Michael Anthony says that the Eddie and Alex Van Halen hold a grudge against him for maintaining a friendship with Sammy Hagar. Anthony recalled to Mojo, that the problems started between him and the band when in the late ’90s, Van Halen once again tried unsuccessfully to bring David Lee Roth back into the fold. With Van Halen seemingly on hiatus, Hagar had called Anthony to see if he was interested in hooking up with him and Neal Schon in their side project Planet Us.
A secret Cold War document has been revealed, listing bands the Soviet Union refused to allow to be heard in youth discos – and while the usual suspects are high in the ratings there’s a few surprising entries too.
The Sex Pistols, Iron Maiden, Kiss, Judas Priest and AC/DC all appear, as might be expected. But alongside them are some
surprising entries, including “punk violence” acts Madness and Blondie, and “neofascist” performers Julio Iglesias and 10cc.
The People’s Cube has translated the paper into English, detailing the reasons why 38 acts were not to be heard in the USSR during the mid-1980s. The site editor explains: “We never saw it before because it was for internal use only, but we felt the invisible presence of such lists throughout life in the Motherland.”
It’s a stark illustration of the strict limits imposed on freedom in the Soviet Union of the 1980s, even though the era of change which would see the collapse of the USSR and and the end of the Cold War was only a year away.
The Soviet Komsomol, the Communist Party for young people, released the banning order in 1985, stating: “The following is a list of foreign music groups and artists whose repertoires contain ideologically harmful compositions.
“This information is recommended for the purpose of intensifying control over the activities of discotheques. This information must also be provided to all vocal-instrument ensembles [that’s bands] in the region.”
The list, approved by Head of the General Department of the Obkom of Komsomol, explains why each band is not to be publicised.
“Group Name and Type of Propaganda”
1. Sex Pistols – punk, violence
2. B-52s – punk, violence
3. Madness – punk, violence
4. Clash – punk, violence
5. Stranglers – punk, violence
6. Kiss – neofascism, punk, violence
7. Krokus – violence, cult of strong personality
8. Styx – violence, vandalism
9. Iron Maiden – violence, religious obscurantism
10. Judas Priest – anticommunism, racism
11. AC/DC – neofascism, violence
12. Sparks – neofascism, racism
13. Black Sabbath – violence, religious obscurantism
14. Alice Cooper – violence, vandalism
15. Nazareth – violence, religious mysticism
16. Scorpions – violence
17. Genghis Khan – anticommunism, nationalism
18. UFO – violenct
19. Pink Floyd – distortion of Soviet foreign policy (“Soviet agression in Afghanistan”)
20. Talking Heads – myth of the Soviet military threat
21. Perron – eroticism
22. Bohannon – eroticism
23. Originals – sex
24. Donna Summer – eroticism
25. Tina Turner – sex
26. Junior English – sex
27. Canned Heat – homosexuality
28. Munich Machine – eroticism
29. Ramones – punk
30. Van Halen – anti-Soviet propaganda
31. Julio Iglesias – neofascism
32. Yazoo – punk, violence
33. Depeche Mode – punk, violence
34. Village People – violence
35. 10cc – neofascism
36. Stooges – violence
37. Boys – punk, violence
38. Blondie – punk, violence
American Music Awards
The American Music Awards is an annual awards ceremony created by Dick Clark in 1973. Van Halen has been nominated nine times overall at the American Music Awards winning just once.
|1985||Van Halen||Favorite Pop/Rock Band/Duo/Group||Nominated|
|1987||Van Halen||Favorite Pop/Rock Band/Duo/Group||Nominated|
|1987||5150||Favorite Pop/Rock Album||Nominated|
|1989||Van Halen||Favorite Heavy Metal/Hard Rock Artist||Nominated|
|1989||Van Halen||Favorite Pop/Rock Band/Duo/Group||Nominated|
|1989||OU812||Favorite Heavy Metal/Hard Rock Album||Nominated|
|1992||(For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge)||Favorite Heavy Metal/Hard Rock Album||Won|
|1992||Van Halen||Best Heavy Metal/Hard Rock Artist||Nominated|
|1996||Van Halen||Best Heavy Metal/Hard Rock Artist||Nominated|
The Grammy Awards are awarded annually by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Van Halen has received two grammy award nominations winning just Once in 1992 for For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge. Eddie Van Halen received a grammy award nomination in 1985 for Doubt City. Respect The Wind Eddie Van Halen and Alex Van Halen both received a grammy award nomination in the Best Rock Instrumental Performance
|1985||Donut City (Eddie Van Halen)||Best Rock Instrumental Performance||Nominated|
|1992||For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge||Best Hard Rock Performance||Won|
|1996||The Seventh Seal||Best Rock Instrumental Performance||Nominated|
|1996||Respect The Wind (Eddie Van Halen) (Alex Van Halen)||Best Rock Instrumental Performance||Nominated|
MTV Video Music Awards
The MTV Video Music Awards is an annual awards ceremony established in 1984 by MTV. Van Halen have received a number nomination overall in the Band career.
