Funny thing about life: Just when everything is humming along and all is right with the world, something devastating comes along and kicks your ass back to the stone age. So it seems to be with guitarist Edward Van Halen.
Last winter, Van Halen released its “A Different Kind of Truth” album, easily its best effort since “1984,” in my opinion. The band then embarked on a massively successful tour and seemed to be enjoying the hell out of it all. They tossed old songs they hadn’t performed in decades onto the set list, to the delight of fans.
Looking at all the footage from those concerts on YouTube, you can see Eddie enjoying himself and playing better than ever. It’s been good to see, especially since most of us wrote him off as death bound after seeing his drunken, often-incoherent performances of the mid-2000s. He’s been through cancer, a hip replacement and alcoholism. But on the 2012 tour, he looked every bit the man who had beaten his demons.
Then the band abruptly put the tour on ice at the start of summer, and the rumors started circulating: Were the band members fighting? Was Eddie drinking again?
This week, we got the answer from the Van Halen News Desk and other news sites:
Eddie Van Halen underwent an emergency surgery for a severe bout of diverticulitis. No further surgeries are needed and a full recovery is expected within 4 –6 months. Van Halen’s scheduled November 2012 tour of Japan is currently being rescheduled and the band looks forward to seeing and playing for their fans in 2013.
CNN gave this update yesterday:
Eddie Van Halen is home recovering from surgery.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame guitarist had an operation for diverticulitis, an inflammation and infection of the intestines.
According to a rep for the rock group Van Halen, the guitarist first developed the condition while on tour.
When he came off the road, he had a serious flare-up.
Eddie Van Halen spent three weeks in the hospital after surgery to remove the infected intestine, [resulting] in another infection when he popped a few stitches.
His home recovery is expected to last four to six months.
We love to put the famous on big pedestals and then gawk when they fall off. But they’re human like us. Sometimes they’re riding high. Other times they’re getting kicked in the nuts.
I’m one of those fans that will hang on every news item and video featuring the band. It’s not merely about being a fanboy. It’s about how Van Halen’s music was there for me when I was fighting all the demons of childhood. It’s about how Eddie’s recovery from addiction inspired me to do something about mine.
It’s about how Van Halen’s music pulled me through many episodes of winter-induced depression.
Through its music, Van Halen has been there for me. So wishing Eddie well is the least I can do. I can also relate to his current troubles, having had my own colon trouble. Colon ailments are hell, especially something like diverticulitis.
Get well, Eddie. We’ll see you in 2013.