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Eddie Van Halen smiled like a kid when his hero gave him the thumbs up. He smiled like he saw the love of his life across the room. He smiled like he was up to sumpthin… who me? Oh, yes, you. Then he serenaded or assailed you with the wit of his strings.

There can be only one. And that is cliche. But tonight that’s how it feels when I think and write about Eddie Van Halen. A friend asked for a best memory with a Van Halen song involved.

I’m not sure how I got the cassette (probably borrowed from a friend or my brother). Popped it into the Sears stereo. Heard “Eruption” and just … Did you ever hear a piece of music and wonder what just happened to you? What the hell just happened to me? Never heard anything like it. I’m an 80s Mtv grrl, so I’ve seen a lot (oh my word a lot) of videos. When I went back to wash in Van Halen just now, most of what I see is Eddie playing like “this is kidstuff and I’m having fun.” He played with a joy, a playfulness I haven’t seen in many other bands. He had a guitar made for his creativity because he needed something more, which is not surprising. Many creatives have to have things built or changed for them so they can CREATE because what is in the here and now is just not filling and satisfying. I want us all to smoke that cig and take a swig and write that thing, that easygoing swagger that’s easy as breathing, breathing pie. Eddie, no one is like you. But we gotta try.