Alex Winter explains how Eddie Van Halen left his mark on Bill & Ted franchise

‘The image that Eddie had runs through all of our movies’

Clémence Michallon
New York City
Thursday 08 October 2020 00:07
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Bill & Ted Face the Music trailer

Alex Winter has paid a vibrant tribute to Eddie Van Halen, explaining how the musician left a mark on the Bill & Ted franchise through his work.

Winter opened up about the topic in an essay for Rolling Stone, published on Wednesday.

He explained that he discovered Van Halen, the band co-founded by Eddie Van Halen and his brother Alex, after moving to New York City from the Midwest in 1978.

“I think the reason everyone’s grieving so much is there was  just so much emotionality in Van Halen’s playing!” he wrote. “It wasn’t just noodling. …There was a really beautiful quality to what he would play that I think really impacted people profoundly.”

According to Winter, Van Halen’s status as a California rocker (he moved from the Netherlands to Pasadena, California, as a child) had a durable impact on the Bill & Ted franchise – notably on the personality of the two eponymous lead characters portrayed respectively by Winter and Keanu Reeves.

“The image that Eddie had runs through all of our movies. Bill and Ted are supposed to be into hard rock. But we’re these sunny, optimistic California guys. And that’s really embodied by Eddie Van Halen,” Winter wrote. “We talk about Iron Maiden a lot, but I think we would have come up listening to Van Halen and the positivity that was infused in the music.”

Winter also explained that the team behind the 2020 sequel Bill & Ted Face the Music tried to get Van Halen to make an appearance in the film, but that the musician declined for “personal reasons”.

“We didn’t obviously have any idea what that was, but it was pretty clear now what it was. It’s just devastating,” he added. “Completely aside from any of our goofy stuff, it’s just a really sad, sad loss.”

Ed Solomon, who co-wrote all three Bill & Ted films, shared a similar account on Twitter on Tuesday, writing: “Super sad to hear about the passing of Eddie Van Halen. He was a big influence on Chris [Matheson] and me as we were writing Bill & Ted.”

Solomon added: “We tried to get him to do something – anything – in Face the Music, but they said he was unavailable and wouldn’t tell us why. Sadly, I think I know now.”

Van Halen died on Tuesday at the age of 65 of cancer. His son Wolfgang shared the news on social media, paying tribute to “the best father I could ever ask for”.

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