April 19, 2012

Eddie Van Halen gets candid about alcohol addiction

Famed guitarist Eddie Van Halen is promoting a new album, A Different Kind of Truth, which is his first major record reunited with original singer David Lee Roth, and he’s also opening up about some of his addiction struggles.

Van Halen tells Esquire that he believes the base of his addiction began with nerves and his father —not that he’s blaming anyone for his own faults, he adds.

“It's funny; I was doing a little bit of thinking why I'm always nervous, especially during interviews, because I rarely do interviews,” Van Halen recently explained to Esquire. “And for one, a lot of people, just when I was growing up in school, people thought I was an asshole, because I didn't have much to say, you know what I mean? You know the quiet guy. And it's just because I was shy.

“The funny thing is, about the whole alcoholism thing: It wasn't really the partying. It was like — I don't mean to blame my dad, but when I started playing in front of people, I'd get so damn nervous. I asked him, ‘Dad, how do you do it?’ That's when he handed me the cigarette and the drink. And I go, oh, this is good! It works! For so long, it really did work. And I certainly didn't do it to party. I would do blow and I would drink, and then I would go to my room and write music.”

Eddie’s father, Dutch musician Jan van Halen, died in 1986. Eddie started drinking when he was 12 years old and went through several stints in rehabilitation.

He tells Esquire that even though he knows he’s not supposed to say it, he knows he’s never going to drink again.

“It's a whole new world. I'm fifty-seven years old and I know I'm not going to live to be 114, so I can't say I'm halfway done. It's a sullen truth, but this is the first record I've made sober. There's a certain place that you have to get to where things just flow ….”

Click here to read the full Esquire article and more about Eddie Van Halen’s new album.

Homepage image courtesy Jamie McCarthy/Getty


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