Eddie Van Halen’s Reaction When Compared To Roger Waters, Gary Cherone Recalls

roger waters

In a recent chat with Songfacts, Gary Cherone, the famous lead singer of the rock band Extreme, shared some awesome stories about his time with Van Halen and how he convinced Eddie Van Halen to sing on one of their tracks. What the vocalist shared gave us an interesting look at the band members’ creative journey and how they worked together, as well as a special insight into the guitarist’s personality.

Many collaborations happened in Van Halen‘s history, and one song that really stands out in that is ‘How Many Say I’ from their 1998 album ‘Van Halen III.’ The track was special not just because of its unique sound but also because it had Eddie Van Halen on lead vocals, which was totally different from the band’s usual style. It turns out that Cherone played a big role in getting Eddie to sing on the track at the time, revealing a different side of the legendary guitarist.

In the interview, Gary talked about how creating ‘How Many Say I’ was a different experience for him and explained that he did not sit down with the guitarist for hours to create the song. He mentioned that Eddie was super interested in the lyrics the vocalist had written and asked if he could try composing music for them, which resulted in a beautiful piece.

Cherone described his experience with the late musician as follows:

“In the past with me and Nuno [Bettencourrt], we’ve always traded off – I would show Nuno a lyric, he might write to it. With my experience in Van Halen, that’s not how Eddie wrote. So, that was one of the new things we did together. I just had a lyric – I might have written it over three days – and he looked over my shoulder one day and said, ‘What’s that?’ And I said, ‘I’m finishing up this lyric called ‘How Many Say I.’ And he said, ‘Do you mind if I take it?’

He took it, I went to bed in the guest house, and he stayed up all hours of the night. Woke up the next morning, and he showed me on the piano. He sang it – he’d made a rough demo of it. I thought it was brilliant. His voice reminded me of Tom Waits or Roger Waters.”

Gary then explained that he was the one who convinced Eddie to sing the song on the record. The guitarist was a bit hesitant at first, but the vocalist thought the demo was so amazing that it was worth sharing with everyone. His encouragement and praise of the guitarist’s vocals by comparing him to Roger Waters helped Eddie get over his doubts and dive into the challenge.

The musician recalled:

“I was the one who encouraged him to do it on the record. He was a little reluctant. It’s gotten criticism over the years because Eddie sang it, but I thought the initial demo was so inspiring. For me, it was just like, ‘You should sing it.’ I twisted his arm a little bit, but then he embraced it because I was comparing him to Floyd. His demo was so emotional – I thought it was great.”

Gary Cherone’s chat gives us a cool insight into the special bond between him and Eddie Van Halen while they were in the band together. Gary’s encouragement for Eddie to step out of his comfort zone and take on lead vocals for ‘How Many Say I’ shows the amazing power of collaboration and trust between musicians. Even though the song has faced some criticism, it still shows off the guitarist’s incredible range and gives us a fascinating peek into the creative process of one of rock’s most iconic bands.

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