Eddie Van Halen hated how he inspired a wave of “intense uber-shredding”, says Steve Lukather

Steve Lukather and Eddie Van Halen live
(Image credit: Scott Dudelson / Michele Eve Sandberg/Corbis via Getty Images)

Through his mind-bending technical arrangements and emotive approach to playing, late electric guitar legend Eddie Van Halen was responsible for inspiring whole generations of players, and had a pioneering approach that continues to shape the sound of six-strings to this day.

However, according to Steve Lukather, EVH was supposedly none too happy about instigating a new wave of “intense uber-shredding” during the 1980s, which the Toto icon says “misinterpreted what his musical intent was”.

Speaking to Guitar Magazine, Lukather recalled, “These were the times when guitar players were trying to show what they had. Each guy had something and they wanted to show it off!

“It was healthy, no one was trying to one-up anybody else. That came a little later in the ‘80s with all the intense uber-shredding that started and Ed was sitting there going, ‘I created a monster, fuck!’”

The Toto shred legend continued, “They misinterpreted what his musical intent was and turned the guitar into more of a sport. I know that always bothered him.”

Lukather picked up the subject of speedy playing later on in the interview, saying, “I see a lot of people spending a lot of time perfecting their linear technique, speed and scales, and emulating their heroes.

"We all did that when we were kids – it's a lot easier now that you can see the guy on YouTube!

“There’s nothing wrong with learning the technique," he continued. "However, it’s become like a magic trick, but when everyone knows how to do it, it’s not magic anymore. It’s amazing, flawlessly executed – but where are the tunes?

“That is what is sorely lacking to me – songs! These people have got all these chops and they’ve got no songs. Who is going to whistle that?”

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month**

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Matt Owen

Matt is a 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.