Guitarist Blues Saraceno appeared on the latest episode of Dweezil Zappa’s podcast Runnin’ With The Dweezil and shared a story of the time in the early 90s Eddie invited him to play a round of golf.
“I don’t remember exactly what year it was but at some point I got invited to one of these T.J. Martell celebrity golf charity things,” said Saraceno.
“And you don’t really golf,” said Zappa.
“No! [laughs]. It’s not good, me and golf,” Saraceno responded. “You’ve seen me golf. [laughs]. It doesn’t end well for anybody involved in that scenario.
“So I show up to this thing. I was kinda late,” he continued. “Everybody’s at basically, like, the clubhouse type thing. I knew a couple different people I wanted to run into and I did. Then from across the room I see Edward Van Halen and he’s making a bee-line towards me. He goes, ‘Hey Blues what’s up?!’
“I’d never met him and as far as I was concerned I’m like, ‘This guy doesn’t even known I exist,” Saraceno continued. “He was so engaging. When he would talk to you he was completely focused. He looked at me and I’m like, ‘This guy has heard me play!’ He just was so warm and inviting I forgot to be nervous about the situation because he was just kind of so genuine by nature.”
Saraceno had gotten so comfortable he decided to take Eddie up on his offer to play a round of golf even though he was admittedly a terrible golfer.
Saraceno continued, “He goes, ‘I didn’t know you golf! And, of course I was like, ‘Aww yeah! Totally! [laughs]. He says, ‘Oh! We gotta golf! As a matter of fact, call me tomorrow and I’m gonna take you golfing!’ I’m like, ‘Abso-LUTE-ly we gotta go golfing!’ And I was not about to tell him I was a horrific golfer.”
“So This Is Love” (2006) [Jeff Scott Soto – Vocals, Blues Saraceno – Guitar, Tony Franklin – Bass, Eric Singer – Drums]
Saraceno said Eddie grabbed a nearby matchbook, wrote down his phone number and gave it to Saraceno. The following day he dialed the number on the matchbook. After several rings someone eventually picked up – it was Edward Van Halen.
“You can kinda tell that they were kinda in the middle of something [in the studio] or they were kinda preoccupied,” said Saraceno. “I’m like, ‘Yeah, hello?’ [Eddie says] Who’s this?’ I’m like, ‘It’s Blues,’ and it takes him a second, and he’s like, ‘Oh yeah! Hey, uh, we gotta golfing! I’m gonna call you back!’
Saraceno said Eddie then quickly hung up the phone. It was at that moment Saraceno realized something – Eddie didn’t have his phone number.
“That is a-MAZING because I realized at that point in time…he didn’t have my phone number! [laughs]. [He] literally didn’t have any way to call me back and I didn’t call him back! [laughs].”
Zappa asked, “So you didn’t call him back and you never ended up going golfing?”
Saraceno responded, “NEVER! It took me a minute, like I was so hyped that I had just gotten off the phone with him. I was just kinda like outta sorts a little bit.”
Saraceno said it was all good, though, as he was happy to just be able to say he talked to the one and only Edward Van Halen on the phone.
“I didn’t call him back because I just wanted to leave it on a high note. I was done,” he said.
A few years later Saraceno would get to meet Eddie again, this time at Zappa’s home where Eddie wanted to preview Van Halen’s upcoming album ‘Balance’ for his friend Dweezil. Eddie pulled into the driveway and proceeded to play the entire album for Zappa and Saraceno, who happened to be hanging out with Zappa that day.
“We listened to it in his car in the driveway,” said Zappa.
Saraceno responded, “This wasn’t your normal stereo system [in Eddie’s car], this was not stock, can we agree on that?”
“This was the loudest stereo system in the world,” Zappa said.
Saraceno said, “On the PLANET!”
You can listen to Zappa and Saraceno tell the rest of that story along with their discussion of Van Halen’s 1980 classic “Everybody Wants Some” and Eddie’s innovative experimentation with the guitar in the video at the top of the article.
The 30-episode “Runnin’ With The Dweezil” podcast is available exclusively through dweezilzappa.com. Packages include listening parties, Q&A sessions, “Brown Sound” bonus episodes, custom Axe-FX, Helix, and Kemper presets, a 1-year subscription to Premier Guitar, and much more.