Van Halen Beating Cancer; But No Roth Reunion

By | July 17, 2001 at 12:00 AM

Rock guitarist Eddie Van Halen says he is beating cancer but is having a harder time overcoming legal problems reuniting with his band’s original singer David Lee Roth on a new album or a tour.

Van Halen, 46, disclosed in April that he was undergoing cancer treatment but has given few details. His actress wife Valerie Bertinelli has said Van Halen had a lesion removed from his tongue.

The Dutch-born musician told Maximum Golf in an interview published in its August edition that he was still reluctant to talk about his condition.

“I don’t know why people want to know what only my wife and son and maybe my best friends have a right to know. I say to everyone else, ‘Look, all I have to say is that I’m doing great.’ But I’m not about to go into the details until the cancer is completely gone,” Van Halen was quoted as saying.

“I know I’m kicking its ass out… I’ve learned more in the last year and a half than I ever thought I’d learn in a lifetime… It seems simple but all that really matters to me is my son and my wife,” he added.

Van Halen said that making music had taken a backseat to his health and his family and he was only slightly more forthcoming about the future of his band, which was formed in Los Angeles in 1974.

He said he last spoke in September with Roth, who quit the band in 1985, about a possible new album or a tour. Roth fronted Van Halen through its most successful phase from 1974 to 1985 when it had huge hits with “Jump” and “Dance the Night Away”.

“I played him a few new tunes, we… had some laughs and everything seemed cool. He was even kind enough to turn me on to his uncle, Jack Roth, a cancer surgeon and research specialist,” Van Halen said.

“Everything looked pretty positive about getting together but before you know it the attorneys are involved. These cats had me so beat down and confused it made the cancer seem like a tiny zit on my ass.

“Everything seemed to fall apart after these guys got involved. I mean we used to do it on a handshake. At this point I don’t have a clue what’s going on,” he said.

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