Welcome to the first installment of a new monthly feature here at VHND, where we spotlight upcoming guitar players and feature their killer Van Halen covers, which we feel should not be missed by VH fans!
This new column is written by Eric Broadbent, host of the popular EVH Gear Discussion Talk Show on YouTube. This month Eric interviews Charlie Stinchcombe (aka “Liquid Charlie”), from England. We’re sure you’ll love Charlie’s Van Halen covers, which not only include classics like “Everybody Wants Some” and “Panama”, but also some unexpected ones, such as “Can’t Get This Stuff No More”, and even the unreleased ’70s track, “I Wanna Be Your Lover”. Enjoy!
From Eric Broadbent of EVH Gear Discussion:
Welcome to my new column EVH Gear Discussion Monthly, here on the Van Halen News Desk!
It’s a real pleasure to be able to contribute content to my favorite website, probably my most frequented website of anything online today.
I was recently approached by Jeff here at the VHND to manage a column that will interact with aspiring EVH style guitarists, as they aim to claim their ranks on the internet.
Being a guitarist myself, and one of the world’s largest fans of Eddie Van Halen, you can bet this was something that I would totally entertain.
When Jeff approached me, and in our early discussions, I told him I have this little scale of measurement I use when seeking out EVH cats. Sometimes it’s accidentally discovering them (it’s awesome to find great talent when you are not even looking for it).
There are millions of guitarists out there giving their valiant efforts towards replication of our hero Eddie Van Halen, but many, often times, fall short.
Without going into every nook and cranny of my “scale”, I’ll simply say, I look for a guitarist who has a following. Then I ask, why does he/she have a following. I look at how they approach the guitar, and what they can do outside the EVH box. I analyze their accuracy on the notes, however, I’ll give a player greater kudos on their feel of Ed’s compositions and style, as opposed to being note for note.
I look at their gear and what they use, or don’t use to achieve that tone that we chase on a day in and day out basis.
Most importantly, I look at their original compositions and how they speak through their instrument. There are other factors as well I take into consideration when reviewing a new guitarist, however this is merely my 1st column, and we have lots of time to get to all of them, in the months to come.
So to begin, I have picked one of my favorite guitarists and very good friends, Charlie Stinchcombe aka Liquid Charlie, from London, England, to feature, review & interview!
Charlie and I speak often, daily in most cases. He has been an incredible inspiration to me.
Charlie interprets Van Halen very well, while giving his own solid stamp on the performances, technique and approach. His musical chops & vocabulary are second to none, and he delivers his fretboard wonders with a smile making blazing passages have meaning, while coming off as effortless as one’s self taking their next breath.
His following online is quite simply, for lack of a better word, viral, and I think a lot of that comes down to the fact that he is incredibly humble. It’s hard to find talent and a side dish of humbleness. Many have it, but many do not possess both traits.
So for now, I’ll just say what I have said to others about Charlie. Take five minutes and check this guy out. What have you got to lose? Also, what do you have to gain? If you are a guitarist, chances are, you’ll have found a nice new source of inspiration. I certainly did, and continue to do with him.
Below you will find an interview I recently conducted with him, and also a video session I did not more than a few weeks ago, plus all Charlie’s links so you can follow and get to know him more.
Thank you for checking out my 1st column here at VHND, I really hope you like it.
Liquid Charlie covers “Somebody Get Me A Doctor”
At what age did you begin playing guitar?
It was about a month before my 15th Birthday.
Who was the first person that inspired you to play guitar?
I was really into Bryan Adams and i thought his guitarist, Keith Scott, was really cool! I loved his red Fender strat, which had a maple neck. I really wanted to own a guitar like that and be able to play like him.
When was it that you first discovered Van Halen?
A friend of mine at school, who also played the guitar, was really into them and he lent me Live Right Here, Right Now. I couldn’t believe my eyes when they opened up with Poundcake and Eddie was using the drill! The music was pretty heavy compared to what i had been listening to (Bryan Adams & Roxette), but i soon fell in love with it. Also that same month i bought a guitar magazine which had a column called “A – Z of Greatest Riffs” and that particular issue was “V for Van Halen”. That meant i could start to learn the riffs!
What do you find that sets Eddie apart for many, if not most other guitarists?
Everything he’s done is truly unique and only sounds like him. His tone and technique is second to none and his groove immense. I can’t help but feel inspired every time i listen to him play.
How important do you find having a good sense of rhythm skill is for a beginning guitarist?
It’s very important. I wish i’d focused on it more when i was first learning, but i was completely lost in learning how to solo and improvise. It wasn’t until i’d been playing a good few years, that i was made aware of how poor my rhythm playing was. Then that was it, i spent months practicing tight rhythmic licks and riffs in the style of Nuno Bettencourt, making sure i always knew where ‘1’ was. It’s now a big part of my playing and is just as important, if not more, as being able to shred!
There are countless Eddie clones out there, we all copy him, but what in your opinion makes the really good players imitating Ed stand out?
