davidleeroth David Lee Roth says he’ll never perform Sammy Hagar-era Van Halen songs, and says the reasons are obvious.

First, Roth was never sure about Hagar’s commitment to the work. Second, he says, the public has made it clear which edition they favor.

“Well, there’s a credibility issue there,” Roth said, back stage at the Billboard Music Awards. “Good, bad or in the middle, you know Roth means it; the other guy doesn’t. And that’s why it sold half as well — literally, Midas Bible half. Never did better than half. And why would you bring that into the proceedings? This hamburger don’t need no helper. Ain’t no rehearsing pants in my closet.”

Of course, Hagar has previously expressed his own opinion on this subject. “The difference between Dave and I in that band, besides all the other million things, is that he can’t sing any of the ‘Van Hagar’-era songs,” he explained in a 2012 interview with the Boston Phoenix (courtesy of Blabbermouth). “Maybe he could do Finish What You Started, possibly.”

Last night marked Van Halen’s first appearance at the Billboard Music Awards, which aired on ABC from Las Vegas (see the performance below). Roth just released his second project since returning to Van Halen, a live set titled Tokyo Dome in Concert. There, as with the band’s on-going concerts since his return, the setlists have focused on albums from Roth’s initial 1974–85 tenure, interspersed with songs from their 2012 comeback album A Diffferent Kind of Truth.

Hagar’s principal work with Van Halen stretched from 1985–96. Both singers had subsequent reunions with the group: Roth returned in 1996, and Hagar was back for 2003–05. Roth has fronted Van Halen ever since.

Asked about a potential studio follow up to A Different Kind of Truth, Roth struck a hopeful if non-committal stance. “I’m always writing and have written with a number of other people,” he said. “And I would always look forward to doing it again with Van Halen.”


49 Responses

  1. did anyone see the hagar-roth tour a few years back??i did,hagar came out first,then dave,i like both guys alot on record,and had never seen them when they were with when they came around i thought i would go check it out,well sammy was really good,played well looked well,over all a good show,then came out diamond dave in a pink satan jump suit,trying to jump around,fell 2 times during the first 4 songs,and was horrible,could not sing,looked like an old washwoman from russia,i could not take the slaughtering of the songs.i left….so for dave to be throwing stones is really amazing,he should be greatful that v.h had him back,and be thankful that hes still able to make the kind of money he is,do be hating sammy because he still has the chops that you never had to begin with…i hate when you go to see a band that sounds really good on record,and suck live,im not dissing the rest of the band here at all,they are all very good at what they do,even though (and i know folks will go nuts here on this)i was never a big eddie van fan,i liked the classic jimmy page style rock players,not that 80s fast playing a zillon notes type..

  2. These guys are well into their sixties now and still insist on slagging each other through the press. I guess growing up is out of the question. I would say the majority of people (like 90%) prefer Roth era VH. VH with Sammy was a hit-or-miss proposition for me, I liked about half the stuff they did with Sammy. However, there is now a third VH Era: Old, embarrassing himself Dave VH. Brian Johnson of AC/DC once said “The voice is like another instrument. If you can’t keep up with the music you’re going to look like a lost sheep”. After watching this performance (the music sounded tight) all I can say to Diamond Dave is ‘Bahhhhhh’.

  3. The usual back and forth between fans of Roth-era and fans of Hagar-era, and fans of BOTH will never stop, and maybe it shouldn’t. Let’s face it, anyone who has posted here at least cares a bit (and in some cases a great deal) about this band. That said, I have to quote Joe Perry’s “Let the MUSIC do the talking”…Roth-era: “I’m the One”, “Atomic Punk”, “On Fire”, “Somebody Get Me a Doctor”, “Light Up the Sky”, “Romeo Delight”, “Lossa Control”, “Mean Street”, “Sinner’s Swing”, “Hang ’em High”, “House of Pain”, “Chinatown”, “Outta Space” and on and on. To me, there’s NOTHING in the Hagar-era that comes close to touching the power of these and many more. I feel the only one of the Hagar albums that can even be mentioned along side the Roth ones is “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge”. (Although I’m not above admitting that “Diver Down” had a lot of “filler”) Nuff said.

  4. 1) Sammy Hagar is one of the top rock vocalists of all time (good songwriter and guitar player too).
    2) David Lee Roth is one of the greatest front man ever to grace a stage (real good singing with a blues timbre too).
    3) Van Halen is one of the most successful and accomplished rock bands in history.
    4) Final verdict: The fans won the war for being able to see and hear all this great body of music. It’s silly this back and forth is still going on. They both are great in their own ways.

    1. Well said Carlos.

      I approach Dave and Sammy VH the same way I do with Ozzy / Dio Sabbath.

      With Ozzy, Black Sabbath knocked down doors, invented heavy metal, and put out some killer albums. But, it was apparent after the last two Ozzy albums, they needed a change. Enter Dio, and you have two more killer albums with H&H and Mob Rules.

      Both versions of the band are great for different reasons. Dio is the far better singer, and the band was technically a little better with him, but maybe not an innovative as the Ozzy version. The Ozzy version also had more material.

      The VH story is similar. With Dave, they re-invented hard rock, and ushered in a new era, giving birth to shred and arguably starting the 80s hard rock / party rock era. They released some great albums, but their last two showed that they needed a breath of fresh air. Enter Sammy, with the killer 5150 and For Unlawful records. (I’ll admit OU812 has some clunkers).

      Both versions of VH are great for different reasons. While Sammy was a much better singer, and the band was technically a little better with him, but not an innovative as the Dave version.

      Also, both bands are band with their original singers with missing key members of their rhythm sections due to music business bullsh$t.

      I guess in my comparison, Ian Gillan is like Gary Cherone…….no that’s not fair. Black Sabbath never released as album as bad as VHIII, not even the Forbidden album.

    2. Yes, nice to be able to talk this way without bs slinging. Sabbath made awesome albums with Dio. Two different beasts but still killer.

    1. Thanks Gary, I understand passion and picking sides but it just gets redundant after a while. Van Halen rules and has enough great music to span many decades. Ultimately everybody won, let’s just enjoy it. Maybe the band members can take the same path and not slag each other in the press. They have lived a hell of a good life.

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