DEF LEPPARD's PHIL COLLEN: 'When I First Heard EDDIE VAN HALEN, It Sounded Like Someone Could Fly'

October 17, 2020

DEF LEPPARD guitarist Phil Collen has reflected on the passing of Eddie Van Halen, calling him "one of the most amazing influences ever." The legendary VAN HALEN axeman died on October 6 at the age of 65 after a long battle with cancer.

Speaking to Everyone Loves Guitar, Collen said (see video below): "We're talking about Eddie and the amazing impact he had on musicians, influences on guitar players and everything. It wasn't just the guitar playing, obviously. He was one of the most amazing influences ever. There was Jimi Hendrix in the '60s, and then Eddie Van Halen. Anyone who plays electric guitar would know about those two and what impact they had.

"I think when I first heard Eddie, it sounded like someone could fly — someone was literally like Superman," he continued. "They were doing this stuff that was amazing. The feel was incredible — it was just firepower. And the technique was, obviously, amazing, but the vibrato was just out of this world. Everything about it was what you wanted to hear in a guitar player. He was doing things — obviously, the tapping and all these other things — he just made everything work for him. So that's why it was so influential. It's not often someone comes along and just makes you wanna play guitar. With Eddie, it really made me wanna play guitar.

"That was the wonderful thing about Eddie, if you ever saw him play — he is the guitar, and the guitar is him… He was constantly upping the game of the guitar — not just the playing, but the actual tool that you use to get that. And I love that.

"I met him just very briefly a couple of times," Phil added. "And the first time I met him was on VAN HALEN's first headline tour of the U.K. I was in a band called GIRL, and we got back to see him, and I was talking to Eddie. I had this Fender Strat that was a gift from my mum on my 21st birthday. And I knew that it should have a Humbucker, because I couldn't quite get it. I was using fuzz boxes and that. I wanted to sound like Ritchie Blackmore, which was kind of cool, but I really wanted the Eddie thing. And I met him, and I was talking to him, and I said, 'I've got this Strat.' And he said, 'You know you're never gonna be happy with that guitar until you put a Humbucker in that, right?' So I did. So I went and got it fixed. That guitar, it was the main guitar on the 'Hysteria' album, so anytime you hear any of them songs — 'Rocket', 'Pour Some Sugar On Me', 'Armageddon It', 'Animal', 'Love Bites' — that's on there… So it was kind of cool that [Eddie] kind of gave me the okay and told me to butcher it in the first place. It sounds amazing. You've heard it. And it was incredible.

"We're really gonna miss Eddie — the playing, the influences. Just amazing stuff. But we've got the sounds. We've got all that stuff to still listen to."

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 died from complications due to cancer, his son confirmed.

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.

Find more on Def leppard
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • reddit
  • email

Comments Disclaimer And Information

BLABBERMOUTH.NET uses the Facebook Comments plugin to let people comment on content on the site using their Facebook account. The comments reside on Facebook servers and are not stored on BLABBERMOUTH.NET. To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@) with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).