WATCH: Army Recruiter Shreds Guitar in Eddie Van Halen Tribute

October 9, 2020Ethan E. Rocke
Coffee or Die Photo

After rock god Eddie Van Halen died of cancer Tuesday, Army Staff Sgt. Austin West processed the loss of one of his musical influences in the best way possible — by strapping on his guitar and absolutely shredding through a tribute on Facebook.

In a three-minute video posted to his personal Facebook page, the recruiter based in Watertown, New York, became a viral hit as he burned through some of Van Halen’s best-known riffs and solos, including “Eruption,” “Panama,” and the band’s cover of The Kinks’ “You Really Got Me.”

At publication time, the video had more than 1.2 million views and 7,000 comments.

“Believe it or not, it just came through, and I played what I felt through Eddie,” the 26-year-old musician told Stars and Stripes.

West, who previously served as a guitarist with the US Army Band, said he started learning the guitar after listening to AC/DC, and seeing Van Halen live in 2008 further inspired him to pursue music.

“Hitting one million [views] is so shocking,” he told Stars and Stripes. “I know Eddie is smiling.”

RIP to a legend and inspiration Mr. Edward Van Halen! Here is my tribute to you and may you Rest In Peace ! ??

Posted by Austin West on Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Ethan E. Rocke
Ethan E. Rocke

Ethan E. Rocke is a contributor and former senior editor for Coffee or Die Magazine, a New York Times bestselling author, and award-winning photographer and filmmaker. He is a veteran of the US Army and Marine Corps. His work has been published in Maxim Magazine, American Legion Magazine, and many others. He is co-author of The Last Punisher: A SEAL Team THREE Sniper’s True Account of the Battle of Ramadi.

More from Coffee or Die Magazine
navy seal training
Navy SEALS Training Plagued by Massive Problems, According To Investigation

Medical oversight and care were “poorly organized, poorly integrated and poorly led and put candidat...

memorial day arlington
Memorial Day Is a Day of Remembrance, Not Celebration

Memorial Day was created as a remembrance to honor the fallen by decorating graves — a holiday meant...

air force joint chiefs
Air Force Fighter Pilot Tapped As Next Joint Chiefs Chairman Has History of Firsts

The Air Force fighter pilot about to be nominated as the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff ...

sowf special operations warrior foundation
BRCC Donates $500K to Special Operations Warrior Foundation

In an effort to continue Black Rifle Coffee Company’s mission of supporting the veteran community, B...

Coca Cola 600
BRCC to Honor Fallen Marine During NASCAR’s Legendary Coca-Cola 600

Black Rifle Coffee Company will honor Marine Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Menusa during NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 this Memorial Day. Menusa was killed in 2003 during the invasion of Iraq.

uss gerald r. ford oslo
US Aircraft Carrier Arrives In NATO Member Norway, To Take Part In Drills

The nuclear-powered ship USS Gerald R. Ford entered the Oslo fjord escorted by a rapid dinghy-type boat with armed personnel on board.

adam driver indy 500
Marine Vet, Actor Adam Driver Named Honorary Starter for Indianapolis 500

Two-time Academy Award nominee Adam Driver, who will soon be starring as Enzo Ferrari in a biopic of...

  • About Us
  • Privacy Policy
  • Careers
Contact Us
  • Request a Correction
  • Write for Us
  • General Inquiries
© 2023 Coffee or Die Magazine. All Rights Reserved