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Watch Slash, Kirk Hammett and Tom Morello pay tribute to Eddie Van Halen, ‘the Mozart of our generation’

Eddie VH
(Image credit: Richard E. Aaron/Redferns)

Three of rock’s most influential guitarists, Guns N’ RosesSlashMetallica’s Kirk Hammett and Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello, have paid tribute to the late Eddie Van Halen during a special TV show celebrating this year’s Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame inductees.

Their salutes to Van Halen’s impact and importance within the music world were aired during a TV special broadcast on HBO on November 7.

“Eddie Van Halen was a tremendously gifted musician,” Slash noted. “His style and his sound were completely unique to him. He had a massive impact on guitar playing. And I don’t think there’s anybody who’s picked up guitar since 1978 that hasn’t been touched in some way by Eddie Van Halen’s influence.”

“Eddie Van Halen was amazing,” Hammett agrees. “Not since Jimi Hendrix had there been a guitar player that had so much impact and was so inspiring to me. He just explored the most simplest thing, a harmonic on a string and brought it into this realm of technique that no one even thought was possible. He was, just, like, from a different planet.”

Tom Morello hailed the late guitar legend as “the Mozart of our generation.”

“He had the kind of talent that maybe comes around once a century,” he said. “Eddie Van Halen inspired me to practice 20,000 hours to try to get within 100 miles of his inspired mastery of the electric guitar.”

The video tribute closes on a poignant note, with some archive interview footage from the great man himself.

“If I hit 80,” Van Halen says in the clip, “if I make it, that far I'll still be doing the same thing. I might not be jumping, I might be sitting on a stool, but I'll still be making music.”

Van Halen passed away, aged 65, on October 6, due to complications from a two decade battle with cancer.

Nine Inch Nails and Depeche Mode were among the artists inducted into the Hall Of Fame at the weekend. NIN frontman Trent Reznor admitted earlier this year that he always considered the whole concept “absurd”, but was now “quite honoured” that his group were being included.