David Lee Roth vs. Eddie Van Halen
Tensions simmered during the 1983 sessions for 1984. David Lee Roth resented the decision to record at Eddie Van Halen's newly constructed home studio, 5150, as he felt it gave the guitarist too much creative autonomy. Though Van Halen's sole Number One, "Jump," emerged from Eddie's sonic laboratory, the singer remained unhappy; by 1985, he turned his attention to a solo EP, Crazy from the Heat, with the aim to star in a movie of the same name. "The band as you know it is over," Eddie told Rolling Stone that August. "Dave left to be a movie star. He even had the balls to ask if I'd write the score for him." (The movie never materialized.)
Roth reconnected with the band in 1996 as they assembled a Greatest Hits album, and relations improved enough for the original lineup to reunite in the studio to record two new tracks for the compilation. Given that replacement singer Sammy Hagar had recently departed the group, fans viewed this as a dry run for a full-fledged reunion. But that all came to a halt when Van Halen, plus Roth, made a painful appearance at the MTV Video Music Awards. Trouble began when Roth went off script, trumpeting the importance of the original band members standing together. Eddie steered his one-time bandmate away from the microphone long enough for Beck to accept his Moonman for "Where It's At," but Roth vied for attention by dancing in the background with a demented grin.
The annoyance of sharing a stage with Roth for even just a few minutes was enough to torpedo any hope of reconciliation. "His onstage antics were embarrassing and disrespectful to Beck," Eddie later told MTV. Matters deteriorated further that night as Eddie denied reports of an upcoming reunion tour during a backstage press conference, citing his hip surgery scheduled later that year. "Tonight's about me, man, and not your fucking hip," Roth responded. A tour manager had to physically restrain Eddie, who spat back, "If you ever speak like that to me again you better be wearing a cup.'"
It took more than a decade for tempers to cool, but in February 2007 the band unveiled plans for a long-awaited tour with Roth. They followed it up in February 2012 with A Different Kind of Truth, their first full-length album with Roth since 1984, but the accompanying tour didn't go well. Several legs were postponed, or cancelled altogether. "The conflict was immediate and sustained from day one," Roth said in an interview on The Opie & Anthony Show at the time. "Not a note of this symphony has changed." More cracks in the uneasy alliance showed while promoting their 2015 North American tour, with Eddie slamming Roth in a Billboard interview. "He does not want to be my friend."