News Segment


March 8, 2007

How did that old Van Halen song go? “I found the simple life ain’t so simple … ” The iconic Los Angeles metal band is set to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at a lavish New York banquet Monday night, but now it appears that only one original member, bassist Michael Anthony, will even show up.

David Lee Roth, the band’s frontman for its first decade, said Thursday he will not attend the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel ceremony because event officials have turned down his repeated overtures to perform.

“I don’t make speeches for a living; I sing and dance for my dinner,” Roth said, adding that the decision to skip the event “rips my heart out.”

The hall of fame’s event organizers plan for Velvet Revolver to perform some Van Halen classics, much as Metallica stood in last year to play Black Sabbath songs while that band’s members watched from the audience. “So it appears this is a television producer’s decision,” Roth said.

The choice of Velvet Revolver was in response to a sticky situation as far as what lineup of Van Halen could take the stage to perform with Roth. Van Halen’s revered guitar hero, Eddie Van Halen, and his brother, drummer Alex, had already sent signals that they would not be in New York. The Van Halens have been in lock-down mode since their plans for a summer reunion tour with Roth collapsed last month. Roth said he last spoke to Eddie Van Halen’s camp a week ago, and he said he could not determine the truth about reports that the guitarist is seeking help for alcohol problems.

“Ed is indisposed and working toward a better future here,” Roth said. “If Ed ever dries up, this is going to be a stadium act, man…. What’s happening here with this [New York event] is part and parcel of the same spiral that screwed up the tour.”

Without the Brothers Van Halen, the Hall faced the prospect of putting Roth on stage with bass player Michael Anthony, who is the lone founding member expected to attend, and Sammy Hagar, Roth’s replacement in the band and longtime foil, who logged more than a decade as the band’s frontman. Hagar confirmed Thursday he is attending.

Roth said Thursday he had been preparing since December for the chance to perform for the industry elite, the media and a television audience that will be watching the ceremony live on VH1 Classics.

“It’s just not an option for me to go and watch some other band — who are only performing because they have some new record coming out — do our music,” Roth said. “I have nothing against Velvet Revolver — I’m not familiar with their music — but that was my 3 minutes and 22 seconds up there.”

The other inductees this year are R.E.M., Patti Smith, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, and the Ronettes. The 2007 inductees were chosen by the 600 voters of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation. Artists are eligible for inclusion in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25 years after their first recording was released. The ceremony will also be streamed live on AOL at

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