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Billie Joe Armstrong recalls Eddie Van Halen cried when they met

Billie Joe Armstrong

Classic Rock

Billie Joe Armstrong recalls Eddie Van Halen cried when they met

Green Day co-founder, guitarist and vocalist Billie Joe Armstrong was born in Oakland, California back in 1972, the same year Van Halen was formed. By the time the band released their groundbreaking debut album he was only six and in the following years he became a huge fan of the group.


Luckly, the first concert he ever went to was of Van Halen, in 1984 when he was 12 years-old. A few decades later, during their final reunion with David Lee Roth, Armstrong had the chance to see them playing and also to meet the late legendary guitarist Eddie Van Halen. He recalled in an interview with Howard Stern (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage) that they had a deep conversation and Van Halen cried.

Billie Joe Armstrong recalls Eddie Van Halen cried when they met

“When I saw Van Halen in 1984 I was 12, they were my favorite band and I cried (laughs). Because Eddie’s guitar playing came from a different place, he reinvented how to play guitar. But they also wrote great songs. I think that’s the main thing I took away from Van Halen, it’s the songs. (They) were just so f*cking great.”

“Yeah (I had the chance to meet him) one time. It was right when Van Halen got back together with David Lee Roth. Me and a bunch of friends got in a plane and we went to go see him in Kansas City. Because we didn’t want to do in California because we knew it was going to be a shit show (because) it just seemed like a lot of people were there hobnobbing, a lot more celebrity and Rock stars backstage.”

“So we were like: ‘Let’s go somewhere like it’s in the heart of like where Rock fans are. So we went to the midwest to go see him play and they were incredible. (Meeting him) was kind of an emotional thing. I first met Wolfie (Wolfgang Van Halen) and he was super cool and he said ‘Do you wanna meet Eddie?'”

He continued:

“He is back there and he’s got his guitar plugged in and it was like he was talking to me and shredding at the same time. I was just like ‘Oh my God’. I don’t know if anybody knows this but the size of his hands were gigantic. I grabbed his hands and I looked at them, I was like ‘Dude, your hands are so (big). He said: ‘Oh, I got arthritis now, blah, blah, blah’. Then this really insane thing happened where he kind of started crying. He looked at me and he put his hand behind my neck and he goes ‘You are the only one that understands me’.”

“He just had tears coming down his eyes and I didn’t really know what to say. It was like: ‘Man, you have no idea like how much you’ve meant to me as a musician, as a songwriter’. He was like: ‘People think I am an alien because of the way I play’. And (I said): ‘It’s all about your songs’ and he says: ‘Exactly!'”

Billie Joe Armstrong continued:

“It was like really heavy kind of experience. Then the crazy thing, it was this really sweet thing that happened was that Wolfie came in and Eddie’s shredding and he’s going: ‘Dad! Dad! Dad! Dad! We have to tune’.”

“So they both had their guitar and bass, and they weren’t using a tuner. Eddie said the coolest thing, it was like a father and son moment. He goes: ‘You want to tune to me or you want me to tune to you?’ That kind of bond that a father and son had as musicians. It always stuck with me as this beautiful thing. Then we went back out and watched (the show) in the crowd. It was like just a phenomenal show,” Billie Joe Armstrong said.

Green Day is one of the most successful Pop Punk bands of all time, the trio has sold an estimated amount of more than 75 million records worldwide. It is formed by Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt (Bass) and Tré Cool (Drums).

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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