Many classic rock fans think that David Lee Roth announced he was quitting Van Halen on April 1, 1985. Although he did leave the band in 1985, he didn’t make the announcement on April Fool’s Day. Here’s how things went down….
Dave’s Solo EP
Shortly after Van Halen wrapped up their 1984 ablum tour, Roth announced that he would have a solo EP called ‘Crazy From The Heat’ coming out. When the album came out, he told people that Van Halen were still together. He even told the Indianapolis News the following, “We’ll be going back in the studio and start arguing again and we all look forward to that. … We have a lot of respect for each other and get along quite well, actually.”
A ‘Heated’ Meeting At Dave’s Mansion
Althought Roth spoke publicly about amicable relations with his band members, privately, that wasn’t really the case. Years of strained relations came to a head in March of 1985 when Roth and Eddie Van Halen had a meeting at Roth’s mansion. The two discussed the future of Van Halen and adjustments to the band’s touring schedule and style.
During the discussion Roth informed Van Halen that he was interested in making a movie called ‘Crazy From The Heat’ in which he would be the star. David asked Eddie if he would write music from the film. Eddie declined and it angered David quite a bit.
In a Rolling Stone interview in 1986, Eddie described Dave’s reaction as this, “I can’t work with you guys anymore. I want to do my movie. Maybe when I’m done, we’ll get back together.”
No Comment Throughout April, Then Rolling Stone Rumors
Eddie left Dave’s mansion and no one from the Van Halen came spoke publicly about what transpired at the meeting. No one made any declarations about the band breaking up on April 1st or at any time in April of 1985.
The Search Is On
In the summer of 1985, Rolling Stone Magazine wrote that “Van Halen is on permanent hold. Eddie, who’s rumored to be scouting around for a new lead singer, is writing songs with Patty Smyth and planning to collaborate with Pete Townsend. As for David Lee Roth, he intends to pursue an acting career full time and is developing his own movie.”
Roth and the remaining members of Van Halen stayed silent until August of 1985.
Eddie Announces The End
Eddie then did an interview with Rolling Stone and announced “The band as you know it is over. Dave left to be a movie star….He even had the balls to ask if I’d write the score for him….I’m looking for a new lead singer … it’s weird that it’s over. Twelve years of my life putting up with his bulls–.”
A month later, Eddie Van Halen played at the Farm Aid concert with Sammy Hagar. This performance set things up for Sammy to become the band’s new lead singer.