It was not a good or easy time for Van Halen in 1996. The pressure within was definitely consuming the once powerful and cohesive group. Although Eddie himself was busy promoting his brand new line up of Peavey Wolfgang guitars to show that he still had the genius and ability to craft wonderful instruments, the truth was that Eddie Van Halen was in an alcohol (and some say drug) induced decline.
All parties involved with Van Halen were running to the media to explain the problems within Van Halen. Unfortunately, Eddie Van Halen was no exception to this.
Picture courtesy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqUJ9Vdjs88
The fact was that Ed and Sammy Hagar did not see eye-to-eye on what Van Halen represented. Different stories have emerged from both parties on what really happened around this time, yet one thing that was certain was that in 1996 Sammy Hagar and Eddie Van Halen had a large fallout after Van Halen indicated that they were seeking to get David Lee Roth back into Van Halen to record some new songs for their first greatest hits album Van Halen: The Best of Volume One. Although this website is about Eddie Van Halen, it is important to cover these issues as well.
Once Sammy Hagar was no longer a part of Van Halen, in an odd stroke of fate, Eddie Van Halen attempted to recruit Mitch Malloy into the band. This was kept top secret at the time and no real leak of what happened did not occur until many years later when Mitch Malloy confirmed that until the MTV Music Awards in that year happened, he was given the green light to be their third singer. He revoked the offer after seeing David Lee Roth with Van Halen on that night.
Mitch Malloy was keen on joining Van Halen around this time until bad things got their way.
Picture courtesy http://wileykoepp.com/2013/12/mitch-malloy-van-halen-replacement-for-sammy-hagar-almost/
Perhaps Eddie Van Halen himself was foreseeing a return to David Lee Roth era Van Halen? Who knows, but what was clear is that they did indeed record two songs for their first compilation with David Lee Roth, ‘Can’t Get This Stuff No More’ and ‘Me Wise Magic’, and both are the most underrated Van Halen songs you will listen to. Still, it was not enough to keep the band going together after the infamous MTV Music Award 1996 Ceremony.
Although stories do differ, what is clear is that David Lee Roth and Eddie Van Halen did not see eye-to-eye on the fact that Roth wished to be returned as lead singer of Van Halen, but Eddie wanted a more methodical approach. Of course, regardless of any bad blood on either side, the pair fell out and prompted a rethink of a new singer for Van Halen. After the MTV Music Award night, Van Halen were never the same again.
The fact that the entire band were now relying upon the media to express their disgust at what had happened with Van Halen revealed a lack of confidence in any musical project whatsoever involved with them.
Picture courtesy http://www.vhnd.com/2014/09/04/van-halens-original-lineup-presents-mtv-award/
The band eventually returned to their rehearsals for a new singer. They selected Extreme frontman Gary Cherone, who had not really worked along with Van Halen before and was a new addition to the Van Halen group. By all accounts, Gary was very easy going with the group and although the following record proved he may not have been David Lee Roth or Sammy Hagar, he did fit the bill at the time indeed.
Gary Cherone only lasted in Van Halen for three years and sung on the disastrous Van Halen III album, but he seems much more respectful towards Van Halen and what they represent than what Sammy Hagar shows nowadays, strangely. Although he is not suited to Van Halen’s style of music per se, it was what the band needed at the time.
Gary Cherone really did do his best to hold things together in Van Halen.
Picture courtesy http://www.vhnd.com/2015/06/09/gary-cherone-van-halens-tokyo-dome-live-concert/
- Greene, Andy. 2013. Flashback: Van Halen tours with former Extreme singer Gary Cherone. http://www.rollingstone.com/music/videos/flashback-van-halen-tours-with-former-extreme-singer-gary-cherone-20130115
- Van Halen News Desk. 2013. How Mitch Malloy Almost Became Van Halen’s Third Singer (Video). http://www.vhnd.com/2013/11/06/how-mitch-malloy-almost-became-van-halens-third-singer-video/
- 2013. Van Halen News Story on The David Lee Roth & Sammy Hagar Break-ups – 1998. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etsan65vOqc
- Van Halen News Desk. 2013. Gary Cherone Reflects on his Three-Year Stint in Van Halen. http://www.vhnd.com/2013/01/17/gary-cherone-reflects/