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Join the Party and Catch Up With the Van Halen Members

Dance the night away with the band that made us all “Jump” in the 80s and 90s.

The fun never seemed to stop for Eddie and Alex Van Halen, David Lee Roth, Michael Anthony, and Sammy Hagar in the 80s. “Bottom line: Van Halen was a party band. They would steal your girlfriend and your tequila.” That’s how Velvet Revolver’s Dave Kushner put it when he helped induct the Van Halen band members into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.

As Kushner’s bandmate Scott Weiland added, “When they hit the LA scene, they blew it wide open, when rock needed a real kick in the ass. Their Pasadena backyard house parties are a part of legend: Upwards of 1,000 people would cram and slam to see [their] unsigned band.”

Of course, the Van Halen members would sign a record deal in 1977, and they went on to sell over 80 million albums around the world, cementing their status as one of rock’s biggest-selling and most influential bands.

“It was a lot of hard work at times, but the partying kind of outweighed that once we took it out and brought it out to the people,” Anthony, their bassist, said upon him and Hagar representing the others upon their induction. (Eddie had just entered a stint in rehab, while friction among the other members and drama revolving around the band’s back-and-forth lineup changes kept others away.

Wolfgang Van Halen, Eddie’s then 15-year-old son with Valerie Bertinelli, for example, had been brought in to replace Anthony.)

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Two men in band performing; Van Halen members
David Lee Roth and Eddie Van Halen (1978) Gus Stewart / Contributor / Getty

With all of their ups and downs, however, the band’s long list of hits such as “Panama,” “Hot for Teacher,” “Ain’t Talkin’ ’Bout Love,” “When It’s Love,” “Finish What Ya Started,” “Why Can’t This Be Love,” and “Right Now” became iconic anthems of the MTV generation and rocked out to by fans all over the world. “I don’t think I could ever accomplish [as a solo artist] what we accomplished,” Hagar once told Fox News of the power the Van Halen members had at their peak.

“Mike and I, 20 years ago, did a reunion,” Hagar also noted to the Arizona Republic earlier this year, discussing their summer 2024 tour that will thrill audiences with Van Halen’s best-known tunes on the closest thing to a reunion tour there likely will ever be, given Eddie’s death in 2020.

“I’m going, I don’t have another 20 years to be waiting on Alex Van Halen, who’s the only guy left. So he didn’t want to do it? You know, he, I guess, just doesn’t like playing without his brother. Don’t blame him. God bless him.”

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Four men facing forward on stage
Van Halen (1984) Michael Ochs Archives / Stringer / Getty

The fans who surely will show up in droves for the Van Halen members concert dates also have something else to (hopefully) look forward to: Greg Renoff, the author of Van Halen Rising: How a Southern California Backyard Party Band Saved Heavy Metal, recently confirmed online that “there IS a screenplay based on my book, written by screenwriter, producer, and director Jeff Wadlow [A&E’s Bates Motel],” and Renoff is hoping the project will keep moving along and get its needed funding.

Paramount+, meanwhile, just premiered a new Behind the Music episode on May 1 about Wolfgang, now 33, and his band Mammoth WVH, with the program exploring both his musical and personal relationship with Eddie. “With raw honesty, he emotionally explores his father’s addiction, cancer, and eventual passing,” the streaming service says. “The reason I do what I do is because of my dad. So if I didn’t at least think about him throughout the process, I’d be doing a disservice to my existence,” Wolfgang recently shared with People, noting he always points toward heaven after a show to help keep Eddie’s spirit alive.

Here, a look at Eddie’s journey, as well as what the other Van Halen members have been up to through the years.

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Eddie Van Halen

Eddie Van Halen
1978/2017 Fin Costello / Staff / Getty

Eddie and his brother Alex moved with their family from the Netherlands to California in the 60s, and he and his musical sibling — who grew up playing classical music — shifted to rock and formed Van Halen in 1974, eventually being discovered by KISS’s Gene Simmons.

