Eddie Van Halen on David Lee Roth, Michael Anthony, & Sammy Hagar: “Once Hagar joined it was never the same”

Rolling Stone: In 2015, a writer found an email address that supposedly belonged to Eddie Van Halen. He fired off a note on a lark — and kicked off a five-year friendship that lasted until Eddie’s death. You can read the entire feature @ this location.


On Michael Anthony & Sammy Hagar:

Eddie Van Halen:

“And now you think Mike is a lead singer? He sounds like Mickey Mouse. He just has a high voice.”

“When Hagar quit, Mike went with him instead of staying with Alex and me. That was as much of a betrayal as Roth blindsiding us when he quit. We didn’t see either one coming!! All we had was ourselves, Alex and myself. Wolf happened to be there and [it was] fun again. Life is change. I can’t control it any more than you can. If I could, I would change a lot of things starting with never having my first drink and maybe sticking to piano instead of guitar!!”

They blame Roth for leaving the band originally in 1985 and lament the decision to bring Sammy Hagar in to replace him later that year: “Once Hagar joined it was never the same.”

“It’s all about money with Hagar,” he says at one point, adding in a seeming reference to Hagar’s successful tequila brand, “He used the band to elevate himself!!”

On David Lee Roth:

Roth, he explains, only wants to be onstage doing his “Vaudeville shtick!!” He then says that “Roth is out of his mind” and not at all interested in rock & roll, which makes recording new music a near impossibility. He says Roth only likes “dance music” and “hates bands like AC/DC,” adding that Roth calls that band’s fans “culturally illiterate.”

“Well, I guess that makes me one of them ’cause I love AC/DC and its simplicity,” he continues, saying the band inspired many Van Halen songs he’d written, including “Panama,” “Drop Dead Legs,” and “Good Enough.” But because Roth doesn’t like their music, he says, “I have no outlet. It’s very frustrating. If people only knew the truth, they wouldn’t believe some of the shit that goes on and what we put up with. Probably not much longer though. I’m too old for this shit!! I really wish things were different, but they’re not!!

Whenever we do interviews, we can’t really tell the whole truth because if I said in an interview what I have said to you certain people would get pissed.” And since the band at least appears from the outside to be working together, “it wouldn’t do much good to say that I think our own lead singer sucks and is a complete mental case pre-Madonna (SP).” The other reason? “It’s almost a strange kind of therapy to tell the truth to someone you don’t even know!! Make any sense to you??!!”

As far back as 1982, Ed was biting his tongue. During an interview with Guitar Player magazine to help promote the release of Diver Down, he was asked why there were so few guitar solos on the album. Ed responded, “Dave said, ‘No more fucking guitar solos,’ ” which is a little like Dennis Rodman telling Michael Jordan “No more dunks.” “He’s on an ego trip,” Ed continued, before deciding to muzzle himself. “He’s always been, whatever …” Then he added: “And if you print this, I’m gonna fuckin’ come to your house and blow your ass away.”

You can read the entire feature @ this location.