Alex had several early bands with Eddie before Van Halen came to be. Names of these previous bands include The Broken Off Combs, The Space Brothers & Mammoth Chammoth. In 1972 Roth, Alex and Eddie formed Mammoth with Mark Stone on bass. Later, in 1977, The name Mammoth was replaced by Van Halen, and Stone was replaced by Michael Anthony. Roth has claimed that it was his idea to rename the band Van Halen, and that he actually named it after Alex. In addition to his musical duties at this time, Al was busy handling managerial duties, such as booking gigs, etc. for the band. Their 1978 album Van Halen was released to much fanfare, influencing many musicians in hard rock.
Van Halen is an American rock band formed in Pasadena, California in 1974 around brothers Alex and Eddie Van Halen. The original line-up [which has varied over the years] and arguably the most popular, featured David Lee Roth on lead vocals and bassist Michael Anthony.
They have enjoyed large scale success since the release of their debut album Van Halen (1978). As of 2007, Van Halen has sold 80 million albums worldwide and have had the most number-one hits on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart. During the 1980s they also had more Billboard Hot 100 hits than any other hard rock or heavy metal band. According to the Recording Industry Association of America, Van Halen is the 19th best-selling band/artist of all time with sales of over 56 million albums in the U.S., and is one of five rock bands that have had two albums sell more than 10 million copies in the U.S. In 2008 they became one of the best paid live acts in the world, over twenty years after performing the same feat in the early eighties in regards to their huge payout for headlining the US Festival. In 1999, the RIAA certified Van Halen diamond, for ten million U.S. sales.
In addition to being recognized for success, the band is known for the drama surrounding the exits of former members. The multiple exits of both lead singers David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar were surrounded in controversy and mass press coverage with various contrasting press statements between the former singers and the band. More recently, bassist Michael Anthony left the band for controversial reasons after 31 years with the band. Following their 2004 concert tour the band was on a hiatus from the public until September 2006, when new bassist Wolfgang Van Halen's place was confirmed and Roth reunion rumors began to re-surface coinciding with the band's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction on March 12, 2007. After years of speculation, Van Halen began a tour with Roth in late 2007 across North America and continued into 2008. An album was proposed to follow. Along with this, a live tour DVD was announced at their May 13, 2008, concert at the Izod Center that would contain recordings from several performances on their current tour. Since the band concluded the reunion tour in July 2008, no official news from the band has been forthcoming. In August 2010, Warner Bros. Records issued a press release indicating that a new studio album and tour are planned for 2011.
In spite of the fact that the term "brown sound" is generally associated with Eddie's guitar, Alex originated the term to refer to the sound of his snare drum.
At live shows, Alex is known for being an entertainer, performing aggressive drum solos and stage pyrotechnics.
The only non–Van Halen example of Alex's musicianship can be found on the soundtrack to the movie Twister. The instrumental "Respect the Wind" (for which the Van Halen brothers were nominated for a Grammy Award in 1997 for Best Rock Instrumental Performance) features Alex on keyboards (with Eddie on guitar). The song was used for the movie soundtrack Twister and plays during the end credits of the movie.
A long-time Paiste endorser since March 1983, Alex in co-operation with Paiste developed his signature ride which is a 2002 24" Big ride and was introduced on the 2010 Winter NAMM Show.
Alex has become an ordained minister and presided at the wedding of his brother Eddie Van Halen.
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Drum Dungeon Bio - ALEX VAN HALEN
Alexander Arthur "Alex" Van Halen (born May 8, 1953) is a Dutch born American musician, best known as the drummer and co-founder of the hard rock band Van Halen. Originally, his brother Eddie had taken lessons for drums, while Alex practiced guitar. After spending time playing Eddie's drum kit, Alex became more skillful at the drums than Eddie.
In 1974, the Van Halen brothers, David Lee Roth, and Michael Anthony formed a band, simply called Van Halen. They were signed to Warner Brothers in 1977 and released their first album in 1978. The two brothers are the only members of Van Halen who have been in the band for its entire duration.
Alex Van Halen was born in Amsterdam. His Dutch father Jan (b. 1920) was an accomplished saxophonist and clarinet player. His mother Eugenia (b. 1914) is an Indo (Eurasian) from Indonesia. He spent his childhood in Nijmegen in the east of the country. The family moved to Pasadena, California, USA, in 1962.
Both Alex and Eddie Van Halen were trained as classical pianists in their childhood. Although Alex is known as a professional drummer, he began his musical aspirations as a guitarist, with his brother Eddie taking up drums. While Eddie was delivering newspapers to pay for his drum kit, Alex would practice playing on them. When Eddie heard Alex's mastery of The Surfaris drum solo in the song "Wipe Out", he decided to begin learning to play the electric guitar. He was also influenced by Budgie drummer, Ray Phillips.
In 1971, Alex graduated from Pasadena High School. He then took classes in music theory, scoring, composition and arranging at Pasadena City College for a short while. While attending Pasadena City College, Alex met Michael Anthony and David Lee Roth. They formed the band Mammoth, and Alex, along with the others, left Pasadena City College.
One of Alex's many solos on the net - this one was during the Sammy Hagar era of the band.
Listen all the way through and hear his amazing speed on the floors.