It’s time to revisit another moment in Van Halen history. We go back 35 summers for the band’s July 1986 appearance on The Today Show.
At the time of the interview, Van Halen had just kicked off the second leg of its North America tour to support the 5150 album. They were about to perform a show at Folsom Field in Boulder, Colorado on July 12th of ’86.
As expected, the interview with journalist Rona Elliot included questions regarding Sammy Hagar replacing David Lee Roth as lead singer. Among them – Was the band surprised by the success of the 5150 album considering the highly publicized lineup change?
“I just figured, if we make a good record and it sounds good, it doesn’t matter who’s playing,” said Eddie Van Halen, who jokingly added. “Actually we didn’t even play on the record.” [laughs]
Hagar added, “It didn’t surprise me. We made this music. We’d been hearing it all along. We were the first ones to hear it and we were so excited every time we came up with a new song that it was like…when that record was done we were so proud and so up for it. In my heart I knew it was gonna be extremely successful.”
Eddie concluded, “We figured if us four like something, there’s a few more million people out there that are bound to like it too.”
Along with the “serious” answers given by the band, there was plenty of humor. Alex Van Halen was asked if the band members spend any time reading or exercising during down time.
“As far as exercising, I think two and a half hours on stage is probably more exercise than even Arnold Schwarzenegger can handle,” said Alex. “As far as reading…sure, I read the setlist every night!”
Below are parts 1 and 2 of Van Halen’s Today Show interview: