In a recent interview with “Zach Martin’s Big Fat American Rock Show!”, Vivian Campbell was asked which version of VAN HALEN he prefers — the classic VAN HALEN with David Lee Roth on vocals, or the “Van Hagar” era with Sammy Hagar.
Here’s the answer:
“Dave Lee Roth, no doubt. That was part of the original character of the band. There was a humor in early VAN HALEN that came across in the music, and that was essentially Dave Lee Roth‘s input on that. He wasn’t a tremendous vocalist, but he had a tremendous style and a unique character and personality, and that was as important to the early band as Eddie‘s guitar playing and Alex‘s drumming and Michael Anthony‘s bass playing.”
“They were a great band — the original band. That’s not to detract in any way from Sammy Hagar, who’s a remarkable singer. And what they did with Sammy was different. I mean, it was good, but it was different. It was a little more mainstream, to my ears. It was also not just Sammy‘s influence that changed the sound of VAN HALEN.
It was also around the same time that Eddie discovered the keyboards. [Laughs] Which is all well and good, but I prefer to listen to him as a guitarist. So those two elements definitely reshaped the sound of the later VAN HALEN. But I’m very much a fan of the early band.”