David Lee Roth: Working with Eddie Van Halen was “better

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David Lee Roth and the Van Halen camp haven’t always seen eye to eye, but the singer recently offered some touching remarks while reflecting on his longtime bandmate, the late Eddie Van Halen.

Roth opened up about his working relationship with the guitar legend on his The Roth Show podcast earlier this week. DLR famously left Van Halen in 1985 to pursue a successful solo career, and multiple failed attempts to patch things up would eventually give way to Roth rejoining the band in 2007. Roth and Eddie Van Halen appeared to be on good terms when Eddie passed away in 2020.

“My dear departed Ed,” Roth said on his podcast (as transcribed by Blabbermouth). “Boy, I miss him. I had a ball with Ed. Walt Disney once said, ‘You know what? My love affair with Mickey Mouse was better than any love affair with a woman I ever had.’ I’ve gotta tell ya: playing with Ed, writing songs with Ed, presenting those songs with Ed was better than any love affair I ever had. And some of those songs, I think, might last forever — or until the last syllable of time, like Shakespeare said. They became anthems. Where are they playing ‘Jump’ right now?”

Ironically, it’s long been rumored that Eddie’s use of synths on “Jump” partly led to DLR’s exit from Van Halen in 1985. Eddie would then tap Sammy Hagar to steer the band into a more commercial rock direction, while DLR embraced the glam-metal craze that was beginning to explode in the mid-’80s.

Roth reflected: “I remember when he played [‘Jump’] on the keyboard downstairs. I said, ‘No.’ Well, we reflect the times, and the times at that time was guitars, guitars, guitars; and ‘Jump’ was one of those hybrids.”

DLR last performed with Van Halen in 2015, and fans remain curious about a possible reunion tribute tour featuring all three of the band’s vocalists. Former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted spilled the beans when he revealed that he had been contacted to participate in a hypothetical tribute tour alongside Joe Satriani. The project never came to fruition, however.

More recently, Eddie’s son Wolfgang Van Halen implied that DLR was the reason the tour was nixed. Meanwhile, Roth hinted that he’s not really retiring and the Van Halen tribute might happen. He’s since released a new version of “Panama,” adding further fuel to the speculation.

You can hear Roth’s full remarks on Eddie Van Halen via his podcast below.

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