The news of Eddie Van Halen‘s passing hit me and many others like a punch in the face. It was a devastating blow to lose such a kind and beautiful soul, a genuinely nice person, and of course, what a true talent. Eddie was non-judgmental, and his ever-present smile and lightning-fast fingers on the guitar will forever be etched in our memories.
As reported by Louder Sound, Interestingly, Eddie’s journey began as the drummer of Van Halen before he switched to the guitar. With a background in classical piano, his musicality was unmatched by any other rockers. Gene Simmons remembers Eddie Van Halen much larger than any of us ever will.
In a recent interview, Gene focused most of his energy on Eddie Van Halen and the memories that he has about the star.
Gene first encountered Eddie and the band at the Starwood in 1976, and was left in awe. Gene stated that the band were already great even at that early stage.
Many believed that Gene Simmons discovered Van Halen, but contrary to popular belief, he stated that he did not discover Van Halen.
Gene said: “I was fortunate enough to be there and witness their brilliance. Nonetheless, I signed the band to my production company and produced a demo for them. The song “House Of Pain” they recorded with me remains Edward’s defining moment. It’s a powerful track that erupts with energy, and the band performed it live in the studio.”
Unfortunately, despite the quality of the tracks they recorded together, Gene couldn’t generate interest from his manager or even his KISS bandmates. Van Halen’s potential went unrecognized within Gene’s organization, and Warner Brothers eventually scooped them up.
Gene then said that he always knew it would happen as he said: “They went on to become superstars, and I couldn’t help but say, “I told you so” to my bandmates.”
Gene’s friendship with Eddie is something he will always treasure. Over the years, Gene said that they saw less of each other, but their final meeting on Sunset Boulevard will forever stay with him. Even in the face of cancer, Gene said, Eddie remained happy-go-lucky and shrugged off his condition with a smile. He never spoke ill of others and conducted himself with humility, reminding me to reevaluate my own ego.