A lo-fi musician shares his photos—and deep appreciation—for a gifted technician
When Lou Barlow (Dinosaur, Dinosaur Jr., Sebadoh, Sentridoh, The Folk Implosion) visited the “Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock & Roll” exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art last year, he made a special point to visit Eddie Van Halen’s “FrankenStrat.” The 1975 cobbled-together instrument was listed in the Met’s catalog as being created from “ash, maple, nickel, chrome, plastic, spray paint.”
Barlow took several loving, close-up photos and is sharing them below, along with some words he penned yesterday upon hearing of the guitar great’s sad and too-early demise.
“Seeing this made me appreciate him in a way that came rushing back to me upon hearing of his passing: check out his pedal board circa Van Halen’s peak, the duct tape etc., then details from his FrankenStrat … a guitar he covered in tape, spray painted and modified himself.
I couldn’t stop looking at it.
A quarter near the bridge as a shim, the overall f-ed up homemade look of a guitar that he used to change musical history. I was a punk rocker during their peak, but VH always resonated.
To see, up close, how he was just another kid trying to use whatever he could get his hands on to recreate the sound in his head was very very cool. To think that this was the set-up behind some of the most confident, texturally generous, fun-loving and weirdly glamorous music that has ever been made was kind of a revelation.
In the end, it comes down to doing it yourself … DIY … RIP EVH.
Lou Barlow is supporting his family during the pandemic by playing some truly excellent home gigs on Facebook. Do yourself a favor and enjoy them, and tip generously at his Venmo: @Louis-Barlow3