Wolf Van Halen Reflects On Roth Era And Hagar Era Records

Wolfgang Van Halen gave an interview to Classic Rock in which he discussed both Roth-era albums and Hagar-era albums. Following that, he also revealed the Van Halen album with the best sound.

As both David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar worked with Van Halen across several stints, the time period Roth fronted it became cited as Roth-era while Hagar’s tenure in the band was named the Hagar-era or Van Hagar.

After dropping their self-titled debut album in 1978, Van Halen released four more albums until 1982. Those releases included ‘Van Halen II,’ ‘Women And Children First,’ ‘Fair Warning,’ and ‘Diver Down.’ Before Roth’s departure, Van Halen released their ‘1984’ album, which was a huge success and featured several VH classics like ‘Panama.’

With Hagar’s addition, the band released four commercially successful, U.S number one albums named ‘5150,’ ‘For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge,’ and ‘Balance.’ Since VH reached released more Top 40 hits with Sammy Hagar, many argued that the Van Hagar era was more successful. However, others stressed that there couldn’t be a Van Halen without Diamond Dave.

In an recent interview with Classic Rock, Wolf Van Halen revealed the albums that changed his life and shared his views on two Roth-era and Hagar-era records, ‘Fair Warning’ and ‘Balance.’ Wolf said that ‘Fair Warning’ is a special album for him, and it was an album in which Eddie did what he wanted to do. Moreover, the musician claimed it was a great, dark, fun album that often gets overlooked.

Talking about Hagar-era, Wolf mentioned ‘Balance’ and said it also meant a lot to him. Comparing the record to ‘For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge,’ the musician argued ‘Balance’ sounds phenomenal, and it’s the best sounding VH album.

Speaking about his favorite Roth-era and Hagar-era albums, Wolfgang told Classic Rock the following:

“I wanted to pick a Van Halen album because obviously that can’t be ignored in my upbringing and influence. I’ve lived and breathed it my whole life. But I’ve kind of fudged because I don’t think you can fully represent what Van Halen is without looking at both the Roth era and the Hagar era.

‘Fair Warning,’ the Roth era album, is a very special album to me. It was an album where my dad just said, ‘F*ck it’ and did what he wanted. I think that’s why it’s a cult classic – it was never really a huge album compared to the others. But I think it’s really important because it’s where dad just went hard.

Again, it’s another dark album, but then there are classics like ‘Unchained.’ And it’s so quick – it goes by in 36 minutes or something, but it just makes you want to start it again. It’s such a great, dark, fun album that I think it gets overlooked.

For the Hagar era, ‘Balance’ was the album that meant a lot to me. Technically I was alive for 1991’s ‘For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge,’ but ‘Balance’ was the one that I kind of remember being around when it was happening.”

He went on to say:

“You could argue that ‘For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge’ was a better album, but ‘Balance,’ for me, means more. It’s more of a nostalgic thing. Sonically, it’s a phenomenal-sounding album – it sounds incredible.

It might be the best-sounding Hagar album, maybe the best-sounding Van Halen. The Hagar era shows another side of my father’s playing as well. I like how he leaned more into the melodic stuff.

Some of the most beautiful melodies he’s ever written have been in the Hagar era with things like ‘Dreams’ or the song ‘Not Enough’ from ‘Balance.’ But then I love all of the Van Halen albums.”

According to Wolf Van Halen, the Hagar-era brought out another side of Eddie Van Halen’s playing into the light. The musician also stated that Eddie wrote some of his most beautiful melodies in Hagar-era but stressed that he likes all of the VH albums.