In a new interview with Modern Drummer, Alex Van Halen spoke about Van Halen's two iconic frontmen — David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar. In the interview conducted before Eddie Van Halen's death last October — but finally published now, he spoke about the original connection between the group's original lineup and the importance of producer Ted Templeman, recalling, "Part of it was the conflict between the band and Dave. One of the things that made everything work was that we came from opposite ends of the spectrum. Dave was vaudeville. Ed and I were coming from Cream, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath. So having that strange chemistry is what made it work, oddly enough. But you do need a mediator. Otherwise we would never have gotten anything done.”
He went on to say, "If Dave came in with a song, I would respect how they heard it. And then it’s the old trick, 'Keep your friends close and your enemies closer!' And that means, 'Okay, I’ll listen to you, but then I’m gonna make it mine. And by the end of the process it will sound nothing like what you hummed me.'" He went on to say about Roth: "We grew up together."
Regarding Sammy Hagar, Van Halen said, "(He) has a great rhythmic sense and of course that voice. Dave was much more of a poet. Dave is creative — 90 percent of it is garbage, but that 10 percent is ***ing worth it. What planet did you come from?"
A while back Alex Van Halen joked with us about a certain affliction nearly every rock band finds itself dealing with: ["The joke has become the 'L.S.D.' thing, 'Lead Singer Disease,' and it's not an entirely off-base comment. Not all lead singers, but most of them, they're on a different planet. Part of what makes a band. . . it's like a team! You may have a star player or two, but it's still a team! Without the team, y'know, you're really dead in the water."] SOUNDCUE (:22 OC: . . . in the water)
Alex Van Halen on LSD :