Of the many, many, many tributes to Eddie Van Halen that poured out from across the internet last night, one that stuck with me most came from one-time Southgang and Marvelous 3 member Butch Walker, who has since forged a very successful career as a producer and solo artist while always staying tied to his metal roots.
In a six-minute stream of consciousness video post, Walker began by describing a childhood experience shared by many of us — the complete awe of hearing Van Halen for the first time (“it sounded like it was from fucking outer space”), how that inspired him to pick up a guitar, adorning everything he owned with EVH’s patented red, white and black striped paint job, etc. — before raising his glasses and wiping his eyes around the 4:30 mark, visibly upset, saying:
“It’s really hard when you get to a certain age and you start losing your idols. And that’s where I’m at. I’m at 50 and they’re dropping likes flies and it hurts. But I can honestly say that this one hurts the worst and I don’t know that the world will ever be the same without his presence and his talent. My heart goes to his family, his son, Wolfie, Wolfgang, who grew up and had the ultimate gig. And what a great dad to put him in his fucking band, you know? They played stadiums and arenas together. I can only dream of being able to do that with my son one day. So my heart goes out to you, the Van Halen family, and… [long pause]… I love you, Ed.”
I’m not crying, you’re crying. Just kidding… I definitely cried a whole lot last night.
You can watch Butch’s video tribute below.