STEVEN WILSON Wasn't Affected By EDDIE VAN HALEN's Death: 'I Was Never A Fan'

February 1, 2021

Former PORCUPINE TREE frontman Steven Wilson was asked in a new interview with FaceCulture if the recent passing of legendary VAN HALEN guitarist Eddie Van Halen affected him at all. He responded (see video below): "Honestly, it didn't, because I was never a fan. I know he's an extraordinary musician, and it's always sad when an extraordinary artist dies, [but] I was never a fan of the so-called shredder mentality. And I think in many ways, he was the father of that whole kind of movement.

"I never understood that 'playing as fast as you can' thing," he continued. "And I know that wasn't all he did — I know he was a more flexible musician than that — but I think that the legacy that he has, Eddie Van Halen, is in creating the shredder phenomenon, which is something so vile to me. That kind of idea that you play music almost like you're playing an Olympic sport is kind of anathema to my kind of ideas on creativity and music."

In response to Wilson's comments, Eddie's son Wolfgang tweeted: "Damn this bums me out hard. Been a huge fan of his for years. [PORCUPINE TREE's 2005 LP] Deadwing is one of my favorite albums of all time."

Steven previously touched upon the subject of guitar shredding in a 2018 interview with Music Radar. Speaking about his third solo album, 2013's "The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories)", Wilson said: "My stuff isn't super-hard to play, but it isn't easy. It's somewhere in the middle. You need chops to be in my band, but the one thing I can't stand is shredding. I cannot abide and it has nothing to do with music and everything to do with sport. And music is not sport. It never should be. Being able to play fast has got nothing to do with my music at all.

"One of the struggles with ['The Raven That Refused To Sing' guitarist] Guthrie [Govan] was trying to get him to stop playing fast… because when he plays slowly, as everyone knows, he is sublime. But his natural setting is to play quite fast and shred. I had this kind of battle with him where I'd try to pull him back and say, 'Play slower, play less notes…' which he did absolutely beautifully when he did.

"That's the number one prerogative for me: every musician has to come in understanding the importance of playing slow, playing nothing, playing with space and feeling. They sound like really obvious things, but you'd be amazed at how many people and kids out there haven't learned that lesson. Be creative, play with space [and] understand the importance of silence."

Wilson's latest studio album, "The Future Bites", was released last year via Caroline International. The follow-up to 2017's "To The Bone" was described in a press release as "an exploration of how the human brain has evolved in the Internet era." The effort was recorded in London and co-produced by David Kosten and Steven Wilson.

Eddie died in October at the age of 65 after a long battle with cancer.

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

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