Unreleased Van Halen instrumental; “Ripley”

UPDATE: We just learned that Alex Van Halen is indeed playing the drums on “Ripley.” That is one of the few tunes—and possibly the only tune— from the “Wild Life” sessions that had Alex playing. The others were Ed programming a LINN DRUM machine! “The Wild Life” movie score is legendary to Van Halen fans, as Eddie Van Halen wrote the score for the movie (Universal Pictures, 1984). “The Wild Life” stars Chris Penn and was the first script Cameron Crowe wrote after the success of “Fast Times At Ridgemont High” and is a typical ’80’s comedy and is somewhat of a “Fast Times” clone. The movie was only released on VHS – never on DVD, unfortunately. The film has an official soundtrack, but it contains only one song by Eddie Van Halen, “Donut City” (3:57). So “Donut City” is the only officially released complete track for the movie that was written by Edward Van Halen. But sharp-eared VH fans will recognize unreleased music from Eddie interspersed several times throughout the film. Portions of early versions of “Right Now,” “Good Enough,” “Feels So Good,” “A.F.U. (Naturally Wired),” and “Strung Out” can be heard throughout the film. In addition, the synthesized backdrop music for David Lee Roth’s “Tai Chi Solo” on the 1984 tour also made its debut in this film. Die hard VH fans have re-watched the movie for years just to hear the bits of EVH genius throughout. The movie’s score is one of the best kept secrets in rock music. The songs were recorded and mixed at 5150 by Donn Landee and Ken Deane. Eddie Van Halen on guitar and bass and Alex Van Halen on drums. Presented here is a compete song from the movie score which has never circulated before now. Eddie played it on a Ripley guitar and the song is rumored to be called “Ripley.” It’s a wonderful piece of music and is about the closest thing to “new” Van Halen music that we’ve had in a long time. Enjoy!

  • ben

    I wish Ed would release a solo album, it would kick ass!

    Ripley Rocks!

  • anythingleftinthatbottle

    EJ- I’m with you! I think Eddie is way too sensitive about things with Dave and kinda hold him to bay though. But, Eddie is an ICON. He can’t just pump out some generic junk like the ‘Chickenfoot'(I’m sorry, but it is even hard to TYPE that name. I couldn’t imagine havin to say it in interviews and stuff)has. He has to put out the best. There is no pressure on Joe or S. Vie to be innovative. the pressure is nowhere near the same. I think that’s whats got Eddie ‘Bunker mode’. I think if he’d relax and get back to what made him an ICON, he would put out somegood rythmic stuff like this and let Dave-verse chorus, bridge and out!

  • phillster

    Just got home from work and had to hear it again.

  • freddiegirl

    EJ..I agree with a lot of what you say as well. I won’t say that Eddie is better than Vai or Satriani but I will say that IMO Eddie is (for the most part) way more listenable. I actually really respect Vai’s playing and remember being slightly mortified as a child that his playing with Dave on Eat ‘Em and Smile eclipsed Eddie’s playing on 5150. I just wasn’t ready to admit that someone might be as good as my beloved Ed at that time. But…as tme has gone on I still really like Vai…yet still love Ed more; his playing makes me happy along with the wonder at his virtousity. For example; I was having a bad day last week; driving to work in tears and I flipped on the radio and Intruder came on. Hearing that nifty intro segueway into Pretty Woman made me smile and calmed me down. Eddie’s playing is like sunshine, kudos to whoever said that and that to me is immeasurable. That is why I will always favor Ed.

  • phillster

    It`s impossible to Not have a smile on your face by the time the song`s over.I`m talkin`”PERMA-GRIN”.
    That`s how you know when you got some good shtuff.
    O.K.what the hell,one more time…
    “Play it again ED”

  • dude

    Exactly, phillster. Imagine it with a solo and DLR? : ) Here’s hoping for something good in 2011!

  • Scott

    You can really hear the influence of The Who live at Leeds on this track.

  • Tater Salad

    EJ: Yea some of the comments made by Sam make him sound like the whiny girls that always annoy me. I love Sam, but I could do without those kinda comments.
    Freddiegirl: Thats exactly what makes Ed a cut above the rest. Same thing happened to me today, I was completely exhausted and grouchy cause it had been a long week, an decided to turn on best of vol 1 and by the last song I was able to listen to I knew it was gonna be a great day!
    Phillster: agreed!

  • http://vhnd Jimmy

    Wish everything was cool with them and Michael.

    I love Van Halen. For some reason yesterday I picked up Van Halen 1984 out of my libary and totally jammed it. At the time when that movie (WildLife) came out these guys(The Original Line Up) Wow, these guys Jammed!

    If they dont do anything new or confirm anything I’m still cool with it. Been through a lot of shit defending these guys, lots of arguments, sometimes almost some fist fights. They(Van Halen) have really nothing more to prove. They dont need money. They just need the LOVE to be together.They are a blast to see LIVE because when they are on, they are stellar!

  • DvO

    It reminds me of Starfleet Project that Eddie did with Brian May. Now that’s going way back (83?) Sort of a dreamy, Saturday morning cartoon “sci fi” feel to it.

  • Rick A

    What a great song. It’s so classic Eddie. I can’t imagine how many other gems must be hiding on unmarked tape in 5150. Wish he’d share more of it.

  • Matt from Australia

    No bad, but does sound a little bit dated (unlike some of VH’s earlier stuff). I’d put it in the same basket as “I’ll Wait”

  • SCAR

    The only thing to say is FUCK YEAH!!! I wonder what else is hiding in the VH mystery vault!!!!! What ever else is in their I can honestly tell you, EVERYBODY WANTS SOME – I WANT SOME TOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Dooley

    Sounded good to me. From 1984, it says. Probably when Dave was on his way out and before they brought Sam in.


    All I can say is that we are in for one hell of a ride once the new material is released!

  • Towers McQuestion

    That’s the shit. It just sounds like summer, doesn’t it? Puts a smile on your face. I’d love to hear this remastered and have the entire sonic spectrum recorded here beefed up. Not a solo in there, either, which is awesome because it proves Ed is more than just fingertapping and flashy leads. He’s a fully rounded player.

    Makes me hungry for new material…

  • topjimmy77

    I’ve really been enjoying this for the last couple of days, thanks VHND! really cool track, with a bit of Templman/Landee polish, & some Dave magic, it could’ve been a contender!

  • Panama Red

    Thanks VHND. I’ve listened to Ripley several times. The more I listen to it the more I like it.
    I searched and searched several years ago to get a copy of this soundtrack and the movie “Wild Life” but to no avail. I also looked tirelessly for the Brian May StarFleet Project that DvO mentioned above. I could never find a copy of it though! Frustrating as shit. ANYTHING EVH has done should be readily available to my greedy little ears.
    VHND if you could somehow get a hold of the stuff Eddie did with Brian May and post it, you would make my day again. Thanks!!

    btw – I remember listening closely with my brother to that jam in Back to the Future (that some of the guys here were talking about above) when Marty Mcfly was “torturing” his Dad. I remember listening to it to see if it was really VH and me and my brother looking at each other shaking our heads because we didn’t recognize it. Even though it sounds like Eddie and Al and it really sounded like a kick ass jam.
    It didn’t occur to us that it could be an unreleased song or something Ed and Al wrote specifically for that part.
    How the hell did Marty McFly get a hold of that!? Oh yeah, he had a time machine. Maybe it’s a track from the new album 🙂
    Hope so, it sounded bad ass.

  • Tater Salad

    SCAR always has it right!

  • http://www.facebook.com/mathughesrocks Matt Hughes

    Great tune! Hope to see The Wild Life out on DVD soon!

  • http://heavymellowmusic.com johnny beane

    I just watch the scene in “The wild life” where Tommy is watching his girlfriend & falls off the roof.

    Sounds like Alex may be playing drums on that too.

    It’s the same music as in the “Back to the Future” “Darth Vader” scene but it’s longer.

  • Rick B

    Sounds to me like it fits right after Secrets on Diver Down. I really really dig this. It’s very cool to listen to. It’s refreshing to me. I’m digging on it.

  • J-Dub

    Panama Red, you can find the StarFleet Project on YouTube. The original three tracks are all there, although “Blues Breaker” is divided between two separate videos because of its length. Enjoy!

  • William R. Miller

    As a LOONNNGG time lover of Edward’s playing, I happen to have a pretty good copy of “The Wild Life” on vhs. One that I’d made from HBO of something. I would pull it out every once in a while mainly to listen to the score.(although it is a fun movie, very much in the vein of “Fast Times…” and very cool to see such a thin, young Mr. Chris Penn.) I tried to copy it to a DVD once, but the tracking on my vcr was not good. I also have a copy of the Star Fleet album on vinyl. It’s in glorious condition as most of my albums still are. Boy, it sure is easy as anything to recognise Ed’s playing anywhere. Why He hasen’t released anything in over 10 years is the biggest mystery in music history. (although he did play one small lead on a Steve Lukather christmas cd a few years ago that was nothing stellar.) I’ve always said that if I had one wish, it would be to have VH do a Rush cover of their choosing, and Rush do a VH cover of their choosing. That would sooo ROCK. Oh well. Here’s to dreaming.

  • Johnh

    the cool thing about this tune is that Ed has panned his guitars hard left and hard right in the mix so you have the stereo effect. This is something he wasn’t really doing around this time because Ted Templeman always had him panned into just one speaker.

    So it’s a rare thing to hear him playing to guitar parts in the left/right speaker.

  • http://ghostbrains.com Elron

    thanks for posting this, sounds great.
    boxed set of unreleased & demo tracks? yes please.

  • http://heavymellowmusic.com johnny beane


    Eddie’s playing a guitar where you can pan each string left or right giving it the stereo effect. It’s the same as in the 1984 song “Top Jimmy”.

    It’s called a Kramer Ripley – That’s why the song has the working title “Ripley”.

    The first time i heard this song in stereo i could tell it was a Ripley, i have the same black guitar as in the photo.

    The song is only one guitar but has “pick scratch” over dubs.

  • johnh

    wow! thanks johnny beane.. that explains the stereo effect… i didn’t know it was one guitar. Sounded like he’d double tracked one in one speaker and one in another. Very cool effect to have it coming from one guitar. That’s why we all love Ed.. he loves to experiment.

  • http://heavymellowmusic.com johnny beane



    You can pan each string anywhere within the stereo spectrum.

    If you listen to the song in mono it’s easier to hear that it’s one guitar.

  • Panama Red

    J-Dub – Hey, Thanks man. For some reason it never occurred to me to search for it on Youtube. Every once in a while I’ll go to Youtube and get lost in a sea of VH videos, but I’ve never come across the Starfleet project stuff. Thanks, I’ll go look ‘em up.

  • http://www.djthunderrocks.com DJ Thunder

    Awesome! I wonder if this is going to show up on the new album? Where can I get a copy of this?