Alex Van Halen Rates David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar in Rare Interview

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 19: Alex Van Halen of Van Halen performs at Music Midtown at Piedmont Park on September 19, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Chris McKay/Getty Images for Live Nation)
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(Chris McKay/Getty Images for Live Nation)

Alex Van Halen has a few things to say. Very few. The notoriously reclusive and quiet Van Halen drummer and brother of the late Eddie Van Halen opened up just a little in a new interview published in Modern Drummer Legends Vol. 2.

Among the revelations in the interview is the drummer revealing just how important it was to have producer Ted Templeman guiding the band when they were recording the now-iconic run of records from the explosive debut through 1984.

RELATED: March 1979: Van Halen Releases "Van Halen II"

“Part of it was the conflict between the band and Dave,” he said. “One of the things that made everything work was that we came from opposite ends of the spectrum. Dave was vaudeville. … Ed and I were coming from Cream, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. So having that strange chemistry is what made it work, oddly enough. But you do need a mediator. Otherwise we would never have gotten anything done.”

He continued: “If Dave came in with a song, I would respect how they heard it. And then it’s the old trick, ‘Keep your friends close and your enemies closer!’ And that means, ‘Okay, I’ll listen to you, but then I’m gonna make it mine. And by the end of the process it will sound nothing like what you hummed me.’” The drummer added that Hagar "has a great rhythmic sense and of course that voice. Dave was much more of a poet. Dave is creative – 90 percent of it is garbage, but that 10 percent is fucking worth it.”

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