Classic Rock

Famous Musicians That Disliked Eddie Van Halen

todayMarch 18, 2024

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Eddie Van Halen, the immensely talented guitarist of the band Van Halen, is widely regarded as a music legend, with sales of around 80 million records and critical acclaim. Despite his immense success, Van Halen, like any human being, had his fair share of adversaries and enemies throughout his career. Even some famous musicians expressed their dislike for him. Here are a few notable examples:

Jerry Garcia

The prodigious guitarist and Grateful Dead frontman, Jerry Garcia, wasn’t particularly impressed by Van Halen’s fast-paced guitar playing style. In a 1985 interview, Garcia stated that Van Halen’s music lacked a certain rhythmic elegance and depth that he preferred in music.

“Because I can hear what’s happening in there. There isn’t much there that interests me. It isn’t played with enough deliberateness, and it lacks a certain kind of rhythmic elegance that I like music to have, that I like notes to hate,” he said during a 1985 interview with “Frets Magazine,”. “There’s a lot of notes and stuff, but the notes aren’t saying much, you know.”

Lindsey Buckingham

As the lead guitarist of Fleetwood Mac, Lindsey Buckingham had a contrasting musical approach to Van Halen. Buckingham believed that the focus should be on highlighting the song rather than showcasing individual prowess. He felt that Van Halen’s guitar skills overshadowed the essence of their band’s music.

According to Buckingham, in a 2012 interview with Guitar World Acoustic (via Far Out), his music style is aimed at supporting his bandmates’ compositions, while Van Halen’s music was perceived as being mainly intended to showcase his technical skills.

“I’ve always believed that you play to highlight the song, not to highlight the player. The song is all that matters. There are two ways you can choose to go. You can try to be someone like Eddie Van Halen, who is a great guitarist, a virtuoso. Yet he doesn’t make good records because what he plays is totally lost in the context of this band’s music.”

Geddy Lee


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A clash between Van Halen and Canadian rock band Rush occurred during a show in Leicester, England. Van Halen’s crew crashed Rush’s celebration after which a confrontation ensued. Later, Lee approached Van Halen seeking reconciliation but was unexpectedly tackled to the ground by a security guard.

David Lee Roth told Creem in 1981 (via that there might have been some tension or disagreement between Rush and Van Halen. However, despite this, Geddy Lee from Rush allowed the Van Halen members to enter the bar and hung out with Eddie Van Halen.

“And they cleaned the place out, which put their guys on edge a little bit. They’d both been drinking a little bit, and Geddy was playing some Rush tapes on a tape recorder. He said something to Ed and Ed’s beer got into the tape recorder,” Roth explained. “Well that caused a little friction.”

Randy Rhoads


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As fellow guitar virtuosos, Van Halen and Randy Rhoads appeared to have a strained relationship. While Van Halen suggested he influenced Rhoads’ style, the late Rhoads disputed this claim. He regarded Van Halen as a rival rather than a mentor.

Lori Hollen, the president of the Quiet Riot fan club, expressed in the book “Randy Rhoads: Reflections of a Guitar Icon” her views on the matter.

“At some of the shows, we would see David Lee Roth and Eddie Van Halen there, which was always interesting to me. Because I know Randy never went to see them play.”

David Lee Roth


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Despite Van Halen and David Lee Roth’s successful partnership, they had a tumultuous relationship. Their creative differences and clashes eventually led to Roth leaving the band. Although they briefly reunited in the 2000s, Roth admitted on a podcast that they have always had a mutual dislike for each other.

Via Metal Sucks, Roth openly acknowledged during his appearance on “WTF with Marc Maron” in 2019.

“There were always creative differences. We’ve never gotten along. We started in rival bands. Bitter rivals. But we were thrown together and it was amazing.” As for exactly when he and Van Halen’s mutual dislike began, Roth claimed it had been going on forever. “We have always hated each other, right up until the last phone call.”

Dee Snider


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Dee Snider, the lead singer of Twisted Sister, firmly supported Sammy Hagar during the Van Halen lineup changes. Snider criticized Van Halen’s behavior and labelled him as unprofessional. According to Snider, Van Halen’s appearance and actions often left an unflattering impression.

Dee Snider, in a 2015 interview with Ultimate Classic Rock, commended Sammy Hagar, saying, “Sammy’s the real deal. He’s talented and he’s a bad-a***.” He followed this with his account of Eddie Van Halen’s interaction with Hagar during one of his tenures with the band, in which the guitarist instructed the crew to construct backstage walls in arena areas to limit his interaction with Hagar. Hagar also offered his opinion of Van Halen, saying, “As far as Eddie goes, anybody who is really watching and paying attention, Eddie’s out of his mind,” referencing a performance in a Mexican restaurant where Van Halen wore worn-out boots that revealed his feet and toenails. Dee Snider’s son witnessed Van Halen perform at his school in the 1990s, where the guitarist appeared disheveled. According to Snider, his son described Van Halen as resembling a homeless person, which Snider had heard from several other people as well.

Written by: Best Classic Bands Staff

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