The new issue of Rolling Stone – on stands and in the digital archives now – has an exclusive excerpt from Sammy Hagar’s new book Red: My Uncensored Life In Rock. In the book Hagar reveals what a mess Eddie Van Halen was when he first met with the guitarist to discuss a reunion tour in 2004. “He finally invited me over to this giant, extravagant house that he and Valerie had built before she split,” Hagar writes. “It looked like vampires lived there. There were bottles and cans all over the floor. The handle was broken off the refrigerator door. There were spider webs everywhere.”
Eddie also told Hagar how he cured his tongue cancer. “He told me he cured himself by having pieces of his tongue liquified and injected into his body,” Hagar wrote. “He also told me when he had his hip replacement, he stayed awake through the operation and helped the doctors drill a hole. What a fruitcake.”
Here’s part two, where he speaks out some more about Eddie Van Halen and the future of the band.
The last new Van Halen record came out 13 years ago.
It seems crazy when you say that. I’ve been out of the band longer than that and the record we made was ’92 or ’93.
I was talking about the Gary Cherone album in 1998.
Oh. [Laughs]. I didn’t know that counted [Laughs hysterically].
Eddie keeps saying that he’s recording a new album with David Lee Roth. Do you think that’s ever coming out?
I hope so, but I don’t have a lot of faith in those guys’ work ethic. It just seems like they’ve had every opportunity in the world to make a record. They’ve had two singers, and three singers if you want to count Gary. Gary’s a good singer, there’s nothing wrong with him as a singer, he’s a good guy.
They’ve had Dave or me these past few years. If they wanted to be reasonable either one of us would have done a record with that band. I love that band. Eddie’s got his own studio, his brother lives about two miles away, plays drums, Eddie plays guitar, bass, keyboards… Why wouldn’t they make a record in all that time? Something’s really wrong. So to think that that’s fixed now all of a sudden… I have a hard time believing that.
Eddie always claims to have a lot of riffs. I don’t know whether they have any actual songs.
That’s what Dave’s job is. That’s what my job was. Eddie was always telling me that Wolfie had all these great song ideas, which I believed. For God’s sake, he’s a kid! He’s fresh as a daisy, man. Bring him in. Let him write all the material and you just kind of produce it and arrange it. But there’s some quirk that I don’t quite understand, and I kind of brought it up in the book. I don’t really understand quite where these guys are coming from sometimes. There’s just some quirky problem. They are so dysfunctional over there, and the organization is Ed now. You know? [Laughs] I don’t think there’s much to come.
I will make one statement that you will love: If they do make a record, it better be fucking good. We’ve waited a long time and it better be fucking good, man. Do not make a mediocre record, folks. Because if you do, not only am I gonna be on your ass, but everybody else is too, because it’s been a long time, you’ve had time to put together something great.
Eddie and Dave both seem pretty eccentric these days, but in very different ways. Can you imagine them working together on an album?
Nah, I can’t. They took a long time to get it back together. They aborted about 20 reunions, as we all know. But the last one, I was betting against that too. I thought, ‘Oh this will never happen.’ After I went out and did some shows with Dave and said, ‘Wow, now I understand why these guys can’t get back together.’ You know, they’re both quirky.
They did the reunion, they finally got that done so maybe they’ll finally get a record out. It would be great – the fans deserve some new Van Halen music. And as great a musician as Ed is, he really needs to be more prolific because we need more great music out there. There’s a lot of bad music out there. We need guys like Eddie Van Halen.