A mural of Eddie Van Halen has been unveiled on the outside wall of Guitar Center's flagship Hollywood location.
Created by Robert Vargas, the mural – titled "Long Live the King" – is 17 feet tall and 105 feet long, and covers the entirety of the store’s outer wall at its rear entrance. Depicting Van Halen with his iconic “Frankenstrat,” it was painted entirely by hand.
“Eddie was one of my creative heroes," Vargas said in a statement. "When I was young, the debut Van Halen record was the first album I ever owned. He influenced me over the years in so many different ways.
"As soon as the news hit of his passing, I knew I had to do something creative to memorialize him, and Guitar Center was the obvious venue. Right here on the Sunset Strip, where the band made their bones – I can’t think of a better place for this tribute to him, and I thank Guitar Center for giving me the canvas to share it with the world.”
“Eddie Van Halen was a truly monumental force in rock music," added Guitar Center Category Manager Jean-Claude Escudie. "He made lead guitar playing popular when it might have been slipping away into punk and new wave minimalist territory, and then basically the entire 80s hard rock scene followed in his wake.
"Guitar Center saw this first-hand, as generations of lead guitarists have flocked to our stores to try to capture something of what inspires them about Eddie’s sound. Besides that, sometimes people forget that he was an immigrant and multi-racial, so in so many ways his story is the story of the American experience.”
You can watch Vargas work on the mural, and discuss Van Halen's impact on his own life, in the video below.
Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.com and GuitarPlayer.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.
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