10/6/20 update: my deepest condolences to Wolfgang, Alex, Janie, Valerie and everyone in the Van Halen family.
My screenplay started as a love letter to Eddie Van Halen. I’ve been a Van Halen fan since Diver Down and when I was growing up and discovered their full original 6 album catalog it was a foundational moment. I mean, my identity as a man was formed while listening to fucking VAN HALEN dude!!! (whoa, see it still happens just thinking about it) Their music bonded with me at the DNA level. Not just the music but the attitude. But more deeply, the music.
Later in life when I got my first guitar, the natural thing to reach for was VH. I can’t play anything even close, but Ed’s playing was the only inspiration I needed to try. So not even in the ballpark, but it’s so fun to work on. During that period I had another inspiration. Jack Black.
DISCLAIMER: I was asked by Van Halen’s legal team to say that they are not participating in this project. (That was a great day, no lie)
I think I was watching either High Fidelity or Orange County. I saw Jack Black on screen and thought he would be great choice to play bassist Michael Anthony if anyone ever made a… [lightbulb] a Van Halen Movie?!
I became inspired to write it, remembering that I had always loved the story of the two brothers, Eddie and Alex Van Halen, who were trained virtuosos in classical music and played with their Jazz musician father Jan as kids. An immigrant family finding their dream in America.
I struggled with the ending until real life delivered it in the form of Wolfgang Van Halen, Ed’s son, joining the band and more importantly inspiring Ed’s recovery.
I learned a lot about myself as a writer, and as a man, during the whole process of writing this thing. That’s a whole other story.
I’m moving on now, working on something purely from my imagination.
I know the complexities of actually bringing a story like ERUPTION to life is beyond my current reach, and not the career path I’m on as an artist.
But it would be a shame if no one ever got to read the damn thing.
The script is here for anyone to read and comment on at Script Revolution: Eruption The Unauthorized Van Halen Movie Script
I knew from the start that without any story or music rights, I was basically writing fan fiction and would not be able to sell it in the normal way. I didn’t care, I just loved the story and wanted to write it.
I have tried contacting the band but no one I reached was willing to take it up the chain. I understand that the family is very private, and that the story isn’t always flattering. But in the end it’s a happy story. The family is together, the hero makes it through the fire.
My take is not about the pyrotechnics of the music business or the internal drama of the many changes in the band, although those are certainly elements of the story. To me the heart of the story is family healing. Ed’s journey from son to father under the intense glare of fame.
Obviously if Ed ever decides he wants to tell his story, he can get any writer he wants and start from scratch. I don’t own the facts of this story.
If you ever are interested, Ed, I’d love to be a part of it.
What I’ve tried to contribute was a framing. The beginning, middle and end. What’s included and what’s not?
Many scenes are entirely invented from my imagination, some people and events are condensed. These are my works as an author, and I’m proud of them. I’m also humbled by the true story of Ed’s journey, grateful for his music, and in acceptance that ultimately it’s not my story to tell.