Many guitarists have studied the lightning-fast fingers of Eddie Van Halen in a quest to capture just a fraction of his musical magic. Craig Parker Adams, however, found himself drawn to more than just his fingers.
“I didn’t go after Ed the way most people go after Ed,” Adams said during a recent appearance on the podcast Johnny Beane TV. “I had early epiphanies and one of ’em was is that I seemed to be more attracted to the way he moved his body and the way his feet connected to the ground when I would watch him play, that that would give me more information to do what he was doing in a better way as opposed to watching his fingers and watching his hands. I had a realization where it didn’t matter what notes he was playing.”
Adams was on the podcast to talk about his new album Vistahle Buel, which was influenced and inspired by Eddie. The title of the album is defined as “a compelled journey or quest”, which refers to his four decade-long pursuit to capture the often hard to define, often unexplainable magic that is the sound of Eddie on guitar and the music of Van Halen.
Adams said the first time he saw Van Halen live was on July 7th, 1981 at the St. Paul Civic Center in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He was 12 years old.
“I can only describe it as UFO sounds,” said Adams of the moment Van Halen took the stage. “I never heard anything like that.”
Three years later Adams had the chance to see Van Halen again, this time during the 1984 tour when the band returned to Minnesota. Adams’ seat was directly in front of Eddie.
Adams said, “I had front row in ’84….and I’m at his feet! So I’m watching his feet; everywhere they go, they’re right in front of me and the stage is at that level and I’m just seeing it and it’s like, they were just talkin’ to me. So my life was spent trying to catch Ed by watching the way he moved and his feet. My approach to his vibe is kinda different than usual. I’m not doing any of his techniques per se. I’m not doing any of the things that typically you’d hear him do. It’s more of a feel thing. So it encompassed my whole life and it eventually it led me to him.”
In 1988, Adams moved from Minnesota to Los Angeles and ultimately, through a friendship with Dweezil Zappa, met and began a friendship with Eddie.
Adams has much more to talk about in the interview below including:
- Adams’ thoughts on the rumored possible Van Halen tribute tour with Alex Van Halen, Joe Satriani and David Lee Roth.
- How to explain that undefinable “Eddie Van Halen” sound we come back to again and again
- How Alex is the “backbone” of the Van Halen sound
- Adams’ “out of body” experience when first hearing Van Halen’s music
- How Adams became part of the early stages of 2012’s A Different Kind Of Truth album
- How people will look back on Eddie 50 years from now
- Eddie’s painted guitars through the years
- Eddie never wanted to be a star, he just wanted to play
- What young guitarists can learn from Eddie
Along with writing, recording and performing his own music, Adams is a self-taught producer-engineer who runs Winslow Ct. Audio based in Hollywood.
Purchase Vistahle Buel at Van Halen Store HERE.
Go to Craig Parker Adams’ official website HERE.
Check out the first time we featured Craig on VHND, for his killer VH-esque instrumentals.
For more episodes of “Exclusively Van Halen”, subscribe to Johnny Beane TV’s YouTube channel HERE.