Eddie’s revolutionary playing style helped propel the band to stardom and inspire legions of fans, who remain in awe of his skills. “He had a massive impact on guitar playing, and I don’t think there’s anybody that’s picked up the guitar since 1978 that hasn’t been touched in some way by his influence,” Guns N’ Roses’ Slash once said. And as the New York Times put it, he “structured his solos the way Macy’s choreographs its Independence Day fireworks shows: shooting off rockets of sound that seemed to explode in a shower of light and color,” noting that his two-handed tapping on the guitar neck allowed him to make his instruments’ “six strings sound as expressive as a piano’s 88 keys or as changeable as a synthesizer.”

Eddie Van Halen playing guitar
Eddie Van Halen (1982) Icon and Image / Contributor / Getty

“I’m always pushing things past where they’re supposed to be,” Eddie once said, and he branched out beyond his own band, playing on Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” in 1983. A high-profile 1981 marriage to One Day at a Time favorite Valerie Bertinelli that ended in 2007 made him a popular figure in celebrity magazines, and the duo welcomed their son, Wolfgang, in 1991. Wolfgang’s followed in his father’s footsteps, even nodding to an early band name of Eddie’s (Mammoth) for his own group, Mammoth WVH.

Health issues that ranged from a hip replacement to substance abuse plagued Eddie in his later years, as did a tongue cancer diagnosis that came in 2000. Though cleared of that, a battle with throat cancer surfaced in 2019, and he died on Oct. 6, 2020, at the age of 65, leaving behind his son and current wife, Janie, whom he wed in 2009. “‘I love you’ are the last words Ed says to Wolfie and me and they are the last words we say to him before he stops breathing,” Bertinelli shared in her 2022 book Enough Already: Learning To Love The Way I Am Today.

Alex Van Halen: Van Halen members

Alex Van Halen
1978/2017 Lynn Goldsmith / Contributor / Getty // Paul Archuleta / Contributor / Getty

The older of the Van Halen brothers, Alex grew up playing classical piano, as did Eddie before he switched to the guitar and Alex took up the drums. (Interestingly, Eddie started on drums and Alex on guitar!) Together, they were the only two constant members of Van Halen throughout the band’s multiple lineup changes and shakeups. Outside of the band, the brothers teamed up on “Respect the Wind,” an instrumental track for the 1996 film Twister, which earned them a Grammy nomination.

Alex, who turns 71 on May 8, has two sons: Aric, 34, whom he had with second wife Kelly Carter, and Malcolm, 24, whom he shares with his current wife, Stine Schyberg. As an ordained minister, Alex actually officiated his brother’s 2009 wedding to Janie Liszewski.

Alex, known for his double-bass pedal work, was inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 2023, though he suffered hearing loss during his years touring with the family rock ’n’ roll band. He’s said he lost about 30% of his hearing in his right ear and 60% in his left.

Two guys posing together
Eddie and Alex Van Halen (1978) Koh Hasebe/Shinko Music / Contributor / Getty

The musician, whom bandmates say is hard to reach after Eddie’s death, has penned an upcoming memoir titled Brothers, which is described as “Alex Van Halen’s love letter to his younger brother, Edward…, written while still mourning his untimely death.” According to the Van Halen website, it will include never-before-seen photos of the duo. “I was with him from day one,” Alex writes, according to one excerpt.

“We shared the experience of coming to this country and figuring out how to fit in. We shared a record player, an 800-square-foot house, a mom and dad, and a work ethic. Later, we shared the back of a tour bus, alcoholism, the experience of becoming famous, of becoming fathers and uncles, and of spending more hours in the studio than I’ve spent doing anything else in this life. We shared a depth of understanding that most people can only hope to achieve in a lifetime.” The memoir will be available later this year on Oct. 22.

