Smashing Pumpkins’ Jeff Schroeder is one of many guitarists looking back on the late Eddie Van Halen, and he has one incredible story of meeting the guitar icon.
In an appearance on Talkin’ Rock with Meltdown, Schroeder said, “I have a funny story about him, because I actually luckily got to meet him and spend some time with him one time. He spent probably about a good hour with Billy [Corgan] and I, which is really cool. He came to one of our shows in 2012 on the Oceania tour. How it happened is I had a guitar tech, who was a fine guitar tech. But for some reason, we were supposed to start a Canadian tour, and he had to all of a sudden go back home, like the day before the first show starts. So, we’re really scrambling to find somebody.”
He continued, “…Our production manager calls some friends, and he said, ‘You know what? Van Halen is just getting home from tour. Ed’s guitar tech is at 5150 [Studios] right now setting up his rig since Eddie is home. The guy can be on a plane tomorrow morning up to Edmonton where the first gig was. So, I literally went from having no guitar tech to Eddie Van Halen’s guitar tech, Craig DeFalco, who came in and just nailed the gig from day one.”
Schroeder added, “He was just the greatest guy, and we got along really well. He was like, ‘When we play L.A., I’m going to invite Eddie to the show.’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, right. He probably won’t even come.’ Eddie totally came. He hung out with us for an hour before the show. He let us all ask him a bunch of stupid questions. We were all geeking out. Like, ‘Did you ever see Jimmy Page play?’ He was like, ‘Yeah, I saw Zeppelin. I didn’t think Jimmy was that great live.’ Then we were like, ‘What about Ritchie Blackmore?’ And he was like, ‘Yeah, he’s okay.’ We had to remember, ‘Oh, yeah, we’re talking to Eddie Van Halen.’ He probably wasn’t that intimidated by those guys!”
He concluded, “He was a total sweetheart, and [he asked me] ‘Have you had a chance to try one of my new Wolfgang guitars?’ I said, ‘No,’ and he said, ‘I’m going to send you one.’ And like, two days later, I got this super great, top of the line EVH guitar…I still have it. It’s a great guitar.”
Smashing Pumpkins’ new album Cyr comes out November 27 and is currently available for pre-order/pre-save here.