Eddie Van Halen Pushed Through a Crowd to Give Tremonti This Guitar Advice
Eddie Van Halen inspired many. So it's no surprise that, following his death last year, plenty of musicians have come forth with recollections of the rocker. The most recent is Mark Tremonti.
Tremonti, the guitarist behind Creed, Alter Bridge and his namesake solo vehicle, once got the gift of a lifetime when Van Halen gave him one of his guitars. Years later, Wolfgang Van Halen, EVH's son who now fronts Mammoth WVH, would play bass in Tremonti until 2016.
All that amounts to Tremonti having some "really special memories" involving Eddie, as he shared with Guitar World on Tuesday (Oct. 5).
"One of them is when we were opening for Van Halen at Madison Square Garden and Wolfgang was there," Tremonti continued. "He must have been six — he was just this tiny kid! Eddie had given me one of his guitars backstage. He tapped away on it and said, 'Yeah, feels good, here ya go!' and, obviously, that's become one of my most prized possessions."
The story doesn't end there, though. Eddie would later push through a crowd to make sure Tremonti set the axe up right, echoing the kind of gear advice he would also give to Def Leppard guitarist Phil Collen.
"When the show was over," Tremonti recalled, "we were backstage underground and there were 300 crew, guests, press everywhere, just swarming the place. We saw Wolf, his mom and Eddie walking out. Eddie saw me out of the corner of his eye and walked through hundreds of people to come over and say, 'Hey, I forgot to tell you — you need to take out two [tremolo tension] springs to make it play right. Sorry, I forgot to tell you that earlier!'" (EVH notably used two springs on his guitar bridge, as opposed to three or four.)
But that's not all. "Then [Eddie] gave me a kiss on the cheek and walked right through all the people clamoring for him again," the musician remembered.
"He did that for me?!" Tremonti marveled now. "He had his kid and his wife with him and knew he'd get caught up by everybody, but he took his time out because he gave a shit about his products and passing on knowledge. … I got to see him at his core a handful of times and I was lucky. It was a very cool thing."
As for Wolf, Tremonti had equally kind words for his former bandmate, saying, "When you take away the Van Halen name, he's just a really nice, down-to-earth kid and he's super-talented. When you hear him sing live, he's incredible. Plus, he's great on drums, guitar and bass."
Tremonti's latest album, Marching in Time, arrived last month. Mammoth WVH released a debut LP in June. See Tremonti's upcoming tour dates and get tickets at marktremonti.com.