Van Halen is the band that achieved everything. In its early stages as a band, Van Halen was not really functioning that well. The brothers wanted a bassist and a great singer. That’s when David Lee Roth was available and as a bonus, he also had his own sound system. It was something Eddie couldn’t resist and that’s when David Lee Roth joined the band in 1972 when they were known as Mammoth.
The band cast aside every difference and got into the music scene and was there for more than 40 years. However, we all know how salty Eddie and David’s relationship was. Two years ago, Eddie Van Halen died after a long battle with throat cancer. It was a big loss to the rock nation.
To think about how they both resented each other, but still managed to operate as a band is something we can only wonder about. The milestone they both achieved was also very impressive. Both of them, later on, became rivals in their career and envied one another. David was the one to leave the band in search of a better path and wandered around a new solo career.
David left the band in 1985 in search of a successful career as a solo artist. The same year, he released his solo alum and EP which was critically acclaimed all over the globe. Van Halen and David had a good enough relationship during the initial years. But just like any other band their creative differences and egos destroy a good relationship. Van Halen was furious for sure when he left the band but it was not the only reason Eddie disliked Dave.
His resentment towards David was more than anything. It was also personal. Back in 2015, Van Halen spoke about it. When Eddie was with Billboard he revealed his resentment towards David Lee Roth. Eddie also talked about how working with him was a big problem due to their differences. He said,
“He does not want to be my friend,” Van Halen said before emphasizing the importance of knowing when to stop acting young. “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.”
“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.”
Then to talk about David, Well he wanted to be the ONE.
Roth is a perfectionist. He wanted everything better each time. David wanted to be involved in the video, tour, and design of the album. While the other bandmates were not that involved. He also had problems regarding their performances. During an interview with SPIN in 1986, he revealed,
“The biggest problem Eddie had with me was, in addition to making the records and going on tour, I wanted to make the video, make a movie, tour weird places, and get involved in designing the album covers. They just couldn’t get their asses out of bed. They usually just couldn’t make it through rehearsals for two weeks without an argument. ‘A year for an album?’ ‘That’s ridiculous.’ Want to go on the road? ‘Sure, for how long?’ They don’t want to do these four- to five-month tours. So, what are we going to do? Play the stadiums, the big places.
That way, we only have to play the two hot months of the summer. I joke and say you can’t hear my jokes in a place like that. The fact of the matter is, you can’t hear anything in a place like that. From 20 feet you can’t hear. From 80 yards you can’t see a thing. Maybe other artists can communicate with 50,000 people. Maybe it’s Springsteen. It sure ain’t me. I think it’s a rip-off to play stadiums. Can’t hear, can’t see, I got no control over the show.”
Dave also talked about how Van Halen was all about money. David wanted to perform in different countries, but the band focused more on finances and decided to drop a lot of shows in lots of countries. He disclosed,
“Rock ‘n’ roll is probably the best form of entertainment. That’s why it lasted so long. I want to do it. Why would they want to do it? Money. I have money. I want to play, tour, go everywhere. The last time I was in Japan was in 1979. Why can’t we go to Japan? Because we don’t make enough money.
It’s not ‘We don’t make money.’ It’s ‘We don’t make enough.’ I always figured I got this gig partly because I want to travel, and if I don’t make no scratch in Japan, fine. I don’t make my money in New York, and if it’s not New York, I’ll make it in South America. It’ll just go up and down, up and down, as my career goes on. You’re not going to be popular in all countries all the time unless you’re Julio Iglesias.”
It’s been more than 2 years since Van Halen’s demise. Now, Van Halen cannot exist anymore but the craft both Van Halen and David had was a big one. While they did deviate from their original group, they surely had soft spot for each other in their heart. Earlier this year, David shared his ode to Van Halen with a new song ‘Nothing Could Have Stopped Us Back Then Anyway’.