David Lee Roth

David Lee Roth
1978/2021 David Tan/Shinko Music / Contributor / Getty // Jason Kempin / Staff / Getty

This Indiana native grew up loving jazz and blues, and spent summers taking in shows on trips to visit family in New York City. By his teens, his family had relocated to sunny California and he briefly studied music theory and performed in a few bands before teaming up with the brothers Van Halen.

He pursued his own solo projects through the years, hitting big during MTV’s heyday with his remakes of “California Girls” and “Just a Gigolo/I Ain’t Got Nobody,” as well as originals like “Yankee Rose” and “Just Like Paradise.” Though he left Van Halen in the mid 80s, he returned briefly in 1996, though he didn’t stay long. An autobiography, Crazy From the Heat, came in 1997, and he even joined forces with his Van Halen frontman rival Sammy Hagar in 2002, when they co-headlined the Song For Song, The Heavyweight Champs Of Rock And Roll tour. He then returned for another Van Halen tour of duty during their 2007-2008 North American tour, which became their best-selling one to date.

David Lee Roth performing
David Lee Roth (1983) Paul Natkin / Contributor / Getty

The following years brought a lot of change for the colorful and eccentric singer, who traveled to Japan for two years to study sumi-e (black ink) illustration. He also became an emergency medical technician in New York City. “I wasn’t someone until I put on that 5.11 uniform and went on my first call,” he told CBS Sunday Morning about working in the Bronx in 2004. “I’m not gonna kid you — I knew I was in for the humbling experience. A white-boy rock star thinks, ‘What, this is an easy gig?’”

Though he skipped the band’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction in 2007, he did make nice with his former bandmates to tour later that year, though he has since made some negative comments about Wolfgang Van Halen, Eddie’s son, who was touring with the band at the same time. Another album and tour with Van Halen came in 2012, and in 2018, he co-created a line of skincare products for tattooed skin.

Though Roth, now 69, announced his retirement in 2021 (saying in a statement that he was “encouraged and compelled to really come to grips with how short time is”), he just released a new song titled “Scotch & Sofa” on his YouTube channel in April 2024.

Michael Anthony: Van Halen members

Michael Anthony
1978/2024 Fin Costello / Staff / Getty // Kevin Winter / Staff / Getty

This Chicago-born musician played trumpet as a child and was a member of his school’s marching band before getting turned on to guitars in his teens. In the mid 60s, his family relocated from the Midwest to sunny California, and he contemplated pursuing a career in baseball instead of music, but we know how that turned out by now!

Anthony played in a band with his brother for a brief period before moving on to other groups, eventually teaming up with Alex Van Halen, a fellow student at Pasadena City College, which led to him being brought into the band with Eddie and David Lee Roth, which was called Mammoth at the time.

Michael Anthony playing guitar
Michael Anthony (1984) Paul Natkin / Contributor / Getty

Beyond his time with Van Halen, Anthony joined Los Tres Gusanos (with Sammy Hagar and David Lauser) in the early to mid 90s, and he’s a founding member of Hagar’s Chickenfoot, as well as his Sammy Hagar and the Circle supergroup. This summer he’ll be touring with Hagar, Jason Bonham, and Joe Satriani, and the guys are promising to play a lot of Van Halen songs. Their special guests on dates in July and August will be Loverboy. And like Hagar, Anthony is a bit of a foodie and has helped create his own “Mad Anthony” brand of hot sauce, BBQ sauce, hot mustard, and other goodies.

Anthony, now 69, and wife Sue — his high school sweetheart since 1971 and spouse since 1981 — share two daughters and live in Newport Beach, California. He and Hagar just crashed a band’s set at a Scottsdale, Arizona, car auction in Jan., tackling such Van Halen classics as “Dance the Night Away” and “Ain’t Talkin’ Bout Love,” and he also jammed along with Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong and Mike Dirnt’s side project, The Coverups, at a show of theirs on April 20. “I wanna say thank you Michael for an unbelievable catalog of music that has changed the history of rock ’n’ roll,” Armstrong told Anthony while they were onstage.