|1984||Jump||Best Stage Performance in a Video||Won|
|1984||Jump||Best Group Video||Nominated|
|1984||Jump||Best Overall Performance in a Video||Nominated|
|1989||Finish What Ya Started||Best Direction in a Video||Nominated|
|1992||Right Now||Best Direction in a Video||Won|
|1992||Right Now||Best Editing in a Video||Won|
|1992||Right Now||Video of the Year||Won|
|1992||Right Now||Best Heavy Metal/Hard Rock Video||Nominated|
|1992||Right Now||Viewer’s Choice||Nominated|
|1992||Right Now||Breakthrough Video||Nominated|
|1992||Right Now||Best Group Video||Nominated|
- Van Halen (1978)
- Van Halen II (1979)
- Women and Children First (1980)
- Fair Warning (1981)
- Diver Down (1982)
- 1984 (1984)
- 5150 (1986)
- OU812 (1988)
- For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge (1991)
- Live: Right Here, Right Now (1993)
- Balance (1995)
- Best of Volume I (1996)
- Van Halen III (1998)
- Best of Both Worlds (2004)
- David Lee Roth – lead vocals (1974–1985, 1996, 2000, 2006–present)
- Eddie Van Halen – guitar, keyboards, backing vocals (1972–present)
- Wolfgang Van Halen – bass, backing vocals (2006–present)
- Alex Van Halen – drums, percussion (1972–present)
- Michael Anthony – bass, backing vocals (1974–2002, 2003-2005)
- Sammy Hagar – lead vocals, guitar (1985–1996, 2003–2005)
- Gary Cherone – lead vocals (1997–1999)
- Mitch Malloy – lead vocals (1996)
- Mark Stone – bass, backing vocals (1972–1974 – only a member when the band still used the name Mammoth)
David Lee Roth era (1974–1985)
The Van Halen brothers started playing music together when Eddie took up the drums and Alex took up the guitar. Secretly, while Eddie would deliver newspapers on his paper route, Alex would sneak over and play on Eddie’s drumset. Eventually Eddie found out about Alex playing his drum set, he was so frustrated that he said, “OK, . I’ll go play your guitar” and started playing Alex’s guitar. In 1972 the Van Halen brothers formed a band called “Mammoth” which featured Eddie as lead vocalist/guitarist, Alex Van Halen on drums and Mark Stone on bass. They initially rented a sound system from David Lee Roth but decided to save money by letting him join as lead vocalist even though he had previously auditioned unsuccessfully. By 1974 the band decided to replace Stone. Then Michael Anthony, bassist and lead vocalist from local band “Snake” was auditioned. Following an all night jam session he was hired for bass and backing vocals.
Mammoth discovered in 1974 that their name was already being used and it was changed to “Van Halen”. According to Roth, this was his brainchild. They played backyard parties and on a flatbed truck at Hamilton Park. Van Halen played clubs in Pasadena and Hollywood to growing audiences, increasing their popularity through self promotion: before each gig they would pass out fliers at local high schools. This soon built them a major following.
In 1974, the band got their break out of Pasadena, with their first job at Gazzarri’s on the Sunset Strip, a formerly famous but down-at-the-heels night club. They had earlier auditioned for Bill Gazzarri, the owner, but he claimed they were “too loud”, and would not hire them. However, their new managers, Mark Algorri and Mario Miranda, who had coincidently taken over Gazzarri’s hiring, did the deal. Shortly afterwards, with their managers, they recorded their first demo tape at the now defunct Cherokee Ranch Studios, in Northridge, where Steely Dan had just completed an album. They then became a staple on Hollywood’s Sunset Strip during the mid-1970s, consistently playing at well-known clubs like the Whisky a Go Go. In 1977 Paul Stanley of the rock band Kiss saw Van Halen play in front of a small crowd at the Starwood Club in Los Angeles. He brought Gene Simmons to see them and The Boyz play on the next night. Within two songs of Van Halen’s opening set, Simmons “was waiting for them backstage and immediately offered to sign them and take them into the studio … I flew them to New York, signed them to my Man of 1,000 Faces production company and took them into Electric Lady Studios to do a thirteen-song demo tape” which included “House of Pain” and “Runnin’ With The Devil”. Eddie disliked the demo because he was not using his own equipment and had to overdub guitar parts. Simmons wanted to change the band’s name to “Daddy Shortlegs” and had designed cover art (a daddy longlegs wearing a top hat), but the band stuck with Van Halen. Simmons then opted out of further involvement after taking the demo to Kiss’ manager and receiving the words of denial. He told Gene that “They had no chance of making it” and that he wouldn’t take them.
