Van Halen stipulated in their performance contracts that a bowl of M&M’s, with all of the brown M&M’s removed, was to be placed in their dressing room. They didn’t do this to be jerks, but as a simple test to see if more important safety and quality specifications were attended to as well.
From 1974 until 1985, the band consisted of guitarist Eddie Van Halen, vocalist David Lee Roth, drummer Alex Van Halen, and bassist Michael Anthony.
Former Extreme frontman Gary Cherone was quickly recruited as lead singer to replace Hagar, and Van Halen III was released in 1998.
Van Halen went on hiatus until 2003 when they reunited with Hagar for a worldwide tour.
Hagar again left Van Halen in 2005, and in 2006 Roth returned as lead vocalist for their highest-grossing tour, and one of the highest-grossing tours of that year.
Anthony was not invited to participate in the tour and was essentially fired from the band, replaced by Wolfgang Van Halen, Eddie’s son.
According to the RIAA, Van Halen is the 19th-best-selling band/artist in United States history, selling 56 million albums in the U.S. They were also revealed at number 4 on the Billboard’s top moneymakers list in 2013. Van Halen is one of only five rock bands that have had two studio albums sell more than 10 million copies in the U.S. Additionally, Van Halen charted 13 number-one hits in the history of Billboard’s Mainstream Rock chart and they are one of the world’s best-selling bands of all time, having sold more than 80 million records.
As they progressed and gained popularity, they started to play many backyard parties and changed the name of their band to The Trojan Rubber Co. In 1972, the Van Halen brothers formed a band called Genesis featuring Eddie as lead vocalist/guitarist, Alex on drums, and Mark Stone on bass.
Although the audience was small, the two were so impressed with Van Halen that within a week they offered the band a recording contract. The group recorded their debut album at Sunset Sound Recorders studio in mid-September to early October 1977, recording guitar parts for one week and then recording vocals for two additional weeks.
Upon its release, Van Halen reached No. 19 on the Billboard pop music charts, one of rock’s most commercially successful debuts. It was highly regarded as both a heavy metal and hard rock album. The album included songs now regarded as Van Halen classics, like “Runnin’ with the Devil” and the guitar solo “Eruption”, which showcased Eddie’s use of a technique known as “finger-tapping”.
The band’s chemistry owed much to Eddie Van Halen’s technical guitar wizardry and David Lee Roth’s flamboyant antics and stage persona, strong points which later made them rivals.
The band returned to the studio in late 1978 to record Van Halen II, a 1979 album similar in style to their debut.
Over the next few years, the band alternated album releases and touring (see Van Halen concert tours).
Billy Sheehan, after his band Talas completed a tour with Van Halen, claims he was approached by Eddie Van Halen to replace Michael Anthony.
Recorded at Eddie Van Halen’s newly built 5150 Studios, the album featured keyboards, which had only been used sporadically on previous albums.
Roth was upset about Eddie playing music outside of Van Halen without checking with the band, and his alleged drug abuse that allegedly prevented the band from viable practices.
The 1986 Van Halen album 5150 was a huge hit, becoming the band’s first No. 1 album on the Billboard charts, driven by the keyboard-dominated singles “Why Can’t This Be Love” (#3 U.S.), “Dreams,” and “Love Walks In” (Top 30 U.S.).
To further introduce the new era for the band, a new Van Halen logo was put on the cover.
Footage was released on VHS and DVD as Live Without a Net. In the tour Hagar wanted to minimize the use of pre-Hagar Van Halen songs in the set, other than the band’s best known classics.
In addition, Van Halen was nominated for two Grammy Awards, winning the 1992 Best Hard Rock Performance with Vocal award for the album For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge.
In 1995, Van Halen released the album Balance and supported Bon Jovi on their European Summer stadium tour.
They also made a live album called Live: Right Here, Right Now. During the recording of songs for the film Twister, escalating tension between Hagar and the Van Halen brothers boiled over and Hagar departed on Father’s Day, 1996.
David Lee Roth called Eddie to discuss what tracks would be included on a planned Van Halen compilation (work on which had actually begun before Hagar’s departure).
Eddie Van Halen would later explain (in regard to the MTV Video Music Awards appearance) that he had initially been embarrassed by Roth’s antics while on camera behind Beck, who was giving an acceptance speech for the award that Van Halen had presented to him.
Immediately following this, the band had been taken to a backstage press conference where press queries about a reunion tour were met with Eddie Van Halen saying that he needed a hip replacement and would have to record an entire new studio album before any tour.
Van Halen’s next lead singer was Gary Cherone, frontman of the then-defunct Boston-based band Extreme, a group which had enjoyed some popular success in the early 1990s. The result was the album Van Halen III.
Shortly afterwards, Van Halen returned to the studio and in early 1999, they started work on a new album.
