ZAKK WYLDE: EDDIE VAN HALEN Was 'The Second Coming Of Christ' On Guitar
November 19, 2021
In a new interview with Heavy Consequence, Zakk Wylde (OZZY OSBOURNE, BLACK LABEL SOCIETY) paid tribute to Eddie Van Halen, more than one year after the legendary VAN HALEN guitarist's passing. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "He changed the world. Jimi Hendrix was basically the Jesus Christ of electric guitar. That's the ceiling — you can't do anything more with guitar. And all of a sudden — if this was a Catholic hierarchy, Eddie was the second coming of Christ. If Jimi is the Jesus Christ of guitar, Eddie was the second coming. It was just, like, a whole new bag of tricks and all this other stuff that no one thought was possible. And the way he changed amplifiers and everything like that. Not only just his playing technique, but down to pickups, tremolo bars, with the Floyd Rose, amplifiers, the way amps are designed, with more high gain and everything like that — I mean, he changed everything across the board. Not just because of his doing taps and everything like that. Even the way guitars are made and the way amps are made, he changed everything. And on top of it, he was just a complete package. Aside of the playing and the tone, his songwriting [was] just phenomenal — just amazing. We're really truly blessed that we had him till he made it to 65. If you really think about it, after those first two records — I mean, after the first record, if he would have retired from music, he already changed the game. After the first one, if he pulled a Howard Hughes and just walked away and never picked up a guitar again, there's that first album alone — with 'Eruption' and everything he did on that record — he changed everything. But we're just blessed that we had him around for as long as we did. He was just a really great guy too — he was a sweetheart."
Earlier this year, Wylde spoke to SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk" about the first time he saw VAN HALEN live and got to hang out with Eddie. "The first time I saw them live was with at the Budokan in Japan, getting hammered with King Edward the night before," he said. "I had to do press all day, and the next day I went and saw them. Just sitting with King Edward in my room, him just chainsmoking and just jamming on my guitar down on his knees playing Jimmy Page licks the whole time, playing 'Heartbreaker' ... I'm just like, 'This is insane, I have god sitting in my room playing Jimmy Page licks.' So yeah, it was pretty mind-blowing."
Eddie and his brother Alex Van Halen formed a band called MAMMOTH in Pasadena, California in 1972, then renamed it VAN HALEN when singer David Lee Roth joined the group and, later, bassist Michael Anthony.
VAN HALEN was one of the biggest rock bands in the country in the 1980s, with hits like "Runnin' With The Devil", "Dance The Night Away", "Hot For Teacher", "Panama" and "Jump". The group, which later featured Sammy Hagar on vocals, was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2007.
The Van Halen family moved to Pasadena after emigrating to the U.S. from the Netherlands in 1962.
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.