Angus Young: Eddie Van Halen Had a ‘Very Tight Bond’ With Malcolm
The guitarist tells us in an exclusive interview that the two men connected when AC/DC and Van Halen played some Monsters of Rock concerts across Europe. Although Angus and Eddie spent some time together on the trek, Malcolm was the one who became closer to Eddie.
“He liked hanging out, especially with Mal, because they could go out afterwards, to a bar or somewhere,” Angus says. “Or he’d go out with Brian and play a dart game. To me he was just full of life.”
Because of their busy schedules, for years AC/DC and Van Halen kept missing each other out when they were out on the road, even when they shard a shared a bill.
“In the ’70s even, I remember doing a Bill Graham show and they were on that with us, but we never met then because we were in and out and they were in and out,” Young recalls. “At that time, we were crisscrossing across the globe and the U.S. When you finished one gig, you were wrapped up and off to the next.”
It wasn't until both bands co-headlined the Monsters of Rock event at Donington Park in England on Aug. 18, 1984 that they finally got to meet. Van Halen finished its set and, as Young sat backstage tuning his guitar, Eddie burst in Young’s trailer thrilled to meet the band.
“He was just happy to see me,” Young remembers. “He gave me a big hug, all excited, and the one thing I remember is that he had this big smile from ear to ear, this big grin.”
“He talked a lot,” Young adds with a chuckle. “Faster than how I talk. He was just excited we were on the same shows.”
The last time the two saw each other was when AC/DC played San Bernardino, Calif., on Sept. 16, 2000, as part of the tour in support of Stiff Upper Lip. Eddie came to the show with that grin Young remembered so well.
“He was the exact same as when I’d last seen him,” he says. “Big smile, big hug, very happy to see me, super happy to see Mal, he loved Mal, had a very tight bond with Mal. The saddest part was hearing when his throat cancer had come back. You still hope that he would have gotten through that. So it was a big loss for everyone. In the musical world, yes, and obviously for his family and anyone that was close to him.”
Despite their contrasting styles, Angus considered Eddie to be a top-notch talent.
“The guy was a wizard on the guitar,” Young says. “He had his own unique style. You can see why he influenced so many people that came along.”
But it was his personality that Young will never be able to forget.
“I’ll always remember him with that big smile. He always brightened up the room.”
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