When it comes to iconic images of Edward Van Halen—the man who revolutionized our concept of hard-rock tone and technique from the first notes of 1978’s “Eruption”—no one has snapped more arresting shots than veteran rock photographer Neil Zlozower. In his latest Chronicle Books offering, Eddie Van Halen, Zlozower serves up a smorgasbord of shots—some that devoted fans will recognize if they looked closely at, say, the Diver Down liner notes or LP sleeves, and others that will be revelations to even hardcore fans. In this exclusive Premier Guitar excerpt, we bring you five of the most compelling images out of the 200+ in the book, and we’ve paired them with five of the book’s many quotes from Eddie’s musical contemporaries. Where appropriate, we’ve also added information about gear in the photos. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Eddie Van Halen.
In this studio pic from the late ’70s, bassist Michael Anthony lays down his indelible vocal harmonies and plunks a Fender P bass through five Ampeg SVT heads while Edward defiantly picks his Frankenstein guitar in its black-and-white, pre-Floyd Rose incarnation. Ed is surrounded by six Marshall 4x12 cabinets and a World War II bombshell housing two Univox EC-100 Echo Chamber units. An Echoplex tape delay, an MXR Phase 90, and a 100-watt Marshall Super Lead head lie at his feet, while a single-cutaway Danelectro leans against the head and a Strat-style with a Danelectro neck stands neglected behind him.