Slash, Kirk Hammett, Tom Morello honour EVH at the Rock Hall 2020 induction ceremony

“Eddie Van Halen was the Mozart of our generation”: Tom Morello

Slash, Kirk Hammett and Tom Morello

Photos: Phillip Faraone / Julia Reinhart / Bryan Bedder / Getty Images

Three guitar heroes gave stirring tributes to the late Eddie Van Halen at this year’s Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony, held this weekend (7 November).

Slash, Kirk Hammett and Tom Morello took to the virtual stage during the In Memoriam segment of the show – which was held in a televised-only capacity – to speak about Van Halen’s impact on the world of music. Van Halen died in October this year aged 65.

Slash called Van Halen as a “tremendously gifted musician”, adding that his playing style and sound were “completely unique”.

“I don’t think there’s anybody that’s picked up the guitar since 1978 that hasn’t been touched in some way by Eddie Van Halen’s influence,” he continued. “I’m going to miss his playing and I’m going to miss him as a friend.”

Kirk Hammett added, “Not since Jimi Hendrix had there been a guitar player that had so much impact, and was so inspiring to me.

“He just explored the most simplest thing – a harmonic on his string – and brought it into this realm of technique that no-one even thought was possible. He was just, like, from a different planet.”

Tom Morello called “Eddie Van Halen the “Mozart of our generation,” explaining “He had the kind of talent that maybe comes around once a century.”

He continued: “Eddie Van Halen inspired me to play 20,000 hours, to try to get within 100 miles of his inspired mastery of the electric guitar.”

Other musicians honoured in the In Memoriam segment of the program included Spencer Davis, Roky Erickson, Jack Sherman, Adam Schlesinger, Andy Gill, Ric Ocasek, Eddie Money, Tony Lewis, Lee Kerslake, Frankie Banali, Phil May, Steve Priest, Peter Green, Ginger Baker, Neil Peart and Little Richard.

This year’s Rock Hall inductees included Nine Inch Nails, T. Rex, Depeche Mode, The Doobie Brothers, Whitney Houston and the Notorious B.I.G. The ceremony is rewatchable on HBO Max.

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