Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Eddie Van Halen were good friends which many people may have missed out on due to their past and their styles. It’s worth noting that blues-rock guitar style of Kenny Wayne Shepherd was different from Eddie Van Halen’s style. Music had been a central part of their life, but their different styles may have given the notion that they didn’t know each other.
While speaking via Ultimate Guitar, Kenny Wayne Shepherd talked about this and shared his thoughts. He even talked about the time when his father introduced Eddie to his eventual wife – and mother of Wolfgang – Valerie Bertinelli. Shepherd shared his feelings on how the music changed over the course of time, and what it means for him as well as the fans.
Kenny Wayne Shepherd was asked about the “Gary Cherone era” from 1998 and the last-ever tour in 2015 with David Lee Roth. He said, “They were very drastically different tours. I mean, they had two different lead singers. Although Gary Cherone did a good job, he was kind of thrown into a situation with really impossible expectations from the fans. First of all, you have David Lee Roth, and then Sammy Hagar came along and it’s incredible that he was able to come in – it’s a testament to the artist that he is – to a band that was so well established and had such an identity, and then by his joining the band took it in a slightly different direction and became even more successful. Right? So now you’re going to do this a third time with another guy?”
He continued talking about it and said, “And these fan bases are already divided on ‘Is David better? Is Sammy better? Which era is the best Van Halen?’ And then you’ve got this third guy coming in. It was a challenging proposition from the get-go. But he had a great voice. There were a couple of shows that ended up not happening because he had blown his voice out the night before. I think back then he was maybe struggling a little bit vocally to keep up with all the material and the nightly grind of playing and singing that stuff every night. But it was a great tour, I had a great time. And Eddie and I, that’s when he and I hit it off as friends and then maintained a friendship. So that was ’97, ’98 or something like that. And we maintained a friendship all the way up until when he passed away.”
When asked on how hia father knew Valerie Bertinelli, he said, “So, what happened is the Bertinelli family is from where I’m from – Shreveport. And so back in the early ’80s, you probably remember they had the whole actors strike in LA, right? She was on ‘One Day at a Time,’ and so all the actors were striking, and nobody was working. She came back to Louisiana to hang out with her family. She wanted to go see Van Halen, and my dad, being the big radio guy in town, he knew everybody, and he knew her father. And my dad gets tickets and backstage passes – or he did – to every show that came through town.”
Do you have a memory of Eddie Van Halen or anything that has impressed you about Kenny Wayne Shepherd? Sound off in the comments.