Gene Simmons saluted his old friend Eddie Van Halen during an appearance on The Jeremy White Podcast. Blabbermouth transcribed some of the Kiss bassist's recollection of the guitarist who succumbed to cancer last October 6th.
Simmons recalled, “When Eddie came along, nobody played like that. And I'm not even talking about the quality of the songs, or Dave (Lee Roth) completely taking the frontman to the nth level. I mean, at that time, Dave was the king. There was nobody. If Mick Jagger stood next to him, it would be like a sixth-grader. And he really took it all the way. The whole band — the musicianship, the songwriting. But when Edward would get in front of that stage and start tapping and stuff — which I'd never seen before; apparently it had been done by jazz musicians and everything — your jaw drops. Clearly, no one since (Jimi) Hendrix had that kind of impact.”
A while back, Gene Simmons spoke to Eddie Trunk and shed light on his early connection to Van Halen: “I found a band called Van Halen and flew them to New York and produced their first demo, which included their first record and a lot of other tunes that would up (on other albums) through the years. And I couldn't convince (Kiss manager) Bill Aucoin to sign them, or the record company (Casablanca), because Bill Aucoin thought that they looked like Black Oak Arkansas. And I told him he was on crack again, because nobody knew who that band was, and so what if they were there — this is the next big band in America. I really believed it, I couldn't convince anybody. So I said to them, 'Y'know, I got ya signed (to a production deal), go back to L.A. after the tour, let's see what happens. I gotta go out on tour with Kiss.'At the end of the tour, they got a deal with Warners and I tore up the contract (and said) 'consider this a gift.'”