Guitarist Zakk Wylde (Ozzy Osbourne, Black Label Society) said every Van Halen album was like a box of Cracker Jacks . He never knew what surprise Eddie Van Halen would have in store for him each time.
“Every guitar player [was] waiting to see what new thing he was gonna invent and what he had in store for the next album,” said Wylde during a recent interview with Eddie Trunk. Wylde talked extensively about Van Halen and the man he referred to as “King Edward” – Eddie Van Halen.
Asked about Van Halen’s 1981 classic ‘Fair Warning’ album, Wylde said he’s definitely a fan but wouldn’t rank it as the best Van Halen album. That, he said, goes to the band’s 1978 self-titled debut album.
“[‘Fair Warning’ is] dark and whatever like that – I love ‘Hear About It Later.’ I remember the first time I heard that; that came out, what, ’81? I probably just started playing,” said Wylde. “And I remember hearing the flanger that was on there, and I was just like, ‘Wow, what is that?’. I thought it was the coolest thing ever, but the intro on that, and obviously with [the opening track] ‘Mean Street’ and everything, you’re like, ‘What is this. Is that even a guitar?'”
“With Van Halen, everything that they’re about is on that first record,” added Wylde who was asked to name his personal number one Van Halen album. “You’ve got the ‘Ice Cream Man,’ the acoustic guitar, you’ve got the goofy stuff, and ‘You Really Got Me,’ you got Ed doing ‘Eruption,’ you got… I mean, everything is on that record.”
Wylde also recalled the first time he saw Van Halen live and got to hang out with Eddie.
“The first time I saw them live was with at the Budokan in Japan, getting hammered with King Edward the night before,” said Wylde. “I had to do press all day, and the next day I went and saw them. Just sitting with King Edward in my room, him just chain-smoking and just jamming on my guitar down on his knees playing Jimmy Page licks the whole time, playing ‘Heartbreaker’…I’m just like, ‘This is insane, I have god sitting in my room playing Jimmy Page licks.’ So yeah, it was pretty mind-blowing.”