Warren DeMartini Addresses Eric Clapton’s Influence On Eddie Van Halen


Ratt lead guitarist Warren DeMartini joined an interview with Guitar World and talked about an iconic Van Halen song that Eric Clapton inspired the late musician Eddie Van Halen during its creation. DeMartini also recalled a backstage moment during the band’s performance on their tour.

Some dedicated longtime Eddie Van Halen fans know that the guitarist was significantly influenced by Eric Clapton and his exceptional guitar playing style, especially at the beginning of his career. The power ballad ‘When It’s Love’ from their ‘OU812’ which Eddie defined its guitar solo as a tribute to Clapton, can be regarded as one of the examples of his admiration and respect for The Yardbirds and Cream icon.

However, the Van Halen founder felt disappointed by Clapton, who didn’t like his and Brian May’s performances as a part of the ‘Star Fleet Project.’ It was probably hard to receive negative criticism from your guitar hero. In addition, during his interview, DeMartini expressed his thoughts about Clapton, saying that Eddie had a unique playing which made him highly famous and successful. Still, he could see The Slowhand’s blues influence on ‘I’m the One’ with the shuffle.

The guitarist said he had a funny backstage story, including Eddie Van Halen, and shared details about that. DeMartini revealed that they went backstage while Van Halen was in San Diego for their Women and Children First Tour, thanks to Robbin, who knew some crew members. Ratt’s lead guitarist still can’t forget that he had to return to take his jacket, and at that moment, the spotlight showed both him and Eddie for a second.

DeMartini shared his ideas, saying:

“Oh, a lot, sure. There was his sound, but there was also his whole style. He had a shuffle that nobody else had. I was crazy about that shuffle in ‘I’m the One.’ Eddie got some of that from listening to Eric Clapton, although he played much slower. There was the same kind of snappiness, though.

Kind of a funny story about Eddie: Robbin knew him a bit, and I think he also knew some people on Van Halen’s crew, so we got passes to the band’s show in San Diego during the Women and Children First tour. I drove us there, and we got to the arena before the opening act went on. A crew guy that Robbin knew showed us Ed’s rig, and we talked for a bit.”

He added:

“A while later, halfway through Van Halen’s set, I realized I left my jacket on the stage where we were talking, right behind the PA speakers on Ed’s side. My keys were in the jacket, and losing them wasn’t an option. My pass got me backstage again, so I climbed the stairs to the stage level and saw my jacket 20 feet away.

Nobody was looking, so I went for it. Halfway to my jacket, I paused and took in the view from Ed’s world. The band was surrounded by the sold-out arena. Then Ed started moving to his left, and for a few moments, his spotlight hit the two of us. When the monitor guy noticed me, I took a few more steps, grabbed my jacket, and booked.”

You can listen to the song below.