Just when we thought we were out of the Eddie Van Halen Grammy controversy, they pull us back in!
It’s been over a week since the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards ceremony and music fans are still talking about the tribute (or lack thereof) to Eddie Van Halen.
The podcast Epic Footnote Productions has a series titled “Am I Missing Something?” where they debate over bands, songs and, in this case, a music event. While hosts Matt Gammba and Zach Shaw are both fans of Eddie and the music he created, they have differing opinions on how the Grammys went about paying tribute to him.
Gamba made the argument that, while the segment could have been longer than the 15 to 20 seconds, the Grammy’s decision to not include other guitarists performing Eddie’s music was the right one to make.
“I actually thought it was a great tribute. I’m sorry! There, I said it,” said Gamba. “I actually thought the Grammys did right by Eddie, to a certain degree. Do I think they could have done more? Maybe. Would it have been kind of nice to see other guitarists [performing Eddie’s music]? Actually I would argue maybe not. I’m sorry but do I really need to see Steve Vai or any other guitarist try to do ‘Eruption’ note for note? I actually was really moved by the symbolism of the guitar standing there. Seeing the guitar empty on stage with Eddie kind of in the background visually was a powerful statement that – there is no one who could even come close to playing like Eddie Van Halen.”
Shaw disagreed with his co-host saying the Grammy’s should have done a lot more, especially considering the enormous impact Eddie made on the guitar.
“To deny [Eddie] any sort of proper tribute from the recording industry, it feels like a slap in the face,” said Shaw. “I think Eddie is more special [than the other artists included in the Grammy’s “In Memorium” segment] because he changed the landscape of his instrument. Yes, there have been people who have had great vocals, and who have had great, legendary careers but they cannot say that they’ve changed the face of what it meant to play guitar.”
Wolfgang made his statement regarding the tribute saying he was “hurt” by the underwhelming tribute while also revealing that he declined the Grammys offer to have him perform “Eruption” in his father’s honor. Grammy executive producer Ben Winston followed with a comment to Variety stating, “[Wolfgang] said he didn’t really want to do that, and I offered up eight or nine guitarists who maybe could. But instead, he felt like we should play a video of Eddie himself, because nobody could play like him, so that’s what we did. I would have loved for it to be longer than it was, but Eddie was the only person in the whole ‘In Memoriam’ to play their own music, with no other faces being seen. I felt that was an appropriate tribute to him.”
One other thing Wolfgang said is important to remember. Regarding what his father would have thought of the tribute Wolfgang said, “Pop would probably just laugh it off and say, ‘Ehh who gives a shit?’ He was only about the music anyway. The rest didn’t matter.”
Good point Wolfgang. Having said that, every Van Halen fan has their own opinion. Some VHND readers say the Grammys should have done way more. Correction, make that waaaaaaay more. Some say it was fine as it was (although there weren’t many who thought that) while others offered up some good suggestions such as Wolfgang performing his song “Distance” with video footage of Eddie in the background. You can read all of the comments from the VHNDs original article “Wolfgang Van Halen & Others Respond to the Grammy’s Brief EVH Tribute” HERE.
You can listen to the entire episode of “Am I Missing Something?” below: