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Van Halen ‘Babysitter’ Recalls His Years With the Band

Van Halen
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

Few people are likely to argue that the ’70s and ’80s were a time of excess if you were a part of a band on tour. And though we are confident that excess still exists in various forms today, any hi-jinx that bands get up to these days probably pale in comparison to what Ted Cohen has seen courtesy of Van Halen.

Now retired, Cohen was a Warner Music Group staffer, sharing private jets with Fleetwood Mac, having Prince drop by his house and serving as first-hand witness to the break-up of the Sex Pistols.

In a recent interview with the LA Weekly, Cohen details his experiences of being a glorified babysitter to Van Halen when they were first starting out. Eager to test the meddle of Cohen, the young Van Halen group burst into his hotel room in Madison, Wi. on the first night of their world tour and promptly decided that the room’s furniture looked better on the street below than it did in the hotel room.

Cohen would spend much time with Van Halen during their meteoric rise to fame. His interview is a revealing one, detailing, among other things, Eddie Van Halen’s hesitancy about having Valerie Bertinelli as well as his perception that Bertinelli “believed Eddie Van Halen should receive the lion’s share of the credit for the band’s triumphs, whereas Roth was essentially expendable.”

Cohen however shares a much different view of Roth’s role within the band, stating “David was an integral part of the band’s success. He was brilliant.”

Cohen’s interview with LA Weekly is in advance of Van Halen’s Staples Center shows on June 1 and June 9.

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