Two Pasadena women have embarked on an effort to commemorate the life of “Pasadena’s own guitar hero” Eddie Van Halen by having a street or alley named for the late rock star in the town where he grew up and formed his world-famous band.
Eddie Van Halen and his namesake band have deep roots in Pasadena, where the Van Halen family moved from the Netherlands while the musician was a child. He and his brother Alex, found drummer of the band, attended Pasadena High School. The Van Halen brothers also went on to attend Pasadena City College before rocketing to world fame.
Since his death from cancer on Oct. 6 at age 65, mourners have created imroptu tributes of flowers, artwork and even a guitar at the childhood home of the Van Halens, as well as at a sidewalk where the name “Van Halen” was scrawled in wet cement, which is widely storied to have been etched by the Van Halen brothers.
But Randa Schmalfeld said she and friend, Julie Kimura, would love to see a permanent memorial to Eddie Van Halen, in the form of a street or an alley bearing his name.
To that end, they’ve organized a fundraising campaign on GoFundMe.com to try and collect the $3,000 in fees needed to circulate a petition and get it before the City Council.
“I feel like we should have dedicated space to honor Eddie Van Halen and his band,” Schmalfeld said.
“He’s really Pasadena’s own guitar hero, and the original guitar hero,” she said.
“I know of people who saw them play in backyard shows,” Schmalfeld said. “I’ve always loved their music.”
“[Eddie Van Halen] exuded pure joy when he was playing,” she added. “That smile touches so many people in an emotional way.”
The band has never received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Schmalfeld said, making the tribute all the more appropriate.
“I think his legacy is going to be lasting,” she said. “We should honor our hometown band.”
If the needed $3,000 for the petition is exceeded, Shmalfled said the surplus will be donated to music programs at Pasadena High School.
In addition to circulating a petition, Schmalfeld said she also encouraged residents to email the City Council and voice support for permanently honoring Eddie Van Halen, including their street addresses in the messages.
The fundraiser, which can be accessed at gofundme.com/f/pasadena4vanhalen, had garnered just under $500 in donations as of Friday afternoon.
Schmalfeld and Kimura have also set up a Facebook page to support the effort, which can be found at facebook.com/pasadena4vanhalen.