Adam Jones Remembers That Time Eddie Van Halen Came to a Tool Show
In 2019, Eddie Van Halen attended a Tool concert alongside his fellow musician son, Wolfgang, just a year before the legendary Van Halen guitarist's untimely death. This week, Tool rocker Adam Jones shared his memories of that instance in a tribute to the Van Halen bandleader.
At the time, the father-and-son appearance at the Los Angeles Tool gig made incredulous headlines when a fan who didn't recognize the Van Halens asked Eddie to take his picture at the show. But Jones also recalled the concert for reasons beyond the witless attendee's photo request.
"Eddie's son Wolf is a big Tool fan and a really cool guy," Jones told Guitar World on Monday (Jan. 25). "He brought his dad to our show at the Staples Center last year. I don't know if you saw that thing online where there was a guy in the audience that asked someone to take his photo, and he doesn't realize the guy he asked is Eddie Van Halen, the greatest guitar player ever. It was great."
The Tool guitarist continued, "Afterward, Wolf brought his dad to my dressing room and we had a good talk. Eddie was so humble and I was really happy to have that moment with him. To have one of your ultimate heroes shake your hand and say, 'Hey, what you're doing, it's really cool,' it's like a trophy."
Indeed, Eddie's talent had a formative influence on Jones, though the Tool member admitted that listeners might not be able to pick it out in his playing. Still, early on, Van Halen's 1978 debut made its mark on Jones, especially the one-two punch of opener "Runnin' With the Devil" followed by the explosive (and continually influential) EVH instrumental "Eruption."
"When I started playing guitar," the Tool shredder recalled, "I remember my brother telling me, 'Oh, this is how he does the hammer-ons.' And he was showing me how to hit and pull the string."
"It was all so innovative," Jones explained of EVH's technique. "Eddie was a modern virtuoso. He influenced everyone. … Just think about '80s guitar players all emulating Eddie Van Halen and trying to top him. Guys like Michael Angelo Batio — 'I need two necks!' 'I need four necks!'"
All that said, it's no wonder Jones' 2019 post-concert hang with Eddie and Wolfgang was a highlight. After all, having your guitar hero commend your playing is undoubtedly an unforgettable moment.
Jones added, "Meeting Eddie Van Halen and having him tell you that he thought your show was really cool and you're a good guitar player? That's one of the best things that's ever happened to me. I feel lucky to have had that music in my life and to have that influence."
"And even though people can't pinpoint it to what I do," he continued, "it is absolutely there. Especially my riff writing — it's influenced by Eddie Van Halen. Absolutely."