Gerry Martire

Gerry Martire

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Gary Cherone Recalls EVH's 'Odd' Reply To His Van Halen Reunion Tour Joke


Photo: Hulton Archive

Gary Cherone might be Van Halen's forgotten singer, but his relationship with Eddie Van Halen persisted beyond his discouraging mid-'90s tenure in the band.

Cherone got the gig of his dreams in 1996 when he replaced Sammy Hagar in Van Halen and made an album, Van Halen III, with his classic rock heroes. Although little went according to plan after that, Cherone has remained grateful for the opportunity and never blamed the band for his eventual dismissal in '99.

In a new interview with Eddie Trunk, Cherone revealed that he reconnected with Eddie Van Halen after many years apart circa 2016. Eddie was typically warm when Cherone reached out, and he was happy to welcome the Extreme singer back into his life.

The two former bandmates communicated often through the final years of Eddie's life, and circa 2018, Eddie even shared his hopes for a reunion, though Cherone didn't know at the time what he was talking about.

"I remember hanging out with Eddie and he was talking about the 'kitchen sink' [tour] — not in those terms," Cherone recalled. "It was around the time of the 40th anniversary [of the debut album] and they were talking about getting together to do something, I think with Dave [Lee Roth]."

Shortly after Eddie's death in the fall of 2020, his son Wolfgang Van Halen revealed to Howard Stern that he had pushed his dad to reunite all the former members of Van Halen for one last mega tour.

"I got him excited about it," Wolfie said at the time. "And at a certain point it turned into what we joked as the Kitchen Sink tour. 'Cause after he was okay with that arrangement, it was like, 'F--k, let's get Dave and Hagar and even Cherone, and let's just do a giant f---ing awesome thing."

When Eddie mentioned the tour, Cherone was supportive, but he also assumed that he wouldn't be invited. Cherone tells Trunk that he tried to plant the seed anyway; Eddie's response didn't come into focus until years later.

"When they were talking about doing something again with those guys, I remember saying to him, 'Hey, if it doesn't work out, I know a singer for cheap.' And he laughed," Cherone recalled. "And he looked at me, and at the time he goes, 'You never know.' And I remember thinking, 'That was odd.' I just remembered him saying that, and then when Wolfie said it after he passed, I go, 'That was his reference!'"

Rumors of a Van Halen reunion with bassist Michael Anthony began to surface in early-2019, but the touring plans fizzled as Eddie's health began to take a turn. Anthony later confirmed the reunion rumors, but said he had never spoke to Eddie directly and was unsure as to why the band had not followed through.

Later that same year, Roth relaunched his solo career, announcing his first residency in Las Vegas.

Hagar later revealed that he, too, had reconnected with Eddie about a year before his death. The Red Rocker said the reunion tour would have happened if it wasn't for Eddie's failing health.

Now with Eddie gone, it's up to drummer Alex Van Halen to decide whether to perform Van Halen's music again live. Anthony and Roth have both been in contact with Alex, with Anthony saying recently that it's up to the drummer to decide where, when and with whom.


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