Van Halen Insider Says Dave Was Duped
In the books about the David Lee Roth-Van Halen saga, a reader encounters the name Pete Angelus. He was a part of the VH organization in their massive first era and stuck with Dave after the awful 1985 divorce. That divorce is still a hot topic here in 2016 — it was so traumatic and it remains unknowable and ambiguous for even those who have read all those books. Clarity is not a VH strength. We have only vague closure.
So that’s why a fan could be super interested in new eyewitness testimony. Maybe from someone close to the situation who was not in a blackout 1976-2003. Here’s Angelus recently to author Greg Prato (from an excerpt at VHND.com) stating that in 1985 he had helped broker a break for a tour-weary VH:
When I was on the phone with Alex, Eddie, and Dave, everybody was agreeable to a one-year hiatus. And I can’t remember, but it was like a week or two after that I read that Dave had quit the group in Rolling Stone. At least that was how someone in the Van Halen camp was trying to present it. I remember being on the phone with Dave, going, “Will you look at this shit?! We just had an agreement and an understanding, and everybody was on board a week or two ago … and now this?!” It rolled into a lot of very negative feelings, because I think Dave felt betrayed. I don’t know how the Van Halens felt betrayed, because they had agreed to it. Maybe they felt betrayed because he wanted to pursue something in film. But it rolled quickly into some very negative areas.
I remember having a conversation with Alex, as to “What exactly is going on here? Because I thought everybody just agreed to take a year off.” I remember him being kind of aggressive about it, like, “Oh no, that’s bullshit man. We’re not going to sit around and wait while Dave makes a movie. You’ve got to pick sides of where you want to be.” I was like, “Well, wait a minute. No one is sitting around and ‘waiting’ while Dave makes a movie. A few weeks ago, we were talking about maybe it was time for Van Halen to take a year off the road, after so much consecutive touring.” And it was like, “No, that’s bullshit, man. We’re not going to be in a holding pattern for Dave’s whims.” So that was probably how he perceived it, after having agreed to it.
How do I put this. I wouldn’t be upset at all if Alex walked into my home and wiped his ass on my curtains; I love his drumming so so much. But in the role of “band decision-maker,” he is portrayed as a bit baffling. A fan gets the urge to try to make the point to him that for fucks sake three members of the same band rank among the top two or three ever at their “position.” That is rare and awesome. But some combination of the three of those members has made it so the fourth guy, the modestly excellent one, is easiest to like. Goddammit!!!!!! That is communism or something. Do I sound like Champ from Anchorman? I think there’s something in my eye. Angelus goes on to discuss his departure from the VH organization, the beginnings of Dave’s solo career, and a bunch more here.