What’s it like to play guitar in front of Eddie Van Halen? Probably like painting in front of Michelangelo. Unfortunately, only one of these can occur in the 2010, and Mark Tremonti has found himself in the intensely high-pressure situation.

From 2012 to 2017, Wolfgang Van Halen was the bassist and backing vocalist for Tremonti, lending his talents to the Cauterize and Dust albums. During our chat with Mark to promote 2018’s A Dying Machine, the frontman explained how it feels to have one of the greatest axemen in history watch you play guitar.

“You’ll play a show and you’ll just kind of see him sitting there smiling. When you’re on stage though, a light switch kinda turns and you kind of become this other persona, so it’s hard to shake your nerves. It felt good, him being there,” Tremonti says.

“We went to go see [Van Halen] practice. We were at 5150 studios and they were playing [A Different Kind of Truth]. They had finished a song and I was like, ‘Wolfie, that was a killer bass line.’ And Eddie’s like, ‘Were my parts good?’ [laughs] Like, dude, you’re Eddie Van Halen. All your parts are good. One time I was warming up in L.A. for a show and I’m warming my left hand up and I see somebody standing behind me for a minute. I hear him go, ‘You don’t pick very much, do you?’ I turn around and it’s Eddie Van Halen.

Check out our exclusive video with Mark Tremonti above and see where A Dying Machine landed on our 30 Best Rock Albums of 2018 list below.

30 Best Hard Rock Albums of 2018