ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. (WAVE) - Eddie Van Halen is known as one of the most influential guitarists of his generation. People worldwide have been talking about the death of the legendary musician who many enjoyed for decades.
Carla and Kevin from Elizabethtown are big fans of Van Halen, the man who made rock and roll “Jump."
“I told someone today he’s been at our birthday parties, even though not physically, he’s been at birthday parties and anniversary get-togethers, and Christmas gatherings, because that was always something I could buy [Kevin], was something Van Halen and he would enjoy it,” Carla told WAVE 3 News.
Kevin said his appreciation for Van Halen started when he was a teenager, as he listened to Van Halen on the radio.
“It really just molded me into the way I wanted to play music,” Kevin said.
In 2004, Kevin bought an all-access ticket to meet Eddie, when Van Halen was at Freedom Hall in Louisville.
“He gave each of us a pick which was special, I have that over here,” Eddie said.
And over the years the collection has grown to a few autographs, amps, several guitar picks, albums, and more.
“Being a Van Halen fan, I’ve tried to collect anything I could over the years,” Kevin said. “He had a craft I appreciated and he was a master at it.”
Kevin has a few Eddie Van Halen guitars, one of which is incredibly rare, known as the “Frankenstein.”
“It’s one of 300 Fender custom shops,” Kevin said. “One of them is in the Smithsonian. I’ve got one and 298 more somewhere. This is the one he took and cross-pollinated basically with the Gibson product into a Fender to get that roaring sound.”
The news of Eddie Van Halen’s passing Tuesday was hard because for Carla and Kevin it wasn’t just about music.
“We know what it’s like,” Carla said. “My dad had oral cancer and he died in 2004, and it was a struggle for 17 months. So I can only imagine what they had been through because we have seen it and it’s very hard.”
Kevin said they are going to miss Van Halen and his music, but they are grateful for his influence in the musical world.
“I’ve just got so much out of his music and appreciated so much of what he had done over the years and it’ll stay with me the rest of my life," Kevin said.