Eddie Van Halen often talked about Eric Clapton being his main influence growing up but Dweezil Zappa said he hears more Jeff Beck in Eddie than Clapton.
“I don’t hear Eric Clapton in Ed’s playing unless he’s playing straight up blues and he can clearly mimic Eric to a T when he’s doing that,” Zappa said in a newly released clip from his podcast Runnin With The Dweezil. “When Ed’s playing more like himself, I feel like the origin of some of his most exciting techniques and playing are linked to Jeff Beck. I hear it mainly showing up in phrases where he’s using the vibrato bar or he’s playing open string licks or the string bending that he does. His intonation and the way that he gets to the notes is similar to Jeff.”
Zappa included exclusive audio of Eddie jamming in Jeff Beck style. One clip was recorded by Zappa in 1992 during a backstage jam. Zappa’s girlfriend was the lead singer of Baby Animals, the band opening for Van Halen at the time. Eddie can be heard playing along to “Mean Street” on a Stratocaster owned by Baby Animals guitarist Dave Leslie.
You can hear the segment which also features guitarist Jennifer Batten (Jeff Beck, Michael Jackson) in the clip above.
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.
Main Photo Credit: Jean-Luc Ourlin & Neil Zlozower