Saturday, April 18, 2009


Alexander Arthur Van Halen was born to Jan and Eugenia van Halen in Amsterdam, The Netherlands on May 8, 1953. Shortly after Edward was born, the van Halen family moved to Nijmegen.

On February 22, 1962, the van Halen family left Holland, after receiving several letters from relatives describing the wonders of California. In their possession were a few suitcases, 75 guilders and a piano. The trip took nine days by boat to New York, followed by another four days by train to California. Some time after their arrival in the United States, they changed their last name from van Halen, to Van Halen.

Alex developed an interest in music as a young boy, and as a grade-schooler in Pasadena, CA, began taking flamenco guitar lessons. At around the same time, Edward had begun playing the drums. But, as fate would have it, Alex lost interest in the guitar and spent more time pounding out the Surfaris' "Wipe Out" on Edward's $125 Japanese-made St. George kit while his younger brother was out delivering newspapers to pay for it, and they soon switched instruments permanently.

Alex graduated from Pasadena High School in 1971 and attended Pasadena City College for a brief period of time, where some of his classes included music theory and scoring and arranging.

Some of Al's early bands, all of which included Edward in the mix, were The Broken Combs (who performed lunchtime concerts at Hamilton Elementary School and featured Alex on saxophone), The Trojan Rubber Company, Genesis, and The Space Brothers. Among his influences are Buddy Rich, Keith Moon, John Bonham and Ginger Baker.

In 1972, Mammoth was formed and featured Alex on drums, Edward on lead vocals and guitar and Mark Stone on bass. By 1974, Mammoth became Van Halen; Stone had been replaced by Michael Anthony and David Lee Roth had taken over as the lead mouthpiece. From here, the quartet paid their dues on the Southern California club circuit, pounding out five sets a night everywhere they could. Be it Gazzari's (the first club to give them a break), the Starwood, the Whisky a GoGo, or Walter Mitty's Rock & Roll Emporium, Van Halen were everywhere, with Al often handling managerial duties, booking gigs and whatnot.

Shortly before the band was signed to Warner Bros. Records in 1977, Alex nearly lost a finger in a machine shop accident.

On February 8, 1978, "Van Halen," was released amid a flourishing disco and punk scene. This watershed album almost single-handedly brought rock and roll back into the forefront and to this day, remains one of the greatest and most powerful recordings of the 20th century to fans, musicians and critics worldwide. 20 years and twelve albums later, Van Halen are still doing things their way. There are no rules and what's trendy doesn't apply. It's music straight from the heart. Always has been, always will be.

Alex's powerful and dynamic drumming style and voice are as unique and instantly recognizable as Edward's guitar sound. The term "brown sound," which is universally linked with Edward's tone was actually coined by Alex and refers to the warmth of his own snare drum sound. But, don't overlook the finesse and sensitivity. He plays what's right for the song. Not to grandstand or just to draw attention to himself. He will however, let loose live in his unaccompanied drum solo. In this instance you've got to expect the unexpected. From lighting his kit on fire during the Van Halen II tour, to the Latinesque version of " Outta Love Again," complete with congas and horns on the III tour, you're always in for a treat.

In addition to the drums, Alex is also an accomplished pianist. The instrumental "Respect the Wind" from the Twister soundtrack features Alex on keys and marks his first and only appearance on a record outside of Van Halen. The piece has a melancholy, classical flavor to it, which isn't surprising due to the fact that Alex had several years of classical piano training as a young boy.

Though he appears ominous, silent and brooding to many (which is further enhanced by his usual all-black garb), Alex has a rapier-sharp wit and a love of practical jokes. In 1986, he shaved his head completely bald as a part of a bet, even appearing on an episode of Night Tracks and in the Hank Williams, Jr. video for "My Name is Bocephus" with his newly shorn dome. A word to the wise: don't ever leave your shoes unattended in his presence. Otherwise you may return to find them nailed to the floor.

