Old School Americana & Nostalgia


Former Van Halen Bandmate Sammy Hagar Details ‘Dark’ Times He Experienced With the Band Prior to Bitter Split

Former Van Halen Bandmate Sammy Hagar Details ‘Dark’ Times He Experienced With the Band Prior to Bitter Split

More than 25 years after his infamous departure from Van Halen, former bandmate Sammy Hagar recalls the “dark” times he experienced while in the iconic rock band.

During a recent interview with Fox News Digital, Hagar admitted that he didn’t remember much of his Van Halen touring days. “When we got out of the limo to the airport or to jump on the plane to go to the first gig, we started partying,” the musician explained. “And on the way home in the last leg, getting off the plane, back into the limo — most of us stopped when we got back in the limo to go home.”

Sammy then said the only thing he remembered was him and Eddie Van Halen smelling each other before going out. “That’s what I remember. Everything in between that I don’t know what happened. . . . Just imagine whatever could happen. It probably happened more than once. We had a good time, brother. We did.”

While also reflecting on the albums he worked on with the band, he said Balance was a great record, but he saw it as a “darker musical turn” for both himself and Van Halen. “Let’s just say Sammy, you know, I’m just not a dark person. I’m Mr. Sunshine. And boy, I was drug [sic] into the darkness between my divorce and my ex-wife not doing so good, trying to help her out and trying to be in a band.”

Hagar’s History With Van Halen Dates Back to the Mid-1980s

Hagar was with Van Halen from 1985 to 1996. During Hagar’s time as lead vocalist, the rock group was dubbed “Van Hagar.” However, in June of 1996, a rift occurred between Hagar and his fellow Van Halen bandmates over the decision to record two new tracks for the band’s greatest hits album after everyone decided to take a break after the 1995 world tour. Hagar made the decision to quit the band after Eddie tried to get him to return to California to record the new tracks just after he and his wife arranged to have their baby in Hawaii. Reluctantly, Hagar came back to Los Angeles with his wife, only to discover that his wife couldn’t fly back to Hawaii due to her pregnancy issues. 

Hagar claims that he was fired after a blow-up fight on Father’s Day 1996 while Eddie said that Hagar quit the group. Seven years later, Hagar reunited with Van Halen to record some new tracks for the band’s second greatest hits album. He also went on tour with the group in 2004. 

Although he and Eddie hit numerous rough patches in their friendship over the years, Hagar was able to reconcile with Eddie before the late music icon’s death in October 2020. He previously told Fox News Digital, “To be able to have talked to Eddie and have a wonderful rapport with him on text, it means everything to me. If he would have died, and we would have not ever said, ‘I love you’ to each other, I would have felt really bad.”