Pearl Jam’s Stone Gossard is one of many guitarists reflecting on the career and influence of Eddie Van Halen since his death on October 6.
In a recent interview on Talkin’ Rock with Meltdown, Gossard said when asked if Van Halen had any influence on his playing, “You know, not that much on my guitar playing, in general, because he was so good and I’m a hack. Those two worlds don’t necessarily meet. But his band and the influence of his band and his on playing on Pearl Jam and the world of music and rock and roll, in general…it’s hard to overstate how important Van Halen was and how original they were.”
He continued, “It’s an unbelievable combination of elements that Eddie brought together. The dance aspect of that band, the heaviness aspect of that band, the joy and the humor of that band. The irreverence and just the sheer badass-ness of how they could come out and dominate an arena and/or a stadium. I mean, there’s really no one better. You could never go on after Van Halen. It would never work. There are very few bands…you don’t want to go on after Rage Against the Machine, and you don’t want to go on after Van Halen.”
Gossard also reflected on Van Halen’s early days in the late ’70s saying, “I saw them play quite a few times. Everyone in the Jeff [Ament], Eddie [Vedder] and Mike [McCready] all saw Van Halen in ’78, ’79 during their first and second record, sort of smaller venues, opening up for Black Sabbath. I mean, can you imagine that? A lethargic Black Sabbath being blown off the stage by Van Halen every night, who were the young, hot California guys that had so much energy they probably couldn’t contain themselves?”
He continued, “That was probably a wake-up call for Black Sabbath, although I love Black Sabbath. Like I said, it’s hard to overstate how big Van Halen is to rock and roll and the legacy of American rock.”