In 1977, Mo Ostin and Ted Templeman of Warner Bros. Records saw Van Halen perform at the Starwood in Hollywood. Although the audience was small, the two were so impressed with Van Halen that within a week they offered them a recording contract. Van Halen recorded their eponymous first album at Sunset Sound Recorders studio in mid September to early October 1977, recording guitar parts for one week and then recording vocals for two additional weeks. All of the tracks were laid down with little over-dubbing or double tracking. Minor mistakes were purposely left on the record and a simple musical set-up was used to give the record a live feel. Despite its simple components, Van Halen proved innovative in musical technique, production, and arrangement.
During this time, they continued to play various venues in Southern California, including some notable concerts at the Pasadena Convention Center produced by their promoter and impresario, Steve Tortomasi, himself a fixture in the local rock and roll scene.
On release, Van Halen reached #19 on the Billboard pop music charts, one of rock’s most commercially successful debuts. It is a highly regarded hard rock album. The album included songs now regarded as Van Halen classics, like “Runnin’ with the Devil” and the guitar solo “Eruption”, which showcased Eddie’s use of a technique known as ‘finger-tapping’. The band toured for nearly a year, opening for Black Sabbath and establishing a reputation for their electric performances. The band’s chemistry owed much to Eddie Van Halen’s technical guitar wizardry and David Lee Roth’s flamboyant antics, which later turned them into rivals. They returned to the studio in 1979 for Van Halen II, similar in style to their debut. This album yielded the band’s first hit single, “Dance the Night Away.”
Over the next few years, the band alternated album releases and touring to increasing commercial and critical acclaim and became one of the world’s most successful and influential bands. Their party-loving spirit and hard rocking anthem-like sound made them popular with teenagers. Women and Children First was released in 1980 and further cemented Van Halen’s status. But in 1981, during the recording of the Fair Warning album, tensions rose. Eddie’s desire for more serious and complex songs was at odds with Roth’s poppy style. Although Roth (and producer Templeman) acquiesced to Eddie’s wishes, Fair Warning was a commercial disappointment, with no hits. In later interviews Eddie would reveal that he was drinking heavily and using cocaine during the production of Fair Warning. This may have resulted in the album’s darker tone.
Diver Down performed better. The band then earned a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for the highest-paid single appearance of a band: $1.5 million for a 90 minute set at the 1983 US Festival. Despite this return to form, Roth and Eddie’s differences continued, and this caused friction with other band members. According to bassist Billy Sheehan, after his band Talas completed a tour with Van Halen, he was approached by Eddie Van Halen to replace Michael Anthony. The reasons for this were never clear to Sheehan, because nothing came out of it.
Van Halen’s next album, 1984 (released on January 9, 1984) was their commercial pinnacle. Recorded at Eddie Van Halen’s newly-built 5150 Studios, the album featured keyboards which had only been used sporadically on previous albums. The lead single, “Jump”, featured a synthesizer hook and anthemic lyrics, and became the band’s first and only #1 pop hit, garnering them a Grammy nomination. Other hit singles included “Panama” (#13 U.S.) , “I’ll Wait” (also #13 U.S.), and “Hot for Teacher”. Many of the songs had popular music videos on MTV. 1984 was praised by critics and fans alike, peaking at #2 on the Billboard charts behind Michael Jackson’s Thriller.
However, the album was also a breaking point. In the midst of the tour, the artistic and personal tensions among the musicians reached a fever pitch. Reasons for the breakup vary based on the band member interviewed, but were rooted in control of the band’s sound and image. Roth was upset about Eddie playing music outside of Van Halen without checking with the band and Eddie was sick of Roth’s flamboyant behavior and stage persona. Roth was also having a successful solo career with a hit song and EP (a remake of the Beach Boys classic “California Girls” (#3 U.S.) and the old standard “Just a Gigolo” (#12 U.S.). Roth was also offered a movie deal from Warner Brothers (which was later withdrawn). On April 1, 1985, Roth left Van Halen.
Sammy Hagar era (1985–1996)
Eddie invited Patty Smyth of Scandal to replace Roth but she refused. Eddie was then introduced by way of a mutual auto mechanic to Sammy Hagar, formerly of 1970s band Montrose, and at that time a solo artist coming off a very successful year (his 1984 album VOA had yielded the hit single “I Can’t Drive 55′”). Hagar agreed to join, also serving as a rhythm guitar onstage to add to the Van Halen sound. The 1986 Van Halen album 5150 was a hit, becoming the band’s first #1 album on the Billboard charts, driven by the keyboard-dominated singles “Why Can’t This Be Love?” (#3 U.S.), “Dreams”, and “Love Walks In” (Top 30 U.S.). The album included diverse songs ranging from the thrashiness of “Get Up” and party rock of “Summer Nights” to the more riff-driven “Good Enough” and a guitar heavy title track. To further introduce the new era for the band, a new Van Halen logo was put on the cover. The new logo retained elements of the original, but now the lines extending from either side of ‘VH’ wrapped around and formed a sphere. 5150 is generally considered the strongest album of the “Hagar era”.
Following the release of the 5150 album, a tour was launched to support it across North America. Named the 1986 Tour, the title was a homage to the previous 1984 Tour in support of the 1984 album. The band proved touring with Hagar was as successful as with Roth, and footage was released on VHS/DVD as Live Without a Net. In the tour Hagar wanted to minimize the use of pre-Hagar Van Halen songs in the set, other than the band’s best known classics. This was a trend that continued, with the expanding repertoire of Hagar-era songs slowly whittling away at the number of Roth-era songs on the set list.
During Hagar’s tenure, the band established a musical formula that proved commercially successful in the United States. Hagar’s style enabled Van Halen to become accessible to a wider audience, with lyrics that were more conventional and refined. Eddie’s keyboard work brought a wider variety of sonic textures within each song, and the production was altered toward the pop side, and the songs became longer: During the Roth era, Van Halen songs rarely stretched beyond three and a half minutes, and some albums struggled to cross the thirty minute mark. With Hagar, some songs exceeded five minutes in length. The result was markedly different from the hard charging, rollicking riffs of the group’s earlier work. The mix of pop and hard rock styles created a new sound for Van Halen.
All four studio albums produced during this period reached #1 on the Billboard pop music charts and 17 singles breached the top 12 of the mainstream rock tracks chart. During that era, one single, 1988’s “When It’s Love”, reached the Top Five, peaking at #5. In addition, Van Halen was nominated for two Grammy Awards, winning the 1991 Best Hard Rock Performance with Vocal award for the album For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge. Van Halen continued to enjoy tremendous success throughout the mid-90s. In 1995 Van Halen surprised many fans by supporting Bon Jovi on their European Summer stadium tour.
The band’s commercial success and new “Van Hagar” sound did little to woo many fans who still held a strong resentment over Roth’s departure and refused to move on. However Eddie repeatedly said he was happier with Hagar singing and that “Roth was not coming back”.
During the recording of songs for the film Twister, escalating tension between Hagar and the Van Halen brothers boiled and Hagar departed on Father’s Day, 1996. The band had recorded a song, “Humans Being”, for which Eddie claimed he had to write all the lyrics since Hagar’s were “too cheesy”. This upset Hagar, and when they were to record a second song for the soundtrack, Hagar was in Hawaii. He wasn’t keen on doing soundtrack work since it would make the music hard to obtain for fans, ‘abusing’ them, so the second track the band were due to record became an Eddie/Alex instrumental, “Respect the Wind”.
The band was also working on a compilation album, which Hagar was not keen on since he felt it was not what fans wanted, nor was it something the band needed to release, since they presumably had a long career ahead of them. This led to conflicts with Hagar and the group’s new manager, Ray Danniels (Ed Leffler’s replacement and Alex Van Halen’s brother in law) who suggested the idea. Reluctant to work on compilation album songs before a new album came out, the band fell out, leaving the management siding with Eddie and Alex. Hagar was also rumoured to have concerns over comparisons on an album which featured both his work and Roth’s.
Hagar claimed that he was fired; Van Halen claimed that he quit. Most accounts confirm that Hagar technically quit, but only upon finding that Van Halen had secretly been recording with their longtime rival David Lee Roth. The media storm surrounding the dramatic exit of Hagar helped him immediately restart his solo career. However, the publicity did not help Van Halen, serving to highlight the vacant lead singer spot. The band’s past successes set high expectations, and fans everywhere were waiting for the band’s next move. Throughout this time, Michael Anthony managed to remain on good terms with Hagar.
With Mitch Malloy and a temporary reunion with Roth (1996)
After Sammy Hagar left Van Halen, they very quickly recruited Mitch Malloy as a replacement. They jammed and recorded demos with him. He was a friend of Eddie and knew the band, who decided it was appropriate to invite him into the band.
David Lee Roth called Eddie to discuss what tracks would be included on a planned Van Halen compilation (work on which actually began before Hagar’s departure). They got along well, and Eddie invited him up to his house/studio. Shortly afterwards, David Lee Roth re-entered the studio with the band and producer Glen Ballard. Two songs from those sessions were added to the band’s Greatest Hits album and released as singles to promote it.
In September, Van Halen was asked to present an award at the 1996 MTV Video Music Awards. They agreed, and on September 4, 1996, the four original members of Van Halen made their first public
appearance together in over eleven years. This helped to bring the compilation to #1 on the US album charts. However, unknown to Roth, Eddie and Alex were still auditioning other singers. Following the band’s MTV appearance, Malloy decided the band could not be successful with a new vocalist since people would now want Roth. He called Anthony, and quit. Millions of people viewed the show, and Roth claimed to be back in the band.
The band’s appearance on the 1996 MTV Video Music Awards fueled reunion speculation. Several weeks after the awards show, it was discovered Roth was out of Van Halen again. Roth released a statement in which he apologized to the media and the fans, stating that he was an unwitting participant in a Van Halen publicity stunt by them and manager Ray Danniels. The next day, Eddie and Alex released their own statement, claiming they were completely honest with Roth and never suggested he was guaranteed to be the next lead singer. However, they could not resist getting in a dig at Roth by saying in a press release, “Thank you for reminding us why we broke up with you eleven years ago.”
Reportedly, Eddie was upset that Roth had “upstaged him” during the broadcast by interrupting him while Van Halen was speaking and taking over the microphone; video footage does show Eddie seemingly tense as he steps away and turns his back to Roth, but then the two hug one another to the cheers of the audience.
Gary Cherone era (1996–1999)
The band recruited Gary Cherone, frontman of the then defunct Boston-based band Extreme. The result was Van Halen III. Many songs were longer and more ethereal. It was less about rocking out, and more thought-provoking (“How Many Say I”, with Eddie on vocals). These changes alienated many fans while failing to attract new fans. Sales were poor by the band’s standards, only reaching Gold certification, despite the album peaking at #4 on the US charts. Van Halen III did produce a hit however, “Without You”, and additionally the song “Fire in the Hole” appeared on the Lethal Weapon 4 soundtrack. Later it was also revealed that Anthony was only permitted by Eddie to play bass on three tracks on the album and that Eddie played the rest. Anthony received a full credit, masking this apparent behind-the-scenes difficulty.
The album was followed by a tour. The III Tour saw Van Halen playing in new countries, including first ever visits to Australia and New Zealand.
Shortly afterwards, Van Halen returned to the studio. In early 1999, they started work on a new album, rumored to be called Love Again. Working titles of songs included “Left for Dead,” “River Wide,” “Say Uncle,” “You Wear it Well,” “More Than Yesterday,” “I Don’t Miss You…Much,” “Love Divine,” and “From Here, Where Do We Go?”.
Van Halen’s new album was finished when Cherone left amicably in November 1999. Citing musical differences, it is likely III’s sales and critical reception had a big impact. Touring with Cherone had proven disappointing in terms of attendance. Eddie would admit that “the powers that be” (Warner Bros.) had forced his hand in parting with Cherone. Unlike the previous two singers, there was no bad blood and Cherone remained in contact with Van Halen. As when Hagar left, speculation resumed on a Roth reunion.
Hiatus from public (1999–2003)
Eddie recovered from his hip surgery in late 1999, but from 2000 to early 2004, no official statements were made by Van Halen and no music released. However, information about members past and present trickled in. The Van Halen brothers continued writing at 5150 studios, Gary Cherone recorded an album and toured with new band Tribe of Judah. One of the songs that Cherone had written for the scrapped 2nd album with Van Halen entitled “Left For Dead”, would see its lyrics set to a completely new musical arrangement with Tribe of Judah. Meanwhile, Hagar and Roth continued their solo careers.
In 2000, the band worked with David Lee Roth at 5150, writing new music before falling out again. Eddie kept quiet, but made a rare appearance at the Los Angeles Police Department charity golf tournament during May 2001. Any band progress would have been interrupted on October 15, 2001, when Eddie and his wife of 21 years, actress Valerie Bertinelli, separated (though the couple only filed for divorce on December 8, 2005). In November 2001, Anthony claimed Roth had been working with the band again for a few months, but lawyers had shut it down. Strangely, Anthony later denied this. The band’s record label (Warner, who had first signed them in 1978) dropped them this year also. More positively, Eddie underwent treatment for cancer and announced his recovery on Van Halen’s website in May 2002.
Eddie’s only live performances during this period were joining Mountain to play “Never in My Life” in August 2002 and a private audience jam at NAMM January 2003. This took place at the Peavey booth (Peavey produced Eddie’s signature “Wolfgang” model guitar). Word quickly spread through the NAMM show that Eddie was to play at the Peavey booth, and it filled up. Eddie showed up late, drunk. When he finally appeared, he was incoherent. Shortly after this, Peavey lost its license to produce the “official” Van Halen guitar, and Fender, which had purchased Charvel-Jackson, was awarded the license, but the guitar produced was a copy of Eddie’s earlier Strat-style guitars.
In the summer of 2002, David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar teamed up in the Song For Song, the Heavyweight Champs of Rock and Roll tour (also known as the ‘Sans-Halen’ or ‘Sam & Dave’ Tour). The joint tour headlining both former lead singers attracted media and audience fascination because it seemed more improbable than even a Van Halen with Roth or Hagar could be. The tour drew large crowds and featured no opening acts, Roth and Hagar would alternate opening as the first act during the tour. In an interview, Roth contrasted his personality with Hagar’s, saying, “He’s the kind of guy you go out with to split a bottle with a friend. I’m the kind of guy you go out with if you want to split your friend with a bottle.” Michael Anthony guested with Hagar’s band, The Waboritas, numerous times and sometimes even sang lead vocals. During performances, Hagar would tease Anthony by asking, “Do the brothers know you’re here?”. Anthony never played with Roth. Gary Cherone appeared on occasion. Hagar released a live album (Hallelujah), featuring vocals by Mike and Gary, and a documentary DVD, Long Road to Cabo, about touring with Roth. Next, Hagar joined with Joe Satriani and Journey guitarist Neal Schon to form a side project, Planet Us, along with Michael Anthony and Deen Castronovo (also of Journey) on drums. The band recorded just two songs and played live a few times before dissolving when Hagar and Anthony rejoined Van Halen.
While the two lead singers promoted the tour and publicly claimed mutual respect, rumours of bitter acrimony and mutual loathing between the two singers swirled. The allegations were later revealed in back stage video showing Roth and Hagar camps maintaining strict separation.
On July 4, 2004, Roth performed with the Boston Pops at Boston’s annual Pops Goes the Fourth celebration. Hagar remained active, releasing five albums and creating his own merchandising brand Cabo Wabo, which lends its name to his line of tequila, as well as his franchise of cantinas. He reunited with Montrose in 2003 and 2005 for a few performances and maintained contact with Michael Anthony, often playing with him. With Van Halen inactive, Anthony worked on merchandising projects such as his signature Yamaha bass and set up a website. He became involved with the annual music industry NAMM Show.
Also in this period, rumors cropped up that Anthony had been fired – despite his name being included in messages ‘from the band’ on their website. His official website denied the rumors, though it was later revealed that on the Van Halen III album Anthony only recorded three tracks, and subsequently his position became tenuous (it relied entirely on Hagar’s demands that he remain in 2004). His departure was confirmed in 2006.
Reunion with Hagar (2003–2005)
During January 2003, the VHND (Van Halen News Desk) website reported that Sammy Hagar was working with the Van Halens. No official confirmation came for an extended period of time. In late March 2004, Van Halen and Sammy Hagar announced that Hagar would reunite with the band for a Best Of album release and a Summer concert tour of the USA.
In July 2004, Van Halen released their second Greatest Hits compilation (a double album, unlike the first), featuring three new songs with Hagar: “It’s About Time”, “Up For Breakfast”, and “Learning to See”. These songs were newly written by the Van Halen brothers and Sammy Hagar. The songs were credited to Hagar/Van Halen/Van Halen, which was unusual since normally the entire lineup (which also included Michael Anthony) would be credited. However, the performance was credited to the entire band; Michael Anthony would later reveal in interviews that Eddie Van Halen had in fact not wanted him to be a part of the reunion and for this reason Anthony had not been allowed to perform in the sessions (explaining his lack of a songwriting credit), with Eddie playing the bass parts himself instead. Though it was the only new album since the band’s first Greatest Hits, no songs with Gary Cherone from Van Halen III were included. It was certified platinum in the USA in August 2004.
The tour grossed almost US$55 million, and Pollstar listed Van Halen in the top 10 grossing tours of 2004. Most of the concerts received positive feedback from professional reviewers. On some shows, Eddie’s son Wolfgang came onstage and played guitar with his father during 316 a song dedicated to his son, taking its name from his birthday. However, serious problems surfaced. Promoters lost money, tickets were often deemed overpriced, and few shows sold out.
Reports from the first half of the tour were largely positive. Later, however, stories of Eddie being drunk and playing poorly also circulated. At the end of the band’s final show of the tour, in Tucson, Eddie smashed one of his guitars during the show and quickly walked off stage.
After the tour, things broke down. At first Hagar stated he had yet to decide what he would be doing with the band but he was in Van Halen. However, Hagar and Anthony soon admitted that Eddie had problems with alcohol during the tour that affected everyone involved. Hagar stated that he was “done with Van Halen” and wished that everyone would have “taken it more seriously”. Despite this, Eddie later described himself as ‘satisfied’ with the tour.
After the tour ended, Hagar returned to his solo band The Waboritas, and Anthony appeared with him on tour occasionally. The band quickly faded from view after Hagar left again. In December 2005 Michael Anthony revealed in an interview with Mark & Brian that he had not talked with the Van Halens and was unsure of their plans. Since then, Hagar and Anthony have formed Chickenfoot, featuring Joe Satriani on guitar and Red Hot Chili Peppers’ drummer Chad Smith on drums.
Reunion with Roth (2006–present)
Rumors of a David Lee Roth reunion re-emerged and on January 3, 2006, Roth explained during an interview that he spoke to Alex Van Halen the previous week and a reunion was “inevitable”. However, he also said that Eddie Van Halen was “off in his own little world” recently. When asked if any problems occurred with Sammy Hagar during the 2004 tour Eddie Van Halen answered, “Sammy is Sammy, and for the most part that’s just fine”. Roth persisted with suggestions of a reunion, saying. “People want the reunion,” and “No one will pay respect to what any of us do [musically] until we get the reunion out of the way.” In May 2006, he told Billboard.com, “There’s contact between the two camps.”
On June 3, Michael Anthony began a successful tour with Hagar billed as “The Other Half” (a reference to them being half of Van Halen with the other half being Eddie/Alex), with Anthony singing lead vocals sometimes. Meanwhile, on June 19 the Van Halen brothers jumped onstage with Kenny Chesney at The Home Depot Center performing “Jump” and “You Really Got Me”. This unusual performance was their first onstage since the 2004 tour. This was followed by another Eddie Van Halen performance in July 19, 2006, at the House of Petals in Los Angeles, playing new material. He followed this with an announcement on July 27, 2006, that some of his new music would be released on the soundtrack for the pornography film Sacred Sin.
In March 2006, Michael Anthony spoke to Japanese rock magazine Burrn!, claiming the brothers did not want him on the 2004 reunion – Hagar did (and would not play without Anthony), but he had to agree to reduced royalties and end absolutely all association with the band after the tour in terms of rights to using the name to promote himself. It was in this same interview he admitted he was not involved in the new songs on Best of Both Worlds and only recorded three tracks for III.
On September 8, 2006, Howard Stern’s Eddie Van Halen live interview broke the band’s long silence. Eddie said he was willing to reunite with Roth and revealed a solo album in the works. Michael Anthony’s departure was confirmed with Eddie’s son, Wolfgang, taking his role. Wolfgang had played guitar alongside his father on some 2004 concerts. When queried about The Other Half tour, Eddie said Anthony could “do what he wants” now. This shocked and offended many fans. In November, Eddie’s spokesperson, Janie Liszewski, claimed the Van Halen family was writing/rehearsing for a Summer 2007 tour, which Billboard magazine’s website shortly confirmed. However, the Van Halen website remained in the state it had been in since the Hagar reunion.
On December 11, 2006, Eddie Van Halen stated to Guitar World magazine that David Lee Roth had been directly invited to rejoin the band. However, on December 28, Roth announced that he had not talked to Eddie in two years, and a reunion with Van Halen could result in a “Jerry Springer style fight”.
