Jane’s Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro called Van Halen’s ‘Fair Warning’ album his favorite while citing the track “Mean Street” as being the epitome of Eddie Van Halen’s Frankenstein approach to songwriting.
“You can’t have a show about great guitar players without mentioning, without playing, without paying homage to Mr. Edward Van Halen – huge, massive influence on me,” Navarro said during a recent appearance on Sirius/XM’s limited-engagement channel “Guitar Greats .
Navarro went on to discuss Van Halen’s 1981 ‘Fair Warning’ album and the song ‘Mean Street.’
“I got a hold of some 1976-1977 demos that Van Halen recorded with Gene Simmons way back in the day when they were trying to put together the material for their first album,” he said. “There are songs that they discarded for one reason or another but you will hear moments of songs that you do recognize in those demos. So, years after ‘Van Halen I,’ ‘Fair Warning’ came out with the song ‘Mean Street’ on it, which by the way has an impeccable intro with this finger-tapping muting situation going on which I still can’t wrap my head around. But the bridge to ‘Mean Street’ is from another song entirely. It was written in 1977 and they have another song with this bridge in it that just got scrapped. So it sounds to me that when they came around to recording ‘Fair Warning,’ they kind of went through the archives of parts and said, ‘Hey what about that bridge that we used to have? Let’s throw that in there, that works.’
Van Halen – “Voodoo Queen” (1977 Demo)
Van Halen – “Mean Street”
“So it’s kind of interesting to think about their songs pieced together like that,” continued Navarro. “You know Edward was famous for having the Frankenstein guitar, which is the one that he put together from a bunch of different parts. And in a lot of ways, you could say the same thing about some of their songwriting techniques. They literally Frankenstein songs together, and ‘Mean Street’ is one of them, and thank god they did. It’s one of their best, I think it’s my favorite Van Halen album and it’s certainly my favorite Edward Van Halen tone on any album, that they’ve ever done.”
Sirius/XM’s Guitar Greats channel (Ch. 105) will run through April 19th at 3 a.m. ET.