How DAMON JOHNSON Ended Up Interviewing EDDIE VAN HALEN For RIP Magazine

October 10, 2020

Former ALICE COOPER, BROTHER CANE and BLACK STAR RIDERS guitarist Damon Johnson has shared a memory of him interviewing Eddie Van Halen 25 years ago for an issue of RIP magazine.

Earlier today, Johnson tweeted out a couple of photos from the resulting photo session, and he wrote in an accompanying message: "BROTHER CANE supported VAN HALEN on about 20 shows in 1995, on the heels of our radio success with 'And Fools Shine On'. Our friend @KatherineTurman at RIP Magazine organized an interview where 'the young up-and-comer interviews his hero, the legend' for a new segment in RIP.

"Ed was super chatty and funny, and Alex chimed in when we discussed lead guitarists that are also lead singers (Ha!). Photographer Steve Jennings came down to Shoreline Amphitheater that day (Oct. 14) to document the occasion with these photos.

"Were we having any fun???"

When Eddie's death was announced on Tuesday (October 6),Johnson told SPIN magazine about the legendary VAN HALEN axeman: "He was my hero, my #1 guy; no one came close. What Eric Clapton was to Eddie, Eddie was to me. I remember the first time I heard 'Eruption'. I remember every molecule of the moment, in my friend's Chevy Van with shag carpeting on the wall. It was like, 'what the fuck is THAT?!' Greatest of all time."

Johnson became an instant fan of THIN LIZZY when he attended a concert back in 1979 in his home state of Alabama. At 15 years old, he had gone to the concert to see Ted Nugent, he didn't even know who the opener was. Instantly a fan, Johnson bought the entire catalog and learned every song he could. Fast forward years later to 2011, Johnson was on tour as Alice Cooper's guitarist when he received a call from THIN LIZZY founding guitarist Scott Gorham, inviting him to replace their temporary guitarist on their tour. A dream job, and with Cooper's blessing, Johnson leapt at the chance. He continues to tour with Gorham and THIN LIZZY as well as release his own solo albums.

After incredible runs with the bands he co-founded, both BLACK STAR RIDERS and '90s chart-toppers BROTHER CANE, and his side hustles touring with Alice Cooper, THIN LIZZY, John Waite and others, Johnson found himself in spring of 2018 realizing there were two things he couldn't stop thinking about; his family and his music. Johnson made a deliberate decision; to give full focus to composing an album that truly reflects his personal vision and honoring his desire to have the final say about his tour calendar. The time was right to move forward with his solo debut.

"Memoirs Of An Uprising", Johnson's last studio album, was a collection that is both fierce and diverse — a powerful springboard for the musician to start his next chapter. It was released in March 2019 and saw Johnson embarking on a series of dates across North America including a pair of sold-out performances at New York's legendary Iridium as well as several shows with THE WINERY DOGS (a supergroup of rockers featuring Richie Kotzen, Mike Portnoy and Billy Sheehan) , a December run of shows supporting CLUTCH, and the U.S. leg of the UFO tour last February.

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