Why Van Halen’s ‘5150’ Made Steel Panther’s Satchel Mad
Van Halen fan Satchel said he probably formed Steel Panther as a result of his negative reaction to Van Halen’s album 5150.
The 1986 release was their first with Sammy Hagar in place of original frontman David Lee Roth. Satchel, who regarded Eddie Van Halen as a hero and once played guitar in Van Halen tribute band called Atomic Punks, hated the LP at first.
“This record took some time to grow on me because I was so mad Van Halen split up,” Satchel tells Guitar World. “And it didn’t sound like the Van Halen I knew: They were growing and evolving. I hated that when I was younger. That’s probably why I formed Steel Panther, so I could just be happy not growing or evolving.”
Time has obviously healed all wounds, since Satchel chose Van Halen’s solo from 5150 track “Dreams” as one of his five favorites of the late guitarist’s career.
Listen to Van Halen Perform ‘Dreams’
“[T]he solo is killer in this song. Just gorgeous and soaring. Every note is killer. And the melody over the chords at the end are so cool,” Satchel said. “I think Eddie was able to compose solos that fit so well into the song, and yet he was able to play them in a way that felt like he was improvising it for the first time … and yet you could listen to it over and over and it never got stale. That, kids, is talent.”
Satchel argues that there was something extra-special about Van Halen’s Fair Warning era, too.
“Eddie was on fire back then. … He was always on fire, but you could tell that he was having fun and never letting a moment go to waste,” Satchel said. “Every solo was just beautiful from start to finish. Not to mention all the licks he would throw in there in between vocal lines.”
Highlighting Eddie’s ability to play “with so much feel and groove,” Satchel added: “I picture him doing most of his solos in one take. While jumping off a drum riser.”
See Rock’s Epic Fails: Van Halen Edition