Young Eddie Van Halen: Thoughts on Angus Young and AC/DC

This article is a summary of the YouTube video ‘What Angus Young thought of Eddie Van Halen and what EVH thought of AC/DC’ by Kar’s Guitar Channel

Written by: Recapz Bot

Written by: Recapz Bot

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Eddie Van Halen became a big fan of ACDC after seeing them open for Aerosmith; they later connected and Eddie admired Angus Young’s guitar skills, but Angus initially called Van Halen a pop band.

Key Insights

  • Eddie Van Halen saw ACDC for the first time when both bands were opening for Aerosmith in 1978.
  • Eddie was amazed by ACDC's performance and became a big fan of the band.
  • Angus Young first saw Eddie Van Halen in video clips on TV and was impressed by his guitar skills, comparing him to Jimi Hendrix.
  • Eddie's playing style and sound influenced many guitarists, and companies started manufacturing gear to replicate his tone.
  • Angus Young received a phone call from Eddie Van Halen in 1980, expressing admiration for Angus' guitar skills.
  • ACDC and Van Halen played the same gigs but didn't meet until the Monsters of Rock Donington festival in 1984.
  • Eddie expressed his love for ACDC to Angus when they finally met, surprising Angus.
  • Angus Young made a comment during an interview in 1984, calling Van Halen a pop band, although he later clarified that both bands were rock and roll.
  • Eddie Van Halen was close friends with Malcolm Young, and they would hang out together after shows.
  • Eddie considered Malcolm Young as one of his favorite guitar players and admired his playing on ACDC's "Down Payment Blues."
  • The last time Angus met Eddie was in 2008 when Eddie watched ACDC's show in LA.
  • When Malcolm Young passed away, Eddie expressed his condolences and referred to him as a friend and the heart and soul of ACDC.
  • Eddie Van Halen's death in 2020 was a significant loss for the music world, and Angus Young expressed his deep condolences to his family and friends.

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The first time Eddie Van Halen saw the Australian band ACDC was when both bands were opening for Aerosmith at the Day on the Green show on July 23, 1978. I was at that show. I was 19 years old, and it was one of the most amazing days I will never forget.

Of course, the opening act just blew everybody away, ACDC. And even though they were new in America, they did do some shows in 77. And then Van Halen, they were on their first tour and just blew everybody away. And as a guitar player, I couldn’t believe it. I wanted to see if this guy was really playing that stuff.

It was a general admittance. So I went really close. I’m six foot one, and I got really close to the stage when Van Halen hit the stage, and I wanted to see. I was like, is this guy really doing this stuff? And he was. It was amazing. Not only did he do everything on the album, he did even more. I was floored. I couldn’t believe it. I was like, whoa.

And then you had Pat Travers, who was pretty good, a Foreigner, not a big fan. And then Aerosmith draw the line tour. Whoa, what a show. It was amazing.

So Eddie was sitting backstage in their trailer and there was a rubble pounding noise from the stage. He thought, oh, my, you know, what’s this? He came out and saw 60,000 people jumping up and down at the same time. According to Eddie, he was shocked. He was standing on the side of the stage thinking, are we going to play after these crazy guys? And since then, Eddie became a big fan of ACDC.

But what did Angus Young think when he first saw Van Halen? According to Angus, he first saw Eddie Van Halen in their video clips on TV. Especially Angus got really impressed when he saw the video of eruption. Angus thought, oh, my, this is fantastic. It was the same feeling like when he first heard Jimi Hendrix, he thought, where did this guy come from? This is unbelievable. He’s not of this world.

Angus says that when Eddie came along, he was a true innovator, just like Jimi Hendrix. When Angus was young, his guitar heroes were Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, and Jeff Beck. But then Eddie came out with eruption, and he changed everything. Suddenly, everyone started buying the same guitars as Eddie’s. Everyone wanted to get his tone and play like him. The sound which Eddie brought became very soon standard. And companies started manufacturing gear which would sound like Eddie’s.

To Angus, Eddie was a guitar wonder, and his playing was pure wizardry. He reinvented the guitar, what it had to be, and influenced a lot of people that you would know out there. Angus recalls that back in those days, every guitar player he ran into asked him, “Have you heard Eddie Van Halen? He’s fantastic.”

