1. 14
    James Valentine - Episode 14
    August 30, 2021

    It's time for another episode of RWTD. My guest is James Valentine from Maroon 5 and we discuss Van Halen's 0U812 album. Get ready to go song by song and hear our thoughts about the way the album was made and the nuances in the music.

  2. 13
    Mark Lettieri - Episode 13
    July 21, 2021

    It's 5150 Time! The long awaited season premiere of RWTD - Right Here, Right Now is locked and loaded for your listening pleasure.

    Mark Lettieri is my guest and we take a deep dive into the first Sammy Hagar era Van Halen album, 5150.

    Don't miss the special "Mammoth" moment with wah-wah out- freakage!

    Produced and Edited by Dweezil Zappa

    Opening Title Theme performed by Adam Minkoff

    Outro Theme performed by Jacob Deraps

  3. 12
    Satchel - Episode 12 (BONUS!
    May 29, 2021

    Early Years BONUS episode #2. Satchel from Steel Panther is my guest and we discuss his favorite EVH guitar licks, Van Halen's power animals and who would play Van Halen in a movie chronicling their lives. Don't miss out on the FUN! This episode is included in the Early Years bundle as well as the 5150 bundle.

  4. 11
    Greg Howe - Episode 11 BONUS!
    May 11, 2021

    Hello RWTD Friends! Here's a BONUS episode for all of the "Early Years" and "5150" Bundles owners! Enjoy! It can also be purchased a la carte for anyone else who would like to hear it!

  5. 10
    Jennifer Batten - Episode 10
    April 16, 2021

    1984 was a pivotal record for Van Halen. My guest Jennifer Batten, shares stories about her connection to the album. This episode is one of the deepest dives yet into the inner workings of Van Halen's music.

  6. 9
    Mark Tremonti - Episode 9
    February 21, 2021

    Mark Tremonti takes a deep dive on Diver Down! *Mark's audio was recorded via Zoom so there are some digital artifacts.

    Produced and Edited by Dweezil Zappa

  7. 8
    Billy Corgan - Episode 8
    February 9, 2021
  8. 7
    Nuno Bettencourt - Episode 7
    January 19, 2021

    Part 2 of Fair Warning with Nuno Bettencourt.

    Nuno Bettencourt tries to break his own record for using the F-word while describing the finer details of Fair Warning. Dweezil Zappa reveals why Godzilla plays a role in "One Foot Out The Door."

  9. 6
    Nuno Bettencourt - Episode 6
    January 2, 2021

    It's here! The long-awaited FAIR WARNING episode! Headphones are recommended!

    My conversation with Nuno Bettencourt takes many twists and turns but one thing is for sure, WE BOTH LOVE FAIR WARNING!

  10. 5
    Blues Saraceno - Episode 5
    December 18, 2020

    Runnin With The Dweezil Episode # 5 - Blues Saraceno.

    In this episode, we discover secrets sounds on Women And Children First and take a deep dive on all the remaining songs!

  11. 4
    Blues Saraceno- Episode 4
    December 10, 2020

    Runnin' With The Dweezil EP. 4 Blues Saraceno

  12. 3
    Paul Gilbert - Episode 3
    December 3, 2020
  13. 2
    Steve Vai - Episode 2
    November 26, 2020

    Runnin' With The Dweezil EP. 2 Steve Vai

    In this episode, my guest Steve Vai talks with me about Van Halen's debut album. We discuss the songs in detail, track by track with educational commentary and brief musical examples. We also continue our discussion of Edward Van Halen's connection to us and how it changed our lives.

  14. 1
    Steve Vai - Episode 1
    November 19, 2020

    Runnin' With The Dweezil EP. 1 Steve Vai

    In this episode, my guest Steve Vai talks with me about a wide range of topics that include playing in my dad's band and Edward Van Halen's connection to us and how it changed our lives. We unravel parts of the mystery behind the phone call that started it all. We learn more about the very first thing I saw Edward Van Halen play up close, stories of recording in the studio with EVH when I was 12 years old and how Steve Vai ended up in David Lee Roth's band.

(Runnin' With The Dweezil does not claim to be endorsed by Van Halen.)

This is the choice for the biggest Van Halen fans around. At less than $2 per episode this is the most affordable and complete package around! Every single episode from The Early Years and Right Here, Right Now plus way more!

  • A year-long subscription to - info@premierguitar.com
  • 8 bonus episodes that are exclusively available in the 5150 Bundle, including an in-depth "Reverse Engineering The Brown Sound!" Episode. 
  • Also included, a handful of Van Halen inspired custom guitar presets for Fractal Audio Axe Effects III made by Dweezil himself.
  • Custom presets for Line 6 Helix, and Kemper platforms made by other top guitarists, round out this all-inclusive package. If you've always wanted to get as close as possible to signature VH sounds, this package is for you!
  • All-Access Pass to private online listening parties and Q&A sessions with Dweezil.

(Runnin' With The Dweezil is currently in production - All Season Bundles will populate as the episodes are released in order.)

  • All 14 Individual Van Halen Album Podcast Episodes will be available for streaming and download A LA CARTE.
  • For Total Pricing Flexibility - A LA CARTE Album Episodes are $2.99   

The live stream audio resolution is 16bit-44.1k @ 320kbps. When downloading the episodes, the downloads will be high-resolution FLAC files at no extra cost.

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At the end, do a recap with Blues Saraceno!! You two sound like great friends. I have a few of those, and so much laughter, I just dig it.


Thanks Doug! We will be doing a bit more together.

David McCain

So far, so good. Loving the RWTD episodes. I was wondering if there are any episode possibilities with Edward's friends/tech crews, such as Larry DiMarzio or even Brad Tolenski, concerning Edward's tone ( Tolenski has a new EVH book coming out on Oct. 5 ). I know Ed used Marshalls and DiMarzio pickups over the years. But there is so much mystery as to what he used for various recordings and tours ( I have an old EVH tribute magazine where it states, according to Ed's tech Matt Bruck, that the 5150 amps used in 1991 had 50 watt speakers instead of the regular 25 watts--How would that even work in his Peaveys??? ). 

These episodes are making me " hungry " as a tone chaser and THAT journey is just as mysterious as was his search for great music. 


Thanks, DZ. 

David D

Sorry to be off subject…but I can’t figure out where else to post…I’m getting old …just wondering if you watched any of the us open tennis…hope you are doing well…and touring soon…going to Clapton this Friday…take care…dd

Timothy J.

Just caught up with the 0U812 episode. Fair play to James Valentine, but I don't think he's in a position to cast stones about lyric writing, considering some of his band's songs. Also, while the episode was an enjoyable listen as always, I don't think he brought any useful insight or commentary to the table. Just my 2 cents...


Thanks for chiming in Timothy. James himself was concerned at the beginning that he might not add much to the conversation since he's not as entrenched in the inner workings of all of Van Halen's music and production details. I think there's always room for different perspectives in the ongoing conversations about Van Halen so I was happy to have the chance to chat with him and include him. The OU812 album itself can be polarizing within the fan community.

Allen G.

Hello everyone! I listened to the excellent '0U812' episode of 'Runnin' With The Dweezil' and I must again thank Dweezil and James Valentine for mentioning my name, albeit in a slightly modified form! :) I'm just honored that any part of my name floated through anyone's head!

As Dweezil mentioned, I do indeed have some references for '0U812' that I'm happy to share. '0U812' marks an end of an era for me and it is in my mind at least a sort of "last Van Halen album”. Most draw the line between the Roth and Hagar eras, but my personal taste includes both '5150' and '0U812' as great albums along with the classic Roth albums. It was the last album done with Donn Landee and I consider him as important as Templeman in Van Halen's best work. I liken Ted to George Martin and Donn to Geoff Emerick to reference The Beatles. Also, as Dweezil guessed, this was the last Van Halen album to feature the original "baby" Marshall and other Marshalls as the main guitar amplifier and the last to feature a "superstrat" style guitar in the tradition of his various Boogie Bodies and Kramer guitars. For me personally the signature gear and Ed's changing tastes did not fit my personal taste as much. The ‘0U812’ touring cycle ended in Japan in February of 1989, and that is pretty much where my area of interest in Van Halen ends for the most part. But this is totally arbitrary and relevant only to me and my tastes. 

I loved the '0U812' album. I was 16 years old in 1988 and I bought the "Black and Blue" 45rpm single backed with "A Apolitical Blues" on the B-side on the day it was released. This was the first thing released from the band in advance of the album. I bought the LP on the day it was released. I remember trying to figure out all the guitar parts as best as I could as fast as I could to try to beat my fellow guitar playing buddy in high school Kevin Dodds, who later went on to author the book 'Edward Van Halen: A Definitive Biography'. We're still friends to this day and have been bonded through our love and study of Edward's music for these many decades.

SO enough about me...here's some things I can share going track by track as was the case on this episode of 'Runnin' With The Dweezil':

The title ‘0U812’ was one of many in a list of names the band had. It was only the latest one that they came up with at the time the title was chosen by their manager Ed Leffler who just went with it, probably out of exasperation and being under pressure from looming deadlines. To the best of my knowledge, I believe that this was the last album to feature Marshalls as the main amp sound. The Soldanos came later…Eddie bought his first SLO-100 from Mike Soldano on February 15, 1990. Here’s the invoice from Mike dated February 15, 1990. Eddie met Mike and tried the amp on February 14, 1990…then bought it the very next day:

The first public appearance of Eddie with the SLO-100 head was at the opening of the Cabo Wabo bar in April of 1990 and of course the Soldano would set the course for Ed’s amp sounds thereafter. Of course, Clapton made some of the best music of his career with his Soldano amps around the ‘Journeyman’ album-as John Mayer will opine! It may have been coincidence, but it is an interesting little side connection between Ed and his number one inspiration on guitar.

"Mine All Mine": Eddie said of this song:

"The guitars were an afterthought on all the keyboard songs (on '0U812'). For "Mine All Mine" I wasn't thinking of doubling it with the guitar at all. Then I tried it and it sounded kind of neat. It's almost a direct kind of Strat sound. It's not real distorted. It's not my regular sound on the guitar. I had three different guitars going, '59 Strats and my main Kramer."

[I believe Eddie is referring to his 5150 Kramer when he says "main Kramer", but to my knowledge he has one vintage Strat identified as a '59. He said "Strats" plural, so I can guess he might be referring to his '64 sunburst Strat (with "5150" carved into it with a screwdriver that has also been referred to as a '58, but it is confirmed to be a '64) that he used on the album version of "Finish What Ya Started" (and "Best of Both Worlds") and/or maybe his '57 sunburst Strat with a maple board Tele neck on it-Ed used this guitar to perform "Finish What Ya Started" live at the 1990 opening of the Cabo Wabo club. I think these various guitars are all zooming around during the track except I tend to believe the 5150 Kramer was used for the solo proper...it has definite Floyd Rose work on it and the tones on the solo itself seem more reminiscent to me of the 5150 Kramer.]

Eddie said of the keyboard setup on this song:

...on that I used the Roland D-50 with the Yamaha TXC-816 rack through the Roland MC-500 sequencer.

Alan DiPerna (Interviewer) So, you sequenced your keyboard parts first and then the band played along with them?

Yeah. And then Al overdubbed to that and then we overdubbed bass. Finally, I overdubbed guitar and vocals.

On the use of keyboards in general on this album, Ed said in the same interview (from the defunct 'Keyboard World' magazine in July of 1988):

Actually, Steve Porcaro helped me get a lot of this setup together. All the MIDI shit. Steve and a keyboard player named Jennifer Blakeman. She's in a band that Donn and I produced called Private Life. They help me work on the sequencers. They're both good at dealing with the owner's manual, which to me is just a big long book that I don't want to dive into. I can't relate to it.

"When It's Love":

I think “When It’s Love” was the song that gave momentum to the band during the writing and recording of the album. It’s an obvious single and the centerpiece of the album in the way that “Jump” was the centerpiece of ‘1984’. Sammy delivers one of the finest vocal performances of his career here and for my money, it is one of the best rock vocals I’ve ever heard. It’s so good that repeating it live is a suicide mission without proper vocal training. I think Sammy set the bar so high on the records (as say Robert Plant did) that singing these songs live over many shows meant almost certain long term vocal damage, in my opinion.

Eddie said, "I used a Roland D-50, Oberheim OB-8, Yamaha TX816 rack, a Yamaha DX7 and the 6 foot 1920 Steinway grand. On the basic track, I played the D-50 MIDIed to the other keyboards. Then I overdubbed the piano.

For the solo (one of my favorites in the entire catalog which I've transcribed and played a million times) Ed said that he used "a Strat" and I haven't been able to nail down which one. I believe it may have been the same rosewood board sunburst '64 Strat he used to record "Finish What Ya Started" (and "Best of Both Worlds") but I have no concrete interview reference or other evidence. It's obviously an ode to Clapton...again, as is often the case, there are direct live Cream licks all over the fast flourish at the end. The tone always reminded me more of Blackmore or Johnny Winter, but Ed has always said Clapton was the muse for this solo (and really almost all of them when you think about it).

Eddie said of the solo: When I first started soloing to it, it ended up sounding like Clapton. It was intentional. I used a Strat full blown through Marshalls.

And in another 1988 interview Ed said: Check this out, this solo is really different. Clapton, see…I still have some of that in me.

The guitar on the main guitar track (likely the Kramer 5150) is more or less standard tuning, but the Strat on the solo has a VERY unusual tuning which is as follows:

1st string: E +40.0 cents
2nd string: B +40.0 cents
3rd string: G +40.0 cents
4th string: D +40.0 cents
5th string: A +40.0 cents
6th string: E +40.0 cents

This is ABOVE standard pitch. To the best of my reckoning the "Push Comes To Shove" guitars (Mostly strats with the possible exception of the solo) are tuned very high like this, with the "Push Comes To Shove" guitars being tuned only slightly higher than the "When It's Love" solo strat.

"A.F.U. (Naturally Wired)": 

Eddie said of this song: It’s actually a drum beat that I came up with years ago and Al said “Hey man, this beat would be great for this one”. I don’t know, it’s probably something Zeppelin would have done. And then I come in with the finger tappin’ stuff and you can’t figure out what’s going on until we all come in and then you say “Oh, there’s the beat!”.

In a separate interview in a 1988 issue of ‘Guitar For The Practicing Musician’, John Stix asked Eddie: What did you do for the intro to “A.F.U. (Naturally Wired)”?

Eddie: I’m tapping an octave above every note that I’m fingering with the left hand. It’s my Kramer 5150 with no overdubs.

Again, anything is possible and no photographs or videos exist of the sessions, but it seems that the 5150 Kramer was the main guitar on this album. As Dweezil and James observed, the solo kicks off with a nod to Jimmy Page and Robert Plant’s guitar/vocal duets as heard in “Dazed and Confused, “You Shook Me”, “How Many More Times”, etc. He does play some of his Holdsworth inspired licks in this solo…in fact there’s one Holdsworthian lick that Eddie plays in “House of Pain” that is repeated here. It’s a favorite of Ed’s and it shows up in all manner of places in the catalog from 1983 onward.

“Cabo Wabo”:

According to Eddie, Sammy had written the lyrics which were obviously inspired by his last trip to Cabo San Lucas and Eddie previously came up with music “in one day”. Sammy said that the music “sounded perfect for Cabo”. They both agreed…the next day they cut the song. Which is amazing, because that is one of the most complex songs on the album in my opinion, for whatever that is worth.

Eddie used a bastardized electric twelve string guitar on the main rhythm track of “Cabo Wabo”. It had an unfinished or stripped finish Schecter Tele style body with a neck and hardware from a Fender Villager electric twelve string. This guitar has three single coil pickups and Schecter electronics. The guitar was purchased as-is from Dan Martin of St. Charles Music Exchange in St. Charles, Missouri as were many of Ed’s vintage instruments. Dan also introduced Ed to Steinberger guitars among others. Ed also mentioned that he used a cocked wah-wah pedal on the solo (Michael Schenker style), which might have likely been played on his Kramer 5150 guitar.

“Source of Infection”

As Dweezil and James said…this song has some gross lyrics! Here’s a segment from an interview with Bud Scoppa of Guitar World in 1988 that pretty much confirms it’s “unfortunate” lyrics as James put it!

Bud Scoppa: Is that an A.I.D.S. song?

Ed: No, no, no. I first wanted to call the album that. You know ‘Van Halen: Source of Infection’-music that’s infectious. Actually, Sammy came up with it, and I saw it that way. Al grossed out. He said “Sounds like a sore or somethin’!”. I went “Ok, screw it”.

“Source of Infection” is clearly another trademarked Van Halen boogie song continuing in the tradition of “I’m The One”, “Bottoms Up!”, “Sinner’s Swing”, “The Full Bug”, “Hot For Teacher” and “Get Up” among others. I’ll insert my opinion in here once again and say the lyrics are barely there…just some throw away stuff that sounds kind’ve cool. But they fit the song which is essentially a jam in that aforementioned boogie style. Which is still exhilarating musically to me…I think the band play their asses off and Sammy is singing some great rock vocals.

“Feels So Good”:

Eddie said this: And then there’s another song called “Feels So Good”. I just used the (Oberheim) OB-8 on that one. I got a Hammond B3 kind of sound out of it. That’s a complete keyboard song; there’s not much guitar in it at all. But anyway, I’m using the OB-8’s arpeggiator on the left hand. It’s kind of like “Why Can’t This Be Love”, but not really. I guess the left-hand arpeggiating might remind people of it, though.

On another irrelevant personal note, when I was in high school and working to figure out this album on guitar, I noticed that Ed does some of his patented strumming/pinging of the strings behind the nut…similar, of course, to when he strummed behind the bridge during “Runnin’ With The Devil” and many other places. My ear caught that the pitch of the pinging behind the nut was IDENTICAL to the pinging behind the nut that went on during the intro to the “Cathedral” segment of the ‘Live Without A Net’ guitar solo spotlight, which leads me to believe that the same Kramer 5150 guitar was used in both instances. I later transcribed the entire ‘Live Without A Net’ guitar solo segment in the summer of 1997. Anyway, many years in 2012, I built a kind of replica of the Kramer 5150 and I used these pitches to determine placement of the string tree on my replica’s headstock. After the nut is clamped, you can fine tune these pitches to be exactly like Eddie’s and if you are really careful you can match the pitch so that no fine tuning is required. Just a little more proof of my mental illness…as if you needed any after having read thus far!

On a personal level, I really enjoy this light pop song…it’s got lovely backing vocals as always and simple lyrics which I think Sammy delivers well. It’s, surprise, a “feel good” song and I enjoy it very much! The keyboard sounds are a bit dated, but at the time it was very fresh. The video was notable because it was one of the last public appearances of the original Frankenstein  guitar. That is until the Met exhibit decades later.

“Finish What Ya Started”:

According to a 1991 interview with Sammy, Eddie was at Sammy’s house and they were both tinkering with acoustic guitars. Sammy suggested they write an “acoustic tune”. They did and that was that.

Eddie claimed in 1988 that Sammy played “a Gibson acoustic” on the recording. I am fairly sure that this is Sammy’s thin bodied Gibson Chet Atkins steel string electric-acoustic guitar. I owned one and the plugged in sound seems to match what is happening on the record. It is in standard tuning, not a baritone guitar as James guessed. Sammy used this guitar to play “Eagles Fly” on later Van Halen tours and Eddie used this guitar to play “Finish What Ya Started” during a TV interview segment recorded during soundcheck at the opening date of the F.U.C.K. tour in Atlanta on August 16,1991. Eddie performed his parts in this interview segment entirely fingerstyle…not hybrid pick and fingers as he did in “Little Guitars”. I also include a picture of a stock thin bodied Gibson Chet Atkins steel string acoustic of the same vintage. Notice the scratch plate is missing on Sammy’s guitar.


