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I’m not a widower I’m a husband to a beautiful wife with wings all I want is for her in heaven to know how much I miss her shirt, hoodie, tank top
There was also some oracular rock & roll wisdom being projected from a bellowing singer named David Lee Roth: “I found the simple life ain’t so simple/When I jumped out on that road …”
This was a different universe from what Morello knew in the Midwest suburbs, and a Southern California rock sound far afield from the heavy metal coming out of England. When Morello finally got the first album, 1978’s Van Halen, to study at home, the overall impact was intense and kaleidoscopic, powered by the slippery growl of Eddie Van Halen’s riffs, and solos that were soaring, stuttering explosions of beautiful noise. Morello tells his One-Man Revolution listeners that it was life-changing, and he wasn’t alone.
photograph by Travis Shinn
“Someone who agrees very much with me is Adam Jones of Tool,” he goes on. “We grew up together. We listened to a lot of Van Halen together. And Eddie was a huge influence on both of our lives as musicians.”
Both Morello and Jones played leading roles as guitarists in taking alternative rock and metal into a new future beginning in the Nineties. In high school, they were in a flinty punk band called the Electric Sheep, with song titles like “She Eats Razors” and the topical “Salvador Death Squad Blues.” Morello was on guitar, Jones on bass, and both connected at their core to what Eddie Van Halen was doing.
“Adam and I, for all of our ‘alt’ pretenses, we’re metal at heart,” says Morello now. “It was me and Adam in his pickup truck driving to the Judas Priest and Iron Maiden shows at Alpine Valley” — an hour-plus away in East Troy, Wisconsin — “and admiring the awesomeness of guitar heroes like Eddie Van Halen.”