Last year saw Eddie Van Halen, pioneering guitarist and driving force behind legendary party rockers Van Halen, pass away at the age of 65. Not only did Eddie teach a whole generation what it was to be cool, he was also one of the most important players in the history of the electric guitar, revolutionizing the instrument and spawning a legion of speedy, technical imitators. The track which perhaps best showcases Eddie’s ability was “Eruption,” an almost two-minute solo displaying Van Halen’s high-octane abilities and classical chops. Now, a violinist has posted her cover of “Eruption” on YouTube, and it’s basically one of the coolest things we’ve ever seen.
The video comes from Japanese metal band Unlucky Morpheus, whose violinist Jill performs the tribute. As you can see in the footage, Jill’s cover doesn’t miss a note; she even plays with the moments where Eddie wasn’t simply tapping but using the growls and groans of his instrument to add texture to the piece. It’s a reminder of two important facts: first, that Eddie Van Halen wasn’t just any hard rock guitarist, but one whose abilities could’ve landed him in a symphony if the Stratocaster was regarded for the classic instrument it is; and second, that Van Halen’s legacy goes far beyond just other hard rock musicians, and informed the work of talented players all over the world.
Watch Jill absolutely slay this cover of “Eruption” below:
Jesus, that rules.
Jill’s cover of “Eruption” isn’t the only powerful tribute to Eddie recently unveiled. Just last week, Eddie’s memory was immortalized with a mural along one side of the flagship Guitar Center store. Rhe massive memorial was unveiled yesterday for Eddie’s birthday, with renowned muralist Robert Vargas providing the artwork. Standing 17 feet tall and 105 feet long, the piece is a fitting tribute to one of the greatest musicians in rock history.
“Eddie was one of my creative heroes,” says Vargas. “When I was young, the debut Van Halen record was the first album I ever owned. He influenced me over the years in so many different ways. As soon as the news hit of his passing, I knew I had to do something creative to memorialize him, and Guitar Center was the obvious venue. Right here on the Sunset Strip, where the band made their bones – I can’t think of a better place for this tribute to him, and I thank Guitar Center for giving me the canvas to share it with the world.”
Words by Chris Krovatin