“Then Eddie got sick and that was that”: Jason Isbell on how he nearly opened for Van Halen

“That was a huge moment for me to be invited to do that.”

Jason Isbell and Eddie Van Halen

Image: Stephen J. Cohen / Michele Sandberg / Getty Images

When you purchase through affiliate links on Guitar.com, you may contribute to our site through commissions. Learn more

Jason Isbell has opened up about the time he nearly opened for Van Halen and how the opportunity had left him “very, very excited” as a fan of the band.

The musician was speaking in a new interview with AL.com where he looks back on the invitation he once received to open for Van Halen at their Nashville show.

Calling the opportunity “a huge moment” for him, Isbell says “We [Isbell and his 400 Unit band] were supposed to open at least the Nashville show and maybe more than that, I don’t know. But they just asked me if it was something I wanted to do, and of course my agent and my manager knew that was something I would want to do.”

“So I was very, very excited. And then, you know, Eddie got sick and that was that. And that’s really all that I ever knew about it.”

“But I was so excited,” says Isbell, who admits to being a huge fan of the Van Halen gang ever since he was a kid.

“I was really over the moon about it because I went and saw them when I was a kid, when Sammy was fronting the band, and Mom would take me. We went to a couple of different shows. I think both of them were up here in Nashville at Starwood [Amphitheatre] back in the day, and I was probably 12, maybe 14.”

“That was a huge part of my life,” he continues. “I had the car that I drove when I was a teenager — the white Beretta [a song off Isbell’s Weathervanes album], coincidentally — one of the speakers was out. The passenger side speaker was out, and I couldn’t afford to have it fixed.”

“And the way they recorded those old Van Halen records, I had them on cassette, and the guitar was panned hard in stereo, so you would get Eddie’s guitar on one side, and then the reverb from Eddie’s guitar on the other side. It was so frustrating because all I could hear was the reverb from Eddie’s guitar when I listened in the car. [Laughs]”

“But yeah, that was a huge moment for me to be invited to do that and we were extremely excited. And it didn’t happen, but yeah it would have been nice,” he concludes.

Related Artists

Related Tags


The world’s leading authority and resource for all things guitar.

© 2024 Guitar.com is part of NME Networks.