Published by Cel Manero from Global One Media, Inc.
It’s often advised not to meet your heroes, but the encounter with Eddie Van Halen is a lasting memory for Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong.
Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day recently opened up about a poignant encounter with his childhood hero, Eddie Van Halen. Describing the experience as emotionally intense, Armstrong shared on the WTF with Marc Maron podcast that Van Halen’s impact on him began at a young age, with the purchase of Van Halen’s Fair Warning album and the awe-inspiring guitar solo on “Mean Streets” leaving a profound impression on his nine-year-old self. Armstrong also disclosed on the Howard Stern show that his first-ever concert, attended at the age of 12, was a Van Halen performance, leading him to tears due to his overwhelming excitement for the Pasadena quartet, his favorite band at the time.
When asked by Stern if he ever had the chance to meet Eddie Van Halen, Armstrong recounted a moving face-to-face encounter with the legendary guitarist before an exceptional Van Halen show in Kansas City. The meeting, described as emotional, took place alongside friends and added another layer to Armstrong’s admiration for the iconic musician.
Armstrong shared the exhilarating details of the meeting, recalling, “First, we went back, and I met Wolfie, who was incredibly cool. Then they asked, ‘Do you want to meet Eddie?’ and I was like, ‘Oh my God!’ So, there he is, with his guitar on, plugged in, talking to me while shredding at the same time, and I was just in awe, thinking, ‘Oh my God!'”
“I don’t know if anybody is aware of this,” Armstrong continued, “but the size of his hands is gigantic, and I grabbed his hands and looked at them, saying, ‘Dude, your hands are so…
“And he’s like, ‘Oh, I got arthritis now and blah, blah, blah.’ And then, this really incredible thing happened; he started crying. He looked at me, put his hand behind my neck, and said, ‘You’re the only one that understands me.’
“Tears were streaming down his eyes, and I didn’t really know what to say. I told him, ‘Man, you have no idea how much you’ve meant to me as a musician and as a songwriter.’ He said, ‘People think I’m an alien because of the way I play,’ and I responded, ‘It’s all about your songs,’ and he goes, ‘Exactly, exactly.’ It was this really kind of intense experience.”
Armstrong continued to narrate that at this point, Wolfgang entered the room and informed his father, ‘Dad, we have to tune.’
“And then Eddie said the coolest thing, like a father-son moment: he goes, ‘Do you want to tune to me, or do you want me to tune to you?’… That kind of bond that a father and son had as musicians, it always stuck with me as this beautiful thing.”