On Tuesday (which would have been the late rock star’s 66th birthday) a colorful mural of the guitarist was unveiled outside Guitar Center’s flagship store in Hollywood
. Painted by Los Angeles artist Robert Vargas, the 17-by-105-foot portrait depicts the musician shredding his signature “Frankenstrat” guitar. (Los Angeles Times)
Van Halen died in October at age 65 after battling throat cancer.
“Eddie was one of my creative heroes,” Vargas said in a statement. “When I was young, the debut Van Halen record was the first album I ever owned. He influenced me over the years in so many different ways.
Located on Sunset Boulevard, Guitar Center’s Hollywood location already boasts multiple tributes to the “Runnin’ With the Devil” hitmaker, including instrumental memorabilia and Van Halen’s handprints, the latter of which are featured prominently outdoors on the store’s star-studded RockWalk. The building also bears a mural of another guitar god, Jimi Hendrix.
Sammy Hagar (below) says he’s grateful he had the opportunity to speak with Eddie Van Halen one last time before the guitarist passed away earlier this year.
The former Van Halen bandmates fell out when guitarist Sammy left the band but in the months leading up to Eddie’s death in October following a cancer battle, they buried the hatchet.
Sammy, 73, told Variety: “Poor Eddie, broke my heart, but thank God we connected before [he died]. I heard he was in bad shape and I wanted to reach out; I finally said, ‘I’m just calling him.'”
However, tracking down Eddie, 65, proved difficult as Sammy no longer had his number.
He explained: “I was calling his brother, I was calling his manager, I was calling his friends, and I’d say, ‘Hey, tell Ed, give him my phone number. Tell him if he ever wants to talk to me, I really, really want to talk it out, help him and see what I can do’. I [told them], ‘I want to be his friend, I want to bury the hatchet,’ but they never got it done.”When Hagar finally reached Van Halen, the singer says there was nothing but love between the longtime musical partners. “I said, ‘Why don’t you respond? I’ve been reaching out,’” Hagar recalls, “and Ed said, ‘Why didn’t you call me? Don’t fucking call my brother, fucking call me!’ And I said, ‘I love you man,’ and it was like, boom, we were good. It was,” Hagar says, “a beautiful thing.”