The Red Hot Chili Peppers: they’re just like us. If by that you mean they miss Eddie Van Halen tremendously, then, yes, we’re the same. But of course the Rock Hall of Famers have bassist Flea and Flea had a bass riff that made the rest of the band feel some feelings about the late Van Halen guitarist, so now we have “Eddie.”
“Sometimes we don’t realize how deeply affected and connected we are to artists until the day they die,” RHCP singer Anthony Kiedis wrote in an Instagram message introducing the band’s emotional tribute to EVH: “Eddie,” which dropped on Friday (Sept. 23).
“Eddie Van Halen was a one of a kind,” he continued. “The day after his death Flea came into rehearsal with an emotional bassline. John, Chad and I started playing along and pretty soon with all our hearts, a song in his honor effortlessly unfolded. It felt good to be sad and care so much about a person who had given so much to our lives.”
The tribute to the rock icon who died in Oct. 2020 is the second taste of the band’s upcoming Return of the Dream Canteen album (Oct. 14), following on the heels of the expectedly funky “Tippa My Tongue.” Kiedis noted that the song doesn’t speak “Eddie by name,” but instead weaves in signposts from throughout EVH’s life, including Los Angeles’ Sunset Strip and “the rock n roll tapestry that Van Halen painted on our minds.”
So, without specifically name-checking Van Halen, it wistfully shouts him out in other ways. Over a classically snaky John Frusciante guitar line and tasty, jazzy Flea bass snap, Kiedis checks off some classic rock signposts.
“Sailing the Sunset Strip, I’m a bit of a king/ Granny would take a trip, I’ve been bending the strings/ Got hammers in both my hands, such a delicate touch/ They say I’m from Amsterdam, does that make me Dutch?” he sings while nodding to Eddie’s legendary playing style and heritage before diving into an emotional chorus featuring a shout to original Van Halen singer David Lee Roth.
“Please don’t remember me, for what I did last night, oh/ Please don’t remember me/ What’d I say Lord?/ Please don’t remember me, it’s only 1980/ It’s only 1983/ /Please don’t remember me, for what I did with David/ You know I’m talkin’ David Lee/ Am I ready?” Kiedis croons.
“In the end, our song asks that you not remember Eddie for dying but for living his wildest dream,” Kiedis’ post concluded. Van Halen’s son, Wolfgang Van Halen, replied to the emotional post with a trio of heart emoji. “Eddie” will appear on Canteen, the follow-up to the band’s 12th studio album, Unlimited Love, which was released in April.
Watch the “Eddie” visualizer and read the band’s note below.