Eddie Van Halen graces the cover of Billboard magazine and reveals what he thinks of David Lee Roth, Michael Anthony, Gary Cherone and other former Van Halen bandmates. He also speaks about his past alcoholism and his thoughts on future music. The rock legend’s interview is drawing notice for his unsparing remarks.
The 60-year-old Eddie Van Halen opened up on many topics with Billboard. As the founding member of the namesake hard rock band Van Halen more than 40 years ago, his comments have not gone unnoticed.
He said of David Lee Roth, the band’s longtime vocalist, “He does not want to be my friend.” He went on to say, “Roth’s perception of himself is different than who he is in reality. We’re not in our 20s anymore. We’re in our 60s. Act like you’re 60. I stopped coloring my hair, because I know I’m not going to be young again.”
He also said Roth doesn’t like “rock music” but instead “likes dance music.”
He had unkind words about bassist Michael Anthony, to say the least. Lending an instant headline he said of him, “I had to show him how to play.” He also dismissed his vocal talents, saying, “He’s not a singer. He just has a range from hell.”
Continuing in his mode of extreme disdain, Van Halen then said, “”I have more soul as a singer than he does.” He went on to say, “And you know, people always talk about Mike’s voice on Van Halen songs, but that’s a blend of Mike’s voice and my voice. It’s not just him.”
As for a future Van Halen album, he said, ““It’s hard, because there are four people in this band, and three of us like rock’n’roll. And one of us likes dance music.” He went on to say, “And that used to kind of work, but now Dave doesn’t want to come to the table.”
As for his own musical interests, Eddie Van Halen made a surprising remark, “I don’t listen to anything.” Pressed for details he said he didn’t listen to music on the radio and that he had also not listened to the music of most of the bands that have opened for Van Halen over the years but did say he sometimes listened to Yo-Yo Ma because he likes the sound of the cello.
He went on to say, “It’s an odd thing, but I’ve been this way my whole life.” He added, “I couldn’t make a contemporary record if I wanted to, because I don’t know what contemporary music sounds like.”
He also opened up about his addictions, saying, “I was an alcoholic, and I needed alcohol to function.” He added, “I started drinking and smoking when I was 12. I got drunk before I’d show up to high school.” He noted that his father was an alcoholic who could function and work, and described himself as that way too, and said, “Around 2004, I suppose I became a very angry drunk.” He went on to take issue with what former Van Halen lead singer Sammy Hagar had written about him and said it “was definitely embellished. That’s him painting a picture of something that never happened.”
It’s a fascinating and classic long read — and a rare one at that — and you can find out plenty about what Van Halen has to say about the 1970s origins of the band, its long years of musical evolution throughout the decades and the present times all peppered with many personal details and more than a sprinkling of profanity. To say the cover story is getting a buzz in social media is an understatement!
Sammy Hagar responded to some of Eddie Van Halen’s comments via a video which he posted on Facebook. He particularly took issue with what Van Halen had said about Michael Anthony. He said in part, “For Eddie to say he had to show [Michael] what to play and had to teach him all those songs, that is the biggest line of bulls–t I’ve ever heard in my life. I was in that band for eleven years, there was never a video camera involved of Eddie showing him what to play.”
You can read the full cover story here and watch the video interview below!
Pictures: PR Photos