AC/DC’s Angus Young contributed to the upcoming hardcover photo book, Eddie Van Halen, by Neil Zlozower.
The Van Halen News Desk has the exclusive on Angus Young’s quote in the book, below.
AC/DC played on a bill with Van Halen back in 1978 or 1979 for a Bill Graham Day on the Green show. I didn’t know much about Van Halen then except that I remember seeing film clips of them, especially the one of Eddie playing the solo piece, “Eruption,” and I was very impressed. I didn’t meet Eddie until years later when there was a Monsters of Rock open-air festival in England. I was shocked to hear he liked my playing, because I’ve never rated myself as a guitarist.
Eddie is an innovator. When I grew up we had a lot of guys from England who were great players, like Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, and Jeff Beck. And then, of course, when Jimi Hendrix came along, he changed the game. I’d put Eddie in that category of being an innovator like Hendrix. He changed the game for his style of playing. When Eddie came along he spawned so many imitators. Like Hendrix, suddenly you started to see people wanting to buy the same guitars he played and also play his licks. He turned the rule book upside down in terms of his approach. There was a lot of experimentation to his playing. Eddie also crosses into that avant-garde thing, which puts him in the same category as Hendrix.
“Eruption” is a favorite track. He’s got everything characteristic of his playing in that song–there’s a bit of everything.
When Jimi Hendrix came along it was like, “Where did this guy come from?” and I think that was the same feeling with Eddie. When Eddie appeared on the scene, every guitarist I ran into said, “You’ve gotta hear this guy!”