Steve Rosen’s ‘Tonechaser’ & His ‘26-Year Journey’ With Eddie Van Halen

Friendships can be the most fulfilling, yet most complicated aspects of life. The quote “People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime,” comes to mind. Steve Rosen had a multi-decade solidarity with one of the greatest guitar players to have roamed this planet. He reflects on this in the biography Tonechaser – Understanding EdwardMy 26-Year Journey with Edward Van Halen.

Steve Rosen is a professional music journalist with a career spanning 50 years. Rosen was the West Coast correspondent for Guitar World magazine in the mid-‘80s and wrote 16 books on Prince, Bruce Springsteen, Jeff Beck, and more music luminaries. The Who, Led Zeppelin, Lenny Kravitz, Alice Cooper, ZZ Top, Aerosmith, Van Halen, and other iconic bands invited him to travel along while crisscrossing the globe on tour.  

Lately, Rosen’s focus has been organizing his extensive collection of audio interviews dating back to 1973. The entire library represents well over 1,500 hours of content. He found 50 audio interviews with countless hours of late-night phone calls with the Van Halen guitarist. Rosen coined these dialogues “The Twilight Tapes.” These conversations inspired him to pen a book that is professional (and personal) in nature. Rosen met Van Halen in 1977 and shared time jamming in the legendary 5150 studio, riding in planes and automobiles, spending time in his guesthouse, and accompanying Edward to various venues. 

Tonechaser – Understanding EdwardMy 26-Year Journey with Edward Van Halen was a labor of love for Rosen. The idea was brewing for nearly 20 years and took 14 months to complete once he decided to document their history. The title Tonechaser comes from the guitar superhero’s relentless pursuit of the ever-elusive Brown Sound. Heck, even Frakenstrat’s volume knob was replaced with a knob labeled “TONE.”

The book has been widely acclaimed by Brad Tolinski, co-author of Eruption: Conversations With Eddie Van Halen / former editor-in-chief of Guitar World Magazine, Joe Satriani, Doug Aldrich, Paul Gilbert, a wide variety of musicians, journalists, guitar devotees, and music fiends/fans. The front and back covers were shot by the legendary photographer Neil Zlozower, who also provided images throughout the book. It is a lofty 580 pages, but do not let that deter you from reading this tome. The interviews are in Q&A form and have a pleasant flow. Personally, it took me thre- and-a-half days to read and left me wanting more. 

Tonechaser is 7×10 in size, packed with candid and professional snapshots, and looks great on your bookshelf. The self-published account is in its third printing, so the proof is in the pudding. It is an ideal read for those wanting insight into Edward Van Halen, guitar enthusiasts, or people who simply appreciate the true meaning of friendship.