Sammy Hagar

Sammy Hagar
1979/2024 Richard McCaffrey / Contributor / Getty // Kevin Winter / Staff / Getty

The hardworking rocker has written about his childhood “picking lettuce in the fields and living in a [labor] camp” with his parents and three siblings in California. Times were tough, he’s shared, and not made easier by his father’s battle with alcoholism. Hagar’s escape became music, and after high school he started playing in bands, getting his first real taste of success with the group Montrose in 1973. Solo work (“I Can’t Drive 55”) followed, as did taking over for David Lee Roth as the frontman for Van Halen in 1985, and Hagar would cycle in and out of the band during their frequent lineup changes over the coming decades.

Later years would find him forming Sammy Hagar and the Circle in 2014 with Van Halen bassist (and longtime close friend) Michael Anthony, as well as Jason Bonham (son of Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham) and guitarist Vic Johnson. He’s also performed as a member of another supergroup called Chickenfoot, with Anthony, guitarist Joe Satriani, and Chad Smith (of the Red Hot Chili Peppers).

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Outside of the music world, Hagar founded the Cabo Wabo Cantina restaurant chain in 1990, as well as its signature tequila brand, which he sold in 2008 for $100 million. In 2019, he partnered with Guy Fieri for their Santo Tequila Blanco venture. Currently, he runs Santo Spirits, Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum, and Sammy’s Beach Bar Cocktail Co., which just launched a line of sparkling rum canned cocktails this year. He’s also released two books, 2011’s memoir Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock and 2015’s Are We Having Any Fun Yet?, what he calls a cooking and partying book.

Sammy Hagar posing with star
Sammy Hagar at Hollywood Walk of Fame induction ceremony (2024) Kevin Winter / Staff / Getty

In 2008, Hagar and his wife, Kari, founded The Hagar Family Foundation, a nonprofit that focuses on food relief and children’s causes. He donates 100% of his restaurant chain’s profits to the cause and, to date, they’ve given well over $4 million to deserving communities. “Being a poor kid is a little humiliating and it instilled in me a desire to be somebody,” Hagar has explained, adding, “It’s where all my drive comes from.”

On April 30, the 76-year-old rocker received his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. “I remember seeing this thing and…it was just way beyond even a dream,” he said of the honor, and next he’s gearing up for this summer’s Best of All Worlds Tour with Michael Anthony, Joe Satriani, and Jason Bonham. “I’m calling it not just the Best of All Worlds Tour, I’m calling it the Thank You Tour,” he told the Arizona Republic. “For me it’s thank you. Thank you, Eddie [Van Halen]. Thank you to the fans. Thank you for this wonderful life, being able to do this, because I don’t know how much longer I can do it.”

Gary Cherone: Van Halen members

Gary Cherone
1991/2023 Brian Rasic / Contributor / Getty // Frank Hoensch / Contributor / Getty

Van Halen is best known for having frontmen David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar in their lineup but this former Extreme vocalist also spent some time with the band, stepping up to the mic in 1996. The one album he recorded with the group, 1998’s Van Halen III, didn’t fully live up to band’s expectations, however — despite debuting at No. 4 on the Billboard charts — and he soon moved on to other endeavors.

He went on to form a band called Tribe of Judah, collaborate with Hagar and Michael Anthony on various projects, and release some solo projects in the coming years. Though not inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with the rest of Van Halen, Cherone was specifically name-checked and thanked by Anthony during the bassist’s acceptance speech.

In addition to singing for the Joe Perry Project in 2022 and 2023, Cherone, now 62, has also collaborated with Extreme over the past few decades, most recently last year, when Cherone and the band released their 2023 album Six. “We’re just as passionate as we were on day one,” Cherone says of this latest effort, and the band’s just announced new dates of their Thicker Than Blood tour through the fall, with special guests Living Colour. “We’re giving our audience what Extreme has always been and will be,” he promises.

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