Sammy Hagar says he decided it was time to reach out to Eddie Van Halen earlier this year after learning that cancer was getting the better of him.
“I called him after years of not speaking, before COVID, and he said, ‘What took you so long?’ I’m going, ‘I’ve been trying to go through, you know, Alex [Van Halen]’ — I’d leave messages for Al and to their management. And he goes, ‘Yeah, but you didn’t call me.’ And I said, ‘Well I’m calling you now.’ And we had a great laugh and a big telephone hug and we just stayed connected right up ’til the last month. I didn’t hear from him from the last month and I knew it was probably just a matter of time. But it came too soon. No matter how you look at it, it came too soon.”
Sammy adds that Eddie asking him “what took you so long” was “very touching — like, ‘Hey, I’ve been waiting.'”
And Sammy is pleased that they were able to bury the hatchet after 16 years, having fallen out during the 2004 Van Halen reunion tour.
“Eddie wanted to keep it a secret because he didn’t want the world to know his health situation, so I said ‘okay.’ I don’t need to tell anybody about this. And we had some of the greatest conversations — it was a love fest. And if I wouldn’t have come to terms with that, if him and I wouldn’t have buried that hatchet, I don’t know what I would have done when I got that news. ‘Cause it was devastating knowing it was coming. But I came to peace with everything and, like I said, the music lives on and I’ll play those songs for the rest of my life.”
Sammy was a member of Van Halen from 1985 to 1996 and then again for the 2004 reunion tour. Eddie was 65 when he passed on October 6th.