Van Halen Nearly Fire David Lee Roth For Terrible Performance


Van Halen icons Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony were interviewed by SiriusXM host Eddie Trunk earlier this week. During the interview, the former Van Halen frontman explained how he came very close to joining Van Halen from the very beginning instead of Dave Lee Roth due to poor vocals from “Diamond Dave” during recording. Alternative Nation transcribed their comments below:

Trunk: Let me ask you a question, this is interesting, Sammy (Hagar), you’re tied into this. I’ve read one of the Van Halen books that came out recently that that Noah Munck, your former manager, right?

Hagar: Yeah.

Trunk: It said in that book, in 1978 when you’re making the debut album, Ted Templeman was unhappy with the vocal he was getting out of David Lee Roth and at that time said:

“Hey, there’s this guy Sammy Hagar that you should consider bringing in to record for the first record.”

Hagar: That is totally true, that is totally true. Ted did make a suggestion.

Trunk: So that point that the band started so there was a pod- Sammy did this get on your radar? That Van Halen might have reached out to you initially?

Hagar: Yeah, Ted Templeman told me that. I mean, it would have worked but the way it all went down is so much better. You know, the band had two lives and most bands don’t have two lives. I mean, you are lucky to get one life out of rock n’ roll. So to have two lives like that for the band. It was better for the band and better for the legacy. I came in and it worked which was like, against all odds, you know? So, I think it’s cooler the way it went down. If I’d have been in there from the beginning, who knows?! It might have broken up after four years and you might have never heard of the band again. You might have never heard of a For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge or a 5150, those are great records, you know? We probably wouldn’t have gotten that far. 

Anthony: Oddly enough when we first started working on the album, we told Ted:

“Make it sound like Montrose, man. Big and bad like Montrose.”

Trunk: Yeah, I found great irony in that because you guys were Montrose fans and at that time Ted who had produced Montrose, first record, was thinking of Sammy out of the gate. Just thinking how history would have potentially been changed if that would have happened, but Sammy it didn’t reach your radar. You only heard about it after the fact, right? 

Hagar: After the fact, no one ever called.