FORT DRUM, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Musician or not – the passing of Eddie Van Halen has affected so many. Army Staff Sergeant, Austin West wanted to pay tribute to his favorite musician and little did he know the impact it would have.
When he heard about the passing, he didn’t think it was real at first. Heartbroken and upset, the first thing he did was grab his guitar, amp, camera and turned on Facebook Live – the rest is history.
It was a one-shot take of pure emotion, just West and the music. As a guitar player since the age of 14, Van Halen was his first ever concert, inspiration and the reason why he started playing in the first place.
The video has since gone viral and now has over 2.3 million views; many have commented saying how much they appreciate what he did to honor the guitar hero. Putting emotion into the music and keeping Van Halen’s legacy alive is what mattered most to West.
“He’s really created the instrument and taken it to another level, especially because the stuff is in 1977 and we we’re talking about people like myself who started playing guitar in 2005,” West said. “Even people who started in 2020, they are going to revamp this stuff. He is an innovator and he’s one of those people who influence a lot.”
West is originally from Louisiana but is currently stationed in Fort Drum. He said the video gained an incredible amount of traction in the first few hours it was up and it’s taken off ever since. He says anybody who’s tried guitar or still plays it today needs to at least revisit Van Halen once to enjoy what he’s done for music.
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