Sammy Hagar: 'Eddie Van Halen Turned Into A Monster'

Sammy Hagar's new autobiography, "Red: My Uncensored Life In Rock," is due out next week via HarperCollins books.

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Sammy Hagar's new autobiography, "Red: My Uncensored Life In Rock," is due out next week via HarperCollins books. Hagar sat down with Musicradar for an extended chat about many aspects of his career, as the Red Rocker gets it all down on paper for public consumption Here's a sample of some the VH conversation Musicradar: Eddie Van Halen - you paint a pretty brutal picture of him in the book. Did you have second thoughts about exposing so much about him? Sammy Hagar: Yeah, I did. But then I thought, How can I not? Eddie's always made me out to be the bad guy. He's always had the upper hand when it comes to the press and could tell the story and frame it the way he wanted. The [2004] reunion tour, for example: I just thought that story needed to be told so that fans know why everything's happened the way it has. I didn't like what was going on at the time and how everything went down. I didn't like the way Mikey [Michael Anthony] was treated and the way they tried to treat me. They - and I'm talking about Eddie and Alex here - really made the experience unpleasant. I tried to get out of that tour. After 40 shows, I tried to quit. That's how bad it was. I didn't do that tour for money, I did it for the fans. I wanted the band to come back and be great again. We didn't get there, and I tried to bail. But they and their management - I can't accuse Eddie and Al of everything, 'cause they're not that smart [laughs] - they had me sewn in, and I was stuck. I had to go through with the rest of the tour. It was hell. So I had to paint the proper picture of what Eddie was like in order to justify my behavior at the time. To this day, people ask me if I would go back to Van Halen, and my answer is always the same: not interested. Then people think I'm an asshole or something. What I mean is, no, I would not go back to Van Halen unless things were way different. Way, way different. And I don't know if that could ever be the case. To be honest, I went a little easy on Eddie a couple of times. There you go, how's that? [laughs] There's some things I could have said, but I didn't want to open myself up to a lawsuit. But everything I did say in the book is 100 percent factual. I tried to avoid putting in my opinions about Eddie; I just stuck to the facts. Let's get to an opinion, though. Eddie certainly strikes me as tortured in some ways. But do you think he's the classic tortured genius, or do you think alcohol is at the root of it all? I think alcohol is at the root of it - and drugs. He's not tortured, because he's always had his brother there to protect him. When I met Eddie, he was like a sweet little kid who had this amazing talent. Over time, he turned into a monster. And I don't mean a monster genius musician, because I think he started losing a lot of that. Straight up he did. I saw the guy right in front of my eyes not be able to write and forgetting how to play songs. Eddie's problems are all from drugs and alcohol, and all of it self-inflicted - nobody was driving him to it. Valerie [Bertinelli] was a sweet lady, and I think she could have been a great wife - probably was. His dad had a drinking problem himself, but he was a sweet guy. Eddie's not tortured by anything but Eddie. Check out the full Hagar session at Musicradar here.

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    SlashIsGod091
    Van Halen with Sammy Hagar wasn't 1/2 the band that Van Halen with David Lee Roth was! "Who's side did you take on the big David Lee Roth/Van Halen split?" ---"What kinda question is that?" "Who's side did you take, Roth or Halen?" ---"Van Halen" "He's a cop!"
    Biginjones07
    Sammy, Maybe Eddie was a monster to you because . . .I dunno. . .you suck and he hates you like most of us true VH fans do?
    scawti
    I am sick of Sammy Haggar. He made Van Halen suck, they never recorded a decent song with him.
    Really? Considering the sales of 5150, OU812, and F.*>K, obviously lots of people disagree with that...
    EpiphoneV
    i thought this was sammy's autobio, not eddies, every bit of press from this book has been about eddie and how terrible hagar thinks he is and shit.
    jr_chevy2005
    Really? Considering the sales of 5150, OU812, and F.*>K, obviously lots of people disagree with that...
    Hagar fan huh? I didn't hear anyone complaining when they got David to play this time. Let Sammy come back and listen to the people start to hate. Yea, Hagar fans bought the albums, as well as many later disappointed Van Halen fans. But they caught on quick.
    biff022
    scawti wrote: I am sick of Sammy Haggar. He made Van Halen suck, they never recorded a decent song with him. Really? Considering the sales of 5150, OU812, and F.*>K, obviously lots of people disagree with that...
    Who cares about record sales? When quoting stats and sales numbers like that you do realize that the majority of people are slightly below average intelligence don't you? VH is only VH with Dave and Michael Anthony for the harmonies. Van Hagar was terrible radio beer and lifestyle rock. Yea there were some musical moments, but they went from "Ain't Talkin' Bout Love" to "Why Can't This Be Love"... no piss or vinegar.
    travislausch
    DimeShadow wrote: Atleast when Eddie became "some kind of monster" he could still make music
    As evidenced by all the new material he was making, right?
    wolfstock
    And literally right below this news story is a link to the last bit of Hagar news which reads.... I would love to make another record with Van Halen
    Rhyan_EG
    "To this day, people ask me if I would go back to Van Halen, and my answer is always the same: not interested. Then people think I'm an ***** or something." And then an article on this site from 6 days ago: "Sammy Hagar: I Would Love To Make Another Record with Van Halen"
    jr_chevy2005
    I am sick of Sammy Haggar. He made Van Halen suck, they never recorded a decent song with him. All he does is talk shit.
    livinoffaprayer
    DimeShadow : Atleast when Eddie became "some kind of monster" he could still make music
    lol I see what you did there. I just got that CD yesterday. it rocks