Ted Nugent has felt the loss of Eddie Van Halen both personally and professionally. He reflected on Eddie’s passing during a recent interview with Bravewords.
“Us older guys are dropping like flies out there and we will never get past the impact of losing the masterful virtuosity of Eddie Van Halen,” said Nugent. “I think I would just be redundant to repeat what a sweetheart he was, what a gifted visionary musical genius he was.”
One month after the release of their now-landmark 1978 debut album, Van Halen hit the road as the opening act for Journey. They eventually toured the globe and shared the stage with with AC/DC, Black Sabbath, the Rolling Stones and Nugent.
“A lot of people go ahead and say their first tour was with Black Sabbath. Well, that’s not true,” said Nugent. “Their first tour was opening up for me. And it was the whole band. David [Lee Roth] and Michael [Anthony], and Alex [Van Halen] and Eddie were just the definition of killer, uninhibited, irreverent firestorm rock ‘n’ roll.”
Nugent added that his connection with Eddie was instant and would continue from that point on.
“Eddie and I connected immediately because I use the Gibson Byrdland, which is a really unique guitar in the world of rock ‘n’ roll, I’m the only guy, and Eddie, of course, created his own guitars,” said Nugent. “So we got together the very first soundcheck, and I played through his rig, then I played my Byrdland through his rig, and he played my rig, then he played his Eddie Van Halen guitar through my Fender amps. And every time we did any combination thereof, he sounded like Eddie and I sounded like Ted. And we had a great conversation a great relationship.
“We jammed at the NAMM event a number of times, and we kept in touch over the years,” he added. “We bumped into each other over every year, we hugged, we reminisced about guitar tones, and exploratory musical adventure, and family, and beautiful girls.,” he continued. “I truly revered and valued not just the friendship but his musical inspiration – he inspired everybody, no matter what instrument you play. Eddie Van Halen inspired everybody, much like Jimi Hendrix, much like Les Paul, or Chuck Berry, or Bo Diddley, or Eric Clapton, or Jimmy Page, or Jeff Beck… We had a wonderful relationship.”
As a fan Nugent said Eddie will live on through the music he created.
“Eddie Van Halen’s energy, and piss and vinegar, and his musical adventure are recorded. We have it at our disposal forever. You’d never have to go,” said Nugent. “Even a great welder, a great plumber, a great teacher, a great mother, a great father, a great neighbor, a great generous loving person – they’ll never be gone because their donations to humankind will live on to varying degrees with future generations. And Eddie Van Halen’s gifted work, along with Michael, and Alex, and David, and Sammy [Hagar] – it’s always there for us, isn’t it? So he will always be with us.”