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.
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.
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.
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.
When I’m home on a break I lock myself in my room and play guitar. After two or three hours I start getting into this total meditation. It’s a feeling few people experience and that’s usually when I come up with weird stuff. It just flows. I can’t force myself. I don’t sit down and say I’ve got to practice.
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.
David Lee Roth had the idea that if you covered a successful song you were half way 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.
‘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.
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.
We’re musicians. We make music for a living. It’s that simple. Nothing else matters.