Guitarist Mike McCready leading the way on Pearl Jam’s performance of “Eruption”/”Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love” (Hartford, CT 2013)
For those who need proof that even the “grunge” bands of the 90s were huge Van Halen fans we submit Exhibits “P” & “J” as in Pearl Jam.
“I don’t think there was a better live music experience [than Van Halen],” Gossard recently told Classic Rock magazine. “Just in terms of hitting all the marks of bringing people together, totally joyous, groovy, light-hearted, whimsical. Van Halen were the greatest live rock band of all time.”
Gossard recently told KISW in Seattle, “[Eddie] Van Halen changed the world and that’s true originality right there. Nobody knows how to really play like him.”
Recent Van Halen Tributes From Pearl Jam Members
Singer Eddie Vedder talked about being a big Van Halen fan during a November 2nd appearance on Sirius/XM’s The Howard Stern Show. Stern asked Vedder if he ever had the chance to meet Eddie Van Halen.
“I did. It wasn’t even that long ago,” said Vedder, who met Eddie in 2012 after Van Halen’s show at the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Washington. “We went down, because all my records on vinyl were getting a ride down to the show, so we had a drink in the back. I’m looking for some CD’s or something, and I got nothing. So then I remember I had an 8-track, like a ghetto blaster, but for 8-tracks, these kind of red things.”
“I brought ‘Van Halen I’ and [Van Halen] II’ on 8-track, and that’s what we cranked on the way to the Tacoma Dome,” he continued. “And then we walked in [to the show], I was like you know, ‘I’m going to take that in, because we might get to meet him, and I might even get him to sign this damn thing’. Sure enough we did, and I was a little nervous, because if you are Eddie Van Halen, you could be a complete asshole and I would totally respect that. You could be however you want if you’re Eddie Van Halen. It turned out that he was the sweetest, sweetest guy.”
Vedder said it was at that moment he decided to make his move and pulled out the Van Halen 8-track in hopes of getting Eddie Van Halen to sign it:
“I kind of sheepishly say, ‘Hey, Ed, would it be funny if I asked you to sign this thing?’ He said, ‘Oh my god, look at that. Wolfie, come over here!’ He had his son come over, Wolfie looked at it like the Coke bottle in [the movie] Gods Must Be Crazy or something, like, he just didn’t know. He said [to Wolfgang], ‘This is what we used to put out.’ He explained it. So I have this nice thing where he wrote, ‘To Eddie, from Eddie.’
Guitarist Mike McCready appeared on SiriusXM’s Trunk Nation the day after Eddie Van Halen passed (October 6th) and said, “I started playing guitar a year after that first [Van Halen] record came out, and he was just the most untouchable, unreachable guitar player I’ve ever heard — besides [Jimi] Hendrix. But it was even more, in a way, because it was right then I was becoming a new guitar player. And Eddie Van Halen kind of turned everything upside down. And he was the most exciting thing to come out. And they had cool songs. It always felt like the summer was coming on. It was a great party band. They also were amazing musicians and great songwriters.”
Asked what his first exposure to Van Halen’s music was, McCready said: “I heard the first record [through] my guitar teacher. He played me ‘Eruption’. And when you’re a kid learning about Ritchie Blackmore and Ace Frehley and things like that… He played that for me, and it sounded like it was from another planet. Subsequently, Van Halen came [to Seattle] about a year, on the second record, and I saw them for that tour, and then three more times after that with David Lee Roth. So seeing them live on the second tour was unbelievable. Eddie did ‘Eruption’ live, and he ran into his amps and they almost fell over, and they came back. Everything about them was perfect as a rock band. Seeing them live on the second tour was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. And it changed my life, for sure. And because of Eddie’s playing, for sure.”
McCready talked about the deep appreciation the other members of Pearl Jam have for Van Halen’s music.
“Everybody in Pearl Jam has a Van Halen thing,” he said. “I think Eddie [Vedder] saw ’em open for [Black] Sabbath in San Diego, as I think Matt [Cameron, drums] did. And Jeff [Ament, bass] saw ’em on the first tour in Montana. So there’s a Van Halen connection throughout Pearl Jam — it’s there. I mean, I do ‘Eruption’ sometimes, because I wanna learn how he did that. And it’s such an amazing thing, I had to learn it note by note. And I still don’t have it down, but it’s one of those things that was just always this high-water mark, and it still continues to be for me. ‘Cause when he does that, he has such a feeling behind his playing that no one else can really get when you try to tap and all that kind of stuff — at least in my mind.”