Alex will be the first to tell you he's not a rock star. He's a musician. He'll be making music until the day he dies, in one form or another.

courtesy: drummerworld

Trent Reznor


Birth name Michael Trent Reznor
Born May 17, 1965 (1965-05-17) (age 43)
Mercer, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Industrial rock
Industrial metal
Alternative rock

Sound designer
Record producer

Keyboard instrument
Bass guitar
Pan flute

Years active 1982–present
Label(s) Independent
Associated acts Option 30 (1982–1984)
The Innocent (1985)
Exotic Birds (1986–1988)
Lucky Pierre (1988)
Nine Inch Nails (since 1988)
Revolting Cocks
David Bowie
Marilyn Manson
1000 Homo DJs
Saul Williams
Peter Lynch

Early life

Michael Trent Reznor was born in Mercer, Pennsylvania (halfway between Pittsburgh and Erie) to Michael Joseph Reznor and Nancy Lou Clark on May 17, 1965.[4] Reznor was referred to by his middle name to avoid confusion with his father. After his parents divorced, he lived with his grandparents, while his sister Tera lived with their mother.[5] Reznor has acknowledged that his sheltered life in Pennsylvania left him feeling isolated from the outside world. In a 1994 interview with Rolling Stone, he makes reference to his choices in the music industry, as well as elaborating on his early life, stating

I don't know why I want to do these things, other than my desire to escape from Small Town, U.S.A., to dismiss the boundaries, to explore. It isn't a bad place where I grew up, but there was nothing going on but the cornfields. My life experience came from watching movies, watching TV and reading books and looking at magazines. And when your fucking culture comes from watching TV every day, you're bombarded with images of things that seem cool, places that seem interesting, people who have jobs and careers and opportunities. None of that happened where I was. You're almost taught to realize it's not for you.

However, Reznor later said "I don't want to give the impression it was a miserable childhood".[7] At the Mercer Area Junior and Senior High Schools, Reznor learned to play the saxophone and tuba. He was a member of both the jazz and marching band. Former Mercer High School band director Dr. Hendley Hoge remembered Reznor as "very upbeat and friendly."[8] Reznor also became involved in theater while in high school. He was voted "Best in Drama" by classmates for his roles as Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar and Professor Harold Hill in The Music Man. Reznor graduated from this high school in 1983 and enrolled at Allegheny College, where he studied computer engineering

Early musical projects

Reznor (far right) on the cover of Option 30's self-titled album.

While still in high school in Mercer, Reznor was the keyboardist and one of the vocalists in a local band called The Klikz. Playing local clubs and quite a few high school dances throughout the area, The Klikz had a reputation as a talented and fun cover band. The repertoire consisted of the Pop and New Wave music hits of that period in the early 1980s. Playing a host of analog synthesizers, Reznor kept his primary keyboard on a stand he had constructed himself made from a work-mate table and a Lazy Susan that allowed him to rotate the keyboard along with his frenetic dancing and singing. The Klikz disbanded before Reznor went to college.

While he was enrolled in Allegheny College, Reznor joined local band Option 30, playing three shows a week with them. But after only a year of college, Reznor dropped out and moved to Cleveland, Ohio in order to pursue a career in music.[8] In 1985, he joined The Innocent as a keyboardist. They released one album, Livin' in the Street, but Reznor quit after just three months. In 1986, Reznor joined local band Exotic Birds. He also appeared with them as the fictional band "The Problems" in the 1987 film Light of Day.[10]

Reznor got a job at Right Track Studio (now known as Midtown Recording) as an assistant engineer and janitor.[11] Studio owner Bart Koster later commented that Reznor was "so focused in everything he [did]. When that guy waxed the floor, it looked great."[8] Reznor asked Koster for permission to record demos of his own songs for free during unused studio time. Koster agreed, remarking that it cost him "just a little wear on [his] tape heads".[8] While assembling these, the earliest NIN recordings, Reznor was unable to find a band that could articulate his songs as he wanted. Instead, inspired by Prince, he played all the instruments except drums himself.[12] This role remains Reznor's on most of the band's studio recordings, though he has occasionally involved other musicians and assistants. Several labels responded favorably to the demo material, and Reznor signed with TVT Records.[11] Nine selections from the Right Track demos were unofficially released in 1994 as Purest Feeling; many of these songs would appear in revised form on his 1989 debut studio album under the stage name Nine Inch Nails.

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