The Van Halen brothers continued writing at 5150 studios, Cherone recorded an album and toured with new band Tribe of Judah.
One of the songs that Cherone had written for the scrapped second album with Van Halen, entitled “Left For Dead”, would see its lyrics set to a new musical arrangement with Tribe of Judah.
The tour, with both singers headlining, attracted media and audience fascination because it seemed more improbable than even a Van Halen tour with Roth or Hagar.
The band recorded just two songs and played live a few times before dissolving when Hagar and Anthony rejoined Van Halen.
L-R: Michael Anthony, Sammy Hagar, Eddie Van Halen
In late March 2004, Van Halen and Hagar announced that Hagar would reunite with the band for a new compilation release and a Summer concert tour of the USA.
In July 2004, Van Halen released a new 2-CD compilation featuring three new songs with Hagar: “It’s About Time,” “Up for Breakfast,” and “Learning to See.” These new songs were credited to Hagar/Van Halen/Van Halen, which was unusual since normally the entire lineup, which also included Michael Anthony, would be credited.
Anthony would later reveal in interviews that Eddie Van Halen had in fact not wanted him to be a part of the reunion and for this reason Anthony had not been allowed to perform in the sessions (explaining his lack of a songwriting credit), with Eddie playing the bass parts himself instead.
At first Hagar stated he had yet to decide what he would be doing with Van Halen, although he was still an official member of the band.
Hagar stated that he was “done with Van Halen” and wished that everyone would have “taken it more seriously.” Despite this, Eddie later described himself as “satisfied” with the tour.
Rumors of a David Lee Roth reunion re-emerged and on January 3, 2006, Roth explained during an interview that he had spoken to Alex Van Halen the previous week and a reunion was “inevitable.” However, he also said that Eddie Van Halen was “off in his own little world” recently.
When asked if any problems occurred with Sammy Hagar during the 2004 tour Eddie Van Halen answered, “Sammy is Sammy, and for the most part that’s just fine.” Roth persisted with suggestions of a reunion, saying, “People want the reunion,” and “No one will pay respect to what any of us do [musically] until we get the reunion out of the way.” In May 2006, he told Billboard.com, “There’s contact between the two camps.”
On June 3, Michael Anthony began a successful tour with Hagar billed as “The Other Half” (a reference to them being half of Van Halen with the other half being Eddie/Alex), with Anthony singing lead vocals sometimes.
This was followed by another Eddie Van Halen performance on July 19, 2006, at the House of Petals in Los Angeles, playing new material.
He followed this with an announcement on July 27, 2006, that some of his new music would be released on the soundtrack for the pornographic film Sacred Sin. In March 2006, Anthony spoke to Japanese rock magazine Burrn!, claiming the brothers did not want him on the 2004 reunion tour, although Hagar did (and would not play without Anthony), but he had to agree to reduced royalties and end absolutely all association with the band after the tour in terms of rights to using the name to promote himself. It was in this same interview he admitted he was not involved in the new songs on Best of Both Worlds and only recorded three tracks for III.
On September 8, 2006, Howard Stern’s Eddie Van Halen live interview broke the band’s long silence.
This shocked and offended many fans. In November, Eddie’s spokesperson, Janie Liszewski, claimed the Van Halen family was writing/rehearsing for a summer 2007 tour, which Billboard magazine’s website shortly confirmed.
On December 11, 2006, Eddie Van Halen stated to Guitar World magazine that David Lee Roth had been directly invited to rejoin the band. However, on December 28, Roth announced that he had not talked to Eddie in two years, and a reunion with Van Halen could result in a “Jerry Springer-style fight.”
The Van Halen brothers, Anthony, Hagar, and Roth were inducted, though only Hagar and Anthony appeared at the induction ceremony on behalf of the group. Billboard announced on January 24, 2007 that Van Halen would reunite with Roth for a U.S. tour. This was confirmed shortly after on the official Van Halen website.
The Van Halen News Desk announced on February 15, 2007, that a Van Halen “Best Of (1978–1984),” a single-disc compilation of Van Halen’s David Lee Roth era, would be released by April 3.
Various sources claimed the tour was shut down as was the new “Best Of” CD. On March 8, 2007 Eddie announced on Van Halen’s website that he was in rehab.
At a post-induction press conference, Hagar said he would love to work with Van Halen again but that the Van Halens should tour with Roth first.
After nearly 10 months of speculation and rumors, Van Halen (and Roth separately via his own website) said that the band would be going on a tour of North America.
On March 5, 2008, World Entertainment Weekly to CBS News reported that the reason the tour had been interrupted was Eddie Van Halen’s needing to reenter rehab.
During the show Roth stated multiple times that this would not be their final show and that they would “see everyone next time.” At this show the arena sign was altered to read “VAN HALEN ARENA.” According to the Van Halen News Desk, the reunion tour with Roth was the highest grossing in the band’s history, raking in almost 93 million dollars.
In an interview with Guitar World, posted on November 12, 2008, about the making of his upcoming new EVH Wolfgang guitar from Fender, Eddie Van Halen said, in regard to new Van Halen music, “I’ll be making music ’til the day I die.
We’ll pick it up after that.” Eddie underwent surgery on his left hand in 2009, following some treatment for arthritis as he felt pain in his fingers during the 2007 tour. In an interview with Glide Magazine appearing in the May 2010 issue, Dweezil Zappa commented that Eddie had played him “new stuff from his record.” It was not clear from the interview if the music was intended for a new Van Halen record.
Shanks posted on his Twitter account that he was in the studio with the band and posted a picture of one of Eddie Van Halen’s signature amps. The new album would be the first full-length Van Halen album since 1998’s Van Halen III and the first new music from the band since the three new songs from the 2004’s Best of Both Worlds compilation.
It would also be the first Van Halen album to feature Eddie’s son, Wolfgang Van Halen, on the bass in place of Michael Anthony.
On June 16, 2011, Creed, Alter Bridge and Tremonti guitarist Mark Tremonti claimed that he had been invited to 5150 studios and that Eddie, Alex and Wolfgang Van Halen performed the album live, in its entirety, for Tremonti and Creed touring guitarist, Eric Friedman. Producer/engineer Ross Hogarth claimed on July 31, 2011, that “[t]he whole Van Halen record has been recorded.” On September 5, 2011, it was reported that the mixing on the new album had been completed in mid-August, and production had progressed to the mastering stage.
It was Van Halen’s first studio release since 1998 and first with Roth on lead vocals since 1984.
Roth and the Van Halen brothers touring in 2012
The show featured many classics as well as several new songs from their latest release, A Different Kind of Truth, which was released officially the day before in the United States. Despite Van Halen’s long lay-off between studio albums, A Different Kind of Truth sold 188,000 copies during its first six days of release, debuting at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 Albums Chart. There was an overwhelmingly positive critical and fan response to A Different Kind of Truth, which helped to fuel the album’s long run in the upper reaches of the U.S. Billboard 200 Album Chart; additionally, it earned the band its highest-ever charting album in the United Kingdom (debuting at No. 6).
Despite an average ticket price of approximately $150, Van Halen’s “A Different Kind of Truth Tour” proved to be a commercial success as well, with nearly all U.S. arena shows “either sold-out, or close to it.”  Critically, the band received mostly positive reviews, particularly when performing throughout the U.S. Northeast and West Coast.
On May 17, 2012, Rolling Stone reported that Van Halen was postponing all tour dates after their show of June 26 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Shortly thereafter, the Van Halen News Desk revealed that the band’s members were in good health, had not been arguing with each other, and that the reason for the postponed tour dates was to take a break after 18 months of non-stop recording and touring as well as to allow the group the opportunity to enhance its concert presentation before resuming the tour in the late summer of 2012. However, the postponed dates were officially listed as cancelled shortly thereafter.
On August 30, 2012, Eddie Van Halen was diagnosed with diverticulitis and underwent surgery postponing the shows in Japan initially scheduled for November 2012. On April 20, 2013, the Roth-fronted Van Halen played its first show outside North America since 1984, and their first in Australia since 1998, at the Stone Festival in Sydney. This was followed by one show each in Tokyo and Nagoya, and two in Osaka, from June 18 to 26.
In February 2015, Van Halen fansite VHND.com announced that Van Halen would be releasing their first ever live album with original vocalist David Lee Roth, Tokyo Dome Live in Concert on March 31, 2015.
It was also reported that the band would be releasing newly remastered versions of their 1978 debut and 1984 on CD, digital, and vinyl. In an interview the same month, when asked about the status of Van Halen, Eddie Van Halen responded by saying “I’d love to make a studio record.
On March 24, 2015, Van Halen announced a 39 date tour with Roth to take place from July to October 2015 across North America. In April 2015, Eddie Van Halen told Rolling Stone that the band will “probably hunker down and do a studio record” after their tour.
Eddie Van Halen – lead guitar, keyboards, backing vocals (1972–present); lead vocals (1972–1974)
Wolfgang Van Halen – bass, backing vocals (2006–present)
Eddie Van Halen – lead vocals, guitar
Eddie Van Halen – Guitar, keyboards, backing vocals
Eddie Van Halen – guitar, keyboards, backing vocals
Eddie Van Halen – guitar, backing vocals
Eddie Van Halen – guitar, keyboards, backing vocals
Eddie Van Halen – guitar, studio bass guitar, backing vocals
Eddie Van Halen – guitar, backing vocals
Wolfgang Van Halen – bass guitar, backing vocals
The Roth-era Van Halen logo