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Ronnie Montrose Shares Story of Meeting Eddie Van Halen

Ronnie Montrose / Eddie Van Halen
David Klein / Jamie McCarthy, Getty Images

Not long before his untimely and somewhat unexpected death this past March, legendary guitarist Ronnie Montrose contributed some rather glowing praise of Van Halen guitarist Eddie Van Halen for a new photo book that is being compiled by rock photographer extraordinaire Neil Zlozower.

The Van Halen News Desk reports that in the book, the late Montrose shares a story of the experience of meeting a young Eddie Van Halen when the group had secured the opening slot on a tour with Journey and Ronnie Montrose.

“The first tour I did with Van Halen, the bill was Journey, Ronnie Montrose, and Van Halen was opening. I was doing my instrumental music on that tour. Van Halen was a young, loud, and brash band, and I liked them. Eddie came up to me backstage at sound check and he called me Mr. Montrose. He shyly shook my hand and said, “Mr. Montrose, I’m Edward Van Halen, and I’m a big fan. We told Ted Templeman to get the Montrose sound when we did our record.” He also told me they used to play ‘Dancin’ Feet’ from one of the Montrose albums at their yard parties in Pasadena.

“I really enjoyed Eddie’s playing. What made Eddie special was his youthful irreverence for the rules. That’s what impressed me. He’d developed his own style. I think Eddie started out on drums first, and there’s a very percussive nature about the way he plays. He plays very metered and percussive, and he’s very fluid in that style.”

Zlozower’s book, simply titled ‘Eddie Van Halen,’ focuses on the early years of Van Halen, and features contributed text from some of the best guitarists to walk the earth including Angus Young, Jimmy Page, Joe Perry, Steve Vai, and Tony Iommi.

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