Vinnie Paul has recalled the first time he met Eddie Van Halen and how the encounter launched a long-standing friendship.
The former Pantera drummer and his late brother Dimebag Darrell saw a parallel in their stories with that of EVH and his drummer brother Alex. And when Eddie turned up unannounced at a Dallas strip club owned by Vinnie, the guitar hero spoke about the similarities between the sets of brothers.
Paul tells a fan Q&A (via Blabbermouth): “Van Halen were a huge influence on me. Eddie and Alex inspired me and my brother so much. It was really just unbelievable the parallels that we had between ourselves.
“I remember the first time I met Eddie. He was in town and I was off doing something and my brother was in Phoenix. And my manager at the Clubhouse calls me and says, ‘Hey, man, Eddie Van Halen is in the club. He wants to see you.’ And I was, like, ‘You’ve gotta be kidding me.’
“I hauled ass over, walked into the club, and he’s sitting there at the table by himself waiting on me. I came in, and we gave each other a big hug. We’d been talking maybe 10 minutes, and he goes, ‘It’s unbelievable how much we’ve got in common — you and your brother, and me and Al.’”
Soon after that meeting, Vinnie and Dimebag were invited to watch Van Halen live as guests of Eddie.
Paul adds: “Eddie sent a limo to pick us up, which was very cool. And we came in, and he brought us right up on stage and hung out at soundcheck and everything. And the show was amazing. And I’ll never forget.
“We got on the plane, and when we were flying back to Dallas, my brother looked at me, and he goes, ‘Man, you know what? If this plane was to go down in a crash right now, I’d be okay with it. I finally got to meet the dude that made me wanna play guitar.’ It was really special.”
Dimebag was buried with Eddie Van Halen’s original 1979 yellow and black Bumblebee Charvel Hybrid VH2 guitar, that featured on the inside sleeve for the Van Halen II album.