The late Van Halen guitarist Eddie Van Halen always considered Eric Clapton one of his main influences but in an interview with Guitar World back in 1992, the musician said that the first show he ever went to was to Derek & The Dominos (Band Clapton created after Blind Faith). However, he didn’t like the concert and explained the reason why.
When Eddie Van Halen said he didn’t like Eric Clapton’s concert:
“The first concert I saw was Derek and the Dominos with Eric Clapton… To be honest with you, I was expecting something more powerful. If I would’ve seen Cream, I probably would’ve been blown away, because that’s the era of Clapton that I really loved.”
“The show was more of a Doobie Brothers Kind of thing — there was like this tambourine and bongo player. The power wasn’t there… Al and I tried to get backstage; unfortunately, Eric had already left, but we did get to meet the tambourine player! Swear to God! “
It sounds like there are Ritchie Blackmore influences in your playing?
“Since the last five or six years I really haven’t been into any one guitarist. I like everybody. I’ve listened to Blackmore and [Jeff] Beck and especially [Beck’s album] Wired, I like some of that stuff. Before that I just never really got into him. I didn’t like him with Beck, Bogert & Appice. But the main guitarist I’d say that influenced me to play the most was Clapton.”
Eric Clapton was really the guitarist who did it for you?
“I used to love the way he played. He was real smooth and a lot of feeling. Every review I ever read of the album or my playing, it’s always Blackmore, Beck and Page influences. But I never really sat down and copped their licks like I did Clapton. I guess a lot of people think I sound like Beck or Blackmore because I do use the bar and they do also. So it kinda gets the same kinda sound.”
“The only thing Blackmore got me hooked on was the whammy bar. Because I never really liked the way he played that weird staccato stuff. But I feel a lot of my licks are different than theirs. Like the wide stretch things I do, I try and make it sound a little bit different.”
You do that one thing during Eruption where you’re hitting a note and…
“Right, right. It’s like having a sixth finger on your left hand. Instead of picking, you’re hitting a note on the fretboard.”