there; if someone else likes it, that’s even better. If they don’t like it, at least you like it. Not to be selfish, but you kind of have to be.”

62. “I never took guitar lessons. I took classical piano lessons from the age of six when we lived in Holland. And when we moved to America, it was just the typical thing except I was really good at it; so was my brother.”

63. “It makes me feel kind of weird, but obviously the Man Upstairs gave me something, and it touches people, and I’m just so blessed.”

64. “There’s a plaque on our wall that says we’ve sold over 65 million albums, and I don’t feel I’ve accomplished anything. I feel like I’m just getting started.”

65. “I never dreamt of being a musician for my livelihood. I certainly never would have wanted to be in the business that I’m in, meaning the fame and the glory, the glitter, the rock star, the famous part.”

66. “When Van Halen started out, there was no path to fame. We just played what we liked. Even today it always comes down to the simplicity of rock and roll.”

67. “I was so used to doing old blues licks with the first three fingers. When I started using my pinky and finding more spread things, that’s when I started getting my own style.”

68. “I think Clapton is brilliant. He’s the only one who moved me. The only one who made me want to play the guitar.”

69. “I’m blessed with a good pair of ears. That’s how I fooled my piano teacher. I’d watch his fingers, and I’d listen to it, and I just kind of basically learned it by myself.”

70. “It’s always a Catch-22 situation. They hate you if you’re the same, and they hate you if you’re different.”

71. “Everything comes to me while I’m sitting on the pot.”

72. “Before the operation on my left hand, I wasn’t able to stretch my fingers open all the way. I’ve never had very big hands, but I could do the splits with them. Eventually, I couldn’t anymore. I had a twisted tendon in my little finger that prevented me from being able to stretch.”

73. “I’ve had a hip replacement, I’ve beaten , I had my hand operation, and I stopped drinking. Something inside of me just went, I’m done.”

74. “Cancer is like a cockroach. It just comes back stronger. I’m tearing apart the immune system of the cockroach and seeing how it ticks. I’ve opened up my own pathology center.”

75. “On ‘Van Halen,’ I was a young punk, and everything revolved around the fastest kid in town, gunslinger attitude. But I’d say that at the time of ‘Fair Warning,’ I started concentrating more on songwriting. But I guess in most people’s minds I’m just a gunslinger.”

76. “Major third complications can be overcome by lots of alcohol.”

77. “Obviously you have to have rhythm. If you have rhythm, then you can play anything you need. If you have rhythm, and you love music, then play and play and play until you get to where you want to get. If you can pay the rent, great. If you can’t, then you’d better be having fun.”

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