Neurosurgery technique for guitar lessons -- A doctor offers to teach Eddie Van Halen some procedures after he said picking wasn't as hard as brain surgery

By Harold Goldberg
February 14, 1992 at 05:00 AM EST

Rock & roll lobotomy? Dr. Jim Schumacher, a neurosurgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, has made a heady offer to Eddie Van Halen. Schumacher, an amateur musician, proposed trading neurosurgery technique for guitar lessons after hearing an MTV interview in which Eddie said picking isn’t as hard as brain surgery. The physician-fan sent a note to the guitar wizard at his publicist’s address, tendering ”one day of neurosurgery lessons” to prove it’s not as difficult as writing and playing tunes.

Says Eddie, ”Sure, I’d be up for it. There’s a lot of people’s brains I’d like to operate on.” When reached at the hospital, Schumacher was having second thoughts about the whole idea. Somewhat annoyed and embarrassed that his letter had hit the media via publicists Solters/Roskin/Friedman, the doctor responded, ”This letter was supposed to be private and confidential. I could get into deep s— for this.” Van Halen still seems up for it, though. Next time he swings through Beantown, he may just trade in his trusty ax for a sharpened scalpel. Any takers?