Eddie Van Halen and Sammy Hagar repaired friendship earlier this year
At the beginning of 2020, Sammy Hagar and Eddie Van Halen said to one another, “Why can’t this be love?”
After Van Halen lost an arduous battle with throat cancer this week, Hagar revealed the two had patched up their rocky relationship earlier this year.
“Eddie and I had been texting, and it’s been a love fest since we started communicating earlier this year,” Hagar said in a note provided to the Howard Stern show. “We both agreed not to tell anyone, because of all the rumours it would stir up about a reunion, et cetera, and we both knew that wasn’t gonna happen. But he also didn’t want anyone to know about his health.”
Hagar went on to add that Van Halen stopped replying about a month ago, and he got no response after trying to reconnect last week.
“He stopped responding to me a month ago, and I figured it wasn’t good,” Hagar continued. “I reached out one more time last week, and when he didn’t respond, I figured it was a matter of time. But it came way too soon.”
Hagar famously replaced Van Halen’s original singer David Lee Roth in 1985 after the latter left the group to pursue a solo career. Along with Eddie on guitar, brother Alex on drums and Michael Anthony on bass, they recorded four platinum records, including 5150, OU812, For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge and Balance. Hagar left the band in 1996 and was replaced briefly by Gary Cherone. He reunited with the band for a 2004 tour, but their fractious relationship continued offstage leading Hagar to exit the band once again.
Roth returned to the fold in 2007 and they embarked on three world tours over the next eight years, making one record along the way — 2012’s A Different Kind of Truth. Still, Roth and Eddie never enjoyed a particularly close relationship.
“Nope. Not even close. Not even close. This is not a golf club. This is a little closer to The Wild Bunch,” Roth said on the podcast WTF with Marc Maron in 2019.
But during the band’s final stop on its 2015 tour at the Hollywood Bowl, Roth shared a rare moment of warmth towards the guitar great. “The best years of my life; the high points of all my life — onstage with you, homeboy,” he said, in an account reported by Rolling Stone. “I will always do the half-Jesus towards you, Eddie Van Halen.”
Up until this summer, Hagar was still holding out hope for one more tour. “Eddie and I are not done,” he told Rolling Stone. “If enough water goes under the bridge before we die, (a reunion will) happen. It has to. God is going to slap us both around if he has to.”