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Billie Joe Armstrong: “Eddie Van Halen started crying, looked at me and said, ‘You’re the only one who understands me’”

The Green Day frontman recalls meeting one of guitar’s greatest icons.

[L-R] Billie Joe Armstrong and Eddie Van Halen

Credit: Getty Images

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Billie Joe Armstrong has waxed lyrical on his love of Eddie Van Halen, recalling his first-ever rock concert experience seeing Van Halen in 1984 when he was just 12 years old.

“They were my favourite band, and I cried,” the Green Day frontman and punk rock legend remembers in a new interview with Howard Stern. 

“It’s like [Eddie’s] guitar playing came from a different place. He reinvented how to play guitar, but they also wrote great songs, and I think that’s the main thing I took away from Van Halen.

Armstrong also recalls another time when he had the opportunity to meet and chat with EVH backstage as he prepared for a show.

“We went to the Midwest to see them play, and they were incredible,” he says. “It was kind of an emotional thing. He’s talking to me and shredding at the same time, and I was just like, ‘Oh my god.’

“This really insane thing happened where [Eddie] kind of started crying. He looked at me, and he put his hand behind my neck… and he goes, ‘You’re the only one that understands me,’ and he just had tears coming down his eyes…

“He was like, ’People think I’m an alien the way I play,’” Billie Joe said. “It was this really kind of heavy experience … I didn’t really know what to say. I was like, ‘Man, you have no idea how much you’ve meant to me as a musician and a songwriter.’”

In other news, Billie Joe Armstrong recently spoke on emo’s resurgence, pointing to the overwhelming demand for festivals like When We Were Young and the return of bands like Blink-182 and Fall Out Boy.

He said that the resurgence of the genre has, in fact, come a little too quickly: “Like, aren’t you supposed to wait another five years for this? My Chemical Romance just broke up!”

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