GUNS N’ ROSES‘ Slash, METALLICA‘s Kirk Hammett and RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE‘s Tom Morello paid tribute to Eddie Van Halen earlier tonight (Saturday, November 7) during the “In Memoriam” segment as part of the TV special honoring this year’s Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame inductees.
Slash said: “Eddie Van Halen was a truly gifted musician. His style and his sound were completely unique to him. He had a massive impact on guitar playing and I don’t think there’s anybody who has picked up a guitar since 1978 who hasn’t been touched in some way by Eddie Van Halen‘s influence. I really miss his playing and I really miss him as a friend.”
Hammett added: “Eddie Van Halen was amazing. Not since Jimi Hendrix had there been a guitar player that had so much impact and was so inspiring to me. He just explored the most simplest thing, a harmonic on a string, and brought it into a realm of technique that nobody even thought was possible. He was just like from a different planet.”
Morello stated: “Eddie Van Halen was the Mozart of our generation. He had the kind of talent that maybe comes around once a century. Eddie Van Halen inspired me to practice 20,000 hours to try to get within a hundred miles of his inspired mastery of the electric guitar.”
Other musicians honored in this year’s Rock Hall “In Memoriam” segment included Little Richard, Bill Withers, Neil Peart, John Prine, Ginger Baker, Ric Ocasek, Dr. John, Kenny Rogers and Charlie Daniels.
The program is available on HBO and to stream on HBO Max replaces the live 35th annual Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony that was originally scheduled for May 2 of this year.
It was announced in March that the ceremony would be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic which is sweeping the globe.
Eddie died on October 6 at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, California at the age of 65. His wife, Janie, was by his side, along with his son, Wolfgang, and Alex, Eddie‘s brother and VAN HALEN drummer.
The iconic VAN HALEN axeman died from complications due to cancer, his son confirmed.
The day of Eddie‘s passing, Slash told WGN News about the legendary guitarist’s death: “I’m just a little shocked. It’s hard for me to verbally say anything, other than I’m just devastated. Eddie was really cool. And I’ve been talking to him — we’ve been texting. And I knew he was sick, but I didn’t wanna ask him how sick he was. But he was in a hospital in L.A. for a while. And I knew [expletive] was up, but I didn’t expect that today at all. So I’m floored.”
Asked what he thinks Eddie‘s legacy will be, Slash said: “Eddie changed guitar playing. I picked up the guitar, I guess it was 1979, 1980. The first VAN HALEN record came out, and Steven Adler, who was GUNS N’ ROSES‘ original drummer, when we were kids, we used to just hang out and ditch school and go to the pizza place and whatnot. And we used to listen to that first VAN HALEN record, and it was just insane. It was, like, ‘What the [expletive]?’
“He changed guitar playing,” Slash continued. “He was such an amazing musician, amazing guitar player, amazing innovator and just a hell of a guy. And we really lost a major contributor to rock and roll today.”
In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Morello said: “Eddie Van Halen was one of the greatest, most inventive, truly visionary musicians of all time. He was an unparalleled titan in the annals of rock and roll. And on the Mount Rushmore of guitarists, he is neck-and-neck for the pole position.
“The way that he reimagined the instrument was a testament to divine inspiration: taking this kind of this cobbled-together, garage-built guitar and turning it into this divining rod of awesome rock and roll power. He was truly inspirational to generations of guitarists. I put myself on the list of people who not only [had] a deepened enjoyment of the genre because of his outstanding unsurpassed musicianship; it was also the way that he destroyed the notion that it had all been done before on the electric guitar. That certainly planted the seed for youngsters like me to begin exploring possibilities on the instrument that were undreamt of before Eddie Van Halen.”
VAN HALEN was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2007.
Rolling Stone magazine ranked Eddie Van Halen No. 8 in its list of the 100 greatest guitarists.