During a July 30 Instagram Live chat with Washington Post reporter Geoff Edgers, Sammy Hagar spoke how he mended his relationship with the late Eddie Van Halen. Prior to the guitarist’s October 2020 passing, Sammy said that the two were fortunately able to reconnect thanks to the great comedian George Lopez.
“When I [reconnected] with Eddie four or five months before he died, we got together and we kind of made amends,” he said. “It wasn’t, like, ‘Oh, you’ve gotta apologize for this.’ When I talked to him the first time after all of ’em years, I said, ‘Hey, Eddie, I’ve been trying to get a hold of you. I called your brother.’ He [said], ‘Why didn’t you call me?’ I’m going, ‘Well, it’s a good point.’ And I said, ‘I wanted to make sure you were cool with me getting in contact. I didn’t want you to call me some names and hang up the phone and stir the whole thing back up.’ And he said, ‘No, no, no.’ He said, ‘I love you, man.’ And I realized at that point that he had elevated his whole thing. He had come to peace with everything. He knew he was sick. And it was so great to contact the guy when he was in that state of mind. If I had got him six months earlier, it probably would have been, ‘You said this. You said that.’ He was totally above it all and elevated. And, man, I’m so glad that that happened at that time, because if it wouldn’t have, if we had never made peace and he would have passed the way he did, I would feel terrible. I wouldn’t be able to talk to you about it. I wouldn’t know what to say. So I’m so grateful that we connected. And he said, ‘Hey, let’s make some noise.’ He goes, ‘I’ve got a lot of work to do on myself this year. You ain’t gonna believe it. I’ve been fighting this stuff for 15 years. And now I’ve got this big thing on my neck and my throat right now. I’ve gotta get it all straightened out. And next year, you and I have gotta make some noise. We made some great music together, and I wanna do it again.’ I was just, like, ‘Yes.’ I said, ‘Eddie, that ain’t what I’m calling you about. I’m calling about to see if you’re okay.’ But hearing those things really made me able to handle his death. ‘Cause it’s still tough as hell. I miss the guy.”
Hagar also discussed the musical chemistry he shared with Van Halen, saying: “We wrote all those songs together. It ain’t, like, ‘Oh, we wrote a couple of songs together.’ We wrote every VAN HALEN song from my era, from ’85 to ’95, and then three more on the [2003-05] reunion thing. We wrote all them songs together. You don’t write songs like that with a real musician and real musicians getting together — you don’t phone that in. You don’t do it by e-mail. No. We sat in rooms together, him and I, and wrote those songs and went and sang them, and he coached me through things he might hear… I miss that. There’s nobody like that.”
Hagar replaced David Lee Roth in VAN HALEN in 1985 and recorded four studio albums with the band — “5150”, “OU812”, “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge” and “Balance” — all of which topped the U.S. chart.
Sammy, Eddie, Alex Van Halen and Michael Anthony last teamed up in 2004 for a U.S. summer tour. In exchange for taking part in the tour, Anthony reportedly had to agree to take a pay cut and sign away his rights to the band name and logo.
In his autobiography, “Red: My Uncensored Life In Rock”, Hagar slammed Eddie, saying the guitarist was unkempt, hunched over, frighteningly skinny, drinking wine straight out of a bottle, missing part of his tongue (after a cancer scare) and several teeth. He told an interviewer in 2012: “What happened on that reunion tour in ’04 was some of the most miserable, back-stabbing dark crap I’ve ever been involved with my whole life.”
In a 2015 interview with Rolling Stone, Eddie questioned an “embellished” portion of “Red: My Uncensored Life In Rock” that painted the guitarist as a “very angry drunk” during the group’s 2004 reunion tour.
Last November, Eddie‘s son Wolfgang revealed that his father had contemplated a “kitchen-sink tour” that would have included Anthony, as well as vocal turns from both Hagar and Roth. There was even talk about bringing back Gary Cherone, who sang with VAN HALEN on one poorly received album, 1998’s “Van Halen III”.
Eddie died at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, California. The iconic VAN HALEN axeman passed away from complications due to cancer, his son confirmed.
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