So Angus remembers that one night in 1980, the phone rang. It was two o’clock in the morning. He was so tired and wanted to get some sleep. Then he heard that his wife picked up the phone, and she was talking to somebody on the phone. And just for information, his wife is a Dutch woman from the Netherlands. She was actually a friend of Adrian Vandenberg, and he introduced her to Angus Young when ACDC played the Netherlands. Her maiden name is Ellen Van Lokum, and they’ve been married since 1980.

So she picked up the phone, and she was talking to somebody probably in Dutch, and Angus thought, “Oh, you know, that’s okay. That must be a good friend of hers.” Then his wife passed him the phone and said, “This is Eddie. He’s got something to say to you.”

Angus goes, “Eddie, who?” So he takes the phone and hears Eddie Van Halen going, “Hey, man, you know, you’re one bad, crazy guitarist.” And Angus was shocked. But he was so tired, he said, “Yeah, Eddie. All right. But it’s two o’clock in the morning.”

ACDC and Van Halen actually used to play the same gigs in the U.S. and Europe, but they never met until both bands played at Monsters of Rock Donington in 1984. Van Halen were special guests while ACDC headlined the festival.

As soon as Van Halen finished their set, Eddie went to ACDC’s trailer. Angus recalls that the door opens, and Eddie comes in and says, “Hey, you, you know what? You’re one bad, crazy guitarist.” Angus says he was shocked. He didn’t know what to think. Eddie was all excited. He said, “Oh, I love you guys.” Eddie was full of life. He had that big grin as always and gave Angus a big hug. He talked a lot and much faster than Angus.

Angus says that when Eddie told him that he loved his playing, Angus couldn’t believe it. He never expected to hear that from Eddie, whom he considered as a guitar wizard because Angus never rated himself as a guitarist.

However, Angus Young wasn’t always positive when talking about Van Halen. During an interview at Donington 1984, he took a jab at Van Halen, calling them a pop band. When asked if there was any rivalry between ACDC and Van Halen, Angus replied, “Nah, not really. They’re more of a pop band, I suppose, and we are, you know, we are a rock and roll band.”

Well, of course, Van Halen played songs like “Dance the Night Away” and “Jump,” which sounded very popular, but both bands are rock and roll bands above all. In the video, it is clear that first Angus says that there’s no rivalry, like he doesn’t care, but then he throws a punch at Van Halen, saying that they are not really a rock and roll band.

According to Angus Young, it was his brother Malcolm with whom Eddie became close friends. Eddie liked to hang out with Malcolm. They used to go to the bar and take a drink after the shows. Also, Eddie liked to go out with Brian Johnson and play darts.

In 2015’s interview with Billboard, Eddie Van Halen named Malcolm Young as one of his favorite guitar players. Eddie was asked to name his favorite guitar riffs. The first riff which Eddie mentioned was Tony Iommi’s “Into the Void.” The second was Eric Clapton’s riff “Sunshine of Your Love,” which was inspired by Jimi Hendrix. Next, Eddie mentioned Ritchie Blackmore’s “Burn” as one of his favorites. And finally, Eddie said he loved Malcolm Young’s playing on 1978’s “Down Payment Blues” from ACDC’s “Powerage” album.

Years later, Eddie Van Halen used to see his Aussie friends when they did shows in California in the 2000s. According to Angus, the last time he met Eddie was when Eddie came down to see ACDC’s Black Eyes show in LA in 2008. He recalls, Eddie was the same as always, such a warm person with a big smile from ear to ear who always brightened up the room.

When Malcolm Young died in November 2017, Eddie Van Halen said, “It is a sad day in rock and roll. Malcolm Young was my friend and the heart and soul of ACDC. I had some of the best times of my life with him on our 1984 European tour. He will be missed, and my deepest condolences to his family, bandmates, and friends.”

Three years later, on October 6, 2020, Eddie Van Halen passed away at the age of 65, which was an utter shock to everyone in the music world. Angus Young said, “To the music world, it’s a big loss. For those of us lucky to have met him, it’s an even probably bigger tragedy. And also for his family and everyone close to him.”

This article is a summary of the YouTube video ‘What Angus Young thought of Eddie Van Halen and what EVH thought of AC/DC’ by Kar’s Guitar Channel