There was a side of Eddie Van Halen most never had the chance to see, according to guitarist George Lynch.
During his appearance on the Appetite for Destortion podcast, Lynch (Dokken, Lynch Mob) talked about the impact Eddie’s death had on him.
“I mean, David Bowie, I mean, George Michael, all these people – Prince – these giants – Tom Petty – all at once it seemed like,” said Lynch. “Eddie was on another level because, obviously, we’re a little closer as far as what we do, and we kind of came up through the same place at the same time and had some connections, so that’s why it was more profound I think, and I learned a lot from him, and I based a lot of my style on him.
“Even though we were compatriots in a way, he was way beyond me, so I lifted a lot of stuff from him and got inspired by him, as we all did,” he added. “He’s a Southern California guy, and we were like kind of neighbors and played the same clubs and played on the same stages together and hung out, did [the 1988] Monsters of Rock [tour with Van Halen]…So yeah, that was a pretty tough one. It hits close to home too I think for us when our friends and stuff start disappearing because it’s a lonelier place after that.”
Lynch also reflected on the often misunderstood aspect of Eddie’s personality.
“I think he was just sort of burdened with this whole fame thing and being a human being in a complicated world. It isn’t always so nice,” said Lynch. “He’s a super-sensitive guy, which allowed him to be this incredible musician, as you have to have that sort of sympathy and empathy. A lot of people thought he wasn’t that nice of a person, but it was just because he was really quiet, he was a little bit scared, but he spoke so beautifully through his instrument.
“We had moments, we used to hang out,” he added. “Monsters of Rock, we would go almost every night, just sit in our hotel room and just play guitar all night, it was pretty awesome. Actually, I had some issues with my gear out there on the Monsters tour, and [Van Halen was] the headliner obviously, and he was so sweet because he’s like, ‘Hey, man, take anything you want of mine.’ So I did half that tour with his gear. That’s pretty insane because headliners usually don’t do stuff like that, they go, ‘That’s your problem, figure it out,’ which is fair. He was very sweet, ‘Just take anything you want, heads, cabinets.’ I used his rig for like half that tour, that was pretty sweet.
“He gave my son a guitar lesson,” Lynch continued. “My kid was going to GIT, and he wanted to be a guitar player like his dad, and I was, I took him to meet Eddie, and Eddie’s like, ‘You know what? You’re a guitar player? Let me show you…’ They went back in the warmup room and gave my son a little lesson. That was pretty cool. Who does that?”
Watch “PBA Presents: George Lynch ESP Guitar Clinic” (2020)
Watch Eddie Van Halen Interview Oct. 2016 – Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation