David Lee Roth and Eddie Van Halen don’t get along. That is not a shocking statement, nor new. More importantly, neither is it old news.
Fans of Van Halen have long known that the two men just did not see eye to eye, and have not since the early 80s. Every once in a while, David Lee Roth and Eddie Van Halen manage to get into a room, preferably not alone, and do something that somewhat approximates the voodoo they used to do so well.
But every time a camera is present to catch the vibe in that room, the disdain in the air that it can almost be felt through the screen.
When the current incarnation of Van Halen set out to tour behind their live album, Tokyo Dome Live in Concert, they kicked things off at Jimmy Kimmel’s place. The Jimmy Kimmel Live performance was marred by 60-year-old David Lee Roth whacking himself in the nose with a twirling microphone stand before singing his first note.
But it was the on-stage chemistry. or lack thereof, between Roth and Eddie Van Halen that stunk up the joint. Gone were the rock-bro posturing and back-to-back crowd-pleaser poses of yesteryear. It was more like watching an over-enthusiastic stripper called in for a Bar Mitzvah, with the poor embarrassed lad just praying the dance would be over.
Eddie Van Halen has never been shy when it comes to speaking the truth about his relationship with Roth. Fans had hoped that maybe the two old me might have buried the hatchet this time. But Eddie has spoken again, and it sounds like third verse, same as the first.
“He does not want to be my friend,” Eddie Van Halen told Billboard of Roth. “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.”
— Ryan Daniel (@rhd13metsfan) June 20, 2015
Not only is Eddie, a father whose son is in the band with him, not comfortable with Roth’s exuberant Peter Pan act, but the two don’t even like the same music.
“It’s hard, because there are four people in this band, and three of us like rock and roll. And one of us likes dance music,” Eddie Van Halen said. “And that used to kind of work, but now Dave doesn’t want to come to the table.”
Then again, Eddie also said he doesn’t listen to any music other than his own, most of the time. For decades, he’s been talking about Peter Gabriel’s So album, particularly the track “Red Rain.” Turns out that was the last album he ever bought.
So why put up with it all? It comes down to the fact that the Van Halen brothers want to play. They’ve burned their bridges entirely with their most successful-selling vocalist Sammy Hagar, who is rich enough to never have to put up with anyone’s crap ever again. They couldn’t make it fly with anyone else. So they’re back to eating and smiling about Roth’s crap.
“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. To do it any other way would be selfish.”
— Noisey (@NoiseyMusic) June 20, 2015