IRON MAIDEN's Adrian Smith has reflected on the passing of Eddie Van Halen, saying the VAN HALEN axeman was a "fantastic" player who had a tremendous impact on the guitar community.
Smith discussed his appreciation for the groundbreaking musician, who died from cancer on October 6 at age 65, in a brand new interview with Canada's The Metal Voice.
He said (hear audio below): "Probably him and Jimi Hendrix, certainly in my lifetime, have had the biggest effect on the electric guitar. I loved his playing, although when he came out, I had already been playing five or six years. If I had been starting out when I heard him, I would have just copied him, like 99 percent of the other guitarists did. But, yeah, he was fantastic. I'd love to have met him. I came close a couple of times, but I never met him. And I love his guitar sound. If I've got a guitar and an amp and I'm just trying to get a sound, I'd probably use him as a reference point."
Earlier this year, Smith spoke to Andertons Music Co about which bands inspired him to pick up the guitar. He said: "First bands I listened to, that got me into music, were [DEEP] PURPLE, 'Machine Head' era, FREE, 'Free Live' [with Paul] Kossoff, HUMBLE PIE, going back a bit now. All sort of English raucous kind of bands. When [I] started out playing, [I] played THE [ROLLING] STONES and BEATLES, 'cause they were a few chords; it was easy. And twelve-bar blues — that's how we started."
Adrian is rumored to have collaborated with THE WINERY DOGS guitarist/vocalist Richie Kotzen on a new album, tentatively due in 2021.
Smith is currently promoting his memoir, "Monsters Of River & Rock", which was released on September 3 via Virgin Books.
Smith was born in Hackney, East London, on February 27, 1957. He joined IRON MAIDEN at the end of 1980. Adrian is the bandmember who has collaborated on the most side projects outside of IRON MAIDEN, as well as writing and recording a series of albums in the early '90s, before rejoining the band. IRON MAIDEN has sold 100 million albums, and tour the world playing to millions of fans. Onstage, Adrian uses Jackson and Gibson guitars. Offstage, he is an avid tennis player. However, his main hobby is fishing.