In a new interview with Guitar World, Malmsteen recalls hearing Van Halen’s self-titled debut album for the first time in 1978, and being “so fucking blown away” by the Dutch-born guitarist’s energy, technique and attitude.
“In 1978 I was playing in a band called Powerhouse,” the guitarist recalls to writer Richard Bienstock, “and one day the drummer came in and he brought Van Halen. And I was like, ‘What is this? Another band? Whatever.’ But he put it on and I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I was so fucking blown away.”
“What really knocked me out was the energy and the ‘don’t give a fuck’ attitude that the whole band had. They were essentially a power trio and they were playing live. They made me so inspired because I had a power trio, too.”
“Overall it was the whole ‘Turn your fucking shit up and go for it’ thing that really got to me about Eddie,” Malmsteen continues. “The impact he had on me was unbelievable. On all of us. It’s just crazy.”
More than anything, Malmsteen recalls the sense of liberation and rebel attitude he heard in the Pasadena band’s music.
“You’ve gotta remember,” he says, “I lived in a socialist country and it was basically, ‘You can’t do this’, ‘You can’t do that.’ Everything was very, ‘No no no no no’. And when Van Halen came out it was just, ‘Fuck you all!’ And I loved it. I fucking loved it. I still love it to this day.”