Ask Eddie: The Current State of Music and its Effect on Guitarists


Our latest edition of Ask Eddie comes from John Woodward of Chandler, Ariz., and it touches on a hot topic in the music world nowadays – the effect of musical competition television shows and pop music on modern guitar masters.

So who better to answer that question than Eddie Van Halen? The legendary guitarist thinks that guitar players are alive and well and should be heading into the future. We’ll let them take it away.

Woodward: With the change in the music landscape over the last 20 years, especially with the popularity of American Idol, et al. – do you see a comeback in the strong influence of guitarists in the future, like you were in the late ‘70s-‘80s? Thank you.

Van Halen: Well John, let me start by saying, the musical landscape is always changing.  WE had the big band era, disco, punk, new wave, grunge, rap, etc. …  There are always trends and fads that shape the landscape of popular music.  I think shows like American Idol focus mainly on vocalists as opposed to instrumentalists.  So I do not think they are a factor.

As long as there are guitarists, guitarists will always be needed in any form of music.  They might not be featured as in the ‘70s and ‘80s, but they will always be needed.  As a matter of fact, Van Halen came about in the midst and heights of disco and punk.  The reason??  I think people wanted a change.  I believe it is human nature to get tired of the same thing over and over.  So when people get tired of something, it’s naturally going to change, as it always has.  Whether it will ever go back to the ‘70s and ‘80s guitar driven music, is anyone’s guess.  I do believe everything goes in cycles.

They say there is nothing new under the sun since Bach.  If that’s true, it will definitely be back.  For our sake, I hope so!!

I hope that answers your questions John.

All the best,

Eddie VH