Of the many electric guitar players who were Eddie Van Halen’s peers during the 1980s, George Lynch was one of the few who actually came up through the ranks with him on the Southern California circuit.
In a recent interview with Guitar World, Kiss’ Gene Simmons recalled going to the Starwood in LA in the mid-‘70s to see Lynch’s then-band, the Boyz, but instead being blown away by the other band on the bill, Van Halen:
“I get to the club and… I was waiting for the Boyz, who were the headliner and the band everybody was talking about,” Simmons said.
“They had George Lynch on guitar. But the first band came on and it was, ‘What the hell is that?’ It sounded like three or four guitar players playing, some of them in harmony, and with speed and melody. It was like a guitar symphony.”
Now, during an appearance at the Dallas International Guitar Festival on May 1, Lynch has paid tribute to EVH with an impromptu jam on Van Halen’s Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love.
The jam was caught on video by a fan in attendance, who uploaded it to YouTube with the caption: “Right in the middle of a cool spontaneous jam, George starts playing an improvised Van Halen classic. Watch the looks exchanged by the rhythm section as they realize, and adjust.”
At the end of the performance, during which we see Lynch play some fiery licks and tasty octave runs on a (slightly out-of-tune) Les Paul, he says to the crowd, "In remembrance of our fallen brother, who is one of the greatest inspirations of my personal guitar journey."
In a recent interview with Guitar World, Lynch was asked who he considered to be the best guitarist on the scene back in the ‘80s, to which he replied:
“There’s so many different guitar players I like for so many different reasons. But if you’re talking about the kind of music I was involved in, I guess it would have to be Eddie. He was the giant.”