FAN HALEN - The Most AUTHENTIC Van Halen Tribute Act !
FAN HALEN - The Most AUTHENTIC Van Halen Tribute Act !
FAN HALEN - Van Halen Tribute Act...
We're speaking with phenomenal guitarist Derek Fuller who plays the role of iconic ROCK guitarist Eddie Van Halen in one of the world’s premier and most AUTHENTIC tribute to Van Halen, FAN HALEN.
Hi Derek and welcome to The TRIBUTE Show from Australia….
DF:- Thank you, excited to be talking with you and all the Rockers down under!
TTS:- How long has FAN HALEN been together?
DF:- 2018 will mark our 15th year doing Fan Halen, which honestly I can’t believe. I never in my wildest dreams would have thought we’d be doing this for this long. When we started, we were in our late 30s, now we’re all in our early 50s. I thought no one would ever want to see a bunch of 50 year olds trying to reenact Van Halen but what I didn’t account for is our audience is growing older with us… and they’re still showing up so I guess we’ll just keep on doing it until no one shows up!
TTS:- Was it hard to put together this band as your bassist George DuBose and vocalist Ernie Berru have an uncanny likeness to original Van Halen members Michael Anthony & David Lee Roth which fits our slogan “you won’t believe your eyes!” ?
DF:- It wasn’t as difficult as you might think. Yes George is Michael Anthony’s doppelganger and Ernie looks a lot like a young David Lee Roth but what you may not realize are these guys, including myself and our drummer Michael Thompson, are die-hard Van Halen fans. All of us grew up with Van Halen being our favorite band, going to see Van Halen, wearing the Van Halen concert jersey to high school, etc.. Because we’re all so passionate about Van Halen we kind of all gravitated to each other.
TTS:- You have such a recognisable name for your tribute band. What made you choose FAN HALEN ?
DF:- Actually our drummer came up with the name. There was a band in Los Angeles called “Fans” back in the day, so he took that and came up with Fan Halen. The instant we heard it, we said that’s it! It’s perfect. We’re obviously huge fans of Van Halen and when you see it on the marquee you know exactly who we’re paying tribute to. Oh and by the way, we received a letter from Eddie Van Halen letting us know he loves the name too!
TTS:- We all love the early era Van Halen but do you also perform all the other eras of Van Halen ?
DF:- Well, it depends on how you look at it. We believe there’s only one Van Halen and that’s when Diamond David Lee Roth was/is the singer. The other version to us is Van Hagar, which is also a great band, but a completely different band in our opinion. So to be more direct we only do David Lee Roth era Van Halen. Although we have on occasion done some Sammy Hagar VH when we have our friend from Phoenix come up and join us for some tunes.
TTS:- How much of the “REAL" Van Halen Show do you incorporate into your show from staging, guitars & equipment ?
DF:- We try and be as “authentic” as possible, this is why our tagline is, “The World’s Most Authentic Tribute to Van Halen.” We study old bootleg videos, pictures, audio recordings etc. and incorporate as much as possible of the Van Halen show into our show. All our instruments are exact replicas, our amps are exact replicas, our backdrops, our wardrobe, stage banter, stage moves, etc. Our favorite compliment after a show is when a guy comes up and tells us how our show brought him right back when he saw Van Halen for the first time in 1983 and he felt like he just saw Van Halen again. That’s pretty awesome.
TTS:- Eddie Van Halen is the most iconic guitarist of the modern era, do you find it hard or even intimidating performing all his signature sounds, guitar playing as well as on stage antics live knowing you would also have a legion of guitarists in the audience glued to your guitar playing ?
First and foremost, there’s only one Eddie Van Halen and NO ONE, I mean NO ONE, can duplicate his playing, as he is a one of a kind guitar genius. I just do my best. I’ve been an “EVH” student most of my life and there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t practice and try to improve my “Eddie licks.” Now having said that, yes I use to be a little intimidated. I would think, who am I to think I can play as well as arguably the world’s best rock guitarist. However, today I’m not intimidated at all. Yes, there are guitar players in the crowd, they’re the ones staring at my fingers, but they’re such a small percentage of the crowd as the majority just want to have a great time and get lost in the illusion that they’re at a Van Halen concert and I focus primarily on them. Now that’s not to say I don’t pick out a guitar player in the crowd and position myself right in front of them right before the Ice Cream Man lead just for fun.
TTS:- What has been your most memorable show/performance ?
DF:- Over the 15 years we’ve had many memorable shows. Performing on live TV to 40 million homes at the Whisky a-go-go in Hollywood twice was memorable for sure. Performing on the same stage as Elvis Presley at the Hilton Hotel in Las Vegas was memorable. Performing in front of 30,000 New Year’s Eve revelers in Downtown Las Vegas was memorable. Performing for the US troops on an air force base in Tokyo Japan on the 4th of July was memorable as they were so thankful. But I guess the most memorable show was when we performed in front of 15,000 people in Dallas Texas. What made this show so memorable was because we performed at the same venue, same stage, same sound system etc. as Van Halen played. It was the closest to feeling like a “real” rock band and not just a tribute band. I remember flying home from that show and pinching myself thinking, did we just do that?!?
TTS:- Have you toured outside the USA ?
DF:- Yes! One of the greatest perks of being in a tribute band is we’ve been able to travel the world. We’ve performed in Italy, Tokyo, Costa Rica, Trinidad, Canada, Mexico and we’d love to perform in Australia one day!
TTS:- We have played you guys on our TV Show here in Australia to rave reviews so here’s the deal ! We’d love to see your fantastic show down under in Australia in the near future. Any plans or anything you want to tell our Australian fans ?
DF:- We’d love to perform in Australia as we know there’s many many Van Halen fans there and I think they’d really enjoy the show. I’ll leave you with this, and we often say this during our show. We don’t think we’re Van Halen, we’re just “fans” like you! What we do is celebrate America’s #1 rock-n-roll band so come join the celebration!
TTS:- Thanks for your time Derek and The TRIBUTE Show in Australia wishes you and your band more success and fingers crossed to see you here in Australia !
DF:- Thank you!
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