“Eddie Van Halen was a great blues player who happened to have this additional talent to play a lot of extra notes”: Grammy-winning composer on the magic of Eddie Van Halen

Carlos Rafael Rivera waxes lyrical on Eddie Van Halen’s genius.

Eddie Van Halen performing live

Credit: Larry Hulst/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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We all have that one guitarist who has struck a chord with us and has remained a source of inspiration throughout our lives.

For Grammy-winning composer Carlos Rafael Rivera, known for his work on The Queen’s Gambit and Lessons in Chemistry, that guitarist is Eddie Van Halen.

During a new appearance on The Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz, Rivera speaks about his love for ’80s metal, and more specifically, his appreciation for Van Halen.

“I started paying attention to Eddie Van Halen’s playing as a great blues player who happened to have this additional talent [to play a lot of extra notes],” he explains [transcribed by Van Halen News Desk.

“One of my favourites, So This Is Love, his guitar solo for that is a great solo. It’s fast, but it has choice, it has silence, it builds, it’s just this weird moment. It’s not like the ’80s, ya know, kind of playing. They’re beautiful compositions on their own.”

He continues by saying that through growing up as a teenager in Miami, he had the privilege of seeing many of his favourite ’80s metal guitarists perform live.

“I saw [David Lee Roth] with Steve Vai,” he says. “We snuck into the backstage and we jumped on this thing and we stood there. A friend of mine George and I stood there looking for Steve Vai. We were frozen because he was standing there talking to some people for a meet and greet for people who had legally gotten there. I was just standing there [in shock]”.

When asked by Paltrowitz whether working as a musician has changed his view of these guitarists and how many notes they played, Rivera simply responds, “too many notes was my era”.

You can watch the full interview below:

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