“He looked at me and he goes, ‘You’re the only one that understands me. People think I’m an alien because of the way I play’”: Why Eddie Van Halen cried when he met Billie Joe Armstrong

Eddie Van Halen and Billie Joe Armstrong
(Image credit: John Medina / Kevin Mazur/WireImage / Getty Images)

When Billie Joe Armstrong went to watch Van Halen as an aspiring 12-year-old and started crying because of the sheer majesty of Eddie Van Halen’s guitar playing, he probably had no idea he’d be the one reducing his hero to tears decades later.

But that’s exactly what happened: during a recent interview with Howard Stern, the Green Day frontman recalled how the late electric guitar great literally cried when he met Armstrong backstage.

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Matt Owen
Senior Staff Writer, GuitarWorld.com

Matt is a Senior Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.