Try to imagine what could have been if the classic original lineup of Van Halen hadn’t broken up in 1985. Their former manager Noel Monk certainly can and believes the band was on the verge of even greater fame and fortune.
Monk had that plus a whole lot more to say about the legendary band he managed from 1978-1985 on the “Dave & Dave Unchained” podcast this week to promote his brand new book Runnin’ with the Devil: A Backstage Pass to the Wild Times, Loud Rock, and the Down and Dirty Truth Behind the Making of Van Halen.
“I always felt that if they had been able to keep it together, which I think my book explained why they couldn’t, they would have had another five or 10 years of being a MONSTER band,” said Monk. “We were just coming into our own in ’84…I was planning in ’85 to go into stadiums! And they could’ve done it! And we could have done another five or ten years!”
Monk talked with Dave & Dave for over an hour, covering a number of topics including the band members’ personality clashes, the toll drugs and alcohol took on the band, the origin of the famous Van Halen logo as well Monk’s struggles with David Lee Roth’s Jekyll & Hyde personality.
“It’s a schizophrenic type of situation. One day he could be the nicest, smartest guy in the world and the next day he can be a horror,” said Monk of Roth. “He was UN…PREDICTABLE.”
“You have to have a tremendous amount of courage, you’ve gotta have a show.” Said Monk. “He could have been in the Olympics! He worked an hour or two before the show stretching. He could do machinations that NOBODY could do and they also wouldn’t put the time in to do. Can you tell me the band member in ANY band that did a split off the drum riser?”
One thing Monk is certain of and that is that the classic version of Van Halen is not only the best version of the band, it’s one of the greatest bands ever…Period.
“Take anyone, and I mean almost any rock and roller including [Gary] Cherone or [Sammy] Hagar or any of them, and have them jump off a drum riser and do a split 12 feet off the ground and land perfectly. If you can do that than you can duplicate Van Halen,” said Monk. “If you can do what Eddie Van Halen can do. The guy is a GENIUS! From day one I thought they were one of the BEST BANDS I HAVE EVER SEEN!”
- Below is the full podcast on ‘Runnin’ with the Devil’.
- The actual Noel Monk interview starts at 25:59
- Dave & Dave’s review of the book starts at 1:105:59
To hear more episodes of “Dave & Dave Unchained” visit the show’s Spreaker page.
To order your copy of the book – signed by Noel Monk – visit Van Halen Store.
This article is by VHND contributing writer, Eric Senich. You can listen to Eric live on the radio at Brookfield Connecticut’s Home of Rock And Roll, i95 WRKI every Saturday from 10am to 3pm on 95.1 FM. Or listen online here, or by downloading the radioPup app for your mobile device.