Last year saw Eddie Van Halen, electric guitar pioneer and driving force behind legendary party rockers Van Halen, pass away at the age of 65. Not only was Eddie an incredible technical musician, but he was also a cultural icon who taught a whole generation what it was to be cool. Since today would’ve been his 66th birthday, plenty of musicians and fans are paying tribute to the fallen axman — but this sludgy, flute-and-violin-filled cover of Van Halen’s “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love” might take the cake.
The cover comes from the Invincible Czars, an Austin-based band best known for writing beautiful original scores to classic silent films, which they then perform live at the Austin-based theater chain Alamo Drafthouse (if you ever get a chance to see the Czars perform a score live, definitely do so — their Nosferatu is one of the more riveting pieces of musical accompaniment out there). But as diehard Van Halen fans, the band decided to give Eddie a birthday present in the form of a strange, downtempo version of “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love.”
“I’m a near life long VH fan,” says Czars guitarist Josh Robins (whose birthday it also is — happy birthday, Josh!). “The first CD my family owned was 1984. I was elated as a kid when I learned I shared a birthday with Eddie. I was really saddened by the news of his death in 2020 and I thought it was time we finally paid tribute to Van Halen.”
The cover is just one that will appear on the Czars’ upcoming Van Halen tribute EP. The album will also feature a calypso version of “Dance the Night Away” (Van Halen’s first top 20 hit), and “Little Guitars” from 1982’s Diver Down. Each tune will feature a different band member on lead vocals. The title track of the EP, “126”, is an original piece dedicated to EVH.
Check out the Invincible Czar’s cover of “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love” below:
Words by Chris Krovatin