How good was Eddie Van Halen? So good he could make a guitarist give up the guitar.
Dokken recently recalled the first time he saw Eddie perform live. It was at a venue in California in the 70s when Dokken was the lead guitarist and lead singer of a Los Angeles band called Airborn.
“This is before the Dokken days, before I got signed,” Dokken said while a guest on the Full In Bloom podcast. “I was the lead guitar player and the lead singer, we were a three-piece basically. I just looked at Eddie and I just thought, ‘I don’t know what the hell he’s doing but I’ll never be that good.’ And I started thinking, ‘I’m just gonna switch to singing [laughs]. ‘Cuz I just knew I just couldn’t compete.”
Although he wasn’t able to compete with Eddie on the guitar, Dokken was able to patch up Eddie’s flat tire that night.
“That night, afterwards, I remember it was really late. I think he was driving a van,” said Dokken. “Everybody had left and he’s packin’ up his gear and he had a flat tire. This is before the days of cell phones and all that shit. And we’re on the beach, the club was on the beach basically…I said, ‘Well. What do you wanna do,’ ya know? So I had like two rolls of duct tape and I duct taped his tire like about six times around [laughs] and got some air in it and he hobbled off home and I was like, ‘Wow, he made it.’ Great loss. Losing Eddie was like losing Hendrix. I cried for days.”
Dokken talks more about Eddie Van Halen and gives his thoughts on his first impressions of David Lee Roth. Listen to the entire segment of Dokken’s interview below: