Summer of 1978. The upperclassmen at the high school I'd go to that autumn were driving their souped-up cars with the windows down, the various Alpine and Blaupunkt and whatever supercharged stereos blasting the otherworldly sounds of Eddie Van Halen's guitar from that first Van Halen album. It was like nothing any of us had heard before - like everything was suddenly smashed into pieces and something incredible and exciting was on fire screaming out of the radio.
It was impossible for a teenage kid, struggling to even get barre chords to ring cleanly, to understand the significance of hearing the world change, embodied in a dizzying dive of a Floyd Rose tremolo and the virtuoso musicality of this Dutch and Indonesian immigrant's kid from LA. But I knew something amazing was happening, and I wanted more. A lot more.
I still do. I'll never forget how much I learned from being amazed when the guitar world went supernova. Or how grateful I am now to know what I saw.
(1st of 3)