A Cool Moment on Tour with Eddie Van Halen

EddieGuitarThe following is a story from Baby Animals guitarist Dave Leslie posted on IHeartGuitarBlog.com.

I remember it as if it was yesterday. February 24 1992 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Baby Animals were out on tour as the support act for Van Halen on the last half of their F.U.C.K. tour. We had been on tour for about a month and were having a blast! We felt as if we were part of a travelling juggernaut, 10 semi-trailers, 8 tour buses, a production that almost needed its own postcode it seemed so huge… The venues were all arenas averaging about 10,000 people and because of the good airplay that Painless was getting on MTV, the audiences were very receptive. Our show consisted of 40 minutes of the rockin’-est stuff we had, played as hard as we could then run laughing offstage to do a Meet & Greet, get changed and then prepare to watch VH play…

Being the affable “Crazy Aussies” that we are, we had made lots of friends in the touring entourage and became quite close to the Van Halen chaps, who took us under their care and made sure that we had access to all the fun activities that a band on that level enjoyed while on tour…

This fourth leg was coming to an end and we were getting ready to do a club tour of U.K. and Europe for a month and then re-joining the VH juggernaut for the eight-week-long fifth and final leg.

The VH boys (Ed and Alex especially) spent lots of time in our dressing-room as it was far less formal than their ‘rockstar’ digs. There was something about a bucket of cold beer and a couple of small amps that seemed to appeal to Ed…

He spent hours between soundcheck and our show drinking and jamming AC/DC songs (Ed knows all Angus’ solos, note for note…) in our little room at the end of the corridor while his management were asking around ‘Where’s Edward?” So, on this evening, Ed strolling into our room with a guitar case didn’t seem all that unusual. He laid it on a dining table and gestured for me to “come, check this out…”

I approached the open case which contained one of his Ernie Ball Music Man EVH signature guitars, quilted top, in RED.

“Cool”, says I, “Is that your new guitar?” “No” replies he, with big smile “It’s YOUR new guitar!”

As you could imagine, I was floored. I mean this is Edward FUCKING VAN HALEN!!! Giving ME a guitar?!! I have to admit I still get the shiver when I think about that moment! It was literally, a dream come true…

I was a little overwhelmed to use it that night but took it over to Europe, whacked a set of 0.10s on her (him?) and proceeded to play the heck out of it for the next few years! It features heavily on “Shaved & Dangerous” album and subsequent tours after that…

To see more pictures of the guitar, please visit iheartguitarblog.com.