This week, the rock and metal world was shaken to its core by the death of legendary guitarist Eddie Van Halen. While it’s easy to see how Van Halen‘s music influenced mainstream hard rock, it’s important to acknowledge that his tapping style and aggressive riffs helped shape the worlds of thrash, death metal, black metal, and the whole of the extreme underground scene.
On this week’s episode of our heavy metal talk show Last Words, hosts Jordan Olds (Two Minutes To Late Night), Katy Irizarry (Season Of Mist), and Doc Coyle (Bad Wolves/Ex Man Podcast) are joined by Russian Circles guitarist Mike Sullivan and Umbra Vitae/The Red Chord guitarist Mike McKenzie in remembering Eddie Van Halen’s talent and legacy. And, as Jordan points out, while this is a somber moment, it’s also one for celebration — because who can be somber when Van Halen is on?
“We just found out that the most iconic guitarist maybe ever just passed away,” says Olds in his intro. “It’s Eddie Van Halen. So it’s a special episode…Van Halen the band is my favorite band in the world. They made me like music the way that I do. It’s weird to be sad, but also, as I realized today, it is impossible to be sad and listen to Van Halen.”
“No one’s bummed out, puts on a Van Halen record, and stays bummed out,” says Mike Sullivan. “It pulls out the joy in you. So it’s kind of like — not that you’d automatically celebrate someone’s life upon their death, but right away, you’re like, Damn, this band was so much fun. And I don’t listen to fun music, really, but Van Halen was a really fun band!”
Watch the full episode below:
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Words by Chris Krovatin