Former Van Halen lead singer Sammy Hagar has slammed Eddie Van Halen, the group’s co-founder, as “a liar” after Van Halen dissed the band’s former bassist, Michael Anthony, in an interview with Billboard.
“Every note Mike ever played, I had to show him how to play,” Van Halen told Chuck Klosterman in the magazine. “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.” Van Halen also took issue with Anthony’s backing vocals: “Mike’s voice is like a piccolo trumpet. But he’s not a singer. He just has a range from hell.”
Hagar, who was lead singer of Van Halen from 1986 through 1996, refuted those statements in a scathing video released Friday. “For Eddie to say he had to show him what to play and had teach him all those songs, that is the biggest line of bullsh-t I’ve ever heard in my life,” Hagar said. “I was in that band for 11 years, and there was never a video camera involved with Eddie showing him what to play.”
Hagar said any time Van Halen did tell Anthony what to play, it was because of the guitarist’s own issues with the material. “If Mike would have played any more than one note, it would have showed Eddie wasn’t playing the right chords again and again and again.”
In a statement to Billboard, Anthony himself said he was proud of the work he did with Van Halen. But the bassist didn’t rebuke Van Halen’s claims further because of a hope to “stay out of the never-ending mudslinging” associated with the band. Hagar, however, took a different approach.
“F–k you, Eddie Van Halen, for saying that about Michael,” Hagar said in his video. “You’re a liar.”
Hagar last toured with Van Halen in 2004, and while the told Rolling Stone last year that he would welcome the chance to play with the group again, it didn’t seem too likely that a reconciliation would occur.
“The love’s not there right now. I do love those guys. We really bumped heads on the last tour,” Hagar said. “That tour was just a mess and I would never go into a mess like that again. I’m too happy as a human being to be that miserable ever again. I was miserable for the last 40 shows. The first 40 shows I was thinking, ‘Well, maybe Eddie will straighten out’ or ‘Maybe this can come together.’ But that didn’t happen, and by the last 40 I was miserable. I would, however, be in the original band that we started. That was a love fest full of creativity.”
Watch Hagar’s video below; head to Billboard for the interview with Van Halen.