Fans who were hoping for a reunion next week when rock band Van Halen is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame may be out of luck. Eddie Van Halen, the lead guitarist for the group, announced on Thursday that he will be headed into rehab.
Van Halen, 52, has battled alcoholism for years, and also survived tongue cancer. In a letter to fans, released by his girlfriend and spokeswoman, Janie Liszewski, Van Halen said:
“I have always and will always feel a responsibility to give you my best. At the moment I do not feel that I can give you my best. That’s why I have decided to enter a rehabilitation facility to work on myself, so that in the future I can deliver the 110 percent that I feel I owe you and want to give you.”
In addition, it is likely that the only two members of the band to actually attend the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be Sammy Hagar (who replaced Roth as lead singer of the group), and bassist Michael Anthony. Alex Van Halen, the band’s drummer, is expected to miss the ceremony out of loyalty to his brother Eddie, and Roth said his decision to skip the ceremony is due to the event’s organizers allowing Velvet Revolver to perform Van Halen songs.
This only a month after David Lee Roth, along with Van Halen, announced plans to tour this summer. “Some of the issues surrounding the 2007 Van Halen tour are within my ability to change and some are not,” continued the statement. “As far as my rehab is concerned, it is within my ability to change and change for the better.”
In an interview more than a decade ago, the Dutch-born guitarist said he had been to rehab twice. “I always got hammered to be able to cope,” he said to Rolling Stone magazine. “I have zero social skills and I don’t know how to act, so I get drunk. And then I make a real ass out of myself.”
While the statement didn’t specify exactly why the guitar god was entering rehab this time, alcohol is thought to have played a part, especially after the last Van Halen tour in 2004-2005.
“There were nights where it was kind of like a rollercoaster, up or down, and myself, I would have liked to have seen him totally clean up if we were gonna take this further and, like, ’cause, gosh, we could’ve gone all around the world with it,” said bassist Michael Anthony.
David Lee Roth agrees. “Ed is indisposed and working toward a better future here,” he said. “If Ed ever dries up, this is going to be a stadium act, man.”