Earlier this week Journey singer Steve Perry shared his thoughts on the passing of Eddie Van Halen. Now guitarist Neal Schon’s tribute has been made available to hear in its entirety.
The legendary Journey guitarist appeared on Sirius/XM’s “Trunk Nation with Eddie Trunk” on October 13th to share his thoughts on the passing of Eddie. The 30-plus minute long segment has now been made available in podcast form courtesy of PodcastOne.
“”I was really, really hit hard by it, like a lot of people,” said Schon. “Ed and I were very, very close in the ’80s and hung out a lot. Not just on tour, but when he would come into town, we’d hang out, just talking music in a room, playing music for each other and checking things out.”
Schon reminisced about the time he discovered Eddie’s game-changing guitar skills. It came shortly before Journey took Van Halen out on tour in 1978.
“Their record was just being released. And a couple of months, three months, prior to the tour starting, I had received a little promotional EP. It had ‘Eruption’ on it and ‘You Really Got Me’. So I proceeded to put it on my turntable in my bedroom, with a guitar amp, and I’m sitting there listening to ‘Eruption’ and I’m going, ‘What the fuck is this guy doing for real?’ I could not figure it out. I had been listening to Mahavisnu [Orchestra] — all kinds of people — and breaking things down. I could just not figure out what he was doing with the hammer-ons. It drove me nuts. And we finally got out there, and I got to know Ed, and watched him night to night just kill it. And all I can say is I was very happy not to be following him.”
Schon also revealed that he may have played an indirect role in Sammy Hagar eventually joining Van Halen in 1985.
“I completed the record with Sammy, the HSAS [Hagar Schon Aaronson Shrieve] record, and [Eddie and I] were playing each other’s music one night after [Van Halen] played in San Francisco at the Cow Palace,” Schon said. “And he wanted me to give him a ride to the hotel, so he grabbed a bottle of vodka, jumped in my Porsche and he proceeded to chug it while I’m driving down the freeway. I’m, like, ‘Dude, hold that thing down. Keep it down.’ Anyway, we got to the hotel, and we had a cassette machine. And he was playing me some stuff, and I slapped in the HSAS cassette, and he kept going over to the machine and stopping it, backwards and forwards, going over this one guitar riff, like, ‘What are you doing there?’ I said, ‘Ed, let it run, man.’ [He did] it, like, 20 times in a row. And finally he goes, ‘Who’s the singer, man? I really like the singer.’ And I go, ‘It’s Sammy Hagar.’ And he goes, ‘Who?’ And I go, ‘Sammy Hagar.’ And I said, ‘You know Montrose, right?’ And he goes, ‘Yeah.’ He goes, ‘That’s the guy?’ And I go, ‘Yeah.’ And so that’s where he kind of found out about Sammy, with me playing [the cassette for] him that night. I mean, he knew who Sammy was through Montrose, through that first record, but he didn’t know anything beyond that.”
You can listen to the complete interview with Schon below. His interview begins at the 9:00 mark: