An offhanded comment about a celebrity quickly becomes something much more serious when that celebrity just died.
David Crosby learned that this week after an offhanded comment he made about Eddie Van Halen brought him all kinds of heat from offended fans.
Eddie Van Halen was an icon in the rock music industry and the lead guitarist of the band that bore his name, Van Halen. After an excruciating battle with cancer, he passed away on October 6 at the age of 65, adding one more blow to the year that is 2020.
But Crosby did not take all of this into consideration when a follower asked him for his opinion of Eddie Van Halen.
A follower asked Crosby:
“I know you’re not into metal, David, but what’s your opinion on Eddie Van Halen?”
Many artists would have taken this opportunity to commemorate the work of an artist gone too soon. At the very “worst,” they might offer a constructive critique of the work accomplished, but again, in a commemorative way.
Instead of doing what many artists would have done, David Crosby responded with this:
Meh …. https://t.co/rncBUS0tnw
— David Crosby (@thedavidcrosby) October 10, 2020
Needless to say, this was not a response that most Van Halen or Crosby fans appreciated.
Posting such a short, dismissive tweet, so soon after Van Halen’s lost battle with cancer, was clearly about to get him some serious backlash.
Some were just angry.
how could a guy so cool be so uncool? you lost me. funny thing is I'm not a big fan of Eddie Van Halen but I am a big fan of respect and honor of which you have lost all of mine.
— Citizenrick (@citizenricky) October 13, 2020
Because of your jealousy. I can't believe you are that jealous of THE BEST GUITARIST EVER! #Eddievanhalen all you know is simple chords, So MEH BACK TO YOU!!!!!
— Anthony☆=//-/=☆ (@Anthony51503) October 13, 2020
Some tried to help by suggesting how David Crosby could have responded instead.
I appreciate @thedavidcrosby too much for this to get in the way, but a much better answer would have been: “I know he meant a lot to so many but his sound & style just weren’t my thing.” Patti Smith doesn’t seem like she’s ever been much of a VH fan either, still she posted this pic.twitter.com/GqKO4S5v4R
— Alex Skolnick (@AlexSkolnick) October 11, 2020
Wow! That was rude, unkind and totally lacking empathy.
— susan (@SeriouslySusan_) October 10, 2020
Others disagreed on principle, citing Van Halen as a force in the industry.
His rhythm as a lead guitarist was absolutely ridiculous. Great guitarists before him basically expanded on what had been done before them. He CREATED a new sound and way of playing. He was a top-ten most influential musicians of the 20th century.
— Matt Birnbaum (@BirnbaumMatt) October 10, 2020
Thankfully, the consensus is, was, and will always be that Eddie Van Halen was an incredibly gifted musician and innovator. There are always those that have their "opinions" or taste that differ.
Facts are facts, Eddie pioneered guitar tech & guitar techniques with bravado.
— Max Mass (@MaxMassPresence) October 11, 2020
It’s ok you can admit that your not on Eddie’s level
— Starr Smith |BLM| I ❤️ You EVH (@RebelHeartCrue) October 11, 2020
A few agreed with Crosby’s analysis of Van Halen’s music, though.
Van Halen was a trick innovator. He wasn't that technical. Finger tricks that was original and sounded great. Lacked soul tho.
— Kenneth D. Givens (@kdg1000) October 11, 2020
He's an amazing guitar player but very very technical…lacks a lot of soul.
— Ursa Antifa Air (@woundedbear) October 10, 2020
After countless comments, both hateful and helpful, David Crosby issued an apology.
yes you Van Halen fans I did just toss off an answer that was not cool …the even more embarrassing truth is ..I didn't even remember he had just died or I would have kept my mouth shut….I do make mistakes …no offense intended
— David Crosby (@thedavidcrosby) October 13, 2020
He also explained the earlier tweet was about musical preference, not Van Halen himself.
Hendrix changed the world of guitar. Nobody else really …look I get it ..many of you loved Van Halen ….and the one time I met he was nice ….and he was talented …meh to me means I don’t care that much ….and I don’t …doesn’t mean he wasn’t good ,he was but not for me https://t.co/onttfvowU8
— David Crosby (@thedavidcrosby) October 12, 2020
Some followers continued to agree with Crosby, not viewing Van Halen as their favorite musician.
No one comes close to Jimi after all these decades.
Alvin Lee got overlooked but was really up there.
van Halen didn't do anything for music, art, or much of anything.
— Sunny Jim (@sunnyjim4) October 12, 2020
No apologies necessary. You have every right as a fan and fellow musician to like an artist's work or not without criticism from people with nothing else to do. CSNY and VH's work will stand the test of time. And both sound good driving down a smooth stretch of highway.
— Tony Pizza (@trivialtony) October 13, 2020
Some followers were more emotional and said the apology restored their faith in the musician.
Dude.. I almost cut my hair. Apology accepted.
— RJ (@LakeTullochView) October 13, 2020
Good move, David. Thanks for this tweet. https://t.co/qGTTRc9nrS
— Steve Silberman (@stevesilberman) October 13, 2020
David you are real & I love it. We all screw up. Owning it is a sign of character. This shows remorse, kindness & compassion. ✌🏼❤️
— JD (@JamDunn) October 13, 2020
I was going to jump on here and send you a message about being respectful of those artists who pass away. But this tweet is pitch perfect. We do all make mistakes and we need more forgiveness in this world. I loved Van Halen. I also love your music. Thanks for the update!
— Patrick Johnson (@daddywrites) October 13, 2020
We’re all welcome to have our own opinions and musical preferences. But our responses could be constructive in nature, especially when an artist just died.
Maybe David Crosby will check the headlines in the future before he shares his opinion of another artist.