For years, it’s been rumored that Eddie Van Halen has synesthesia, a neurological condition in which senses are entwined. In the guitarist's case, his description years ago of his guitar's "brown sound" led to the idea that he was able visualize colors when he heard certain tones of music.
Eddie Van Halen doesn't listen to music. This is not a fake-out or a misdirection, nor is it a seemingly straightforward statement that actually means its opposite. Eddie Van Halen does not listen to music. “I don’t listen to anything,” he tells me from a greenish couch inside 5150, the expansive home recording studio built on his seven-acre residence in Studio City, Calif. I’d just asked if he ever revisits old Van Halen albums, but his disinterest in those records is merely the tip of a very weird iceberg: Unlike every other musician I’ve ever met, he does not listen to any music he isn’t actively making.