The rocker detailed Van Halen’s drinking habits and his strained relationship with his former bandmate in his 2011 memoir Red: My Uncensored Life In Rock.
However, Hagar says that if he was writing it now he would instead focus on Van Halen’s “genius” and the pair’s close friendship.
He told Brazil’s ‘Inside With Paulo Baron’ that “because of the untimely and tragic death of Eddie Van Halen, I apologise from the bottom of my heart for exposing his dark side to where I don’t think anyone wants to hear that now, and, unfortunately, it’s in the book.”
He said: “And it’s true, it’s all true. It’s not like I have to say, ‘Oh, I was lying.’ If I wrote the book today, I would only put the good of Eddie Van Halen, because he was such a brilliant, genius guitar player and such a great friend and a great partner, until everything went wrong, like everything else.”
Van Halen passed away in October 2020 after a lengthy battle with cancer.
Detailing the revelations about Van Halen that are featured in the book, Hagar said: “No one knew a lot of that about Eddie, but they’d see him on stage and they would think, ‘Why is he acting like that?’ And I would say, ‘Well, you should have seen what happened backstage. Holy fuck!'”
He added: “If we’d have known he was sick then, then I would have understood and I would have been a little more, ‘Hey, Ed, come on,’ try to reel him in. But he was impossible. He was on a track of just wild. It was tough.”
Hagar also hailed Van Halen as “the sweetest guy in the world”, but said he possessed another side that was like a raging “volcano”.
He concluded: “When Eddie Van Halen walked into my dressing room in that show in Anaheim Stadium with Boston and Black Sabbath, that was one of the sweetest people, most humble human beings I’ve ever met in my life. I thought, ‘How can this guy play so badass and be that humble?’ I thought, ‘It’s impossible. He must have a fire inside of him that he’s not showing.’ And when that fire came out, it was quite the fire — a freakin’ volcano.”
Meanwhile, Van Halen’s son Wolfgang recently opened up on how the coronavirus pandemic robbed his father of the opportunity to undergo further cancer treatment which may have prolonged his life.