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Red Hot Chili Peppers pay tribute to Eddie Van Halen on new single, Eddie

RHCP and Eddie Van Halen
(Image credit: Clara Balzary; Fin Costello/Redferns)

The Red Hot Chili Peppers have shared the latest single from their forthcoming studio album, Return Of The Dream Canteen, and it was written to honour the memory of Eddie Van Halen.

Titled Eddie, the track came together the day after the guitar icon’s death, and while it does not mention him explicitly in the lyrics, it references his life and legacy, from creating an all-new sound and style for electric guitar, to creating a body of work with Van Halen that influences millions of players across generations.

“Sometimes we don’t realise how deeply affected and connected we are to artists until the day they die,” said RHCP frontman Anthony Kiedis. “Eddie Van Halen was a one of a kind.”

Kiedis said Eddie “effortlessly unfolded”, and it all coalesced around a bass guitar motif.

Sometimes we don’t realise how deeply affected and connected we are to artists until the day they die

Anthony Kiedis

“The day after his death, Flea came into rehearsal with an emotional bassline,” Kiedis said. “John [Frusciante, guitar], Chad [Smith, drums] and I started playing along and pretty soon with all our hearts, a song in his honour effortlessly unfolded. It felt good to be sad and care so much about a person who had given so much to our lives. 

“Although the song doesn’t speak to Eddie by name, it talks about his early days on the Sunset Strip and the rock ’n’ roll tapestry that Van Halen painted on our minds. In the end, our song asks that you not remember Eddie for dying but for living his wildest dream.”

Eddie arrives a month after the release of Tippa My Tongue, the first single that accompanied the surprise announcement that the California stadium-rockers were releasing a second studio album in 2022, with the platinum-selling Unlimited Love being followed by Return Of The Dream Canteen on 14 October – an album the band describe as “everything we are and ever dreamed of being”.  

Eddie Van Halen was a one of a kind

Anthony Kiedis

You can learn how to play Tippa My Tongue here, and take it as read that the return of John Frusciante on guitar has revitalised the band. Once they started jamming old songs, the groove returned and they started writing – one album turned into two, with long-time collaborator Rick Rubin returning to produce them.

“Once we found that slip stream of sound and vision, we just kept mining,” wrote the band in a statement. “With time turned into an elastic waist band of oversized underwear, we had no reason to stop writing and rocking. It felt like a dream. When all was said and done, our moody love for each other and the magic of music had gifted us with more songs than we knew what to do with. Well we figured it out. Two double albums released back to back.”

Return Of The Dream Canteen (opens in new tab) is available to pre-order now, out 14 October via Warner Records.

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.