You’ve heard of people with odd quirks – pretty much every human who has ever lived and currently lives on planet earth. Well, it turns out that good ‘ol Eddie Van Halen, of Van Halen, likewise shares one of these odd ball quirks. It’s not as bad as what you may think, but it could be – if he allows his quirk to manifest while performing. He might then find himself on the chopping block for copyright infringement and embroiled in a bitter public rivalry with a younger foe.
As reported by Guitar World, he was one of the most innovative electric guitar players who ever lived, Eddie Van Halen. The man who inspired countless aspiring axe-slingers. But it’s Nuno Bettencourt who is often cited as one of the few individuals who was able to channel Van Halen’s flashy fretboard tactics and inherent groove into their own playing style successfully.
Van Halen himself was a big fan of the Extreme guitarist – so much, that he would often play one of Bettencourt’s riffs during Van Halen soundchecks. Imagine that.
In a tale told to Guitar World’s Amit Sharma by Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger for a forthcoming interview, Bettencourt once met up with Van Halen’s guitar tech, who was present when the Extreme virtuoso started reciting the riff to He-Man Woman Hater. However, despite having been originally penned by Bettencourt, the guitar tech mistook it for an unrecorded, unreleased Van Halen track, owing to the fact Eddie used to play it at “every single soundcheck”.
“[Bettencourt] told me this great story once,” Kroeger recalled. “He was using Eddie Van Halen’s guitar tech when Van Halen were on downtime.
“He started playing He-Man Woman Hater during soundcheck and the tech said, ‘Oh, how do you know that riff? It’s a Van Halen riff that’s never been recorded!’ And Nuno was like, ‘What are you talking about?’ And the tech said that Eddie used to play that song every single soundcheck.”
As you can imagine, Bettencourt took it as the highest form of flattery: “Nuno looked at him with his eyes lighting up and said, ‘It’s our song and I wrote it, it’s called He-Man Woman Hater, and you just made my life!’
“If you had one of the greatest players of all time jamming your shit every day, that would be the biggest compliment in the world!”