KISS’s Eric Singer contributed to the hardcover photo book, Van Halen: A Visual History, by Neil Zlozower. The Van Halen News Desk has the exclusive on what he had to say about the first time he saw Van Halen in concert:
“Alex the Animal. The first time I heard Van Halen was “Runnin’ with the Devil” on the radio on WMMS in Cleveland.
I remember thinking (along with everyone else), “Who the hell is this, and who is this guitarist?” Well, we all know they went on to open for Black Sabbath and really give them a run for their money.
“By the time the second Van Halen record hit, I finally got to see the new kids on the block live. And ALIVE they were! I had never seen a band come on stage with such energy and fire. Not to mention the sheer power that they each presented on their instruments. Eddie had opened the door for the band with his groundbreaking style, but the rest of the band were no sideshow either. Especially Alex.
“This guy was all over the kit from the opening to the end of the night and, if I remember correctly, did three different drum solos throughout the show. Even the first song ended with a solo flurry, just to set the tone for the evening.
“Alex has always had his own voice on the drums, which is the hardest instrument to achieve that on. From his trademark popping snare sound and high-pitched tom tom tuning to his electronic Simmons phase, on up to the Bonham-esque thunder of “Poundcake,” he has retained something unique and special on the instrument that has inspired many a drummer for the past thirty years.”
— Eric Singer
Watch Alex’s drum solo from the OU812 tour: