In conversation with our friends over at Guitar World, Tremonti explains that the envy-inspiring encounter transpired following a gig at New York's Madison Square Garden in the late 90s, where the legendary axe-slinger stopped to not only hand over the treasured item, but to also share some advice and give Tremonti a quick peck on the cheek.
The Alter Bridge/Creed guitarist explains: "I have some really special memories. One of them is when we were opening for Van Halen at Madison Square Garden and Wolfgang was there. He must have been six – he was just this tiny kid!"
Wolfgang would go on to play for Tremonti in later years, taking on bass guitar duties in his solo band from 2012 until 2016.
“Eddie had given me one of his guitars backstage," Tremonti continues. "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 moment was made even more special when the Van Halen guitarist returned – through a bustling throng of people – to share a crucial bit of wisdom about the instrument.
“When the show was over, we were backstage underground and there was 300 crew, guests, press everywhere, just swarming the place. We saw Wolf, his mom and Eddie walking out," says Tremonti.
“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 springs to make it play right – sorry I forgot to tell you that earlier!’
Noting how the memorable encounter came to an end, Tremonti revealed: “Then he gave me a kiss on the cheek and walked right through all the people clamouring for him again. He did that for me?!
"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.”
Later in the interview, Tremonti goes on to commend Wolfgang Van Halen for his recent success with his solo outfit, Mammoth WVH, who released their self-titled debut album earlier this year. Declaring he's "blown away" by the record, Tremonti shares his thoughts on Wolfgang. "When you take away the Van Halen name, he’s just a really nice, down-to-earth kid – and he’s super-talented" he remarks.
“When you hear him sing live, he’s incredible – plus he’s great on drums, guitar and bass. I found he was really good at learning stuff and memorising parts. Writing a record is a different skill; it’s very far away from being a shredder or killer drummer.
“I think he’s doing a little better than playing bass for the Tremonti band right now! I’m happy as hell for him.”