Gene Simmons ‘Furious’ After Van Halen Tragedy


Kiss legend Gene Simmons recently stated that he doesn’t hear any of Eric Clapton’s influence in Eddie Van Halen’s playing style. He also noted how the late guitar hero’s spontaneously humble demeanor felt like a “bitchslap” to his own “big ego.”

Gene Simmons opens up on the matter

Alongside Ozzy Osbourne’s Randy Rhoads, Eddie Van Halen is often considered as one of the patron saints of ’80s rock guitar. The rise of Van Halen unofficially ushered in a new era for rock music, and a lot of it was related to Eddie’s signature style and how it compared to the blues-inspired heroes of the previous generation.

It is almost impossible to view Eddie’s playing as anything but a beast unto itself, Gene Simmons, as someone who had the firsthand experience of watching Van Halen go from a bunch of Sunset Strip hopefuls to arena-fillers, feels very much the same.

Speaking to Louder in a new interview, The Demon reflected on Van Halen & Eddie’s sonic lineage:

“What really intrigued me about Van Halen was that they came out of nowhere, it seemed like they had no lineage. The big lips and blues-laden songs meant that you could trace the relationship between Aerosmith and the Stones, but to this day I’ve no clue where Van Halen came from.

“Edward has talked about being a fan of Clapton. I’m sorry, I don’t see that. Where other guitarists were inspired by B.B. King or Albert King, Edward was playing majors and minors and flat-thirds. What he did was closer to classical music.”

Gene also has no doubts about, however, is how uniquely and undeniably kind-hearted the late guitarist was:

“Those that had the honour of having met Eddie Van Halen will know that he never said a bad word about others. Eddie didn’t bad-mouth rival bands. He conducted himself with a shrug of the shoulders. He reminded me of Charlie Chaplin; at the end of a movie he could be left with nothing, tattered and torn, and he’d walk off down the road with nonchalance.

“That part of his character was always a bitchslap to me, with my big ego. I’m full of myself and I love the sound of my own voice. Spending time in the presence of Edward made me think: ‘I should probably stop this’. You know, give up the airs and stupid stuff and just concentrate on being a human being.

“Eddie was all about the music, not just the chicks or the rock’n’roll lifestyle. That’s something I always admired about him. He was a lover of life. Whenever you met him he smiled from ear to ear.”

With Eddie’s massive influence in mind, Gene admits he’s frustrated with the fact that not many of today’s kids know and love his music. He added:

“As much as his death was upsetting, it also made me a little furious that so many of our so-called ‘younger generation’ remain unaware of his talents.

“For f***’s sake, parents should be slapping mobile phones out of their kids’ hands and telling them to check out this guy. Our millennials need to know about the most important musician since Jimi Hendrix. There will never be another like him.”