We’re saddened to learn that Van Halen guitarist Eddie Van Halen died on Tuesday after a long battle with throat cancer. He was 65. One of the most celebrated guitarists in rock & roll’s illustrious history, Eddie Van Halen will be missed by millions including these (mostly local) musicians who offered us their tributes:

Eric Dover (The Lickerish Quartet/Jellyfish/Slash’s Snakepit)

Just woke up from a nap to the sad news. My deepest condolences go out to the entire VH family. There will never be another like Ed. He influenced so many including myself. It’s hard to find the words at a time like this. All I can say is we were so lucky to have him in our lifetime and the music he gave us will live forever. Rest in peace.

Mat Dauzat (Dauzat St. Marie)

Imagine the unlikely odds of a rock guitarist becoming woven into the very fabric of global pop culture. But make the mere mention of the last name ‘Van Halen’ on any continent on this planet, and you’ll find no shortage of adoring fans. Ask any guitar player to cite their influences, and you’d be hard-pressed to find many who don’t name Eddie Van Halen in the forefront… with many likely even taking the extra step of citing Eddie as the reason they gravitated to the instrument in the first place. Eddie’s guitar playing spoke a language we had never heard before. It was a dialect so nuanced and beautiful that it captivated our imagination and inspired our passion to acquire even one TENTH the proficiency he displayed on the instrument. It is in this perpetual journey toward elevated levels of proficiency that the spirit of Edward Van Halen will live forever.

Dan West (LoveyDove)

My earliest memories of Eddie Van Halen involve him tooling around Studio City in his Lamborghini. Growing up in Studio City myself and sharing that zip code with one of the greatest guitarists of all time was pretty heady stuff for a budding young musician. I threw papers for the Herald Examiner and would often stop at Ringside Liquor at Whitsett and Moorpark for some bubble gum and soda. One Saturday morning I saw Eddie there stocking up with a 24 pack of Budweiser and a carton of Marlboro Reds. He immediately saw me staring wide eyed at his bounty and he flashed me that famous, mischievous grin. He checked out and walked back to his car. When I returned to my bike he waved to me and then tore off at breakneck speed South down Whitsett back toward 5150 which is still about halfway up Coldwater Canyon. I learned that not only was Eddie an amazing guitar player, he was a really cool person and totally unaffected by his stardom. R.I.P. Eddie. Your music will always rock our worlds.

(Else Duff)

Frank Meyer (Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs)

Eddie Van Halen is without a doubt the reason why I play guitar. I always loved music as a kid, but when I heard his playing over the radio, I froze in my tracks and it changed my life forever. He was a true enigma. He had so much firepower, yet so much passion and emotion. Such a complex musician, yet he wrote so many simple, meat-n-potatoes songs. Every note was bursting into flames, yet on his face was this pure, innocent, childlike smile that undercut the venom of those riffs.  Eddie Van Halen didn’t just make my dreams come true when he played guitar, he created my dreams. He was the very architect of my musical imagination. I will forever be in debt to the gifts he gave us. We all will be. Our Beethoven just left the building.

Morpheus Blak (The Nymphs/Inger Lorre)

I’ve many times cited over the decades in discussions about the evolution of the rock guitar sound and style, that there is that very small handful of players and moments that were of the most paramount importance and influence in that evolution timeline. The first was Jimi Hendrix- the man who started it all in terms of hard rock/heavy rock. I then place Ronnie Montrose next, because the self titled 1973 Montrose release was the first album that paved the way for the modern rock guitar sound- huge guitar tones that broke away from the fuzzy, psychedelic guitar tones of ’60’s rock, and short, sharp riffs that moved hard rock into a new era. There is a very important connection regarding that Montrose album and the next guy on my evolution list- Eddie Van Halen. Everyone knows how revolutionary that first VH album was, so I don’t need to expound on it, but there is an unsung hero behind the scenes here- the guy who produced Ronnie Montrose’s ground breaking guitar tone five years earlier in 1973- Ted Templeman would return to take it up one more notch with Eddie Van Halen in 1978. The Templeman/Van Halen collaboration would launch a massive global revolution for flash guitar playing and technical expertise in the world of Rock music. RIP to one of the supreme legends.

Kaz Alvis (The Wraith)

I was seven years old when the 1984 album came out and the “Hot For the Teacher,” “Jump”, and “Panama” videos were all over MTV. That record and those videos definitely had a huge impact on me, in many ways. I immediately started taking guitar lessons on a red Fender Strat that, not by coincidence, looked a lot like Eddie’s guitar. RIP Eddie.

Vince Cuneo (Movie Club)

Eddie Van Halen influenced all guitarists even if they didn’t know it. One of my go-to guitar pedals is the same Eddie used (MXR Phase 90). One day at a show, a fan mentioned how he made that pedal famous. Little did I know at the time, he used that pedal to make his guitar sound like planes crashing into a stadium rock show.

