Jerry Cantrell recently had an interview with Guitar World and talked about his memories with Van Halen’s late guitarist Eddie Van Halen. He explained why he liked Eddie as soon as they met.
Cantrell formed Alice In Chains with the drummer Sean Kinney in 1987. The band members have admitted that they owe their success to their inspirations, such as Tony Iommi from Black Sabbath. Especially for Cantrell, Elton John was his inspiration to become a musician in the first place.
Although various musicians inspired the grunge band, Van Halen held a special place in Cantrell’s life, especially Eddie Van Halen, who passed away recently in October 2020. In his interview, he spoke about their special bond and stated that he felt close to the late guitar legend because of his big heart.
As it turns out, the pair’s friendship started when Alice in Chains were opening for Van Halen in the early ’90s. After the tour, Cantrell returned home, and he was shocked to see that the guitar icon had gifted him two guitars and an entire rig. He recalled this incident by saying that Eddie ‘took a shine’ to him and admitted that those guitars mean the world to him.
The interviewer recalled:
“We loved that story about you supporting Van Halen on tour and coming back to find he’d sent you a couple of guitars and an entire rig as a gift.”
Here is what he fully stated about Eddie Van Halen:
“Yeah, that was pretty amazing. He had a really big heart. It meant a lot then, and it means even more to me now that he’s gone, that took a shine to me. We had a little bond, you know. It was a really cool thing.
Any time we got the chance to hang, going to a pool hall or just meeting at his hotel and whipping out a couple of guitars or just sitting around backstage. Sometimes I’d be late for soundcheck, and I’d show up, and he’d be up there with the band, fuckin’ rockin’ out with them.
And honestly, those two Eddie Van Halen guitars mean the world to me. One of them was the Goldtop that went missing when I was making a Degradation Trip. Somebody lifted it out of the A&M studio.”
Eddie Van Halen is still a musician admired and missed by everyone in the rock music industry. Van Halen disbanded after the passing of the guitarist, stating: ‘You can’t have Van Halen without Eddie Van Halen,’ which was supported by their fans.