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Van Halen’s Former Director of Security Looks Back on ‘Insane ‘Round-the-World Ride’

Van Halen
Warner Brothers

Discretion is definitely the better part of valor (not to mention job security) when you’re part of the crew surrounding a band of young rock hedonists at their peak, and former Van Halen director of security Ed Anderson must have a million stories he he’ll never tell. But that doesn’t mean he won’t share a little of what he’s seen.

“We could do no wrong. The crazier we got, the more you loved us, and the more you loved us, the bigger we got,” remembered Anderson in a recent Van Halen News Desk post. “Nobody could improve on what we’d perfected. The Stones may have been a rock ’n’ roll circus, but we were a rock ’n’ roll zoo. Animals with guitars. Wolves watching over the sheep. Creative chaos. We were the Jack Daniels Black Label of everything dangerous and desirous.”

Anderson, who was with the band for what he called “the insane ’round-the-world ride” of 1980-84, had a simple job description — “Protect the band” — but, as he pointed out, taking care of the guys “not always such a simple thing to do.”

Why was it so tricky? Let Anderson count the ways: “I had to keep them safe when they were playing live. How did I know that the lunatic jumping on stage only wanted to sing along with Dave? I had to keep them out of harm’s way when they were back at the hotel, when they were partying, when they were traveling. Berserk fans. Jealous boyfriends. Sold-out shows. Drinking. Drugs. Women. I had to protect them from each other and from themselves.”

If those years weren’t a non-stop party for Van Halen, they seem to have come awfully close. For the guys behind the scenes, however, life wasn’t always glamorous. Noted Anderson, “I could tell you about the time, after a major Van Halen backstage demolishing in Germany, how I had to scrape mustard, mayonnaise, butter, ketchup, relish and lunchmeats off a hospitality room ceiling because I was f—ing starving and they had trashed every other edible morsel in sight.”

That’s about as close as Anderson’s willing to come to talking out of school about his former employers, however. “Now, I could reveal a lot more about these escapades but then I’d have to beat the s— out of you,” he warned in conclusion. “And that’s not good for me or you — mainly you.”

Van Halen are currently battling Rush in the semifinals of the 2013 Ultimate Classic Rock Bowl. The winner will face the victor of the other semifinal, which pits Guns N’ Roses against the Beatles. You can vote for your favorite once per hour until 11:59PM ET on Sunday, Jan. 27.

Next: Van Halen vs. Rush in the 2013 UCR Bowl

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