Also, in 1988 Eddie said that he used his 1964 rosewood board sunburst strat (the same guitar that I believe he used for the solo to “When It’s Love”) recorded direct for his parts. It certainly sounds that way to me and Dweezil guessed that was the case. However, in a 2015 ‘Ask Eddie’ segment from the Fender/EVH website, Eddie claimed that he used “a small 1x12 Music Man 30 watt amp with a 25 watt Greenback in it”. He also claimed in this same post that he used two of these 1x12 Music Man amps with swapped 25 watt Greenback speakers to record the stereo Ripley guitar parts on “Top Jimmy”. There are studio photos of him with what might be the amp or amps he used to record “Top Jimmy”, but they look nothing like any Music Man amp that I’ve ever seen and to the best of my knowledge Music Man never made a 30 watt amp. I tend to go with his remembrances nearer to the time of the recording of ‘0U812’ and assume that he did indeed record the strat direct as he originally claimed.

In that 1988 interview, Eddie was asked by John Stix: How did you come to do “Finish What Ya Started”?

Eddie: Sammy and I consciously tried to do something different. We said, let’s get a funky sound on this one, and I fingerpicked all the way through. I didn’t use pick at all. He played rhythm guitar on a Gibson acoustic. I used a Strat direct. I didn’t use an amp. It’s just E and A going back and forth. It’s simple, but it had a groove. The solo sounds like a little country picking. 

I’m of the opinion that he might have used a pick and fingers “hybrid picking” approach for the solo, but I could be wrong.

“Black and Blue” The first single from the album which contained the Little Feat cover song “A Apolitical Blues” as it’s B-side (which was not on the LP release of ‘0U812’). Eddie claimed then that he wanted “Black and Blue” to be the first single (instead of “When It’s Love” which was the obvious stand-out track on the album) because he didn’t want people to say that Van Halen had gone too “soft”.

Eddie said in 1988 that he “considered it the most characteristically Van Halen song on the album”. He also said of this song “I used the Bradshaw (rack) on “Black and Blue”, I don’t know where else (on the album)”. I think the Kramer 5150 was the likely electric guitar on this recording and the Eventide Harmonizer detune is obvious. I love this track. Ridiculous lyrics, but again, they fit the music and it’s all good fun to me.

“Sucker In A Three Piece”:

Eddie said regarding this song, “Sucker In A Three Piece” is kind’ve like a “Panama” beat. This is an indication that Eddie understood he was repeating himself, at least to me. I think this is another “standard” Van Halen rock track and it was likely the 5150 Kramer once again. Great vocal from Sammy…great high-pitched screams and rock delivery in my opinion. Not the greatest album closer to me, but then neither was “Inside”! Kind’ve going out on a throw away track. Almost like the worst sketches being thrown in at the tail end of Saturday Night Live if time permits!

“A Apolitical Blues”:

Obviously Ted Templeman and Donn Landee recorded the original recording of this song by Little Feat. What a great band they were…Lowell being an ex-member of The Mothers of Invention briefly and that right there is a distinction I think many of us here appreciate!

Eddie said this of the recording of “A Apolitical Blues”: (It) is totally live except for the piano overdub that I did. It’s just a sloppy blues. I tried to play it like (Little Feat’s keyboardist) Billy Payne. I’m not really that kind of player, but it was tripped-out, man, trying to do these slippery blues licks on piano and land on your feet. We spent like a half an hour on it; Donn just hung two overhead mics and that was it. It’s so gross sounding. I played slide on that black Airline guitar (a black 1959 Airline guitar he purchased from Dan Martin) through a little Music Man amp (almost certainly the same Music Man 1x12 30w amp that he claimed to have played through on “Top Jimmy”) and got a sound that’s almost identical to the one Lowell (George) got. It’s nasty.

This is about all the relevant information I can currently find on ‘0U812’. Again, it’s a Rubicon for me. Not that Edward and the band didn’t have some great moments later, but this was an end to a certain part of the Van Halen canon that touched me. If anyone has any other info, I hope you post it here…there’s always new stuff coming to light that can increase our appreciation and understanding of Van Halen music!


Wow! Great post! Thank you Allen!

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