Alex Van Halen is a musician born on 8 May 1953, in Amsterdam, Noord-Holland Netherlands. He’s known for being the co-founder and drummer of the American hard-rock band Van Halen.
Alexander Arthur van Halen was born the son of Jan van Halen, a jazz saxophonist and Eugenia van Beers, of Indo origin. In 1962, the entire family moved from Netherlands to Pasadena, California USA, and shortly after their arrival to the country they changed their last name from “van Halen” to “Van Halen”. Alex has a younger brother named Edward “Eddie” Lodewijk van Halen. Alex studied at Hamilton Elementary School in Pasadena, and matriculated from Pasadena High School in 1971. He attended Pasadena City College to study Music, but never finished his studies as he left college.
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Interest in music
Due to their father’s profession, Alex and his younger brother Edward became interested in music from an early age, and were trained as classical pianists. However, as the brothers grew-up they became influenced by the rock movement from England, and so developed an interest in playing more instruments.
While his brother Eddie became more interested on drums, Alex developed an interest in the guitar, and started taking flamenco guitar lessons while he was still in primary school. As time passed, Alex also became interested in playing the drums as he started practicing with his brother’s drum kit. Alex ended up completely losing his interest in playing the guitar, and he and his brother finally switched instruments permanently when Edward started playing the guitar.
Career’s First Steps
Alex and his brother Eddie formed their first band named The Broken Combs along with three other boys, when they were still attending Primary School. They formed other bands in their teens, which were named The Trojan Rubber Company, Genesis, and The Space Brothers.
Mammoth – 1972
Mammoth was formed when Alex was attending Pasadena City College. The band’s line-up at the time was Alex on drums, Eddie on vocals and Mark Stone on bass; they rented the electronic system and equipment of David Lee Roth, who Alex met before leaving College.
Soon after the band’s formation, they changed their line-up when Eddie asked Roth to join the band and become its vocalist.
To Roth’s suggestion they changed the band’s name to Van Halen in 1974, since their former name “Mammoth” was already taken by another band. At the time, Mark Stone left the band and was replaced by Michael Anthony.
First Steps: 1974 – 1977
With a new line-up and name, the band started playing shows in Southern California, with Alex also performing managerial duties besides his role as a drummer.
Van Halen played at several private parties, parks and small night clubs thanks to the band’s self promotion. However, it was the night club “Gazzari” –one of the most famous clubs in the city at the time- that gave the band its first contract to play shows at the club. Though at first owner Bill Gazzarri didn’t like them because the band was ‘too loud’, they were hired by the managers Mark Algorri and Mario Miranda, who were impressed by their performances.
Other well-known clubs the band played at were “Walter Mitty’s Rock & Roll Emporium”, “Whisky a GoGo” and “Starwood”, which meant Van Halen’s audience grew steadily through California.
Soon after Van Halen joined “Gazzari”, they recorded their first demo tape at Cherokee Studios in 1976, after the disc jockey and talent hunter Rodney Bingenheimer saw them at “Gazzari”, and took Gene Simmons to see the band play. Simmons’ interest for Van Halen grew to the point that he helped produce their second demo-tape at two studios in Los Angeles and New York. However, after Simmons presented the tape to his band’s (Kiss) management, they rejected the band, arguing that ‘they had no chance of making it’, and so he lost his interest in Van Halen.
Even after this rejection, Van Halen’s opportunities presented themselves when in 1977 Ted Templeman and Mo Ostin saw them perform at the “Starwood” in Hollywood, and impressed by their performance, immediately offered the band a contract with Warner Bros. Records.
First Album and Rise to Fame: 1978- Present
On 8 February 8 1978 the band released their self-titled first album, recorded at Sunset Sound Recorders from September to October of 1977. Despite the rise in popularity of disco music and punk, the band’s first album reached no.19 on the Billboard chart, gathering the approval of rock music fans and the public in general, becoming one of the most influential albums of the century worldwide.
What followed was the album “1984”, landing the band its first and only number one single – “Jump” – which gained the band international fame.
In 1985, Roth left the band and was replaced by Sammy Hagar, and though the band went through several changes in its line-up, the Van Halen brothers always remained as members. Other successful records by Van Halen are: “5150” from 1986, “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge”, released in 1991, “Balance” in 1995, the 2004’s hits collection “The Best of Both Worlds”, and “A Different Kind of Truth” from 2012.
The first song that Alex mastered on drums was “Wipe Out” by The Surfaris; he has listed his musical influences as Ginger Baker, Billy Cobham, John Bonham and Keith Moon.
Alex Van Halen’s music equipment varies – his drums, pedals and hardware are Ludwig, while his cymbals are Paiste and his drumsticks Regaltip. Paiste also created a signature ride cymbal for him, while Regaltip did the same with his drumsticks. Alex often uses extravagant, giant drum kits.
— SheenaIsAPunkRocker 🎸 (@77MASH) May 8, 2016
Alex coined the term “The Brown Sound” to name the sound of his snare drum.
Alex married for the first time in 1983 to Valeri Kendall after an engagement of two years. However, the marriage only lasted months, and they divorced in 1984. The same year, Alex married Kelly Carter who gave birth to his first son, Aric Van Halen, born 6 October 1989. The couple were12 years married before divorcing in 1996. Four years later Alex married Stine Schyberg who gave birth to his second child Malcolm Van Halen. The couple has remained married since then.
Sammy Hagar, former Van Halen’s lead singer, wrote a book entitled “Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock”, in which he said that Alex used to consume big amounts of beer during tours and recordings at the studio, which led him to cause several stunts.
This fact is confirmed by Alex himself, who in 1988 entered a brief rehab for his addiction to alcohol. Ever since he’s been sober, and it’s said that what inspired his recovery was his father’s death in 1986.
Sibling – Eddie Van Halen
Alex’s younger brother Eddie Van Halen was born on 26 January 1955 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. He’s not only Van Halen’s guitarist, but he’s also a songwriter, inventor and producer. His mastery as a guitar player has gained him worldwide fame, and he was listed as the number one in the Guitar World’s poll “The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”. He has said Eric Clapton is his biggest musical influence.
Alex Van Halen has an estimated net worth of $110 Mіllіоn, which is a result of his extensive and successful career as Van Halen’s drummer.
Alex Van Halen is a man of mixed ethnicity. He’s 6ft (1,83m) tall, but his weight is unknown, though he has a slender build. His style in Van Halen has changed with time – at the start of his career he had long hair, but nowadays he has cut his hair and has a more mature appearance. He’s often seen with black glasses.
Alex and Eddie’s mother died in 2005. They have said that despite their success in music and even after becoming millionaires, their mother would still ask them when they were going to drop-off music and pursue ‘real jobs’.
The personalities of the Van Halen brothers’ parents were very different. While they describe their mother as serious and responsible, they said that their father used to be an easygoing and relaxed person.
Eddie’s first drum kit was a St. George valued at $125, paid for by working delivering newspapers as a boy. However, while Eddie was out working, Alex would practice his drum skills on Eddie’s set.
The only time Alex has ever appeared on a musical project besides Van Halen was in 1997, when he worked in the instrumental song “Respect the Wind”, which formed part of the soundtrack of the film “Twister”, working alongside his brother; the song gained them a nomination for a Grammy Award.
During the brief time Gene Simmons was interested in producing Van Halen, he proposed to change the name of the band to “Daddy Longlegs”, but the band members rejected the idea.
Alex almost lost a finger in 1977, shortly before their signing with Warner Bros.
Alex often likes to bang a gong at the beginning of his drum solos.