For me it’s all about trying to capture the Van Halen vibe. That’s what so many players miss. Everyone learns the licks and riffs, but very few actually get the feel and energy. So many guitarists nail his licks note for note, but end up sounding a little flat and lifeless, as they’re not putting anything of themselves into it. We all have our own feel, that makes us unique. Eddie has his and no one can truly copy that! So the Eddie clones that stand out for me, are the ones that have taken his ideas and done their own thing with them.
You’ve had a really great year in 2016 and your following & reach has grown astronomically. What do you think has been some of the secrets to your success?
I think commitment to regularly posting the best content I can and always trying to come up with fresh ideas. I’ve very much used Van Halen’s music as a way of building a fan base that will enjoy what I do. But I’ve always feared being labelled a Van Halen clone, so that’s pushed me to be original with my covers and play the vocal parts on the guitar and mix up arrangements, etc.
Getting myself out there online has enabled me to meet some awesome people who have been very keen to help me out. You were the first person that really took an interest in my playing. You’ve gone out of your way to push things forward for me and you’ve introduced me to some very cool people. Also I’ve made myself a great friend in you. So, thank you very much.
I’ve gained a lot of exposure thanks to Adam at Fu-Tone. I ‘m lucky enough to now endorse his products and have Fu-Tone share my videos and pictures.
Also, my good friend Gerd Metzger brought a lot of attention my way, loaning me a few EVH guitars from his collection. The EVH USA Stealth just commands attention!
Where would you like to see yourself say within 5 years?
I’d like to be doing what i’m doing, but on a professional level. However, as long as i’m still playing the guitar i will be happy. I’ve never ever been chasing success or fame. I’ve always just loved playing and practicing the guitar, and now i’ve started to find an audience that likes it too!
Do you have any plans of putting together an album?
I certainly have enough material to do so. I could probably record about 20 albums, i have over a thousand of my own songs! But at the moment there are no plans to put out an album, i’m just going to keep making the videos!
What is your favorite era of Van Halen, as far as Ed’s tone that was captured on record and/or live?
1995. Balance. That was the first Van Halen album I bought when I was 15. It’s forever been my favorite and has had a massive influence on my tone, playing and approach to mixing. I absolutely love all the Roth albums and I listen to them a lot more than I listen to Balance. But Eddie’s saturated tone and his groove in ’95 will always be my favorite! [VHND will feature Charlie’s Sammy Hagar-era Van Halen covers in the near future.]
What is your favorite EVH branded guitar that you own to date?
That is the toughest question so far! I’m not sure I can pick! I love them all and my favorite changes on a daily basis. I think if I was completely honest, I prefer the cheaper end of the EVH range. They just play and sound so good for the money. But the Stealth is so sexy!
Do you have any tips for someone starting out on guitar, and/or, someone that may have been playing for years, and might be struggling with their playing?
For beginners I would encourage learning to play by ear and getting into 3 or 4 guitarists rather than just one. That way they have the ingredients to create their own sound and style. Also, make the most of what you’ve got. Even with your dream guitar and amp, if you can’t play that riff to begin with, you still won’t be able to!
If you’ve been playing a few years and are struggling, I would suggest working on what you consider to be your strengths and taking them to the next level. All guitarists have their weaknesses and tend to focus in on them, but the greats just seem to be great all the time! They all have their weaknesses too, but we never get to see them. We only get to see what they’ve mastered!
What are your plans for 2017?
In January I will be traveling to LA! I’m going to the winter NAMM show for the first time! I can’t wait! After that I will no doubt be writing and recording more music and videos and continuing my relationship with Fu-Tone. As for the rest of year, who knows what’s round the corner?! It’s certainly been an exciting adventure so far!
Liquid Charlie’s Van Halen Covers from the Dave-era:
Everybody Wants Some
Hear About It Later
Can’t Get This Stuff No More
Feel Your Love Tonight
You Really Got Me
And The Cradle Will Rock
I Wanna Be Your Lover
Unchained (The Riffs)
“Eruption Of Fools”
More cool stuff from Charlie:
Liquid Charlie cover: Jungle Boogie
Liquid Charlie cover: Bumble Beat It
Liquid Charlie original “Not So Bad”
Liquid Charlie interview on EVH Gear Discussion, October 9th, 2016:
Keep up with Liquid Charlie!
Interviewer Eric Broadbent:
Eric is a multi-endorsed solo artist, who’s passion for and inspiration from Van Halen has led to him to achieve things he only dreamed of as a child. Eric’s music has been included in feature film and enjoyed by many of Hollywood’s celebrities as well. Together with friend and fellow guitarist Marc Huzansky, they host the popular EVH Gear Discussion Talk Show on YouTube (sponsored by VanHalenStore.com) , discussing everything that makes Eddie Van Halen tick, while featuring commentary and interviews from celebrity industry guests such as Pete Thorn, Steve Stevens, Mike Himmel, David Friedman & many more.