Rock and roll can be a small world indeed. Who knew Eddie Van Halen and Valerie Bertinelli may have never met if not for Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s dad?
Valerie and Eddie first met in 1980. At the time, she was staying at her parents’ home in Shreveport, Louisiana due to an actors strike and scored backstage passes to see Van Halen perform in the area. Those passes were courtesy of Ken Shepherd, a local radio personality and some-time concert promoter. Here’s Kenny Wayne from a recent interview with Ultimate-Guitar’s Greg Prato talking about his family connection to Van Halen:
We have a lot of history together like, beyond just touring and doing the music together. Because this is not like a massively well-known story, but my dad brought Valerie Bertinelli to her first Van Halen concert. And that’s where she met Eddie for the first time, right? So, our families have this crazy connection that goes all the way back to Eddie and Valerie meeting. It’s just interesting, how intertwined our lives were over the years.
Years later, Kenny Wayne opened for Van Halen twice. He toured with the band in 1998 and again in 2015.
For us to do that whole last tour [in 2015] – nobody knew it was the last tour – but it was obviously a great experience. We had a blast doing it. And I’m really grateful to have been able to spend that kind of time over the course of a few months, like every day. You’re basically seeing [Eddie] and spending time with him and sitting and having conversations with him before he passed away.