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Old 12-03-2012, 02:17 PM  
Deberg_1990 Deberg_1990 is offline
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Eddie Van Halen deconstructs his collaboration on 'Beat It'

Interesting....Classic song...classic album



http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/30/showbi...?iref=obinsite




Eddie Van Halen sits on a sofa in his home studio, smoking an electronic cigarette and reminiscing about the 30th anniversary of Michael Jackson's masterpiece album, "Thriller."

"It seems like yesterday, doesn't it," he says softly. "It would have been fun to work with him again."

Van Halen was a surprise guest on "Beat It," the album's third single. His blazing guitar solo lasted all of 20 seconds and took half an hour to record. He did it for free, as a favor to producer Quincy Jones, while the rest of his Van Halen bandmates were out of town.

"I said to myself, 'Who is going to know that I played on this kid's record, right? Nobody's going to find out.' Wrong!" he laughs. "Big-time wrong. It ended up being Record of the Year."

The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer recently revealed to CNN what went on behind-the-scenes of his iconic collaboration with the King of Pop.

CNN: When Quincy rang you up, you thought it was a crank call.

Eddie Van Halen: I went off on him. I went, "What do you want, you f-ing so-and-so!" And he goes, "Is this Eddie?" I said, "Yeah, what the hell do you want?" "This is Quincy." I'm thinking to myself, "I don't know anyone named Quincy." He goes, "Quincy Jones, man." I went, "Ohhh, sorry!" (Laughs)

I asked, "What can I do for you?" And he said, "How would you like to come down and play on Michael Jackson's new record?" And I'm thinking to myself, "OK, 'ABC, 1, 2, 3' and me. How's that going to work?"

I still wasn't 100% sure it was him. I said, "I'll tell you what. I'll meet you at your studio tomorrow." And lo and behold, when I get there, there's Quincy, there's Michael Jackson and there's engineers. They're makin' records!

CNN: Did Quincy give you any direction about what he wanted you to do?

Van Halen: Michael left to go across the hall to do some children's speaking record. I think it was "E.T." or something. So I asked Quincy, "What do you want me to do?" And he goes, "Whatever you want to do." And I go, "Be careful when you say that. If you know anything about me, be careful when you say, "Do anything you want!"

I listened to the song, and I immediately go, "Can I change some parts?" I turned to the engineer and I go, "OK, from the breakdown, chop in this part, go to this piece, pre-chorus, to the chorus, out." Took him maybe 10 minutes to put it together. And I proceeded to improvise two solos over it.

I was just finishing the second solo when Michael walked in. And you know artists are kind of crazy people. We're all a little bit strange. I didn't know how he would react to what I was doing. So I warned him before he listened. I said, "Look, I changed the middle section of your song."

Now in my mind, he's either going to have his bodyguards kick me out for butchering his song, or he's going to like it. And so he gave it a listen, and he turned to me and went, "Wow, thank you so much for having the passion to not just come in and blaze a solo, but to actually care about the song, and make it better."

He was this musical genius with this childlike innocence. He was such a professional, and such a sweetheart.

CNN: That collaboration surprised a lot of people.

Van Halen: I'll never forget when Tower Records was still open over here in Sherman Oaks. I was buying something, and "Beat It" was playing over the store sound system. The solo comes on, and I hear these kids in front of me going, "Listen to this guy trying to sound like Eddie Van Halen." I tapped him on the shoulder and said, "That IS me!" That was hilarious.

CNN: How did you explain to the guys in Van Halen what had happened?

Van Halen: I just said, "You know. (Shrugs) Busted!" "Dave, you were out of the country!" "Al, you weren't around!" I couldn't call anyone and ask for permission.

Unfortunately, "Thriller" kept our album, "1984," from going to No. 1. Our album was just about ready to go No. 1 when he burned his hair in that Pepsi commercial, if you remember that. And boom, he went straight to No. 1 again!

CNN: Is there an album since then that has shaken things up in the same way?

Van Halen: Wow, I don't know.

CNN: Some people cite Nirvana's "Nevermind" has one that caused a musical shift.

Van Halen: But still not like that. Not that crossed over to such a mass audience. Nirvana was huge, but it didn't appeal to everyone.

I have a lot of respect for Michael. He's going to be sorely missed. I'd be curious as to what he'd be doing right now.

CNN: I believe Quincy has said he paid you in two six packs of beer.

Van Halen: Yeah, something like that. Actually, I brought my own, if I remember right.

I don't even think I'm credited on the record. It just says, "Guitar solo: Question Mark" or "Guitar solo: Frankenstein" (the name of his guitar).

CNN: Did you ever hear from Quincy again?

Van Halen: At the very end, Quincy wrote me a letter thanking me. It was signed, "The F-ing Blah Blah Blah," which I still have. It's very funny.
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Old 12-03-2012, 04:38 PM   #31
Al Bundy Al Bundy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Omaha View Post
Eddie Van Halen doesn't know how to spell "Jovan"
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Old 12-03-2012, 04:49 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by Gadzooks View Post
It was common in the olden days for Rap songs to have guitar solos.
"Rick" Rubin..paging "Rick" Rubin
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Old 12-03-2012, 05:24 PM   #33
Gadzooks Gadzooks is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brock View Post
The beastie boys formed as a punk band in the beginning. not sure what your point is.
Michael Jackson working with EVH is almost as unlikely as the Beastie Boys working with Kerry King or Reba McIntire working with Dimebag Darrell.
The Beastie Boys were a rap band in the 80's and even in their punk days were unlikely to come across Kerry King.

The fact that Thriller was written by Toto is really whacked out.
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Old 12-03-2012, 05:35 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by KCUnited View Post
Hope Solo was done by Living Colour.
Yep, Vernon Reid KILLED it.
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Old 12-03-2012, 05:36 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaneMcCloud View Post
Most of the songs on Thriller were written by Toto, who also performed most of the album.

Lukather did the original solo for Beat It but it wasn't working. Luke & EVH were buds, which is where QJ got the idea.
Posts like this are why Dane ****ing rules.
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Old 12-03-2012, 05:38 PM   #36
Frazod Frazod is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddie Van Halen
I'll never forget when Tower Records was still open over here in Sherman Oaks. I was buying something, and "Beat It" was playing over the store sound system. The solo comes on, and I hear these kids in front of me going, "Listen to this guy trying to sound like Eddie Van Halen." I tapped him on the shoulder and said, "That IS me!" That was hilarious.
I wish he had expanded on this. I'll bet those kids probably shit themselves.
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Old 12-03-2012, 05:43 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by stevieray View Post
"Rick" Rubin..paging "Rick" Rubin
Yeah, Rick Rubin produced for the Beasties and Slayer at the time. Not hard to figure that one out.
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Old 12-03-2012, 05:48 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by Gadzooks View Post
Michael Jackson working with EVH is almost as unlikely as the Beastie Boys working with Kerry King or Reba McIntire working with Dimebag Darrell.
The Beastie Boys were a rap band in the 80's and even in their punk days were unlikely to come across Kerry King.

The fact that Thriller was written by Toto is really whacked out.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcaj22 View Post
beastie boys were a punk band in the 80s so not totally out there
Beasties and Slayer were both on Def Jam Records and both were produced by Rick Rubin. Totally not a stretch for them to cross paths in that realm.

As for the Dime/Reba reference...check out David Allan Coe's Rebel Meets Rebel album, for which Pantera is his backing band. Not quite Reba, but quite a departure for Dime, Rex, & Vin all the same.

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Old 12-03-2012, 05:56 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaneMcCloud View Post
Most of the songs on Thriller were written by Toto, who also performed most of the album.

Lukather did the original solo for Beat It but it wasn't working. Luke & EVH were buds, which is where QJ got the idea.
Actually this isn't entirely true...while Toto was involved with some production aspects they only wrote the song "Human Nature" on the Thriller Album. The rest of the songs were written by either Michael Jackson (Wanna Be Startin Somethin, Billie Jean, Beat It, The Girl is Mine) or Rod Temperton.
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Old 12-03-2012, 06:00 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by Gadzooks View Post
Michael Jackson working with EVH is almost as unlikely as the Beastie Boys working with Kerry King or Reba McIntire working with Dimebag Darrell.
The Beastie Boys were a rap band in the 80's and even in their punk days were unlikely to come across Kerry King.

The fact that Thriller was written by Toto is really whacked out.
Quincy felt he needed a killer guitar solo on the record, so it seems weird to you that he'd call up the best guitar player of the era? ok.

The Beastie Boys had a pretty obvious connection with Slayer, so it's even more likely.
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Old 12-03-2012, 06:09 PM   #41
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I laughed out loud. Good story.
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Old 12-03-2012, 06:32 PM   #42
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I saw that story too.
Good read and a good laugh when he tells off Quincy Jones
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Old 12-03-2012, 06:34 PM   #43
Gadzooks Gadzooks is offline
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Originally Posted by Brock View Post
Quincy felt he needed a killer guitar solo on the record, so it seems weird to you that he'd call up the best guitar player of the era? ok.

The Beastie Boys had a pretty obvious connection with Slayer, so it's even more likely.
I wouldn't say "even more likely". To me it's just an interesting factoid and an equally unusual non credited performance.
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Old 12-03-2012, 06:36 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaneMcCloud View Post
Most of the songs on Thriller were written by Toto, who also performed most of the album.

Lukather did the original solo for Beat It but it wasn't working. Luke & EVH were buds, which is where QJ got the idea.
Good nugget there.

Toto IV is a good album too.
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Old 12-03-2012, 06:36 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by Driving Wheel View Post
Beasties and Slayer were both on Def Jam Records and both were produced by Rick Rubin. Totally not a stretch for them to cross paths in that realm.

As for the Dime/Reba reference...check out David Allan Coe's Rebel Meets Rebel album, for which Pantera is his backing band. Not quite Reba, but quite a departure for Dime, Rex, & Vin all the same.

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Thanks for the tip. I'll have to check that out.
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