EXTREME's NUNO BETTENCOURT Says EDDIE VAN HALEN's Rhythm Playing Was Almost As Influential As His Solo Playing

December 23, 2020

In a brand new interview with "The Mistress Carrie Podcast", EXTREME guitarist Nuno Bettencourt discussed the legacy of his longtime friend, VAN HALEN icon Eddie Van Halen, who died in October at the age of 65.

"Who is the guy that influenced my style, sound, DNA out of everybody? It would be Edward, without a doubt," Nuno said (hear audio below). "And I wouldn't have to tell you that — you can hear it in EXTREME's sound. Believe it or not, the funky [side of EXTREME's sound], people [go], 'Well, it made you guys different.' It's, like, no. Actually, to be honest with you, the songs that I love the most out of VAN HALEN were the ones like ['Outta Love Again']. That's where I got some of that rock/funk [from]. 'Mean Street' was funky to me.

"Eddie's solo playing is amazing, and that's what people talk about nine out of 10 times," Nuno continued. "Not me. And I don't mean to sound special, but it's sad to me. His rhythm playing fucked me up. And I believe his rhythm playing was more influential to all guitar players than they know or than they like to believe. Every guitar player after Eddie, the way they played rhythm — the chording, everything they did, the way they phrased them — from Warren DeMartini [RATT] to, you name it. Randy Rhoads at the time — it affected all of them, and that was even simultaneously. Eddie had a way to play rhythm and soloing — that's what makes him the greatest to me of all time. Period."

A few days after Eddie's death, Nuno said that Eddie Van Halen was "super excited" about the prospect of reuniting with Michael Anthony for a proposed VAN HALEN stadium tour. The EXTREME guitarist made the revelation while recounting the last time he met the legendary VAN HALEN axeman. "He wanted to do one final tour and have VAN HALEN go out the way they came in...Together... Guns Blazing!" Bettencourt wrote in an Instagram post.

Nuno also acknowledged Eddie's immense influence on his style, saying: "It's incredible how as a young player, your guitar chord, is the umbilical chord that intimately connects you to someone you may never meet, moreso than even someone in your own family. At the drop of a needle or the touch of a space bar. They are there for you 24/7. As Eddie was... and forever will be."

Eddie died on October 6 at Providence Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California. Following his death, fans left flowers at his childhood home on Las Lunas Street in Pasadena, California. Additional flowers, candles and fan mementos were placed on Allen Avenue where Eddie and his brother, VAN HALEN drummer Alex, scratched their band's name into the wet cement of a sidewalk when they were teenagers.

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.

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