Ted Nugent reflected on his friendship with Eddie Van Halen during an appearance on SiriusXM’s “Trunk Nation” today (August 11).
“What a great man he was,” Nugent told host Eddie Trunk. “What a force to reckon with, how he enriched our lives with his musical genius.”
Nugent also took the opportunity to clear the air regarding claims that Nugent was envious of Eddie.
“Let me clarify, in case Howard Stern, his lying punks are listening,” Nugent said. “Because they made up a dirty fucking lie on ‘The Howard Stern Show’, that I was jealous of Eddie and that we had a contention because of the way we played guitar. What a bunch of fucking liars. Eddie and I were dear friends. When Eddie became clean and sober, guess who his first phone call was. To me. Because I lovingly prodded him to get the drugs and alcohol and tobacco out of his life. I did it in a loving way, and he was resistant, as most people are, but we had a wonderful relationship.”
Nugent also shared the story of when Van Halen first opened for him in the late 70s. It’s when he got an up-close look and listen at the genius of Eddie Van Halen.
“On that stage, I was fascinated to see what this guy was doing with a handmade guitar, back in ’77,” Nugent said. “And I went up and I said, ‘Hi, Eddie. I’m Ted. What is this rig? It’s awesome.’ And he whipped out those unbelievable, unique licks of his. And he handed me his guitar. And even though it was this unique rig and the amplification and all these effects and just one of a kid, as soon as I started playing his bastard Stratocaster, it sounded like me, because of the way I touch the instrument. But not quite like a [Gibson] Birdland, because a Birdland just feeds back uncontrollably [laughs] — it’s like an angry, pissed off beast. And I handed him the Birdland and it fed back and fed back.
“But here’s the takeaway,” he continued. “It’s in the hands and in the heart. It’s in the spirit of the musician and when Eddie played my Birdland, and I was able to back it down a little bit so it wasn’t so out-of-control feedback, on my Gibson Birdland through my Fender amps, it sounded like Eddie fucking Van Halen, because he is it. And even with his rig — I would play some of my licks; I played the ‘Cat Scratch’ lick and I played the ‘Free-For-All’ lick — it sounded like Ted fucking Nugent.
“But my point is – Eddie Van Halen, we all worship the gift he gave us,” Nugent added. “There was never a negative moment between Eddie and I. He and I got along just great. And we loved the same kind of music. And he had a miraculous touch on the guitar, and I had my own touch. And that moment, with those two different guitars and two different rigs, it proves that it really is in the hands of the individual. And it was a great, great moment. I cherish that moment.”