Sturgill Simpson on Eddie Van Halen: 'Impact Is an Understatement'

Sturgill Simpson recalled his first concert — Van Halen — in an online tribute to Eddie Van Halen, who died Tuesday at 65 after a battle with cancer. “Face melted. Mind blown. Life changed.,” Simpson posted on Instagram, along with a photo of vintage Eddie Van Halen onstage. “Impact is an understatement. The man single handedly altered the course of music forever.”

Simpson, a ferocious guitarist himself, is one of many players who have memorialized Van Halen since the innovative musician’s death. Jimmy Page praised him as “the real deal.” Billy Corgan called him “a man of staggering genius.” Joe Satriani singled out how Van Halen put “joy into every little note.”

On Wednesday, Simpson also released the video for “Make Art Not Friends,” a droning, synth-heavy track off his latest album, 2019’s Sound & Fury. The animated video is part of Simpson’s long-form anime film on Netflix that accompanied the album. The clip follows a skateboarder wheeling around a contaminated and abandoned city; this is the first time it’s been released outside of the anime film.

“It felt super relevant,” Simpson said in a statement, drawing a parallel between the video and our current dystopia. “Fuck your speakers.” Michael Arias directed the video.

In November, Simpson is set to release a graphic novel version of Sound & Fury that expands the story of the album and film.

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