Mastodon guitarist Bill Kelliher shared his ideas about the musicians trying to play like Eddie Van Halen by revealing his own inspiration during his recent interview with the BBC’s The Rock Show With Johnnie Walker.
The late Van Halen guitarist Eddie Van Halen drew great attention with his unique way of playing guitar, even in his first years as a professional musician. Therefore, many new generation bands and guitarists admired and were inspired by Van Halen’s style.
In addition, Kelliher admitted that he tried to create a sound like Van Halen, Scorpions, and ZZ Top when he and his friends were young. However, the guitarist understood that he couldn’t play like that, so he decided to focus on playing one powerful chord and improve the songwriting like Ramones’ John Ramone did.
The Mastodon guitarist highlighted that everyone trying to be Eddie Van Halen was wrong because it was too hard for these young guitarists. So he chose Ramone as his muse, and he performed Ramones’ covers after he founded his first band. Kelliher also defined John Ramone as his ‘rock god.’
Kelliher said in his interview that:
“When I was a young kid, all my friends and I used to listen to lots of Van Halen, Scorpions, and ZZ Top, and we looked up to all those guitarists, but I could never play that stuff. However when I heard Johnny Ramone, I realized that ‘Wow, this guy is only playing one chord, a power chord.’
I soon realized that everybody was doing it wrong; everybody was trying to be Eddie Van Halen whereas I said, ‘I wanna be a songwriter. If Johnny Ramone can write two hundred songs with the same three power chords, then I can at least write a couple.’ That’s exactly what I did. When I was 15, I started my first band. I just started playing with some friends and doing Ramones covers and easy punk rock stuff and just kind of learned along the way.
So Johnny Ramone really taught me that you don’t have to be super proficient at guitar to be an awesome guitar player. The Ramones were an amazing band. I saw them many times live growing up in upstate New York — they came through a lot. They put on an amazing show. Johnny Ramone’s guitar playing was just like turning on a buzzsaw and not turning it off. So that’s why I think Johnny Ramone is a rock god.“
Moreover, Mastodon’s Bill Kelliher didn’t forget to credit Ramones’ extraordinary and unforgettable live performances, which he witnessed many times. Also, he didn’t forget to praise the band’s late guitarist, Johnny Ramone.