SUGAR RAY's MARK MCGRATH On EDDIE VAN HALEN's Death: 'It Hurt My Soul'
October 23, 2020
SUGAR RAY lead singer Mark McGrath has reflected on the passing of Eddie Van Halen, saying he was "a great songwriter" who "redefined" guitar playing.
McGrath discussed his appreciation for the innovative VAN HALEN guitarist, who died from cancer on October 6 at age 65, during a short interview with The Hollywood Fix, conducted on October 21 at the Crossroads restaurant in Hollywood.
Mark said (see video below): "Who wasn't a fan of Eddie Van Halen? You can't tell greatness by what came before, but what came after it. Jimi Hendrix, and you had Eddie Van Halen. He just redefined how you play the instrument, and made it palatable — the tapping… And I think he's such a great songwriter. A huge loss. You think 2020 can't get any worse, and it's just been terrible. It just hurt my soul, losing someone like Eddie Van Halen. When you lose a Frank Sinatra, when you lose an athlete, someone that meant so much to you, it's truly heartbreaking. So that one hit hard. I'm still processing it."
Asked if he and his friends used to "party to VAN HALEN back in the day," Mark said: "Party to VAN HALEN? Of course. How else do you listen to VAN HALEN, man? Of course we did."
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.
After undergoing hip replacement surgery in 1999 due to a chronic joint problem, Eddie was diagnosed with mouth cancer in 2000 and had to have part of his tongue surgically removed. He later battled throat cancer and reportedly had been receiving radiation treatment in Germany. It is believed that his heavy smoking over the years led to his long battle with cancer.