Whitesnake leader David Coverdale recalled the last time he met the late Eddie Van Halen, while he and Jimmy Page were having tea in a hotel room.

Coverdale also reflected on the aftermath of any respected artist’s death, saying he still felt the presence of late bandmate Jon Lord, who died in 2012.

“Edward, the last time I saw him, I was sitting in my hotel suite in London with Jimmy,” he told Eonmusic in a new interview. “It was like 10 o’clock in the morning, and we were just having a very elegant gentleman’s cup of tea - tea pot and everything! And the door to my suite goes, and Michael McIntyre, my co-producer … he gets up and opens the door, and his jaw hits the floor because he’s like a total Van Halen fan.”

Coverdale continued: ”Eddie goes, 'Is David in?’ And I wasn’t under my own name! And Mikey walks in and he goes, ‘Oh, it’s Van Halen’ … Edward just pushes past, and I go, ‘Edward, how are you doing?’ And he goes, ‘All right, great to see you … Ah! Jimmy Page! Jimmy Page!’”

Van Halen grabbed a beer from the minibar, even though it was around 10AM “[He] takes a fucking Heineken out, and he’s at Jimmy’s feet, and he picks up my acoustic, and he’s like, ‘How did you play this fucking thing?’ You know, it’s amazing: I had Eddie Van Halen and Jimmy Page sitting there, and Eddie had a Heineken, and Jimmy and I had a cup of tea!”

The singer said he’d known about Van Halen’s cancer for “quite some time” and that he had discussed the situation with Sammy Hagar. “Sammy still had the energy that he was going to have another opportunity to do the rounds as the singer with Van Halen," Coverdale said. "But I don’t think Edward could do it."

Asked how he felt about the deaths of musicians he knew, Coverdale said, “I really became aware, more than ever about two years ago, when I was remixing the Slide It In album, hearing [Lord’s] performances and studio dialogue, and the interaction and laughs and joking. … The thing is, they are as alive to me, in my heart, my mind, my soul, my spirit. You know, the music’s there. ... Artists, their music lives on. The sad thing is, you don’t get to hug them, but I still talk to Jon, and I feel his presence in my life.”

On the subject of how he’ll be remembered after his own death, Coverdale reflected: “It's more important to me to be remembered as my wife's husband, and my children's dad; that's the big deal to me. … You know, it's really important for me that people know that I've always done my best, regardless if they think it's the best or not; it's the best I could do at that time. So, I don't know, my legacy's going to be my music.”


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