Eddie Van Halen had dealt with alcohol and drug addictions. During an appearance on Thursday, August 11 episode of SiriusXM’s “Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk”, Ted Nugent reflected on his friendship with legendary Van Halen guitarist Eddie Van Halen.
Ted Nugent opens up on Eddie Van Halen phone call
Nugent went on to claim that when Eddie Van Halen got clean and sober, he first made a phone call to Nugent.
He said: “What a great man he was. What a force to reckon with, how he enriched our lives with his musical genius.
“And let me clarify, in case Howard Stern, his lying punks are listening, because they made up a dirty f***ing lie on ‘The Howard Stern Show’, that I was jealous of Eddie and that we had a contention because of the way we played guitar. What a bunch of f***ing liars.
“Eddie and I were dear friends,” Ted continued. “When Eddie became clean and sober, guess who his first phone call was. To me. Because I lovingly prodded him to get the drugs and alcohol and tobacco out of his life. I did it in a loving way, and he was resistant, as most people are, but we had a wonderful relationship.”
During the same interview, Nugent also recalled a conversation he had with Van Halen when the band first opened for Ted 45 years ago.
“On that stage, I was fascinated to see what this guy was doing with a handmade guitar, back in ’77,” Nugent said. “And I went up and I said, ‘Hi, Eddie. I’m Ted. What is this rig? It’s awesome.’ And he whipped out those unbelievable, unique licks of his. And he handed me his guitar. And even though it was this unique rig and the amplification and all these effects and just one of a kid, as soon as I started playing his bastard Stratocaster, it sounded like me, because of the way I touch the instrument. But not quite like a [Gibson] Birdland, because a Birdland just feeds back uncontrollably [laughs] — it’s like an angry, pissed off beast. And I handed him the Birdland and it fed back and fed back.
“But here’s the takeaway: it’s in the hands and in the heart. It’s in the spirit of the musician,” Ted continued. “And when Eddie played my Birdland, and I was able to back it down a little bit so it wasn’t so out-of-control feedback, on my Gibson Birdland through my Fender amps, it sounded like Eddie f***ing Van Halen, because he is it. And even with his rig — I would play some of my licks; I played the ‘Cat Scratch’ lick and I played the ‘Free-For-All’ lick — it sounded like Ted f***ing Nugent.
“But my point is: Eddie Van Halen, we all worship the gift he gave us,” Nugent added. “There was never a negative moment between Eddie and I. He and I got along just great. And we loved the same kind of music. And he had a miraculous touch on the guitar, and I had my own touch. And that moment, with those two different guitars and two different rigs, it proves that it really is in the hands of the individual. And it was a great, great moment. I cherish that moment.”