Eddie Van Halen’s death has done nothing to end the bitchiness between old foes David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar

(Image credit: Rachel Murray/Getty Images for The Brent Shapiro Foundation)

If anyone imagined that the tragic death of Eddie Van Halen might perhaps help heal the long-standing divisions between former Van Halen frontmen David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar, we regret to inform you that this does not appear to be the case.

Following Sammy Hagar’s recent comments to US radio presenter Eddie Trunk labelling Roth “not user friendly”, Roth has offered a somewhat oblique response by sharing a new illustration in which ‘Red Rocker’  Hagar is referenced several times. 

The image posted on Roth’s Twitter account is styled in the form of a newspaper titled The Daily Catastrophe, and makes more than one mention to Hagar, who is labelled as “the Bottom’s Favorite Front Guy‘.

‘Sam The Man Not Only Will Be Giving His Life For Rock And Roll, But Plans To Be Buried In His Recently Acquired Jet!’ reads one ‘headline’ on the mocked-up artwork, while another suggests ’Red Rocker Refuses To Fly 55 In Afterlife’, a reference to Hagar’s 1984 radio hit I Can’t Drive 55 from the VOA album. The words ‘Concrete Flowers For Sam’ also appear on the artwork. Cutting.

The feud between the two singers stretches back to the 1970s, but intensified from 1985 onwards, after Hagar accepted an offer to join Van Halen following Roth”s departure from the band. Four Van Halen studio albums topped the US Billboard chart during Hagar’s time with the band, while Roth’s first  album with the band (Van Halen) and his final one (1984) before launching a solo career, have both topped 10 million sales in the US alone.

Following Eddie Van Halen’s death on October 6, both his son Wolfgang and manager Irving Azoff confirmed rumours that Van Halen had been hoping to put together a final stadium tour featuring both Roth and Hagar. Asked about this on Eddie Trunk’s SiriusXM show, Hagar said he would have viewed the opportunity as a “dream come true” while taking a swipe at Roth once again.

“I wouldn’t look forward to having to share the stage with Dave,” Hagar said, “only because he’s not user friendly. I love the guy, I love the music, all that, but he’s just not user friendly.”

“He’s always gonna pull something to try to make you look bad and make him look good and all that kind of stuff. But it would have been a blast. Are you kidding me? It [would have been] a dream come true.”

Speaking to this writer in 2019, Hagar brushed off his long-running war or words with Roth by saying that their so-called "rivalry" wasn't even “a blip on my radar.”

"I don't respect Dave's artistry,” Hagar said, “but I do think he's clever and a great showman and what he did with Van Halen in the early days was fantastic. Van Halen couldn't have made it without him.

"God bless Dave, but he refuses to acknowledge that. Van Halen with me was even more successful than Van Halen with him, and that's very stupid of him. That'd be like me not acknowledging what he did for the band before I joined: that would be stupid, wouldn't it?"

Eddie Van Halen died on October 6 at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California.


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Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.