BRET MICHAELS: Hearing EDDIE VAN HALEN's Guitar Playing For First Time 'Changed My Life'

October 10, 2020

During an October 7 appearance on SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk", POISON frontman Bret Michaels discussed the passing of Eddie Van Halen. The legendary VAN HALEN axeman died on Tuesday (October 6) at the age of 65 after a long battle with cancer.

"It's devastating," Bret said. "Eddie Van Halen, going beyond the guitar wizardry, the original playing, the sound, the guy was one of the few guys that could mix insane guitar licks with writing great songs. It was the perfect combination. And I think all of us, especially me, I was just devastated to hear the news. And for, obviously, his immediate family and friends, it's painful to hear the news. He was such an unbelievable guitarist and guy."

Asked if he recalled the first time he heard VAN HALEN's music, Bret said: "I remember it beyond specifically. This is a true story. I was at my friend's basement in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. And I remember being down there, and we heard 'Eruption'. And then, all of a sudden — his brother owned the album, and it kicked into 'You Really Got Me'. And that moment — not that day; that moment — changed my life. It was the best sound I'd ever heard.

"I heard people talking about the album, but there wasn't social media then, so you heard it through word of mouth," he explained. "And that moment changed my life. Now, being that I was a true up-and-coming, really starving musician, I borrowed that record from [my friend's] older brother, and I took a severe beating for taking that album home with me. I took an ongoing beating for about a week. And I gave the record back, and I still took a beating. But it was worth every beating I took. And I don't mean a beating verbally — I'm talking about a physical beating. [Laughs]"

When Eddie's death was first announced, Bret took to his Instagram to write: "This goes beyond the passing of a great guitarist, but rather is a tremendous loss of a great man who truly helped to change my life and path with his guitar and sound. He helped forge the way for myself and many and will be deeply missed. Rest in peace, Eddie. @eddievanhalen #ripeddievanhalen".

Eddie died at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California. 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 passed away from complications due to cancer, his son confirmed.

Rolling Stone magazine ranked Eddie Van Halen No. 8 in its list of the 100 greatest guitarists.

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