Drummer Rick Allen (Def Leppard)recently talked to Pat’s Soundbytes Unplugged, where he recalled watching Van Halen opening for Black Sabbath back in 1978.
Here’s what the drummer said:
“I remember over a year ago now losing Neil Peart [of Rush], so it was obvious. My way of paying homage to one of the greatest drummers of all time was to paint him, and that’s exactly what I did. And then the same with [Van Halen guitarist] Eddie Van Halen more recently.”
Remembering the first time he heard Van Halen’s music, Rick said:
“My best friend, he calls me and he says, ‘I want you to come and listen to this record. So I go to his house and listen to ‘Van Halen I’ for the first time and was completely blown away. A couple of months later, they’re coming through town with Black Sabbath — they’re opening for BS. And quite honestly, Van Halen owned that show. The BS camp, you could see the wheels kind of coming off. But, yeah, VH, they should have been the headliner.
“And then, I moved to the States in ’91, became really good friends with Steve Lukather from Toto. He called me one night and he said, ‘We’re having a get-together. We’d love for you to come. I’d love to introduce you to my friend Eddie Van Halen.’
”So [as] this huge Van Halen fan from way back, I actually got to meet him. [He was] very unassuming. You wouldn’t have thought he did what he did for a living, and especially play guitar like he does. So, again, my paying homage to Eddie was, really, to paint him. And my thoughts really went out to his family and, obviously, all of his fans worldwide.”