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Gene Simmons recalls his final encounter with Eddie Van Halen

Gene Simmons

Classic Rock

Gene Simmons recalls his final encounter with Eddie Van Halen

The Kiss co-founder, bassist and singer Gene Simmons was one of the first famous artists that helped Van Halen in the early days, since he saw them playing one night at a club and managed to assist them in the recording of their first demo. Even though that didn’t helped them to get their first record deal right away at the time, not long afterwards they were able to make their first album, which was the start of a successful career.


In an interview with Classic Rock, Simmons recalled that story and also talked about how was his last meeting with Eddie Van Halen, who died in 2020 at the age of 65 after a battle with cancer.

Gene Simmons recalls his final encounter with Eddie Van Halen

“My friendship with him is something that I will always treasure. In the beginning we saw one another a lot, but less so as the years passed by. Our final meeting was in Los Angeles, we bumped into each other on Sunset Boulevard. He was already deeply affected by cancer. I had read that he blamed his condition on using a metal guitar pick, putting it in his mouth. In my view that wasn’t the case. Ed smoked all the time.

“All the same, when I heard that familiar voice calling my name on the street – ‘Hey, Gene!’ – I wasn’t sure what to say. His condition was wellknown at that point. He brought it up at the start of the conversation: ‘Hey, man, how you doing? I’ve got cancer’. I was embarrassed and wanted to reach out and hug him.”

“But standing there on the street with a cigarette in his hand he opened his mouth and smiled: ‘Check this out’, inviting me to look at the space where his upper palette should have been. He just shrugged: ‘I’ve got this disease, watcha gonna do? I’ll see you around’. It was typical Ed; happy-go-lucky,” Gene Simmons said.

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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