When word came down on October 6th, 2020 that Eddie Van Halen had passed away at the age of 65, stories came flooding in from folks remembering their time with the guitar legend. Producer Josh Barlow, aka Jungle Josh, not only met Eddie Van Halen, but got to record music at Eddie’s home studio in Studio City, CA.
In his 20+ year career as a producer & musician, Jungle Josh has produced music for Chronixx, Kabaka Pyramid, Kumar Fyah, Sting & Shaggy, Toko Tasi to as recently as Dirty Heads, Pepper, Kash’d Out to Opie Ortiz & Ras-1 of Long Beach Dub Allstars, among others.
In 2002, Jungle Josh was in two Long Beach bands at the same time. He was the drummer & co-producer in a reggae hip-hop group, Chapter 11, while also playing rhythm guitar & producing music for alternative reggae-rock band, The Bredrin Daddys. The Bredrin Daddys were contacted to produce the title song for the comedy film, “Who’s Your Daddy?” and the song actually features Tippa Irie.
Listen: The Bredrin Daddys – “Who’s Your Daddy?”
“Who’s Your Daddy” was 1 of 4 songs that were being recorded with producer, Robbes Stieglitz. The other songs include “One To Follow,” “When Kingdom Comes,” and “As I Grab The Mic.” Robbes just so happened to be Eddie Van Halen’s personal producer at the time which lead to Josh and the band recording parts of these four different songs at Eddie Van Halen’s home studio, 5150.
Josh tells The Pier: “Essentially, we blew most of our budget recording the drums at Cello Studios in Los Angeles, so Robbes worked out a deal with Eddie to record the remaining tracks at 5150 during off times. Part of the deal was that we couldn’t publicize that we had recorded there. Robbes essentially lived there as I remember it because Eddie would want him ready for impromptu recording sessions around the clock.”
Over the course of a month, Jungle Josh & The Bredrin Daddys would commute back and forth from their homes in Long Beach to 5150 in Studio City. “Eddie would come back to the studio wearing cargo shorts and a t-shirt, looking like he fit right in with us,” Josh recalls. “He would usually have a little single-serve bottle of wine in his hand and a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. Even at that time, he told us that Doctors had removed part of his tongue because of Cancer, but that didn’t seem to slow him down at all.”
Josh noted how Eddie made fun of his bands’ guitars before taking them back to his personal guitar room to allow them to pick & choose which ones they’d like to record with.
Josh shares: “There were hundreds of guitars hung on the walls like a Guitar Center showroom. I was playing rhythm for the band, but our lead guitar player, Brian Murphy, was a total shredder. He was like a kid in a candy store. My favorite story was when Brian had brought up Jimmy Page, and Eddie just made a funny face and said ‘Jimmy Page? That guy plays like his hand is broken!’ It seemed so blasphemous and crazy when he said it, my first thought was: ‘Who does this guy think he is?’ My next thought was: ‘Oh yeah, he’s Eddie Van Halen. Perhaps the only living person who could make such a statement with credibility.’
Again, this was back in 2002, prior to social media and camera-phones so there are no pictures or videos of this interaction, but one souvenir from that session that’s cool to think about are the guitar sounds you hear on those Bredrin Daddys songs came from Eddie Van Halen’s personal collection of guitars & amps. All four of those songs, “Who’s Your Daddy,” “When Kingdom Comes,” “One To Follow,” and “As I Grab The Mic” can be heard on the Bredrin Daddys 2003 album release of Monkey Business.
Watch: The Bredrin Daddys – “When Kingdom Comes”
And while the interaction took place more than 18-years-ago, Josh said that: “Eddie was not at all what I expected. Seeing him on TV, he always seemed really serious, but he was a total joker in person.”
“There was a bathroom in the studio that you would have to walk through to get to one of the other rooms. Eddie would walk through and if you were trying to take a piss and you stopped to wait for him to go through, he would become indignant and say: ‘No one is going to watch you,’ and then when you proceeded to take a piss, he would poke his head around the corner and point & laugh. Eddie seemed to really like messing with people, but it was all in good fun. He was really kind to let us use the studio, and his guitars. Suffice to say it was one the most awesome experiences of my life.”
Rest In Peace, Eddie Van Halen!
Eddie Van Halen Merch Store
Jungle Josh Soundcloud
Jungle Josh Apple Music
Artice by: Mike Patti