It's a looong article so I couldn't post it all here. Worth the read. http://www.billboard.com/articles/c...ie-van-halen-addiction-david-lee-roth-touring Billboard Cover: Eddie Van Halen on Surviving Addiction, Why He's Still Making Music and What He Really Thinks of David Lee Roth (and Other Past Van Halen Bandmates) Eddie Van Halen doesn't listen to music. This is not a fake-out or a misdirection, nor is it a seemingly straightforward statement that actually means its opposite. Eddie Van Halen does not listen to music. “I don’t listen to anything,” he tells me from a greenish couch inside 5150, the expansive home recording studio built on his seven-acre residence in Studio City, Calif. I’d just asked if he ever revisits old Van Halen albums, but his disinterest in those records is merely the tip of a very weird iceberg: Unlike every other musician I’ve ever met, he does not listen to any music he isn’t actively making. The guitarist maintains that the last album he purchased was Peter Gabriel’s So, when it came out in 1986. He’s not familiar with the work of Radiohead, Metallica or Guns N’ Roses. He appears to know only one Ozzy Osbourne song Randy Rhoads played on, and it’s “Crazy Train.” He scarcely listened to Pantera, even though he spoke at the funeral of the group’s guitarist and placed the axe from Van Halen II inside the man’s casket. He doesn’t listen to the radio in his car, much to the annoyance of his wife (“I prefer the sound of the motor,” he says). He sheepishly admits he never even listened to most of the bands that opened for Van Halen and worries, “Does that make me an asshole?” Sometimes he listens to Yo-Yo Ma, because he loves the sound of the cello. But even that is rare. “It’s an odd thing, but I’ve been this way my whole life,” he continues. “I couldn’t make a contemporary record if I wanted to, because I don’t know what contemporary music sounds like.” As a high school student, he was obsessed with Eric Clapton and mildly interested in Black Sabbath and Deep Purple. That’s pretty much the extent of his investment as a consumer. He can intuitively learn almost any song he hears and works on his own music every day -- the 5150 archive is filled to the rafters with unreleased recordings -- but he simply isn’t intrigued by the music of other people (the last “new” guitarist he liked is 68-year-old jazz artist Allan Holdsworth, who’s eight years older than he is). And if that seems strange, here’s something stranger: A few minutes after explaining this, I casually mention Taylor Swiftas an example of modern songwriting; before I finish my thought, Van Halen rhetorically speculates on the role Max Martin might play within her songwriting process. So how is it possible to not listen to music for three decades, yet still know the reputation of a faceless Swedish songwriter who specializes in high-gloss pop? “I have a lot of Google alerts set up,” says Van Halen. “I think I read something where somebody said, ‘If Max Martin played guitar like Eddie Van Halen, he’d be dangerous.’ I know he’s like the modern Desmond Child. He makes all the hits. But that’s all I know about him.” It’s a contradiction -- but not the first one, or the last. Merging from the backyard party scene of mid-’70s Pasadena, Van Halen radically modernized the trajectory of American metal by simultaneously making it less heavy, more melodic, less gothic and more inclusive. The band’s first six albums sold 34 million copies in the United States, according to the RIAA, punctuated by the mammoth No. 1 single “Jump” in 1984. But that volcanic success melted into a never-ending carousel of high-profile reinvention: Vocalist David Lee Roth went solo, prompting the group to relaunch its identity with Sammy Hagar. During the next 10 years, this more refined, less bombastic version of Van Halen sold another 14.7 million records -- but that lineup was similarly doomed, leading to Hagar’s acrimonious departure and an ultra-brief, ill-fated reconciliation with Roth at the 1996 MTV Music Awards. That debacle spiraled into an awkward three-year union with ex-Extreme frontman Gary Cherone, the only singer Van Halen officially terminated. “It was a strange thing with Cherone,” recalls Van Halen. “We were getting ready to go on tour, and all of a sudden I see this John Travolta outfit -- these big lapels and a crazy jacket. He’s like, ‘This is my stage outfit.’ That’s when I realized it wasn’t going to work. But I don’t dislike Gary at all.” Hagar rejoined in 2003 (mostly for touring purposes) but exited again after two years, this time followed by bassist Michael Anthony (eventually replaced in Van Halen by Eddie’s son Wolfgang). Rumors that Roth would return once more progressively bubbled to the surface; in 2007, it finally happened. Which leaves us where we are today, at least for the moment. The current lineup released A Different Kind of Truth in 2012, trailed by a 2015 live album cut in Japan. Interestingly, A Different Kind of Truth included a handful of old songs abandoned from the band’s earliest demos, selected by Wolfgang and lyrically updated by Roth.