Eddie Van Halen and David Lee Roth may be touring together, but that doesn’t mean they’ve patched up their longtime feud. In an interview with Billboard posted on Friday, the Van Halen guitarist had a few choice words about his band’s on and off lead singer. Van Halen made it clear that Roth “does not want to be my friend,” and it sounds like the feeling is mutual. He also blames Roth for the fact that the band hasn’t recorded a new album since 2012’s “A Different Kind of Truth.”
“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,” Van Halen said of the band’s current lineup which also includes his rock-loving family members, Alex and Wolfgang. “And that used to kind of work, but now Dave doesn’t want to come to the table.”
Eddie Van Halen also had harsh words about David Lee Roth’s futile attempts to look and act youthful. “How can I put this: Roth’s perception of himself is different than who he is in reality,” Van Halen told the magazine. “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.”
The feud between Roth and Van Halen has been legendary for 30 years, when Roth quit Van Halen for a solo career in 1985, then returned to the band, and was fired again in 1996. Now the dysfunctional duo are set to kick off Van Halen’s North American tour for 40 concerts dates. And if you think that’s strange considering their strained relationship, Eddie Van Halen has an explanation for that, too — and it’s all about the fans. “I think it’s now built into people’s DNA, that it just won’t be Van Halen if it’s not Roth’s voice,” he said.
As for the prospect of any new music for Eddie Van Halen and David Lee Roth, the colorful lead singer said as recently as two years ago that he wouldn’t rule a writing collaboration out, but he blamed Van Halen for not taking reaching out to him.
“I would certainly look forward to writing a whole list of songs with Ed, but we haven’t found the time to do that,” Roth told Rolling Stone in 2013. “I’m not sure what’s in Ed’s mind at this point. I’m gonna guess that his plans are to write with his son, and I’m not sure where that actually leads. But truth be told, Edward and I haven’t written a new song in 20 years.”
Eddie Van Halen didn’t reserve his new critiques for David Lee Roth. He also pointed a finger at ex-bassist Michael Anthony, who left the band under still-unexplained circumstances several years ago. Van Halen described his former bandmate’s voice as “a piccolo trumpet” and said Anthony is not a singer, and not that great of a bass player, either. “Every note Mike ever played, I had to show him how to play,” Van Halen said. “Before we’d go on tour, he’d come over with a video camera and I’d have to show him how to play all the parts.”