The City Council expressed support for a monument for Eddie Van Halen on Monday.
Although there was no staff recommendation, the council was unanimous in their support for recognizing the legendary guitarist, who helped start the group Van Halen.
“It’s an incredible story for Pasadena to express pride in,” said Councilmember Victor Gordo, who worked at a restaurant as a boy the group frequented.
Gordo called on staff to come back with a recommendation that would allow proponents of the monument and neighbors’ input.
City officials said an alley or street near the iconic guitarist’s boyhood home is not the best way to go because it could lead to more noise impacts in the city.
Another proposal could see Electric Alley near the former Raymond Theater renamed in honor of Eddie or the group. Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth’s father owned the theater at one point where the group practiced.
Van Halen, who moved to Pasadena with his family from the Netherlands in the 1960s died after a battle with throat cancer earlier this month.
Immediately after his death the city began trending on social media after city leaders expressed their condolences to his family.
Eddie and his brother Alex attended Hamilton Elementary School and Pasadena High School. Despite the racism they faced for being immigrants, they gained popularity through their music after they started local bands and played at local parties, but it was at Pasadena City College that the formation of what would later become the historic group Van Halen took place when Eddie and his brother Alex met David Lee Roth.
The group was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.
Under the city’s monument policy, the placement of public monuments falls under the jurisdiction of the City Manager.
The first step in the process is a determination as to whether the proposed monument has citywide, or less than citywide significance and if the project would have ongoing maintenance costs and whether they would create additional liability or safety issues.
All monuments, regardless of whether they have citywide significance or not, must meet criteria for appropriateness, compatibility with the surrounding environment, impacts on existing use.
The city’s proposed monument may not be the only remembrance of the artists.
Pasadena City College will also consider a memorial at its next Board of Trustees meeting, and the Pasadena Center Operating Company has received an inquiry for a virtual concert to raise funds to build a statue.
“I think renaming Electric Alley is appropriate given its location,” said Margaret McAustin. “I think that’s something we can do in very short order.”
There is one address on Electric Alley and that resident expressed some concern about renaming the alley.
Councilmember John Kennedy said it was important to remember that Van Halen experienced racism while growing up in Pasadena.
According to the staff report, a preferred location for such a monument might be at the Pasadena Convention Center and Civic Auditorium, a location where the band played several of its earliest performances.
“Recognizing Van Halen the band and/or individual members should be considered,” according to the staff report. “With his passing, Eddie Van Halen’s international recognition as a musical artist is noted for the significant impact he had on the Rock & Roll genre and his legacy is a source of hometown pride for the city.”