During a candid interview with USA Today, Sammy Hagar reflects on the years of estrangement from Eddie Van Halen after his departure from Van Halen. Expressing a newfound sense of appreciation, Sammy shares, “I cherish [Eddie] more than ever. What happened between us, in the end, was such a shame. It’s what happens when alcohol and drugs are involved, and I was going through a divorce. It’s truly regrettable. If Van Halen were still together today, we would be headlining festivals all over the world.”
Sammy also reveals a deep longing for Eddie’s unique creativity, stating, “I miss his unmatched creativity. He would play something, and I’d be like, ‘What? Where did that come from?’ He was always so out of left field, so original. His creativity always uplifted me.”
Tragically, Eddie Van Halen passed away in October 2020 at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, California, succumbing to complications from cancer, as confirmed by his son. The loss of the iconic Van Halen guitarist has left a void in the music world.
Interestingly, in his autobiography, “Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock,” Hagar expressed criticism towards Eddie, describing him as unkempt, frail, and hauntingly thin. Hagar detailed how Eddie would drink wine straight from the bottle, and due to a cancer scare, he was missing part of his tongue and several teeth.
Despite the challenges Eddie faced in terms of his health and substance abuse, Sammy acknowledges that it never significantly affected his live performances. “Eddie always played great,” Sammy affirms. “That’s what used to make me mad because he could drink as much as he wanted, do anything he wanted, and still come out and deliver an incredible performance. It would frustrate me at times, thinking, ‘This guy is getting on my nerves.'” [Laughs]
Sammy Hagar’s heartfelt reflections shed light on the complicated dynamics and enduring admiration between him and Eddie Van Halen. Their shared musical journey, filled with ups and downs, showcases the indelible impact they made on the rock music scene and highlights the deep bond they shared as artists.