Former Van Halen frontman Sammy Hagar and original bassist Michael Anthony says that is was Eddie Van Halen who insisted on the use of keyboards during the Hagar era of the band.
Hagar and Anthony were asked about heavy use of keyboards during an interview on SiriusXM's Trunk Nation. Sammy said, "Finally I get my soapbox here.
"Everyone blamed me for the freakin' keyboard playing on the 'Van Hagar' era, starting with 5150. On OU812, we went very keyboard-oriented. I didn't do any of that. That's what Eddie did. Eddie wanted to do that. He liked playing keyboards, and he was freakin' good at it, and he wrote these beautiful songs like 'When It's Love' and stuff like that, and 'Why Can't This Be Love', it's such a cool lick."
Michael Anthony added, "Once Ed really got into the keyboard thing, he barely picked up his guitar for a long time, I remember. He was just playing keyboards all the time."
Sammy continued, "So it wasn't like I was sitting here saying, 'Hey, man. Let's do some more keyboards'. I'm sitting here saying, 'What have you got, Ed?' And he goes, 'I've got this.' And I'm going, 'Wow, that's great. I could sing to it,' 'cause I could sing to any damn thing. So I'd start singing. Ed would go, 'Oh, man, this is so cool.'
"And, of course, Valerie [Bertinelli, Eddie's ex-wife] would come in and validate it. When she heard 'Love Walks In', she just went, 'Oh my God.' And Eddie's going, 'Oh, man. My wife's happy, so I'm happy.' And I'm going, 'Well, I'm happy.' And we had success and all that.
"But, I kind of always got blamed for the keyboard songs and it was not me whatsoever. I'm a damn guitar player. Every time I would pick up, you know, like for 'Finish What Ya Started' or something like that, when I would instigate a song, it was a guitar song, 'cause I don't play keyboards.
"So it wasn't me. I just went along with what we had, and if it wouldn't have been good, I wouldn't have went along with it. I would have said, 'This sucks.' But it didn't." Check out the interview clip below: