Eddie Van Halen Memorial Unveiled in Guitar Legend’s Hometown of Pasadena
Eddie Van Halen had a memorial plaque installed and dedicated to him and his namesake band, Van Halen, by the City of Pasadena on Wednesday (Oct. 11), in honor of the late guitarist who started the influential rock act in the California town in the 1970s.
In a ceremony led by Mayor Victor Gordo and attended by several city council members, the EVH plaque was affixed outside the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, a venue at which Van Halen performed more than 10 times in the decade they were formed.
At the unveiling ceremony, Gordo recalled working at Pasadena's Ranchera Mexican restaurant as a young boy and being "honored" to serve the Van Halen family there. As a teen, he said he "could not afford a [Van Halen] concert ticket, but I was definitely a fan."
Council members on hand included Felicia Williams, Tyron Hampton, Andy Wilson and Gene Masuda, as Pasadena Now reported. Vice Mayor Andy Wilson also attended — he can be seen posing in front of the plaque while making the sign of the horns in the photo below.
Funds for the memorial were raised by a group called Pasadena4VanHalen, led by Randa Schmalfeld and Julie Kimura, who brought in $4,000 more than their crowdfunding goal of $3,000.
However, the plaque suffices for their original idea of having a city destination named after the Van Halen guitarist who died last year at 65. That outcome is still pending, but Pasadena did set up a webpage for residents to vote on the naming of a park in his honor.
"It was a great morning here in Pasadena as our plaque was unveiled at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium," Schmalfeld wrote to backers in a Monday GoFundMe update. "Julie and I are so happy to see our plaque in place at such a prominent location in Pasadena and we hope that you'll have a chance to visit soon!"
Though born in Amsterdam, Eddie Van Halen moved to the U.S. with his family in the 1960s, settling in Pasadena. Neither the surviving band members or family attended the plaque unveiling due to scheduling conflicts, but they supported the effort and voiced their gratitude.
Read the memorial's inscription below.
EDDIE VAN HALEN
The Van Halen family emigrated from the Netherlands to Pasadena in 1962. Alex and Eddie Van Halen attended schools in Pasadena and began playing music together with Eddie on guitar and Alex on drums. Years later, the brothers formed the band Van Halen, along with bassist Michael Anthony and vocalist David Lee Roth. Between 1975 and 1978, Van Halen performed 14 concerts at the Pasadena Civic Center Auditorium and Conference Center.
Regarded as one of the most successful bands of all time, Van Halen will forever be remembered for reinventing Rock 'n' Roll and their connection to Pasadena.
– This plaque was donated by Pasadena 4 Van Halen