Eddie Van Halen Left Behind ‘Close to a Million CDs’ of Music
Eddie Van Halen's studio archives include an overwhelming amount of unreleased music, according to a new posthumous tribute.
In a newly published Rolling Stone piece quoting a 2008 interview with writer Brian Hiatt, the Van Halen guitarist said he recorded "tons" of unreleased music, resulting in “close to a million CDs, cassettes, boxes and boxes and boxes."
And the virtuoso wasn't planning to let that material, which reportedly spans classical to world music, collect dust forever: "The stuff is gonna come out," he said. "Hopefully people will enjoy the many sides of me. I trip on it myself."
While Van Halen's estimate of "millions" could have been an exaggeration, the musician's prolificacy at his 5150 home studio is well documented. Days after his death following a lengthy cancer battle, Van Halen manager Irving Azoff noted that the late rocker's family members will scour the vaults for unheard tracks.
"[Son] Wolf and [brother] Alex will go up to 5150, the studio in Ed’s house,” Azoff told Pollstar, noting that “there’s been a lot of recording” in the space over the decades. He added that it's too early to speculate about what might be discovered: “I can’t predict that for sure there will be anything new, but for sure they’re going to look at it."
5150, constructed in 1983, allowed the guitarist to work on songs at home. All of the vault's contents were initially numbered and itemized on a computer, but as Van Halen detailed in a 1998 MTV interview, that information was lost because of a hard drive malfunction. "The computer took a dump on us," he said, explaining that he hesitated to lead another cataloging project: "The only person that can do that is me because nobody knows what I like.”