From Goldin Auctions:
"Go listen to the searing drum intro at the beginning of Van Halen's classic, "Hot for Teacher," from their hit 1984 record and rejoice that it was a paper route that decided the musical fate of the brothers' Van Halen. Born in Amsterdam on May 8, 1953, to Jan van Halen, an accomplished jazz saxophonist and clarinetist, his wife, Eugenia, Alex, his brother Eddie, and their parents moved to Pasadena, California, in 1962. Though the brothers were trained as classical pianists, Alex first gravitated towards the guitar, while Eddie first picked up sticks on a $125 Japanese-made St. George Kit, with Eddie delivering papers to pay for the kit. When Eddie was away slinging papers instead of licks, Alex stepped behind the kit, honing the craft that helped launch Van Halen into the pantheon of rock gods. When Eddie heard Alex's mastery of the drum solo on "Wipeout," Eddie turned his attention—thankfully—to the guitar. He thus set the earliest lineup of one of the most influential music acts in rock history, with Alex's drumming drawing inspiration from the likes of Ginger Baker, John Bonham, Keith Moon, Buddy Rich, and Ray Phillips, which all formed to create a wholly unique and singular sound.
Alex graduated high school in 1971 and enrolled for a period at Pasadena City College. The band we know as Van Halen took form there, as Alex met Michael Anthony and David Lee Roth while attending music theory classes. Alex and Eddie even borrowed Roth's PA system for shows before they formed the group Mammoth in 1972 with Mark Stone on bass, Alex on drums, and Eddie on vocals and lead guitar. Anthony joined the band later, and after it was discovered that another band used the same name, it was Roth's idea to name them Van Halen, after Alex. The rest is history, as their 1978 debut Van Halen, powered by the singles "Runnin' with the Devil, "Ain't Talkin' ‘bout Love," and the instrumental "Eruption," put the band on the map, influencing countless hard rock and heavy metal bands in their wake with their potent mix of heavy metal and hard rock. The band released 12 studio albums during their tenure atop rock’s charts, with a rotating cast of singers including Sammy Hagar and Gary Cherone on vocals, with Alex and Eddie remaining as the only originals members until the band disbanded after Eddie’s death in 2020.
The "Brown Sound" created by the band is often attributed to Eddie, but Alex insists the name is after his distinct snare drum sound, though Eddie’s virtuoso guitar playing is a sound unto its own. The band has sold over 56 million albums in the United States and more than 80 million worldwide and earned entry into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.