DEF LEPPARD's RICK ALLEN Calls WOLFGANG VAN HALEN 'A Beautiful Human Being'. 'He's So Well Balanced'
July 13, 2023
In a new interview with "Paltrocast" host Darren Paltrowitz, Rick Allen spoke about his recent encounter with Wolfgang Van Halen when MAMMOTH WVH opened for DEF LEPPARD and MÖTLEY CRÜE at three shows in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
"Well, interestingly enough, I was very fortunate to meet Wolfie's dad," the DEF LEPPARD drummer said, referencing legendary VAN HALEN guitarist Eddie Van Halen. "I met him through a friend of mine, Steve Lukather, that played with TOTO. That was back in the '80s. So I had the opportunity to get on a golf cart with Wolfie the other day. And as we were going up to the stage, I said, 'You know, I met your dad through Steve Lukather.' And I guess Wolfie is still very close with Steve. It was a really wonderful moment."
Rick added about Wolfgang: "What a beautiful human being. He's so well balanced. And we all just rallied to support him because he's gone through a lot of hardship, a lot of loss. A beautiful guy. And I guess we're gonna keep in touch. It was nice to meet him."
Asked if there were any VAN HALEN stories shared between him and Wolfgang, Rick said: "No. I didn't feel it was appropriate. But I felt it was nice to tell him that I did know his dad, which I figured would endear him to me. [Laughs]"
More than two years ago, Allen reflected on the first time he heard VAN HALEN's music back in 1978, shortly after the release of the band's debut album.
"My best friend, he calls me and he says, 'I want you to come and listen to this record,'" Rick told Pat's Soundbytes Unplugged. "So I go to his house and listen to 'Van Halen I' for the first time and was completely blown away. A couple of months later, they're coming through town with BLACK SABBATH — they're opening for BLACK SABBATH. And quite honestly, VAN HALEN owned that show. The BLACK SABBATH camp, you could see the wheels kind of coming off. But, yeah, VAN HALEN, they should have been the headliner.
"And then, I moved to the States in '91, became really good friends with Steve Lukather from TOTO," he continued. "He called me one night and he said, 'We're having a get-together. We'd love for you to come. I'd love to introduce you to my friend Eddie Van Halen.' So [as] this huge VAN HALEN fan from way back, I actually got to meet him. [He was] very unassuming. You wouldn't have thought he did what he did for a living, and especially play guitar like he does."
Also in early 2021, Allen told CBS12 that he "really looked up to" Eddie Van Halen as a musician. "I think he changed guitar playing forever," he said. "I think between him and Jimi Hendrix, they inspired other musicians. It's just a massive loss," he added, referencing Eddie's October 2020 passing.
Rick, who has been expressing himself in recent years through his artwork, has painted a portrait of Eddie Van Halen as part of his "Legends" series, which consists of lifelike-yet-impressionistic portraits of musicians who have influenced him, from Jimi Hendrix to Freddie Mercury to John Lennon. He stated about his painting of Eddie: I just wanted to capture that smile. He just seemed to be in his element. It's really paying homage to him. And I really felt for his family as well, of course."
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