Scott Stone (The Jacks)

We are truly saddened to hear of the passing of Eddie Van Halen. He will forever be one of the greats who changed the way people thought of the guitar, especially when it came to constructing a solo. Everyone remembers when they first heard “Eruption,” it absolutely floored me. I then spent months trying to learn it note for note. Having the honor of getting to record at the same studio as him, his legendary presence was felt and will never be forgotten. Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones.

Shaunt Sulahian (Satellite Citi)

Eddie was always the center of any conversation when talking about rock icon’s or guitar heroes. Personally, after Hendrix, I believe he was the next to reinvent how the guitar was played. He turned a minute and 42 second instrumental track into one of the most exciting and other-worldly pieces of music anyone in the 20th century had heard. “Eruption” probably contributed to 50% of guitars being sold in the late ’70s and ’80s. At the very least, it definitely contributed to kids wanting to pick up a guitar. He was a genuine pioneer, and I absolutely love the fact that he continually experimented with his playing, and brought finger-tapping into the mainstream of rock music. He influenced millions, and will surely be forever missed.

(Else Duff)

Neal Tiemann (DevilDriver)
Eddie Van Halen was a colossus of the electric guitar and, more broadly, modern music.  His influence has pervaded my playing from the garage as a teenager, to the stage in front of thousands as a professional.  I was momentarily breathless the first time I walked by Sunset Sound, thinking of the magic Van Halen captured there.  His ferocious talent & amiability is reflected in every live VH photo.  Eddie’s imprint affected nearly all genres and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. The inspiration he instilled cannot be overstated & EVH will be deeply missed.
Rob Caggiano (Volbeat)
When Eddie Van Halen hit the scene he single handedly took the world by storm and changed the course of the electric guitar on every level and in doing so he changed the course of Rock & Roll forever. His brilliant innovative ideas and his dazzling phenomenal approach to the guitar had everybody’s fingers moving worldwide for many years in vain attempts to catch up with him. Nobody ever did. Everything about Eddie was infectious…His riffs, his licks, his sound, his style, his moves, his smile….he made you wanna PLAY!! He had a certain “magic” in his playing that was simply indescribable and untouchable even to this day. There might be a lot of amazing guitar players out there in the world right now but there will never be another Eddie Van Halen. Rest in Peace Eddie, you always were and always will be the “King of the Strings” …I’m literally crushed right now.
Eddie Spaghetti (Supersuckers)
Eddie Van Halen was the fucking MAN. No one else even comes. Not Hendrix, not Stevie Ray, and certainly not lame ass Clapton. No one touches the legacy of insanity, of beautiful chaos, of melodic mania that EVH left in his wake. He single handedly ruined hard rock lead guitar playing forever. By doing it so well and so uniquely he paved the way for thousands of copy cats who used his techniques in not nearly as creative a way and make a mess of music for decades. And now who’s even playing lead guitar anymore? His guitar playing was such a gift to me and millions of others. He showed us all how to lose our minds with music, that there were no rules that couldn’t be broken if we knew them well enough. Just listen to his playing on the last VH record, A Different Kind Of Truth, and you will hear a man still possessed by the ROCK. That record isn’t a classic by any stretch of the imagination but, fuck, the guitar playing is INSANE! I loved Eddie Van Halen. I will miss knowing he’s somewhere, ill advisedly smoking a cigarette and drinking a beer, playing some crazy riff that only be can hear…
Mark Morton (Lamb of God)

Edward Van Halen is the world’s greatest guitar hero. Pushing the limits of technical ability, innovation and style, Eddie single handedly set the standard of what rock guitar playing was for his own generation and the ones that followed. His impact was not confined solely to the mastery of guitar. As a songwriter, Edward’s pop sensibility and song craft propelled his band Van Halen through decades of worldwide, chart topping success, weathering extreme shifts in popular music trends. His impact on rock music cannot be measured. Eddie Van Halen is the sole reason I ever dreamed of playing guitar. Literally millions of people all over the world have found a passion for music through his work.  I am grateful to have been one of them. Eddie Van Halen will be loved and celebrated forever.

John 5 (Rob Zombie)

Eddie Van Halen was a modern day Mozart and it is just so sad  to see him  go. He was so  young. He is immortal and will live on forever.

He was an inventor and the greatest guitar player of all time…  The thing is, he took guitar to  such new places that no one has done before and he was just such an incredible player, And on  top  of  all of that he was an incredible songwriter too.

Anyone who ever picked up a guitar has played a Van Halen riff .

Eddie was like someone we all might never again see the likes of in this world — he was that special.

Thank you for changing the world.

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