Slash had nothing but pure, unadulterated praise for Eddie Van Halen’s “phenomenal” guitar skill in a new interview. 

While speaking to Consequence of Sound, Slash offered up the gushing opinion on a fellow guitar virtuoso. “Any instrument he had chosen to play would have been phenomenal, because he just had that pure musical talent. And he chose guitar, because that’s what turned him on,” Slash said.

“And for somebody with that kind of musical talent to get turned on to rock‘n’roll guitar was sort of unique unto itself, because most of us guitar players are a ragged bunch of rock‘n’rollers who don’t have too much technical ability or schooling,” he continued. “We just sort of go for this raw thing. And he had that, but he also had this musical, sort of classical gift.”

Van Halen passed away at the age of 65 back in October following a lengthy battle with lung cancer. It was revealed this week that his ashes are expected to be scattered by his son Wolfgang in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Malibu in California.

Slash also praised Van Halen as “an innovator”, who could create “new things with whatever his imagination came up with.”

Tributes have been pouring in for Van Halen since his death. Slash, for his part, was among the performers to pay homage to Van Halen in a special tribute during the 2020 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in November, alongside other guitar greats Metallica’s Kirk Hammett and Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello.

In Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time, they named Slash 65th and Van Halen 8th. His high placing was unsurprising given Van Halen was a master of epic solo riffs, like his timeless classic ‘Eruption’.

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As a member of rock supergroup Velvet Revolver, Slash previously paid tribute to Van Halen when he helped induct his band into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.

Check out Velvet Revolver inducting Van Halen at the 2007 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony: