Thursday, May 31, 2012

Valerie Bertinelli blamed for Van Halen’s 1985 split with David Lee Roth

Van Halen’s label rep at Warner Music in the band’s early years blames Valerie Bertinelli for the group’s 1985 split with singer David Lee Roth.

In a new interview with LA Weekly, former Warner Music artist development director Ted Cohen says the arrival of Bertinelli on the scene in 1980 began to drive a wedge between the members of the group, Yoko Ono–style.

(Neither Van Halen's nor Bertinelli's management responded to repeated requests by LA Weekly for comment.)

The actress believed Eddie Van Halen should receive the lion's share of the credit for the band's triumphs, whereas Roth was essentially expendable, Cohen says. Cohen believed differently, however: "David was an integral part of the band's success. He was brilliant."

As a result of Bertinelli's interference, Cohen adds, Eddie began distancing himself from the band, staying in his hotel room and not spending as much off time with the others.

Cohen recalls the guitarist pouring his heart out to him at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas, which had recently been purchased by Wayne Newton, shortly after Van Halen and Bertinelli wed in 1981. They spoke from 3 a.m. until dawn, watching workmen in a crane replacing the existing Aladdin sign with a neon one. "We kept hitting the minibar in the room and we got toasted," Cohen remembers, "and I just felt really bad because Eddie was so utterly depressed."

Had he erred in marrying Bertinelli? Cohen asked him. "I've made a terrible mistake," Van Halen affirmed with a glum look. (Why the couple stayed together for decades afterward remains a mystery to the record-company man.)

Meanwhile, after a tumultuous relationship reportedly tarnished by substance abuse and infidelity, Van Halen and Bertinelli divorced in 2005. Cohen was not surprised to see Roth reinstated with the band a year later. "If Valerie had never appeared on the scene," he opines, "David would probably have never been kicked out in the first place."

Read more at LA Weekly here.

Van Van Halen

See also:

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