Given the acrimonious circumstances behind his exit from Van Halen in the mid-1990s, Sammy Hagar mostly had a rough relationship with the band’s namesake guitarist, Eddie Van Halen, in the years that followed. However, the singer recently admitted that both men rekindled their friendship in secret, months before Van Halen’s death from throat cancer on Tuesday.
As reported on Wednesday by Consequence of Sound, Hagar issued a note to The Howard Stern Show that morning, revealing in his statement that he and Van Halen had been exchanging text messages since earlier this year. He described their conversations as a “love fest,” explaining that they wanted to keep things quiet because they didn’t want to fuel any speculation of a possible band reunion despite the improbability of that ever happening. The vocalist added that Van Halen also wanted to keep his health issues private at the time.
According to Hagar, he started worrying about his former bandmate when he stopped responding to his texts sometime last month.
“I reached out one more time last week, and when he didn’t respond, I figured it was a matter of time. But it came way too soon.”
As explained by Ultimate Classic Rock, Hagar’s 11-year stint as Van Halen’s frontman ended on bad terms in 1996, though he would rejoin the band for a reunion tour in 2004 before leaving for good. The outlet noted that the singer had made several critical comments about Van Halen since then, including one in 2015 where he called the guitarist a “liar.” This was in response to an interview where he claimed former bassist Michael Anthony was a subpar vocalist who had to be re-taught his bass lines ahead of each tour.
However, the publication also noted that Hagar made efforts to reconcile with Van Halen in more recent years, wishing his ex-bandmate a happy birthday in 2016 and getting a “friendly reply.” He was also quoted as saying that the deaths of rock legends David Bowie and Glenn Frey that same year made him take stock of his strained relationships with his former colleagues.
“It just makes you stop and think that 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,'” he explained. “It makes you want to be just friends with everybody and say, ‘Hey look, forget it.'”
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, Hagar was among the many musicians who sent tributes to Van Halen following his passing. In a tweet shared on Tuesday afternoon, the 72-year-old wrote that he was “heartbroken and speechless” after learning that his ex-bandmate had passed away. The post can be viewed here.