Posted on by ZooKeeper

RWS2015-04385

Image courtesy of Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History

 

Words: The Music Zoo Owner, Tommy Colletti.

As a young kid, I always dreamed of meeting my heroes. I think it must be part of our nature as human beings to want to say “ Thanks Tom Seaver. You’re the Best!” And although we have these thoughts tucked away somewhere in the crevices of our mind, we never really think that we’d live to see the day we actually live those dreams out.

Well on a bitterly cold night on February 12th 2015, Edward Van Halen received a most prestigious award, to have his instruments inducted into the Smithsonian Museum of American History and to be honored by the museum for his musical achievements. Also honored were his innovations in playing and contribution to the guitar itself. He’s carved a part of American history, shared by the likes of Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison.

There is something that comes along with believing in someone so much that when an occasion like this comes along, as fans we feel vindication. I share the vindication along with millions of Van Halen fans around the world in honoring our man Edward and his many accomplishments. I couldn’t have been more excited to attend the festivities, all from steps away from Edward. I was also lucky enough to be among the few to congratulate him firsthand.

I recently viewed a YouTube video of Dwezil Zappa speaking about the first time he met Edward. Dwezil had mentioned it looked as if Edward leaped right off the “Women and Children First” album cover dressed in the same jump suit. It was as if he was in his super hero costume and he was a “bona fide super hero”.

Thanks Dwezil. I couldn’t agree more…

Edward Van Halen is a super hero. The guy is a genius. A combination Mozart and Benjamin Franklin. He’s overcome some great odds to be in the position he’s in and still remains as humble as ever. At one point after the event he leaned over to a friend and said, “How do you think it went?” speaking of the interview…

As I watched Edward signing the guitars into the Smithsonian, the thing most moving to me, beyond the genius status, beyond him being this super hero figure, beyond being in shock that I was sitting five feet away from all, was the love and pride emanating from brother Alex Van Halen, Wolfgang and longtime guitar tech and right hand man Matt Bruck and the rest of the Van Halens. Alex’s eyes were filled with tears. They were being vindicated as well and so were Mr. and Mrs. Van Halen looking down on this momentous occasion. The family perseverance was obvious, the story is incredible and in the end, it all boiled down to love. Van Halen’s parents endured many obstacles as a young couple coming to America with no money, but they obviously had love and they gave that gift to their children and I witnessed it first hand.

Congratulations to the Van Halens. And God Bless Edward Van Halen and the gifts he has bestowed onto us as guitar players, music fans and Americans. We’re all better people for it…

A special thank you to Jeff Cary and Rob Kaplan.

If you haven’t seen the video of Eddie’s interview with the Smithsonian on “What it Means to be American – A National Conversation” check it out here:

RWS2015-04388

Image courtesy of Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History

 

RWS2015-04387

Image courtesy of Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History

 

The following images were taken By Mark DiDonna of The Music Zoo:

IMG_0234

IMG_0237

IMG_0224

IMG_0223

IMG_0222