Eddie Van Halen helps put a heavy spin on Jimi Hendrix's "If 6 Was 9" in a recently unearthed cover of the Axis: Bold as Love tune.

The remastered 1996 track, available to stream at Guitar World, appears on keyboardist David Garfield's new EP Guitar Heroes OTB, Vol. 1. It was primarily recorded at Chick Corea's Los Angeles studio, with the Van Halen guitarist adding overdubs at his 5150 home base.

The reimagined cut opens with a a minute-plus of violent tremolo bar chaos that sounds like deep-space alien transmissions. Psychedelic wah-wah anchors the song throughout, never overshadowing Michael Landau's bluesy vocal or bassist Will Lee's thunderous low end. Drummer Simon Phillips also throws in a wild solo midway through.

Garfield detailed the song's origins to Guitar World, noting that he originally met the guitar virtuoso "at a local cigar store." The keyboardist been working on a tribute project to late Toto drummer Jeff Porcaro; he recruited Van Halen, who responded with a "resounding 'yes.'"

"I went up to his house to work on the tracks with him, and he was so cool," Garfield noted. "We bonded as keyboard players too. After that session, we played a live gig together at the Baked Potato, along with Steve Lukather and Michael Landau. … We continued to stay in touch, and often he would call me out of the blue, asking for help with keyboard related stuff. I even found a guy to travel with him on tour and play additional parts offstage, as well as be his keyboard tech."

He also mourned the loss of Van Halen, who died in October at age 65 after a lengthy cancer battle. “I'm sure sorry we lost him way too soon," he said. "I was hoping to collaborate with him again. Rest in peace, my brother Ed."

 

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