Eddie Van Halen changed the course of guitar playing after the release of Van Halen’s groundbreaking self-titled debut album in 1978. It was especially his tapping technique that made people’s jaws drop and was copied by many other artists in the following decade. He was inspired by many different guitarists but the original Kiss guitar player Ace Frehley said in an interview with Foo Fighters’ Chris Shiflett that he might have been one of his influences.
Curiously, his ex-bandmate Gene Simmons tried to help Van Halen in the early days after he saw them playing in a club. The Kiss bassist helped them to record a demo but wasn’t able to get them a record deal. Not much after that they finally got signed with Warner Brothers.
Ace Frehley says he might have inspired Eddie Van Halen
“Before Van Halen became famous, Gene discovered them. But all I can tell you is when I was doing my guitar solo at Madison Square Garden before they became famous, Eddie was down in the pit watching every fucking move I made.”
“I did it with the pick (the tapping), I didn’t go with my finger. Eddie probably got some ideas from me, just like I got ideas from other guitar players. But he perfected it. There’s no way I could play some of the solos that he pulled off. As far as I can remember, I think I just came up with it (the technique. I don’t know,” Ace Frehley said.
Curiously, the song “Christine Sixteen”, written by Gene Simmons had an Eddie Van Halen guitar solo. Eddie and Alex played on the original demos of the song and Simmons later made Frehley copy note for note the guitar solo written by Eddie for the song.
Frehley was a member of Kiss from 1973 to 1982, returning from 1996 to 2002. Besides being their lead guitar player, the musician also was the lead vocalist in some tracks like “Shock Me”.