Alex Van Halen Hot Licks

alex van halen

Photo: Neil Zlozower

Alex Van Halen’s drumming has influenced generations of drummers and always served as the perfect complement to his brother’s stellar guitar riffing. Sure, he’s got chops – just listen to “Hot For Teacher” – but like Keith Moon, there’s also something a little loose about his drumming, as though he’s thinking more about the whole song rather than obsessing over each note. That hint of looseness is also a bit magical since it seems to transport you to another time and place, always making you feel like you’re at a concert hearing the band playing live. Let’s check out a few of this iconic drummer’s best moments.

“Ain’t Talkin’ ’Bout Love”

Van Halen’s debut record sold more than 10 million copies in the U.S. and this track is a good reason why. There are several interesting drum parts in the track, but the ending has a few drum breaks that are classic AVH. The first run across the toms feels a little atypical because he doesn’t move on the beats but changes toms on the &’s. The next two fills are memorable simply because Van Halen first moves melodically down his kit, then reverses direction.

DRUM! Notation Guide

alex van halen

“Ice Cream Man”

Chicago blues guitarist John Brin penned this track that VH covered on their debut. The intro of this fun version is a classic and is the perfect vehicle for Diamond Dave and may be the progenitor of A Different Kind Of Truth’s “Stay Frosty.”

alex van halen
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