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Hear Eddie Van Halen get cosmic on a newly unearthed cover of Jimi Hendrix’s If 6 Was 9

Best of 2020: Keyboardist David Garfield has played with everyone from Larry Carlton and Steve Lukather to George Benson and Smokey Robinson.

But one of the highlights of his career came in the late ‘90s, when he recorded with Eddie Van Halen. Now, for the first time, Garfield is releasing that track, a cover of Jimi Hendrix’s If 6 Was 9, and Guitar World is happy to be premiering the collaboration.

The cut, which appears on Garfield’s new EP, Guitar Heroes OTB, Vol. 1, also features singer and guitarist Michael Landau, bassist Will Lee and drummer Simon Phillips. But right up front is Eddie, who contributes an absolutely wild and psychedelic guitar performance to the Hendrix classic.

If 6 Was 9, which appears on Guitar Heroes OTB in extended, remastered form, was recorded in 1996 at Chick Corea’s Mad Hatter Studios in LA and engineered by Alan Hirshberg. Eddie's overdubs were done at his own 5150 Studios.

David Garfield's new album

(Image credit: David Garfield)

Garfield talked to Guitar World about how the track came about, explaining that he first met Eddie “at a local cigar store and we got to talking.” At the time, Garfield was working on a project titled Tribute to Jeff Porcaro, in honor of the late Toto drummer. He recalls, “I mentioned it to Eddie, asking if he’d like to participate. Eddie’s response was a resounding ‘yes!’ "

Garfield continues, "I went up to his house to work on the tracks with him, and he was so cool. We bonded as keyboard players, too. After that session, we played a live gig together at the Baked Potato, along with Steve Lukather and Michael Landau.

"We continued to stay in touch, and often he would call me out of the blue, asking for help with keyboard related stuff. I even found a guy to travel with him on tour and play additional parts offstage, as well as be his keyboard tech.”

“I'm sure sorry we lost him way too soon; I was hoping to collaborate with him again. Rest in peace, my brother Ed."

You can check out the Guitar World premiere of the extended, remastered If 6 Was 9 above.

David Garfield recorded Jimi Hendrix's If 6 Was 9 with Eddie Van Halen

(Image credit: Robert Knight)
Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.