Basic Background Info

Birth: May 8, 1953
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Band: Van Halen
Genres: Hard Rock
Instruments: Drums
Occupation: Musician


When Dutch-American Alexander Arthur Van Halen was a child, he trained as a classical pianist and flamenco guitarist. Alex Van Halen's brother Eddie, on the other hand, was learning to be drummer. However, Alex Van Halen felt a deep connection with the thumping rhythms produced by his brotherís drum kit and would take every opportunity to pound the heads the moment Eddie stepped away. Eddie eventually accepted that Alex was the more proficient drummer and relinquished his kit. Eddie, in turn, moved on to electric guitar.

The Van Halen family moved to Pasadena, California, when Alex was nine years old. Alex Van Halen graduated from Pasadena High School and proceeded to study music theory, scoring, composition, and arrangement at Pasadena City College. Alex eventually withdrew from college and pursued his professional music career full-time.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Alex and Eddie performed together in numerous bands until the creation of Mammoth with bassist Mark Stone in 1972. Before long however, Mark Stone left the group and was replaced by Michael Anthony. Eddie was also becoming increasingly frustrated with singing vocals and urged the band to find a vocalist. They auditioned a few local singers, including the ever-charismatic David Lee Roth, but initially found none to be suitable. Nevertheless, the band did form a friendship with David, and eventually he did become the groupís frontman in 1974.

Backing down from a name dispute with another band, Mammoth needed another moniker. David Lee Roth suggested that the band simply name itself Van Halen. The name stuck, and they feverishly hit the Southern California club circuit to play such venues as Gazzari's the Starwood, The Whiskey a Go Go, and Walter Mitty's Rock & Roll Emporium. Catching the attention of Warner Bros. executives, Van Halen signed a contract in 1977.

In early 1978, Van Halen released their hard rocking self-titled debut album. Fans claimed that the album saved rock & roll from diminishing in the face of disco and punk. From the very beginning, Alex Van Halen's drumming was a volatile combination of dynamic power laced with finesse and character. Alex Van Halen quickly grew famous for his energetic solos on his notoriously ever-expanding drum kit. Occasionally, Alex Van Halen forayed into different percussion instruments. For instance, on "Outta Love Again" he played the congas.

Throughout the early 1980s, Van Halen pounded out hit albums--Van Halen II, Women and Children First, Fair Warning, Diver Down, and 1984. In 1985, Roth unexpectedly left Van Halen. He was quickly replaced by Sammy Hagar, and Van Halen generated four more albums until Sammy left in 1996. Van Halen was forced to hire Gary Cherone and recorded Van Halen III. The album received poor reviews, and Van Halen fired Cherone following the completion of the supporting tour. Since then, Van Halen has been on official hiatus.


Album Year Album Name Album Band
1978 Van Halen Van Halen
1979 Van Halen II Van Halen
1980 Women and Children First Van Halen
1981 Fair Warning Van Halen
1982 Diver Down Van Halen
1984 1984 Van Halen
1986 5150 Van Halen
1988 OU812 Van Halen
1989 Live Without a Net Van Halen
1991 For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge Van Halen
1993 Live: Right Here, Right Now Van Halen
1995 Balance Van Halen
1996 Best of Van Halen, Vol. 1 Van Halen
1996 Twister Original Soundtrack
1998 Van Halen III Van Halen
1999 1980 London Invasion Van Halen
1999 Club Days Van Halen
1999 Golden West Ballroom: Live 1976 Van Halen
1999 Tokyo Live 1978 Van Halen
1999 Van Halen Box: 1986-1993 Van Halen
2000 Live Anthology: 1975-1981 Van Halen
2000 Van Halen Box: 1978-1984 Van Halen
2004 Best of Both Worlds Van Halen
2004 Very Best of Van Halen Van Halen
2004 It's About Time Van Halen
2007 In Concert (DVD) Van Halen
2007 In Concert Van Halen
2007 The Best of Van Halen: The Early Years Van Halen
2007 Best of Van Halen 1978-1984 Van Halen
2007 Back to the Bus Funeral for a Friend
2008 The Broadcast Archives Van Halen
2008 Right Here, Right Now Van Halen
2008 Live from Australia, 1998 Van Halen
2008 Live Rarities Van Halen
2008 Live Eruption Van Halen
2009 Hair Metal Hero DJ Solo
2011 The Very Best Of: Live Van Halen
2012 A Different Kind of Truth Van Halen
2013 The Studio Albums 1978-1984 Van Halen
2014 Live to Air Van Halen


  • Alex’s only recorded deviation from Van Halen was a keyboard performance in the score Respect the Wind for the film Twister.
  • Soon after being signed to Warn Bros., Alex almost lost a finger in a machine shop mishap.
  • Alex thinks it is funny to nail other band members' shoes to the floor.

Instruments of Choice



Drums: Ludwig
Cymbals: Paiste
Hardware: Drum Workshop Hardware, Tama Pedal
Heads: Remo
Sticks: Regal Tip

Pics & Clips