Van Halen guitarist Eddie Van Halen has slammed founding and current singer David Lee Roth in a new interview with Billboard on the eve of the band’s first North American tour in three years. Eddie said about Roth, “He does not want to be my friend. How can I put this: 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.”
Eddie squarely put the blame for the lack of new Van Halen music on Roth, saying, “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. And that used to kind of work, but now Dave doesn’t want to come to the table.”
- Eddie also replied candidly when asked why he is willing to keep working with Roth, saying, “I think it’s now built into people’s DNA, that it just won’t be Van Halen if it’s not Roth’s voice,” adding, “There is an element of music that is for the people. You make music for people. Otherwise, just play in your closet. And how do you reach the most people? By giving them the band that they know.”
- Eddie also took a few shots at former bassist Michael Anthony, claiming, “Every note Mike ever played, I had to show him how to play. Before we’d go on tour, he’d come over with a video camera and I’d have to show him how to play all the parts.” Eddie also downplayed the importance of Anthony’s harmony vocals in the band’s sound.
- When reached for a response, Anthony said, “I am proud to say that my bass playing and vocals helped create our sound. I’ve always chosen to take the high road and stay out of the never-ending mudslinging, because I believe that it ultimately ends up hurting the Van Halen fans.”
- Ex-Van Halen singer Sammy Hagar was less diplomatic, saying in a video message, “It’s really irritating to see them go after Mikey. Mikey didn’t do anything — ever — to Van Halen. Mikey was the most loyal guy in the band . . . (He) never did anything to hurt those guys. And they try to hurt him again, and again, and again.”
- Hagar continued, “For Eddie to say he had to show (Anthony) 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, and there was never a video camera involved of Eddie showing him what to play . . . F**k you, Eddie Van Halen, for saying that about Mikey. You’re a liar.”
- Van Halen’s North American tour — assuming it stays on track — is scheduled to begin on July 5th in Auburn, Washington.
SIDE NOTES: Elsewhere in the Billboard interview, Eddie Van Halen reveals his curious lack of knowledge or interest in any music made over the last few decades. He claims that the last album he purchased was Peter Gabriel’s So in 1986, that he doesn’t know most of the lyrics to his own band’s songs, and that he’s never listened to Radiohead, Metallica, Guns N’ Roses or Pantera, even though he spoke at the funeral of the latter band’s guitarist “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott.