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The day Eddie Van Halen died I cried.  As a teenager in the early 80’s, Ed was one of my childhood heroes.  As clear as day I can remember having that iconic Neil Zlozower poster on my wall and air-guitaring to classics like “Runnin’ with The Devil” and “Eruption”. I never learned to play guitar, but always felt like EVH was my lifelong inspiration towards all-things music.  Without those killer solos, iconic jumps, and once-in-a-lifetime smile, I am not sure I would have ever fell in love with live music and in turn, live music photography.

A few days after Eddie’s passing, I ran across a Facebook ad for what seemed to be a coffee-table book chronicling the life and times of Eddie Van Halen.  I was intrigued but hesitant as it was so close to his passing.  Supposedly, the book was billed  not a soup-to-nuts biography, but an intimate look at the mad-genius behind that Frankenstein guitar over a 212-day period at Eddie’s now infamous 5150 home studio.  I had never heard of Andrew Bennett before, but was willing to give his book a shot based on the initial review I had read.  So, I opened my web-browser, dropped the $51.50 (+ S&H), and waited patiently for the book to arrive.  

When the book arrived finally arrived a few weeks later, it took all of my will power not to rip the box open in the post office parking lot and get to reading what may very-well could have turned into 2020’s saving grace.  As I began looking through the book, I could not help but zero in on some of the amazing behind the scenes photos Bennett captured.  As a music photographer, I could not set the book down as I paged frantically from cover to cover looking for those iconic shots of my childhood idol.  The photos did not disappoint.

After a quick once through, I sat down with a cold one and got to reading the unique and interesting stories that Andrew shared during his time with Eddie at 5150.  At first, I thought a lot of this had to be fiction as some of these stories seemed too good to be true.  However, I later came to find that each one of these stories was 100% legit (as wild as they seemed).  I was immediately hooked and could not put the book down over the next few hours.  Story upon story the book continued to build and it was riveting, yet all I really I wanted to know was how Andrew’s journey with Eddie ended up.  When I got to the end of the book, I was blown away as the ending was completely unexpected!

So you might be asking yourself, what was my favorite part of Eruption in the Canyon: 212 Days & Nights with the Genius of Eddie Van Halen?  Well, there were plenty of amazing moments, but will have to leave it up to you to draw your own conclusions.  From swords to gun play and everything in-between, this one has it all and more.  Bennett's book was just what the Doctor ordered during this hellish 2020 and I am sure you will feel the same way when you give it a read.  My only advice is to give yourself at least 2-3 hours of uninterrupted time, a six-pack of your favorite liquid refreshment, and some classic Van Halen blasting in the background.  This is a journey you won't want to miss!


To buy a copy of Eruption in the Canyon: 212 Days and Nights with the Genius of Eddie Van Halen - click >> HERE

Matthew Belter

Executive Editor - Long Beach

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