Van Halen is gearing up for a massive US tour, the band’s first with singer David Lee Roth in almost three years. While many assumed the announcement of the hotly anticipated trek signaled an end to the band’s notorious infighting, a recent Billboard cover story with guitarist Eddie Van Halen revealed that’s not exactly the case.
“He does not want to be my friend,” a bemused Van Halen said of his singer. “How can I put this: Roth’s perception of himself is different than who he is in reality. We’re not in our 20s anymore. We’re in our 60s. Act like you’re 60. I stopped coloring my hair, because I know I’m not going to be young again.”
He went on to say that he’d love to record a new Van Halen LP, but is skeptical of it happening. According to him, if there’s anyone holding up such an effort, it’s Roth. “It’s hard, because there are four people in this band, and three of us like rock’n’roll. And one of us likes dance music,” he said. “And that used to kind of work, but now Dave doesn’t want to come to the table.”
So why is he willing to go on this latest jaunt with a bandmate he barely agrees with? “I think it’s now built into people’s DNA, that it just won’t be Van Halen if it’s not Roth’s voice,” he said. He explained he sticks with Van Halen not for his own interest, but for the fans. “[There} is an element of music that is for the people. You make music for people. Otherwise, just play in your closet. And how do you reach the most people? By giving them the band that they know. To do it any other way would be selfish.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Van Halen said the last album he purchased was Peter Gabriel’s So in 1986, he doesn’t know most of the lyrics to his own band’s songs, and he’s never listened to Radiohead or Guns N’ Roses. At the same time, he had a few thoughts on Max Martin’s role in Taylor Swift’s rise to fame (“I think I read something where somebody said, ‘If Max Martin played guitar like Eddie Van Halen, he’d be dangerous,’” Van Halen said to explain the knowledge discrepancy. “He makes all the hits. But that’s all I know about him”). He also took shots at former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony (“Before we’d go on tour, he’d come over with a video camera and I’d have to show him how to play all the parts”), and shrugged off his hand in Michael Jackson’s “Beat It”.
Read the whole thing here.