Miljenko Matijevic, a well-known singer, recently reminisced about his experiences with Eddie Van Halen in a new interview with Metal Edge. Matijevic recounted an anecdote about his time with the late guitarist, emphasizing their special bond and time spent together in the studio. After being introduced by a common friend in the early 2000s, Matijevic not only met Eddie in person, but also built a profound bond with him. They met during Eddie’s turbulent tour with Sammy Hagar in 2004, when he was working on his health and the band’s future was uncertain. Although Miljenko was never given the chance to front Van Halen, he did offer a humorous story about a musical exchange they had in the studio. Miljenko Matijevic recounted requesting to sing the same stanza in multiple ways throughout their time together, prompting Eddie to remark that the singer had more ‘ideas’ flowing through him than Eddie did. He sympathized with Matijevic, who appeared to be overflowing with creative energy.
Miljenko also recalls the Van Halen guitarist offering him a Steinway upright piano. Despite Eddie’s urging, Matijevic’s cultural heritage prevented him from accepting the present. When recalling Eddie’s gracious offer of the Steinway upright piano, the Steelheart singer expressed regret. The singer reflected on his time with Eddie, saying: “That was a difficult time for everyone on that ‘road,’ to put it mildly. One amusing thing is that I said, ‘Let me sing over some of this music.’ He [Eddie] responds, ‘All right.’ So we have the engineer in there and everything. ‘All right, put it on.’ I say. I sing one stanza, then say, ‘Put it on again.’ I sing the verse in a different way. ‘Put it back on.’ Sing the verse a different way. And then [Eddie] walks in and says, ‘Dude. You’ve got more sh*t coming out of you than I do. ‘I’m sorry for you,’ [laughs].
He had a Steinway upright piano, and I told him, ‘I need my piano; I don’t have my piano any longer,’ He then says, ‘Take that one; you can have it.’ ‘Naw, I don’t want to take your piano!’ I say. ‘No, seriously, take the piano!’ You can have it, and I’ll deliver it.’ I just felt horrible… Coming from Europe, it’s not something I do in my culture – you know? But he actually said, ‘Take it!’ That piano should have been mine.” Matijevic’s story of his time with Eddie Van Halen demonstrated the late icon’s compassion and ability to connect on a deep level with fellow musicians. Although Milajenko appears to be grateful for the opportunity to meet and interact with Eddie, it is evident that he still regrets taking his piano.