Steve Nowicki Flabbergasted by Guitar World’s Pick for Greatest Guitarist of All Time

“Hendrix was incredible, but Eddie’s level of game-changing-ness goes so far and beyond,” Steve Nowicki argues of Van Halen shredder

March 21, 2023

Stern Show staffer and Tuchus lead guitarist Steve Nowicki has made no secret of his idolization of Eddie Van Halen. Which is why when Guitar World magazine ranked the Van Halen founder fourth on their list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time, it irked him. “Eddie Van Halen has got to be number one,” Nowicki argued of the deceased rock star who places behind Queen’s Brian May, Jimi Hendrix, and Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page on the list. “Hendrix was incredible, but Eddie’s level of game-changing-ness goes so far and beyond.”

Howard disagreed with both the magazine and his staffer. “The greatest guitar player that ever lived was Jimi Hendrix — hands down, there’s no discussion about it,” he said firmly. “Eddie Van Halen was as important to the guitar as Jimi Hendrix was, there’s no question. But the original guy, you’ve got to go with number one, Jimi Hendrix.”

Fred Norris, also an accomplished guitar player, agreed with Howard. “Number one is Jimi Hendrix — no Jimi Hendrix, no Eddie Van Halen,” he argued before defending Page’s status on the list. “He was … a better riff master than Eddie Van Halen … Sloppy player but great riff master.”

Steve wasn’t convinced. “I think there’s best guitarist of all time and then there’s like first guitarist of all time,” the staffer explained. “What Hendrix did completely game-changed everything, and like Eddie wouldn’t have been able to do what he did without that influence, but I think Eddie took it to such a further level.”

Despite their disagreements, when Steve played some familiar riffs from the likes of Van Halen, AC/DC, and more on his own guitar, Howard was blown away. “How did you find time to fuck girls?” he joked. “You must have been practicing day and night the way you’re riffing like that.”