News from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame slipped out on January 8, 2007, confirming that Van Halen would be inducted. They had jointly led the ballot and been long rumoured for inclusion before this time. The Van Halen brothers, Anthony, Hagar, and Roth were to be inducted. Billboard announced on January 24, 2007, that Van Halen would reunite with David Lee Roth for a US tour . This was confirmed shortly after on the official Van Halen website.
The Van Halen News Desk announced on February 15, 2007, that a Van Halen “Best Of (1978–1984)”, a single-disc compilation of Van Halen’s David Lee Roth era, would be released by April 3. Shortly after, information arrived in a flood. Various sources claimed the tour was shut down as was the new “Best Of” CD. On March 8, 2007 Eddie announced on Van Halen’s website that he was in rehab. Along with the announcement, a change was made to the website. The logo at the top of the page changed to the Roth-era logo.
As the band’s Hall of Fame induction drew near, media focus shifted to that. Velvet Revolver would induct the band and speak on their behalf. On March 12, 2007, the band was inducted at a ceremony held at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. Anthony and Hagar were the only inductees in attendance (ironically, both ex-members). Velvet Revolver played “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love”, and Anthony and Hagar performed “Why Can’t This Be Love” with Paul Shaffer. At a post-induction press conference, Hagar said he would love to work with Van Halen again but that the Van Halens should tour with Roth first.
On April 21, 2007, Eddie Van Halen served as an Honorary Race Official for the Subway Fresh Fit 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway. He looked fit and well, better than he had on the last tour, and on May 24 posted a note to the Van Halen website confirming that he had exited rehab successfully. After nearly 10 months of speculation and numerous rumours, on Monday, August 13, 2007, Van Halen (and David Lee Roth separately via his own website Roth claimed in the press release that, “the idea is that this will continue on and on and on” and also that a world tour and new album were in the works.
Press reaction to the reunion was largely warm, but the re-designed website sparked controversy when Michael Anthony was removed from images of old album artwork. The album covers were reverted to normal a day later without a word after bitter reactions. The tour was originally 25 dates, but the reunion now stands to be much longer, extending into 2008 with a second leg.
Van Halen started their new tour on September 27, 2007 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Playing to sellout crowds, the tour generated positive reviews. Amid rumors of Eddie being back in rehab, multiple dates of the tour were postponed. The official reason was the need for medical procedures to be run on Eddie.
On March 5, 2008 World Entertainment Weekly to CBS News reported that the reason behind the tour stoppage was due to Eddie Van Halen needing to reenter rehab. The report also indicated that it was a “furious backstage bust-up in Florida with his 17-year-old son and bandmate Wolfgang” which motivated Eddie to seek help once again.
In response to rumors about Eddie Van Halen being back in rehab Valerie Bertinelli said that “he is not in rehab.” She did not, however, say if he had recently been in rehab, stating only that he wasn’t currently.
Wolfgang Van Halen also stated that his father was not in rehab during the 2008 Kids Choice Awards, but did not say if he had recently been in rehab: only that he wasn’t in rehab now. Eventually, the tour started back up April 17 at the Reno Events Center in Reno.
The tour ended on June 2, 2008 at the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, MI. During the show Roth stated multiple times that this would not be their final show and that they would “see everyone next time.” This show also was a special occasion being that the sign in front on the arena had been re done so it read “VAN HALEN ARENA” instead of the “VAN ANDEL ARENA” which is its actual name.
According to the Van Halen News Desk, the reunion tour with Roth was the highest grossing in the band’s history, raking in almost 93 million dollars.
Van Halen’s song “Hot for Teacher” is included in the video game Guitar Hero World Tour.
The opening act of the Festival d’été de Québec in Quebec City was performed by Van Halen on July 3, 2008.
In a recent interview with Guitar World about the making of his upcoming new EVH Wolfgang guitar from Fender, Eddie Van Halen had this to say regarding the subject of new Van Halen music: “I’ll be making music ’til the day I die. I’ve done all kinds of stuff, and more is coming. I can’t tell you exactly when right now. Wolfgang is in the 12th grade and he needs to graduate first. Then I’m getting married in June. We’ll pick it up after that.”
According to Rolling Stone Magazine, Eddie Van Halen has recently undergone surgery on his hand. Due to the necessary rehabilitation schedule, it is therefore unlikely that the members of the band will be able to record again until the end of October, meaning that any new album is thereby unlikely to appear until late summer of 2010 at the earliest.