The Story Behind Van Halen’s Breakup

BY: CAM MAXWELL

When you look at how Van Halen originally broke up in 1985, the truth about David Lee Roth leaving is a cloudy affair.

It’s generally accepted that Roth left the band to pursue a solo career, however that may not be the real story.

To get to the point of the Van Halen brothers, Eddie and Alex, feuding big time with Diamond Dave, we need some context.

Now according to a former Van Halen employee, Pete Angelus (former Van Halen lighting director, creative consultant and Black Crowes manager), the band had decided to take a year off and recharge after pretty much consistently touring since the first album came out. During that break, Roth was going to work on a movie, Crazy From the Heat, (it was never made).

Despite all band members being on board for the hiatus, according to Angelus, a story appeared in Rolling Stone (in July 1984) saying Roth had quit the band. Now according to Angelus, Alex Van Halen told him the band didn’t want to wait around while Roth made the movie and that it was “bullshit … we’re not going to be in a holding pattern to Dave’s whims.”

Talk to the Van Halen brothers and they’ll yell to the top of the mountain Roth left the band.

In early 1985, there were signs that all was not well in the Van Halen camp.

Roth released his EP Crazy From the Heat in late January 1985, a four-song collection that contained nothing written by Roth. They were all covers. Then in February, he was quoted as saying “We’ll be going back in the studio and start arguing again and we all look forward to that. … We have a lot of respect for each other and get along quite well, actually.”

Not true. They weren’t getting along at all.

According to reports Roth and Eddie met in March to go over the future of the band. One thing they surely chatted about was Roth making the movie. Turns out he wanted Eddie to do the score and soundtrack. Eddie said “no”.

Concerning that meeting, Eddie told Rolling Stone in a 1986 article the discussion came to a grinding halt, with Roth declaring, “I can’t work with you guys anymore. I want to do my movie. Maybe when I’m done, we’ll get back together.”

So from Eddie’s point of view, it appears there was no talk of a year’s hiatus.

Now it should be noted the Van Halen brothers fired their manager, Noel Monk, in April 1985, despite desperate pleas from Roth to keep Monk on board. With no intermediary between Roth and the brothers, things quickly fell apart. With no glue keeping the egos in check, there was no hope of Eddie and Roth reconciling.

Van Halen Likely Broke Up in March, 1985

And publicly, there was no talk of the band breaking up, even by April 1, April Fool’s Day and the one most have pegged as the day Diamond Dave departed.

The first public knowledge came in the summer of 1985, when Rolling Stone noted on July 4 that “Van Halen is on permanent hold. Eddie, who’s rumored to be scouting around for a new lead singer, is writing songs with Patty Smyth and planning to collaborate with Pete Townsend. As for David Lee Roth, he intends to pursue an acting career full time and is developing his own movie.”

At that time, neither Eddie or Roth had said anything publicly.

But the silence from the Van Halen camp ended in August when Eddie declared, in Rolling Stone: “The band as you know it is over. Dave left to be a movie star . . . He even had the balls to ask if I’d write the score for him.”

The guitar virtuoso went on to state: “I’m looking for a new lead singer … it’s weird that it’s over. Twelve years of my life putting up with his bullshit.”

So clearly there is a discord between the brothers and Roth and whether or not they were taking a year off, as Angelus stated, or were breaking up because Roth wanted to be a movie star (as the Van Halen brothers have said).

The inclination is to believe Eddie and Alex. Roth is a master of spin control and verbal diarrhea. And it’s interesting to note Angelus went on to become one half of the Roth solo video team as a one of the Fabulous Picasso Brothers, so clearly his best (monetary) interests were tied to the Roth camp.

The Van Halen feud became one of the most notorious in rock and roll.

For more rock ‘n roll insight, check out Cam’s blog here.

Awesome Totally Awesome - Freaks & Weirdos Boutique
ATA - DTK

Awesome Dropping

Awesome Totally Awesome - Rolling Stones - Beggars Banquet

Five Rolling Stones Albums For New Stones Fans

It can be pretty daunting if you're a new Rolling Stones fan and want to know which albums to get into from their vast catalogue, or which are their best records to check out first.
Awesome Totally Awesome

Todd Sends a Dick Pic

Todd sits in the bathroom stall at work. He frantically combs his fingers through his hair and begins to pull at it. The beads of sweat pouring down from his forehead are only offset by his eyelids that are blinking a million times a second.

Grails - Photoshoot Featuring@ymanibarbee and @adore.eu in #undftd and #everybodyskates

/
Ymani and Natalie looking beautiful as ever in streetwear grails by Undefeated and Everybody Skates.  Ymani is wearing Undefeated's classic Role Model T shirt, with a reproduction of an iconic photograph of Sir Charles Barkley wearing his 76ers gear and an NWA cap.  Undefeated has always been at the forefront of edgy athletic streetwear, and this shirt is a classic representation of the same. Natalie is wearing another favorite: Everybody Skate's Madonna, T-shirt with Madonna doing a Madonna.

Awesome Features

Awesome Totally Awesome - Lupe Fiasco

Why Lupe Fiasco is Still My Favorite Rapper?

We get into Lupe Fiasco more closely especially after his most recent release, Drogas Wave.
Awesome Totally Awesome

Awesome Totally Awesome's Review of Balenciaga's Spring 2018 Lookbook

/
I should open with the following statement: I know nothing about high fashion. But I do know the difference between something aesthetically pleasing tickling my photoreceptors from an outfit that makes me think “What’s going on here?!”

Potheads Rally to Make 4/20 a National Holiday But Keep Losing Motivation

For the past decade, I think, or at least a long time (like five years), marijuana advocates around the country have attempted to rally together to petition the man to make 4/20 a national holiday.

Awesome Trending

Awesome Totally Awesome - Dom Kennedy

Gotta Love Dom: The Underrated Rapper has Built a Cult Following Without Selling Out

With the continuous influx of soulless, mumble rap, many of us are yearning for the good old days. Fortunately, there are a few rappers out there restoring our faith in the genre.
Awesome Totally Awesome Coral Fang

The Album That Was Always There: The Distillers' Classic The Coral Fang Turns 15

October 2018 marked 15 years since the Distillers’ “The Coral Fang” debuted. For many Distillers fans, “The Coral Fang” will always maintain its legendary status.
Awesome Totally Awesome - Kanye West I Love It

Kanye West & Lil Pump Roblox "I Love It," Video: How did we get here?

/
Kanye West. The man of many faces. Some say he’s a god.  Some being Kanye. Others, like J.Cole, think differently.