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Roth was sad with the focus on Eddie Van Halen in the early days


Roth was sad with the focus on Eddie Van Halen in the early days

Van Halen was formed by the brothers Alex and Eddie Van Halen in 1973 in Pasadena, California. The classic line-up of the group with the vocalist David Lee Roth and the bassist Michael Anthony was complete in 1974 when both joined the band.


After that it took them four years to finally get a record deal and make their groundbreaking self-titled debut album in 1978. But even before that, people would always be impressed by Eddie’s guitar playing and a journalist even wrote an article about them in one of the major Los Angeles newspapers focusing on his guitar playing. As the musician recalled in an interview with Classic Rock in 1996, conducted by Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins, that didn’t make Roth happy.

As the guitarist revealed, it almost cost the future of the band because Roth felt really insecure that it was the guitarist who was getting all the attention when they were playing live. Eddie even noted that Van Halen’s future could have been really different if Roth had decided to leave the band because of that.

David Lee Roth Roth was unhappy with the focus on Eddie Van Halen in the early days

“It was weird (To suddenly become a guitar hero). But I’ll tell you what was even weirder. Before our first record came out, this guy wrote an article about the band in one of the major Los Angeles newspapers. He singled me out as the important member. He just raved about my playing and didn’t really say much about Roth. And it freaked David out. He was the lead singer and frontman. It really upset him that I was getting the attention. I felt bad and really didn’t know what to do.”

“It was like this journalist almost ruined the band and my life by praising my work. He actually hurt me by putting the spotlight on me. I was like, ‘Fuck you, just let me play.’ The tension it created in the band was unbelievable. I was like, ‘Holy shit, David! What did I do wrong? Did I play too good? I’ll play worse. Will that make you happy?’” David Lee Roth said.

Roth also wasn’t happy with Eddie being the first to marry a movie star

In the same conversation, he noted that Roth also was bothered by the fact that it was Eddie who first got married with a movie star. His marriage with the actress Valerie Bertinelli lasted from 1981 to 2007 and they had one son, who is Wolfgang Van Halen, that ended up being the band’s bassist during their final reunion.

When asked by Corgan about the 1981 album “Fair Warning” being more dark than the previous ones, Eddie said: “It was kind of a dark period in my life. I was getting married, which flipped Roth out to the bone. I actually overheard him say, ‘That fucking little prick, not only is he winning all the guitar awards. But he’s also the first to marry a movie star.’”

He continued:

“So that’s what I was up against. A guy that wanted everything that was going my way. The funny thing was, I really didn’t want the attention, and it came to me anyway. I didn’t want the press – it was like, ‘Leave me alone,’” Eddie Van Halen said.

Although there was some tension in the band because of that, Roth ended up staying in the group. He was a really important part of their songwriting and live shows. He became quite known for being quite acrobatic during their performances. So he probably, he used to do that to fight for the attention that Eddie used to get when playing live.

The vocalist was part of the group for the first time from 1974 to 1985 when he decided to leave to pursue a solo career. He briefly returned in 1996 but that reunion didn’t work out. He would finally reunite with the band in their final reunion, which happened from 2007 until Eddie’s death in 2020. With Roth on vocals, the band released seven studio albums. The final one was “A Different Kind of Truth”, released in 2012.

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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