Eddie Van Halen is one of the best guitarists of his generation, but he might have trouble passing a sixth grade health test. Former Van Halen manager Noel Monk recounts the time Eddie was hit with a paternity suit while engaged to Valerie Bertinelli.
The fretboard whiz tearfully acknowledged he’d had encounters with the woman — but they were limited to oral sex, mostly administered in his car. Do you think, he asked Monk, I could have gotten her pregnant?
Monk shares the tale in “Runnin’ With the Devil,” a forthcoming new book about his years with the band, from 1978 to 1985. You might figure there’d be some sex, drugs and trashed hotel rooms involved, and Monk doesn’t fail to deliver.
There are groupies aplenty — including the “Ketchup Queens,” a pair of beauties with a condiment fetish, and another pair who serviced the entire road crew in order to get backstage.
Eddie was a prodigy at substance abuse as well as the guitar. Monk says that on the band’s 1984 tour, Eddie had a personal dealer who flew around the world to supply him with drugs, mostly coke.
He was a prodigious drinker as well — which came into play at his wedding to Bertinelli, whose family were devout Catholics. The newlyweds disappeared after the ceremony, and Monk writes that he found them in a bathroom, Eddie throwing up in the toilet while Bertinelli, in her wedding gown with tears streaming down her cheeks, cradled his head.
Meanwhile, his drummer brother Alex was a serious alcoholic, according to Monk. And David Lee Roth could go off the rails: Monk writes that on a 1981 tour he got so drunk, nasty and out of control, tearing up a hotel room, that the crew had to put him in a straitjacket.
Roth was a complex figure, whose behavior reflected that he was “at heart an entitled rich kid,” Monk writes. He once took a shine to a woman he’d had a few encounters with — he thought things could go further, but according to Monk, Roth had VD at the time and had likely given it to her. Feeling bad, the chivalrous front man asked Monk to call the woman and apologize on his behalf. (Monk says he refused, and told him to send flowers.)
Monk was ultimately fired by the band, as it was imploding from Roth’s ego and the brothers’ addictions. His book is out June 13.