A lot's been written about this over the years. According to David Lee Roth, Eddie and Alex didn't want to tour. Both Eddie and Alex were drinking and taking way too much Party Substances for their own good. So David Lee Roth either left Van Halen in 1985 or he was fired.
The Van Halen Brothers had their version of what happened as did David Lee Roth.
"The Truth Is Out There...."
Something that was said was David Lee Roth was going to make a Movie. That indeed was something that was being worked on until the Film Company he signed up to work with went Bankrupt.
So Dave assembled a "NEW BAND" with Greg Bissonette on Drums, Billy Sheehan on Bass and Steve Vai on Guitar. It also should be noted that 99% of Van Halen's staff including the roadies and support personal went to work for Dave.
Eddie had a lot of music written and they needed to find a Singer. The Singer would be Sammy Hagar. Apparently, they had a mutual friend who looked after their Ferrari's and he gave Eddie Sammy's Phone Number.
Sammy goes up to Eddie's House, they jammed together with Alex Van Halen and Michael Anthony for half a day. Eddie and Alex decided he was the perfect choice as New Singer for Van Halen.
Both Van Halen and David Lee Roth set out to make new Albums that had their own unique approaches.
Sammy Hagar was a very accomplished Vocalist, that combined with Eddie's ability to write with "Pop Sensibility" turned out be very successful with the album "5150", if you consider "The Star" of the band left.
David Lee Roth's approach on the "Eat 'Em And Smile" album was to get the best players he could possibly find to literally Out Van Halen, Van Halen. Greg Bissonette, Billy Sheehan and Steve Vai are Virtuoso's on their instruments. In terms on "Chops" and "Licks", The David Lee Roth Band surpassed just about everyone in Rock Music.
It was evident that Van Halen's style of music would see David Lee Roth leaving and Sammy Hagar joining the Band. It really became a "Whole New Band".
With David Lee Roth.....The "LIVE SHOW" got even bigger than it was on Van Halen's 1984 Tour. On the 1984 Tour, Van Halen had 18 Tracker Trailers to carry all of the Bands Instruments, Amps and Lighting Rig.
I am not sure who it was who first called Van Halen "The Mighty Van Halen" but I suspect it was David Lee Roth.
Just about every show of the 1984 Tour Sold Out....if not every single one. It is fair to say that Van Halen were the biggest band in America in 1984. The "1984" album along with the hit songs "Jump", "Panama" and "Hot For Teacher" were massive! "1984" sold 10 million albums in America.
You would think Van Halen would have been sitting pretty after that? Nope.....Not the case at all. With all of the expense of bringing 18 Tracker Trailers and literally 100 personnel on the road to make the "Spectacular" Mighty Van Halen's Show happen to cost an absolute fortune!!!
When Sammy Hagar first joined Van Halen he couldn't believe how much of a financial wreck both Eddie and Alex were in. Alex Van Halen was flat broke and was in debt to the IRS and Eddie wasn't much better off either.
This wasn't the fault of manager at the time, Noel Monk either. As well as the massive overhead for the production of the "1984" tour, The band also racked up massive bills for damages to Hotel Rooms, Money Blown on Drugs and Alcohol on the Tour etc. The tour when all of the expenses were paid just about broke even.
By "1984", None of the members of Van Halen were getting along and most of Noel Monk's time was spent dealing with the band fighting amongst themselves...
At the same time, The Band made sure they lived up to the image of "The Biggest Band In the World"......
Dave or Eddie would say to Noel Monk "We need ____, you are our guy, Noel. Make this happen". It got to the point to where Noel would do what was asked for a quiet life.
Another thing that didn't help Eddie either was that he was taking advances(Money) ahead of what the Tour was pulling in. The reason for this was Drugs. Eddie had a very big Cocaine habit by this time. In fact, Eddie had his own personal Drug Dealer. Yes, Noel spoke to Eddie about Drugs being a problem several times but it fell on "Deaf Ears".
Van Halen with the help of Noel Monk were making a fortune but Eddie and Alex simply spent every penny they made.
Van Halen became a whole new Band with Sammy. It was no longer "The Mighty Van Halen". On the 5150 Tour, Van Halen brought less equipment with them, played slightly smaller venues and in fact made money from the tour.
It is fair to say David Lee Roth made money on the "Eat 'Em And Smile" tour as Greg Bissonette, Billy Sheehan and Steve Vai were hired hands and not getting a percentage of the tours take.
More to come on Van Halen..
Denis McCarthy (EVH Group)