Steelheart singer Miljenko Matijevic spoke of Eddie Van Halen’s generosity during a recent interview, saying Eddie offered to give Matijevic his piano.
Matijevic struck up a friendship with Edde through a mutual friend – photographer Neil Zlozower – sometime in the early 2000s, after Van Halen’s tour with Sammy Hagar in 2004. At the time, Eddie and the band were still considering what the next step would be. He told the story to Michael Christopher for Metal Edge. Here’s an excerpt from Christopher’s article:
“He gave me his number and said, ‘Let’s connect.’ Then, I came over the house, we had some wine, we talked a lot, we had some good conversations, then we talked music. Then I came back again and we just…hung out — quite a bit actually. We talked about all this and I go, ‘You know, I shoulda been in the band [when Gary Cherone joined in 1996].’ At that point, Van Halen was in another dimension. There’s no more singers and all that. It had to be David Lee Roth.”
“That was a heavy period for everybody for that…’path’ I should say,” Matijevic said. “One funny thing, I said, ‘Let me sing over some of this music.’ He goes, ‘All right.’ So, we get the engineer in there, the whole thing. I go, ‘All right, put it on.’ I sing one verse one way, then I go, ‘Put it on again.’ I sing the verse another way. ‘Put it on again.’ Sing the verse another way. And [Eddie] comes into the door and he says, ‘Dude. You got more shit comin’ through you than I do. I feel sorry for you.'” [laughs]
The renowned generosity of Eddie Van Halen did leave Matijevic with one regret.
“He had a Steinway upright piano; and I said, ‘I need my piano, I don’t have my piano anymore,” the singer remembers. “He goes, ‘Take that one, you can have it.’ And I go, ‘Naw, I don’t want to take your piano!’ ‘No, really, take the piano! You can have it — I can deliver it.’ I felt bad, just…my culture, coming from Europe. It’s not what I do — you know? But he really was like, ‘Take it!’ I shoulda taken that piano.”