Van Halen's Crash and Burn

By Donel DeFreese 04/10/11

Sammy Hagar on the drug-fueled decline of Eddie Van Halen: By the end he was so wasted he couldn't sing his own songs

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Sammy Hagar faces the music in new tell-all book.
Photo via mauivents

“When I met Eddie, he was like a sweet little kid who had this amazing talent. Over time, he turned into a monster.” Sammy Hagar says Eddie Van Halen’s appetite for booze and drugs are at the root of Van Halen’s rise and fall in his new autobiography "Red: My Uncensored Life In Rock." In a candid interview promoting his book at musicradar.com, Sammy says he witnessed with disgust Eddie’s spiral from gifted musician to someone so strung out he could no longer write music or remember how to play his own songs. While Sammy is quick to lay blame on Eddie’s addictions as the main reason for leaving the legendary group, he also comes clean about the vices he has faced throughout his career, and the lucky breaks that allowed him to avoid becoming an alcoholic despite having an alcoholic father. He also owns a tequila company, in addition to being a rock and roll star: “For some reason, I don't have that thing in my genetics that makes me need to drink. The people who have it, they can't drink. Or rather, they shouldn't, because they can't handle it…  I'm not doggin' on alcoholics. They have a disease."

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