Brian McDaniel

Aspire to Inspire

The death of Eddie Van Halen in 2020 caused an outpouring of grief from fans and peers. Hollywood producer and writer MIke Fleiss is still affected by his close friend’s death. Looking back on the life of Eddie Van Halen gives Fleiss a chance to remember his friend. Fleiss explains the two shared many passions and got sober together.

Unlike many Hollywood friendships, Fleiss explains he and Van Halen spent time together away from the glare of public life. The reality TV and movie producer reveals he and the guitarist shared a passion for music. MIke Fleiss explains he and the legendary guitarist owned the same rare guitar, a Gibson Barney Kessel. The Gibson hollow-body guitar last sold at auction for over $10,000 and was created to honor the legacy of jazz virtuoso Barney Kessel.

The shared passion for music of Van Halen and MIke Fleiss resulted in many days and nights spent playing together, with the producer learning many tricks from his illustrious friend. Fleiss explains Eddie Van Halen would share some of his favorite tricks and unreleased music with Fleiss. During their friendship, Fleiss and Van Halen would listen to some unreleased tracks the guitarist recorded. Fleiss believes much of the recorded work of Eddie Van Halen remains unheard by the public and is ripe for release.

Alongside a love of music, the friends shared a passion for classic cars. MIke Fleiss reveals both men owned a 1993 Mercedes 500E, a rare vehicle by the German automaker. The producer of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and “Hostel” explains the friendship gave him some of the best memories of his life. Finding sobriety gave the producer and guitarist plenty in common as they moved forward to new chapters in life. MIke Fleiss believes his friendship with Eddie Van Halen helped drive his creative juices. For more on Mike Fleiss, please visit