Sammy Hagar says he has moved past all of the bad blood with his former Van Halen bandmates and hopes to rekindle a friendship with them. In an upcoming interview on Oprah: Where Are They Now, Hagar says he wants to “forgive and “forget” all of the past drama with former pals Eddie and Alex Van Halen.
Sammy says he is not looking to get back into the band that he famously quit in 1996, because “that’s work” and he doesn’t want to do that. But he does want something else.
“I want to be friends,” Hagar said. “I want to say, ‘I’m sorry [for] anything bad I’ve said about you.'”
For the past 20 years, Hagar and the Van Halen brothers have butted heads. A 2004 reunion tour didn’t help the fractured friendship, and things really came to a head last year when Hagar slammed Eddie’s treatment of former bassist Michael Anthony.
In a video posted by Rolling Stone, Sammy Hagar defended Anthony after Eddie Van Halen told Billboard that the longtime Van Halen bassist had a terrible singing voice and that he had to personally show him how to play the band’s songs.
“Every note Mike ever played, I had to show him how to play,” Van Halen said. “Before we’d go on tour, he’d come over with a video camera and I’d have to show him how to play all the parts.”
In an angry retort, Sammy Hagar called Eddie out for his comments.
“You’re a liar,” Hagar said in a direct message to the Van Halen guitarist.
“For Eddie to say he had to show him what to play and then teach him all those songs, that’s the biggest line of bulls**t in my life,” Hagar said. “I was in that band for 11 years, there was never a video camera involved of Eddie showing [Anthony] what to play.”
Hagar also accused Eddie of telling Michael to “stay on one note” so it would camouflage his own guitar mistakes.
But a few months later, it appeared that Sammy Hagar held out an olive branch to his former bandmate. Sammy sent Eddie a birthday greeting on Twitter in January, and Eddie posted a thank you message back to him.
The timing of Sammy Hagar’s tweet was interesting. It came just a few weeks after the death of fellow rock stars David Bowie and Glenn Frey. In an interview with Classic Rock Report, Sammy said the sudden deaths of the music legends was a major wake-up call for him.
“It just makes you stop and think that, you know, with my relationship with Eddie Van Halen and stuff that’s always been in the toilet, it makes you say, ‘I don’t want to be buried with any regrets or bad vibes like that.’ It makes you want to be just friends with everybody and say, ‘Hey, look, forget it.’ Even if you don’t want to be in a band together, just let’s be friends. No more enemies for me. You don’t want to go to your grave with enemies. So that’s what it’s done for me. It woke me up and said, ‘no more enemies.’ And before I die, I won’t have any, if I have my way.”
Hagar revealed that his problems with the band began during the recording sessions for the 1997 album Balance. Sammy said Eddie is not a natural-born leader, and during the balance sessions, he got weird when Sammy tried to lead the band’s decisions. Now, it looks like Sammy is trying to spearhead a reconciliation.
Take a look at the video below to see a sneak peek of Sammy Hagar on Oprah: Where Are They Now.
[Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images]