Guitar icon Slash discusses what sets Eddie Van Halen apart as a musician. No, it’s not all of his shredding techniques.
Slash is a huge fan of Eddie Van Halen. As a musician myself, there is something to be said for Halen’s iconic lead guitar work. When music listeners think of the rockstar, they often associate him with his crazy techniques. Slash argues that they are missing the point.
In an interview with Brent Cobb for Apple Music’s “Southern Accents Radio,” Slash discusses how guitarists try to emulate Eddie Van Halen’s playing.
“They were all sort of focusing on the obvious techniques and the fucking finger tapping and the harmonics and the tremolo bar stuff and all these really fucking great techniques that Eddie had,” Slash says.
Then, he discusses what makes Halen truly special.
“But the way that he did it was such a part of his personality and it was such a part of his melodic sensibility that it had this really sort of musical fluidity that nobody after that really ever came close to, playing that style of guitar playing, and so I always loved Eddie.”
Slash can also credit Van Halen as a major musical influence.
“When I first heard… the Van Halen debut record, it really fucked me. That was a heavy fucking record,” says Slash.
When Slash Met Halen
The Guns N Roses guitarist recalls meeting Eddie Van Halen for the first time. In an interview with Cleveland.com, Slash says that Halen approached him at a concert in 1988.
“He came up to me at a Stevie Ray Vaughan concert and gave me a compliment on one of my guitar solos, which always sticks with me as one of the nicest, most selfless things any fellow guitar player ever did,” Slash says.
This act of humility and kindness means a great deal to Slash. After that, the pair become friends for over 30 years. Slash calls Halen a “really good guy, a really sweet guy.” He is still mourning the great guitarist’s death. Halen, who died of cancer back in October 2020, will never be forgotten.
“I had a vague feeling of what was going on and was just sort of keeping in touch with him, but then around June or something, I stopped hearing from him,” Slash says. “I was in Chicago and got a text and I was just completely shocked,” Slash says. “It was just really sad and tragic and indelible news.”
Eddie Van Halen will always be remembered for his guitar chops, but more importantly, he will be remembered for the spirit he brought into the world. No guitar solo can compare to his kindness, creativity and hard work.