ZZ Top guitarist and singer Billy Gibbons recalled in an interview with Eddie Trunk his reaction when he first saw the late guitarist Eddie Van Halen playing. The musician also said they shared a passion for Mexican food.
Billy Gibbons recalls his reaction when he first saw Eddie Van Halen play:
“Oh my goodness, I knew him well from the very first record, and he was actually, as it came to pass, I discovered that he was a neighbor, very close to the house back in Los Angeles.”
“And I first heard the word, ‘Hey, man, there’s a guy that plays some interesting guitar riffs, maybe you should get together,’ only to discover that sitting in the record bin was the first Van Halen record. They had already picked up steam, and fortunately, I was able to go out and catch a live show, and that blew my mind. I said, ‘Oh my gosh, these guys have got it going on.’ I miss him dearly.”
Obviously, his guitar style is so different than yours, but I imagine for you it must’ve been like, ‘What is this guy doing?’ We’ve heard that from a lot of people, I would imagine that you were trying to process what was going on when you first heard that.
“Yeah, you’re right, we play in different styles. He and I got together because we both discovered we had a passion for Mexican food. And after his passing, there’s not a day that goes by when I can dip into a bowl of hot sauce, and it’s kind of a revisit of fond recollections of being able to hang out together. It’s something else.”
In an interview with ABC News Radio after Eddie Van Halen’s death back in 2020, Gibbons talked about the musician, saying:
“He was always ready to deliver. Even [with] the most ferocious riffs and with that technique, it was really gratifying to be in front of a guy that genuinely appreciated and enjoyed every single moment.”
“Eddie’s technical prowess is nearly unsurpassed. When it comes [to the] hammer-on [style], he’s one of the guys that not only did it best, but did it fast, he did it furiously. And I know that we’re gonna miss hearing some of that hammer-on stuff from Eddie V. What a great player. What a great guy.”
Gibbons recalled the first time he met Eddie, saying: “We started talking about cars and girls. And then we got into the real gist of it…talking about guitars.”