Billie Eilish revealing she has no fucking clue who Van Halen are has caused a minor generation conflict online, forcing a current member of the 80s hair metal heroes to defend the 17-year-old singer from criticism.

Late last month, Eilish appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live to chat about being, well, one of the most successful pop artist of the past couple of years. After congratulating her for collecting a swag of Grammy nominations, host Jimmy Kimmel decided to test her knowledge of radio stars from his own days as a teen.

“Can you name a Van Halen?” Kimmel asked.

Eilish had one word in response: “Who?”

Kimmel continued to rattle off names like Huey Lewis and Run DMC, who didn’t register with Eilish, either.

“You’re making me look so dumb,” she said.

“It’s not a matter of being dumb,” he responded.

“If you ask me questions about 1943, I probably wouldn’t know the answers either.”

That should have ended the matter, but we do not live in a just universe. Instead, we exist in remorseless toilet purgatory. As a result, a Twitter sharing a clip of the interview somehow sparked an social media beat-up.

Within a few days, that clip had fostered a back-and-forward discussion about the band’s legacy and whether someone born after 9/11 has any reason to give a shit. First, let’s hear it for the Van Halen defenders, who insist on the cultural impact of leather pants and whammy bar divebombs:

Even current Thin Lizzy guitarist Damon Johnson stepped in with a jokey take on the matter.

While there are relatively few people arguing for the merits of teaching Hot For Teacher in primary schools worldwide, scores of people have backed Kimmel’s original point: there’s zero shame in not being a connoisseur of content which came and went decades before your birth.

The fracas caused Wolfgang Van Halen, son of guitarist Eddie Van Halen and the band’s current bassist, to back Eilish against the pedants (who, in fairness, do not appear to exist in considerable numbers).

If you look past all the hand-wringing, the Eilish-Van Halen drama has actually sparked discussions about why a mega-famous pop star would be completely in the dark about former Billboard chart mainstays. That’s where the good stuff is, and examining that link is 100% more worthwhile than browbeating a minor over Sammy Hagar.

Now, if you excuse me, I am going to continue my own music listening habits: feverishly replaying a record which came out six weeks ago while utterly ignoring the entire Beatles discography for some reason.

Image: Jimmy Kimmel Live / YouTube