Speaking in the new issue of Classic Rock magazine, Gossard reveals that the death of guitar legend Eddie Van Halen on October 6 hit him hard, and paid tribute to the Californian band’s “totally joyous” live presence.
“I knew Eddie Van Halen had been battling cancer for a long time, so I was shocked, but I wasn’t totally shocked that he had passed away,” Gossard admits. “I don’t think there was a better live music experience [than Van Halen], just in terms of hitting all the marks of bringing people together, totally joyous, groovy, light-hearted, whimsical. Van Halen were the greatest live rock band of all time.”
Previously, as the news of the guitar hero’s passing broke, Gossard told KISW in Seattle, “Van Halen changed the world and that’s true originality right there. Nobody knows how to really play like him.”
Elsewhere in his Classic Rock interview, reflecting on his 2020, Gossard reveals Pearl Jam’s frustration at being forced off the road due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but acknowledges that the virus has impacted other lives in a more severe manner.
“It was hard,” the guitarist says. “We were chomping at the bit, ready to go. I think we had one rehearsal left. But we’re a rich rock band with insurance policies. We’re in a better situation that 99.9% of folks. Anyone who works in the restaurant business or anything to do with public spaces – it’s brutal out there. For us, it’s not the same as if I was 22, and had a band just about to release their first record. I mean, that would be horrible. There could be nothing worse than that. Just trying to restart your momentum. I just don’t know if the world is ever going to be the same.”