The three guitarists Van Halen accused of copying him

Eddie Van Halen

Eddie Van Halen introduced a playing style that many found entirely unfamiliar when he first emerged on the scene. The use of frantic and disorganized sounds replaced lengthy, forceful notes. A lot of metal music features his shredding technique, which makes playing the guitar interesting.

Van Halen never objected to others using his technique; if he had, he would be in bitter revenge against many different kinds of musicians. He didn’t like it when other people imitated his sound exactly. There were multiple instances of this, but the guitarist found the first one especially difficult because one of the impersonators had been a childhood hero.

“Last year, Rick Derringer performed my exact solo as our opening act. I said, “Hey, Rick,” as we were sitting in the bar after the show. You raised me on your ass. In what way is this possible? Eddie recalled, “It doesn’t matter if you use the technique—don’t play my melody.” “And he says, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah,’ while inebriated and foolish. He performs my solo once more the following evening, capping the performance with “You Really Got Me,” which is precisely what we do. I hate to say it, but I just told him that he wasn’t opening for us if he kept acting that way. Thus, I dismissed him.

Van Halen’s guitarist describes Derringer’s decision not to support the band once more as “fucked.” Understandably, he is frustrated because, having admired Derringer’s inventiveness when he first started playing music as a child, it must have been tough for him to perform on the same stage and then use it as a platform to rip off the guitarist.

Additionally, they charged Johnny Winter with imitating the hard rock soloist. “Still Alive and Well, and such.” And here’s the dude stealing my ideas. Van Halen remarked the same thing regarding Bostonian Tom Scholtz: “It’s pretty weird.” “I forget where we played right in front of them, but we did our solo. Then, without warning, he performs my solo. And because it happened during the day, it was extraordinary.

“I was standing onstage, and the entire audience was staring at me like, ‘What’s this guy doing?'” he said. I got mad because I was inebriated. There is nothing like Tom Scholtz. He is not gregarious and must believe that he is God or something. He never makes an appearance and never says hello. And he doesn’t take any action.

Being a forward-thinking musician has its drawbacks: although it opens doors for other musicians to push the boundaries of contemporary music, it also puts your music at risk of being outright stolen by others. It was Van Halen who was on the receiving end of it, and he rightly calls the situation “fucked.”

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