David Lee Roth muted

Times Staff Writer

How did that old Van Halen song go? “I found the simple life ain’t so simple .... “ The iconic Los Angeles metal band is set to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at a New York banquet Monday night, but now it appears that only one original member, bassist Michael Anthony, will even show up.

Eddie Van Halen released a statement Thursday saying he is going into a rehab program. David Lee Roth, meanwhile, the band’s frontman for its first decade, said the same day that he will not attend the ceremony because he wouldn’t be allowed to perform.

“I don’t make speeches for a living; I sing and dance for my dinner,” Roth said, adding that the decision to skip the event “rips my heart out.”


The hall of fame’s event organizers plan for Velvet Revolver to perform some Van Halen classics, much as Metallica stood in last year to play Black Sabbath songs while that band’s members watched from the audience.

The choice of Velvet Revolver was in response to a sticky situation as far as what Van Halen lineup could take the stage. Van Halen’s revered guitar hero, Eddie Van Halen, and his brother, drummer Alex, had already sent signals that they would not be in New York. On Thursday, Eddie Van Halen went beyond that and said that he is seeking help with addiction.

In a note addressed to fans he stated: “I have always and will always feel a responsibility to give you my best. At the moment I do not feel that I can give you my best. That’s why I have decided to enter a rehabilitation facility to work on myself, so that in the future I can deliver the 110% that I feel I owe you and want to give you.”

Roth, speaking before that statement was released, hinted that his old compatriot was hurting.

“Ed is indisposed and working toward a better future here,” Roth said. “If Ed ever dries up, this is going to be a stadium act, man.”

Without the Brothers Van Halen, the Hall faced the prospect of putting Roth on stage with Anthony, and Sammy Hagar, Roth’s replacement in the band and longtime foil.

Roth said he had been preparing since December for the chance to perform for the industry elite and the audience watching on VH1 Classics.

“It’s just not an option for me to go and watch some other band -- who are only performing because they have some new record coming out -- do our music,” Roth said. “I have nothing against Velvet Revolver -- I’m not familiar with their music -- but that was my 3 minutes and 22 seconds up there.”