Dweezil Zappa calls Van Halen’s “The Full Bug” the “Game Changer” tune from the band’s 1982 album ‘Diver Down’.
In the latest sampling of his podcast Runnin’ With The Dweezil, Zappa talked to guitarist Mark Tremonti (Creed, Alter Bridge, Tremonti) about the standout moments from ‘Diver Down’, one of them being “The Full Bug”.
“If you didn’t think you were gonna rock hard enough ‘The Full Bug’ comes in to vibrate your core and rave you up with the Van Halen swing,” said Zappa. “It’s Dave in the intro who sets up the bad ass feel and then Ed slides into the song Jimmy Page style before ripping us apart with pinch harmonics. When the band kicks in it’s another FUCK YEAH!!! moment for me. I can’t think of any other band that has given me that FUCK YEAH!!! feeling.
“The song also brings back that Van Halen swing feel,” he continued. “I wonder if they thought, ‘Well, we’ve got Jan Van Halen swingin’ on the clarinet [on “Big Bad Bill (Is Sweet William Now)”], we need to bookend that track with the Van Halen brothers with their modern swing feel.'”
Tremonti added, “It’s just got a ton of energy to it. If I’m not mistaken [Eddie] is doing a bunch of pinch harmonics in that beginning riff. I’ve seen him do that a ton of times live on videos and it seems like the crowd really eats that song up. I think that’s one of the songs they enjoy playing live a lot and you can see why. It’s got so much energy.”
Zappa went on to talk about the song’s solo, highlighted by Eddie and bassist Michael Anthony.
“For ‘The Full Bug’ solo Ed definitely sounds like he was inspired by Allan Holdsworth,” he said. “In case you missed it, Michael Anthony nails that unison line at the end of the solo both on the record and live.”
The segment ends with Zappa and Tremonti talking about the chemistry between the four original members of Van Halen: David Lee Roth, Eddie Van Halen, Alex Van Halen and Michael Anthony.
Zappa: “The Van Halen brothers are the driving force behind all of the music but Dave brought a lot of unexpected influence in the music too. Michael held down the foundation and helped glue everything together. It’s his voice and harmonies that kicked everything into party mode so he can’t ever be discounted for what he added to the music.”
Tremonti: “It’s so unique, that’s what makes it so special. It’s just the perfect stew of talent put together. You talk about Eddie and Roth so much but Alex doesn’t sound like anybody else and Michael Anthony, both his playing and his harmonies – his harmonies are such a huge part of Van Halen. Anytime he starts singing you know that’s Van Halen. It’s such a unique part of their potion. I think they’re a brilliant band, I think they’re geniuses and a once in a lifetime kind of band.”
You can hear the entire segment below, which begins with Zappa and Tremonti discussing Eddie’s instrumental gem from ‘Diver Down’ – “Cathedral”:
The 30-episode “Runnin’ With The Dweezil” podcast is available exclusively through dweezilzappa.com. Packages include listening parties, Q&A sessions, “Brown Sound” bonus episodes, custom Axe-FX, Helix, and Kemper presets, a 1-year subscription to Premier Guitar, and much more.
A portion of the proceeds will go to benefit Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation and Feeding America.