On August 28, 1998 I met Eddie Van Halen. Of course I remember the date. I remember everything about spending time with the greatest guitar player of my time and possibly all time. They say you shouldn't meet your idols as you may be let down. In this case, they were wrong.

Van Halen was on tour to support their latest album Van Halen III featuring singer Gary Cherone of the Boston band Extreme. Prior to the show I arranged an interview with a member of the band. I didn't know which band member until I got to the venue and was asked to "go get Eddie in his dressing room". Are you serious?!

With nervous excitement I knocked on Eddie Van Halen’s dressing room door expecting a tour manager to answer. Instead it was Eddie himself that greeted me. I explained that we have an interview and I’d escort him to the broadcast. He seemed nervous, which surprised me. Eddie asked “do you mind if my brother comes too?” Trying to play it cool I said “You mean Alex? Yes that is fine.” Of course it’s fine! It’s the VH brothers!

Now I knock on Alex’s door and he is happy to join. As we start the short walk to the booth Eddie said “I’ll be right there. I need to grab my smokes.” I immediately thought he was bailing. I couldn’t let that happen so I said “I’ll go with you.”. No fear, Eddie grabbed a pack and we caught up with “his brother”.

For this interview we arranged for winners to be there to watch the broadcast. We turn the corner and I see the crowd of fans and the 16 year old in me is asking “How the hell did I manage to be walking side by side with Eddie and Alex Van Halen?”. Like I did when I was a teenager, for a moment, I felt like I was in Van Halen. Walking the path to the broadcast I took a position that David Lee Roth, Michael Anthony or Sammy Hagar might have taken in Van Halen history. Side by side with Eddie and Alex. Honestly I could have cried I was so happy.

Here are a couple of pictures from August 28, 1998. Today would have been Eddie's 66th birthday.

Karolyi with Van Halen
Karolyi with Van Halen

 

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