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Why I love Van Halen’s debut album, by Steel Panther’s Michael Starr

(Image credit: Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)

I remember clearly hearing that record for the first time. My brother brought me up to his room and said, ‘You gotta listen to this.’ The first thing I heard was Eruption, which was a showcase for Eddie Van Halen. I had never heard anything like it. My life changed at that point.

What they did on this record was different to anything anyone had done before. You had Eddie, who was the ultimate guitar hero. And then you had Dave Lee Roth, who was the ultimate showman. I call him lightning in a bottle.” If you were to build a robot to be the lead singer in a heavy metal band, you model it after. I had a meal with him once, and he’s everything you expect him to be: funny, talkative, charismatic and the smartest guy in the room.

But it really came down to the songwriting. These songs were bad-ass: Running With The Devil, Atomic Punk, On Fire. And then you had Ice Cream Man, which this bluesy thing. The way Dave sang it, it sound like he was having a great time. That’s what Van Halen is all about.