Yvette Young Compares Eddie Van Halen to ’Party Rock,’ Opens Up on Dealing With Online Trolls

Progressive rock and math rock guitarist Yvette Young recently spoke up on her newly-found fondness of Van Halen, particularly Eddie Van Halen’s musicianship. During the recent chat with Guitar World, Young reflected on Eddie while sharing her list of ten guitarists who shaped her sound.

To Yvette, Van Halen is relatively new in terms of the music she’s into. Nonetheless, Eddie’s impact is still important. She explained:

“So this one’s newer. I just started listening to Van Halen and all those rock [Yvette throws up the devil horns gesture] bands. And in particular, I did a deep dive into Van Halen’s discography.

“Their riffs are so catchy, and I was like, ‘This stuff sounds wild.’ Eddie’s doing some really interesting stuff with effects. And it’s really creative. To me, it’s like the Algernon Cadwallader of their time. It’s like party music – almost like party rock. So I love that energy and I love some of the tones and techniques and sounds on it and the way it’s picked.

Yvette’s specific math rock style, which is also partly inspired by the Midwest emo subgenre of rock music might not always sit well with the general “conventional” guitar crowd. So she isn’t a stranger to getting some online hate.

Discussing Eddie Van Halen further, Young recalled one occasion where she was partially compared to the guitar legend but not exactly in the most positive way. She continued:

“I remember one time a troll called me a shitty YouTube Van Halen. And I thought it was hilarious because I never listened to Van Halen. Call me shitty YouTube TTNG or shitty YouTube American Football.”

midwest emo on crack riff

“That’s more accurate because that’s what I grew up listening to. But now, as an adult, I know Eddie did tap, although it’s a different type of tapping. I think it’s cool to have both worlds now.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Yvette also discussed her unconventional approach to guitar-oriented music, revealing that she’s only getting into some of the widely considered “classic” rock and metal bands. She explained:

“It’s all new! I just started listening to Metallica a little bit. I recently listened to bands like Van Halen more. I slept on that for too long. It’s just because in my upbringing I was only allowed to listen to classical music. So I’m super-late with everything.”

box of rock collab demo [custom art drop]

She also added:

“I was on a plane and I discovered punk music. I think the first band I listened to in that genre was like The Living End, and I thought it was really catchy. Then I saw a video for The Darkness – ‘I Believe in a Thing Called Love.’ And I was like, ‘This is wild. I’ve never seen anything like this. This rules.’”

Discussing her style and influences further, Yvette opened up on feeling somewhat weird because she didn’t follow the usual path that most guitar players do. For instance, her first rock ‘n’ roll experience wasn’t one of the bands and artists you’d expect. She offered:

“I have impostor syndrome all the time. [Laughs] I’m an outsider – I taught myself. I didn’t even hear rock ’n’ roll until I heard The Darkness, which is crazy.

Yvette Young - Ares (guitar playthrough)

“I feel like I’m in a really privileged position in that I’m also bridging two worlds. I can see it at my shows. We got the indie kids who love bands like Porches or something from that world. And then we got the virtuosic shred guitar dads that I got to teach at Vai Academy. And they’re all in a room.

“It’s all about unifying, right? Because everyone there is guided by the common love for music in general. But it’s all kinds of demographics, all ages, shapes, sizes, genders, orientations… everything!”

As she further explained, she’s not super impressed by flashy virtuosic playing. Instead, her main focus is on conveying emotion through the instrument. Yvette explained:

“I would say I’m less attracted to crazy virtuosity and more, like, emotion. Some of my favorite guitar solos ever are a couple of jangly notes that just hit really special. And I’m after whatever that magical feeling is.”

During the chat, she also shared a few other interesting names that made an impact on her work. One of them is Joe Reinhart of emo math rock band Algernon Cadwallader. Remembering how she initially found out about a band called The Living End, Young said:

“And then from that, I jumped into the Midwest emo world and that’s when Algernon Cadwallader hit. I bought the record Parrot Flies, and it’s got riffs and riffs and riffs. So I love that guitarist [Joe Reinhart].

“It’s so high-energy and it’s got that jangly kind of Midwest emo tone. I always wish that I had a – I don’t know how to say this without sounding derogatory – but sometimes their vocals sound like a prepubescent boy trying to sing with their voice cracking and stuff. Like, I wanted to do that – I thought it was so cool to do gang vocals and sing out of tune.

turning a loop into a mini song

“And I know a lot of people would find this, like, abhorrent and terrible, but I think that’s what attracted it to me because it’s not this polished crystal thing that’s like, ‘cherish’. It’s like, okay, yeah, everyone’s making mistakes.”

“Everyone’s singing out of key, but it’s about the energy and it’s just so good. Again, it’s about emotion – it captured something really special and it really resonated with me.”

Photos: Zrubinphoto (A Portrait of Yvette Young by ZRubinPhoto), Abby Gillardi (Van Halen-8597 (20643101375))


  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at Ultimate-Guitar.com, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor.