Slash has always shown his love and respect for his friend Eddie Van Halen — whom the Guns N' Roses guitarist has always cited as an early musical hero.
During a new chat with Consequence Of Sound, Slash spoke about the importance of what Van Halen did for the guitar and music in general, explaining, “The thing about Eddie is that he was such a gifted musician. Any instrument he had chosen to play would have been phenomenal, because he just had that pure musical talent. And for somebody with that kind of musical talent to get turned on to rock n' roll guitar was sort of unique unto itself, because most of us guitar players are a ragged bunch of rock n’ rollers who don’t have too much technical ability or schooling. We just sort of go for this raw thing. And he had that, but he also had this musical, sort of classical gift.”
For Slash — Eddie Van Halen symbolized a once-in-a-lifetime artist: “On top of that, just being somebody. . . who hears something in his head or has an idea and creates it. So it made him a triple threat. He was a great guitar player, but he was also this amazing musician, so it just made his guitar playing that much greater. And then he was an innovator on top of it, creating new things with whatever his imagination came up with. So he was just an amazing artist, period.”
Slash went on to say, “And he was just a really, really sweet, humble guy, too. . . I just miss him a lot, but the world is definitely a changed place since 1978, when (the) Van Halen (album) came out.”
Slash believes that although Eddie Van Halen has been lauded for his groundbreaking physicality — a lot of the guitarists that followed in his wake, failed to pick up on the subtleties that made him so unique: “I don't think anybody's had as much an influence. Every kid on the block was learning Van Halen licks. In between all the technical prowess that Eddie had, there was a killer blues thing. Everybody that emulated it, nobody ever got that part. They had the hammer-ons, they had the tremelo bar stuff, and all that kind of crap — but they never got the most important was all the really tasty stuff that was in-between. And just, like, the melodic stuff where all the soul was coming from.”