Girl Gone Bad by Van Halen, Drum Cover

by Omar on August 10, 2009

in drum cover

The Paradiddler coming at you with another drum cover!  This time, it's "Girl Gone Bad" from Van Halen's 1984.

This is my favorite Van Halen song.  In fact, I believe this is Alex Van Halen's best recording.  Although he was always one of the most powerful drummers around, I don't think his drumming stood out sound-wise from Van Halen's debut album all the way to Diver Down. HOWEVER, what a difference an album makes!  It seems like Alex re-invented himself for the 1984 album.  The drums were way more pronounced and up front; and those bass drums!  What power.  Those Ludwigs never sounded so good!

There are some things going on in this song that, at my developmental stage, I can't quite reproduce yet.  For example, the triplet ride pattern he plays at the beginning and after the band jams halfway through the song, was just too much for my forearm to take.   So I compensated by changing the pattern to two singles plus a triple ride pattern.  'The bar remains the same', so to speak, so I think it works out ok.  I think it's a pretty creative alternative, actually (as I pat myself on the back)!  Also, at the end of the song when everybody's jamming out, Alex alternates his left foot between the hi-hat and the left bass pedal.  I stayed clear of that (for now) because it would just throw me off.  But with all the cymbal noise, I think I could get away with it 🙂 .

Van Halen is in my top five favorite bands of all time (hmm, I smell another article in my near future!).  And Alex Van Halen is definitely one of my favorite drummers.  I am very glad I could play some semblance of this song, because it just rocks!

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

john January 25, 2011 at 5:16 pm

A lot of people think Michael Anthony could’ve played better – but according to Eddie, in most bands the drums are the bottom or foundation. In VH it was different because Ed and Al had such an innate connection, that Mike became the bottom – a lot of time just playing 1/8th notes and keeping the foundation, so Ed and Al could do whatever they wanted. Mike also said that he didn’t want to play lead bass, because with him doing too much, and Ed all over the place, it would be chaos. I think VH owes a lot of their commercial success to his simple chugging bass lines and his signature harmonies. I saw them on the last tour and as good as Eddie’s son may be, the vocals were lacking as was the whole vibe…


john January 25, 2011 at 4:18 pm

Great song – and great job. I think this was the only real live jam on any VH record – no overdubs, just 3 of them blasting away. As you pointed out, Alex sounds his best and if you listen closely to the bass line, Michael Anthony is jamming all over the place. Eddie never once gave that guy any credit. He was a HUGE part of their sound, holding down the bottom on bass and his background vocals were a defining part of their sound. It’s a shame they screwed him. I agree with you – one of their best songs !! I’m a guitar player and wish I had a drummer who could play this as well as you !!


Omar January 25, 2011 at 4:52 pm

Hey John.

Thanks for the compliments! To this day that’s one of my favorite covers, even though I was very rough back then. I knew it could have been even better, but I was happy with the result.

As far as Michael Anthony, my feelings are mixed about him. His vocals are unmistakably Van Halen, a vital key to their vocal sound. But as far as his bass playing, I’m not a big fan. In saying that, though, he had flashes of brilliance, in the aforementioned “Girl Gone Bad”, and in “Hang ‘Em High”, my two favorite Van Halen songs.

I tended to be frustrated with him at times because I always thought he could play better, but didn’t always do so (at least in my ears). But whatever negativity he gets, his playing did allow Eddie and Alex to play at their level of excellence, so just for that he was integral to their musical success.

Again, I’m very glad you liked the cover. And if you ever play this song in a band, have the drummer look at my video! 🙂


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