Guitarist Zakk Wylde (Ozzy Osbourne, Black Label Society) says if Eddie Van Halen retired after Van Halen’s first album, he would already have been remembered as a game changer. Everything else that came after only added to his storied legacy.
Wylde expressed his appreciation for Eddie during a recent interview with Heavy Consequence‘s Spencer Kaufman.
“He changed the world,” said Wylde. “Jimi Hendrix was basically the Jesus Christ of electric guitar. That’s the ceiling — you can’t do anything more with guitar. And all of a sudden — if this was a Catholic hierarchy, Eddie was the second coming of Christ. If Jimi is the Jesus Christ of guitar, Eddie was the second coming. It was just, like, a whole new bag of tricks and all this other stuff that no one thought was possible.”
Wylde added that Eddie won’t be remembered just for the brilliance of his guitar playing. There is much more to be included in his story.
“The way he changed amplifiers and everything like that,” Wylde said. “Not only just his playing technique, but down to pickups, tremolo bars, with the Floyd Rose, amplifiers, the way amps are designed, with more high gain and everything like that — I mean, he changed everything across the board. Not just because of his doing taps and everything like that. Even the way guitars are made and the way amps are made, he changed everything. And on top of it, he was just a complete package. Aside of the playing and the tone, his songwriting [was] just phenomenal — just amazing.”
While Wylde is among the many saddened by the loss of Eddie, he feels fortunate to have had the many years of music that came from Eddie and Van Halen since the band’s classic 1978 debut album.
“We’re really truly blessed that we had him till he made it to 65,” said Wylde. “If you really think about it, after those first two records — I mean, after the first record, if he would have retired from music, he already changed the game. After the first one, if he pulled a Howard Hughes and just walked away and never picked up a guitar again, there’s that first album alone — with ‘Eruption’ and everything he did on that record — he changed everything. But we’re just blessed that we had him around for as long as we did. He was just a really great guy too — he was a sweetheart.”
Watch Zak Wylde’s Complete Interview with Heavy Consequence
Watch Zakk Wylde’s “The Day That Heaven Had Gone Away” (Planet Rock Live Session at the Hendrix Flat)
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