“I didn’t drink to party,” he says now, sober since 2008. “Alcohol and cocaine were private things to me. I would use them for work. The blow keeps you awake and the alcohol lowers your inhibitions. I’m sure there were musical things I would not have attempted were I not in that mental state."
“He does not want to be my friend,” Van Halen says, seemingly bemused about Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth. “How can I put this: Roth’s perception of himself is different than who he is in reality. We’re not in our 20s anymore. We’re in our 60s. Act like you’re 60. I stopped coloring my hair, because I know I’m not going to be young again.”
“Eddie has the natural gift of melody, with the deepest right-hand groove,” notes Joe Satriani, a fellow virtuoso who (somewhat ironically) now plays in the band Chickenfoot with two former members of Van Halen. “Eddie put the smile back in rock guitar, at a time when it was all getting a bit brooding. He also scared the hell out of a million guitarists around the world, because he was so damn good. And original.”
“I’m a T-shirt and jeans guy,” Van Halen says while compulsively vaping. He no longer smokes cigarettes, having surgically lost one-third of his tongue to a cancer that eventually drifted into his esophagus.
"There is an element of music that is for the people. You make music for people. Otherwise, just play in your closet. And how do you reach the most people? By giving them the band that they know. To do it any other way would be selfish.”