“More than anything, because of the untimely and tragic death of Eddie Van Halen, I apologize from the bottom of my heart for exposing his dark side to where I don’t think anyone wants to hear that now,” Hagar declared during an interview with Inside With Paulo Baron and Regis Tadeu. “Unfortunately, it’s in the book.”
In his memoir, Hagar detailed how alcoholism had left Van Halen a shell of his former self. At one point, the singer described visiting the guitarist’s home in 2004. “It looked like vampires lived there. There were bottles and cans all over the floor. The handle was broken off the refrigerator door. There were spider webs everywhere.”
While Hagar insisted he didn’t embellish any of the facts, he admitted that some things would have been better left unsaid.
“It’s true — it’s all true,” the singer explained. “It’s not like I have to say, ‘Oh, I was lying’ — no, no, no. If I wrote the book today, I would only put the good of Eddie Van Halen, because he was such a brilliant, genius guitar player and such a great friend and a great partner — until everything went wrong, like everything else.”
Hagar joined Van Halen in 1985, replacing the band’s original singer, David Lee Roth. The group released four studio albums with the Red Rocker at the helm — 5150 (1986), OU812 (1988), For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge (1991) and Balance (1995) — all of which reached multi-platinum sales. Still, he’d split from the band in ‘96 as Roth briefly returned, and a 2004 reunion would prove to be disastrous.
Looking back, Hagar likened his fallout with Van Halen to a divorce. “Happy endings aren’t always the case in a relationship,” the Red Rocker explained. “Eddie and I, we had a happy ending — thank God — but before that, it wasn’t a happy ending of the band. But thank God we got it back together.”
The “happy ending” Hagar is alluding to happened early in 2020. The former bandmates finally reconnected when Red Rocker picked up the phone and gave Eddie a call. “He said, ‘What took you so long?,’” Hagar recalled. “It put the biggest smile on my face. I said, ‘Oh my God. Don’t ask me.’ That was just very touching to me: ‘Hey, I’ve been waitin’.'” That conversation brought the friends back together, and the two enjoyed a “love fest” up until Eddie’s death.
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