Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Runnin' with the Devil: A Backstage Pass to the Wild Times, Loud Rock, and the Down and Dirty Truth Behind the Making of Van Halen” as Want to Read:
Runnin' with the Devil: A Backstage Pass to the Wild Times, Loud Rock, and the Down and Dirty Truth Behind the Making of Van Halen
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Runnin' with the Devil: A Backstage Pass to the Wild Times, Loud Rock, and the Down and Dirty Truth Behind the Making of Van Halen

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  2,150 ratings  ·  289 reviews
The manager who shepherded Van Halen from obscurity to rock stardom goes behind the scenes to tell the complete, unadulterated story of David Lee Roth, Eddie Van Halen, and the legendary band that changed rock music.

Van Halen’s rise in the 1980s was one of the most thrilling the music world had ever seen—their mythos an epic party, a sweaty, sexy, never-ending rock extrava
Kindle Edition, 371 pages
Published June 13th 2017 by Dey Street Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Runnin' with the Devil, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Joey B. IF you haven't read this yet, email me at…moreIF you haven't read this yet, email me at

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.96  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,150 ratings  ·  289 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Runnin' with the Devil: A Backstage Pass to the Wild Times, Loud Rock, and the Down and Dirty Truth Behind the Making of Van Halen
Fred Klein
Nov 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second rock biography I've read about VH recently, the other being Van Halen Rising: How a Southern California Backyard Party Band Saved Heavy Metal. This may confuse some because I am not a big VH fan. Despite having one of the best guitarists, I find their lyrics mostly unsatisfying and their lead singer's voice extremely limited. Nonetheless, I find their story interesting and I love rock bios.

Anyone who was around in the early 1980s and was into rock has to remember how huge VH
Twerking To Beethoven
Jul 29, 2017 rated it it was ok

Noel Monk writes a lot about managing the band, he really goes to great lengths when it comes to business. It might be interesting to some peeps, give you that. I, for one, already know Van Halen sold tons of records, and filled stadiums and arenas back in the eighties. And, honestly, I don't really care about the money they made, and how they made it. There's some debauchery tale here and there, but not much about the creative process.

Sadly, it was a tad boring.

2.5 stars.
Bon Tom
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Incredible. Didn't think it was possible, but the testimonial of general assholery of this bend, except Michael, managed to make me disgusted even with what they did good: their music itself. Until I went and relistened the stuff and refreshed memory. The fuckers made some really, really, fantastic music.

But. What a bunch of ungrateful, though talented, little pricks. Fame is one of those convenient litmus tests of character ingrained in the life tissue itself. Three quarters of the bend failed
Jul 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: music-related
40% of this is about t-shirt sales. The other 60% is Monk explaining why he is/was smarter than everybody in VH. Cool!
May 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
I am a bit fascinated with Van Halen. I am not even sure why, I only like a few of their songs, but I guess the fact that a band can have it all and then literally implode amazes me - hoisted by their own petards has always been the saying that comes to mind when I think of them.

Noel Monk does an excellent job of describing the hectic, crazy and debauched life on the road, which is no small feat considering he was talking about Van Halen AND that he managed to never get too crude about the detai
Cynthia Harrison
Jul 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoir
I'd give this 2.5 for the gossip factor. I'm not that interested in David Lee Roth but liked reading about Valerie and Eddie. This is more a book for a guy. The backstage sexual antics were crude and the endless drugging and drinking was monotonous and kinda sad. The guy who wrote this had an ax to grind and I don't mean a guitar. He was Van Halen's manager in their heyday and takes personal credit for a number of things including their first #1 single. I skimmed every time he went into a long w ...more
Jon Zelazny
Nov 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: rock-n-roll
Tales of famous bad boy dickhead antics you've read variations of in a hundred other rock bios? Snore. Tales of a guy trying to manage these famous bad boy dickheads? Out-freakin'-standing! ...more
Jul 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
A book that comes across as a vendetta and isn't all that interesting. Unless you a diehard fan, steer clear of wasting your time. ...more
Steve Tetreault
Dec 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir
I have been a Van Halen fan since I was 10 years old, and their music has formed the backdrop of many of my life's experiences. So when I saw that their former manager had a tell-all out, I was curious to see what I could learn about the band.

Noel Monk's story of the backstage stories of Van Halen may be incredibly accurate. But the stories are so-so, and the book comes off sounding like St. Monk was the patron saint of rock 'n roll. Even when he's reporting his somewhat questionable practices,
Tim Trewartha
Jul 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Entertaining memoir from the former manager of Van Halen. This book covers the David Lee Roth era of the band, from 1978 through to 1985. Contains the usual quota of appalling behavior tales from life on the road from a hard drinkin', hard druggin', hard shaggin' hard rock band. And whilst this is a good read, it's also pretty sad, seeing a bunch of talented naive kids turn into a bunch of selfish, drug affected assholes. Their treatment of bassist Michael Anthony on the 1984 tour is just awful. ...more
Lana Revok
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
A highly entertaining look back at the David Lee Roth era of Van Halen written by the band's former manager. While the book offers some hilarious and horrifying insight into why the band imploded during the highest point of their career I still couldn't help but feel like there where a few lingering questions as to why the manager seemed a little passive during some of the fights and bad decision making. And I would certainly love to hear the band's point of view on all this (though I know that ...more
Aug 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Those Spoiled, Rotten Rock Stars …

I’ve read numerous books that detail the typical debauchery and fame associated with rock and roll music. Whether they’re written by current/former members of a band or managers, the books usually follow the same set of rules: 1) the band is not what it once was 2) there are always tensions/troubles amongst the members and 3) drugs, alcohol and sex contribute largely to both 1) and 2). While every band is generally illustrated as being more decadent that others,
Jun 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfic-music
An enjoyable look behind the scenes with Van Halen in the early days, written by their primary manager in their rise to fame. There are the usual outrageous stories, but a lot more stuff about personalities and about the business side than is usual in such books. Definitely not a "tell-all" sort of book. Enjoyable. ...more
Matthew Treya
Jul 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
Ah me! Nothing new here. Talented rock band falls prey to drugs, alcohol, excess, and ego. Sad. (Once again, my fault! What the heck was I expecting?). No surprise, either, that Alex is now a man of the cloth. I suppose he came to realize he was lucky to have survived.
Oct 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Since Eddie's death we're hearing all sorts of stories about him. Not being a student of Van Halen (yes, I've read two other books, but don't ask my COVID-addled brain to recall the content), I was surprised to hear of the moments of generosity toward fans and especially the bullying he and Alex suffered in high school. One has to wonder how many of those people would tell their children and co-workers, "Yeah, I went to high school with Eddie, we were tight!" Backstage antics, like those recount ...more
Rod Horncastle
Jul 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Horrific- like chatting with a conductor who tells you his journey off the tracks and then over the cliff... later to explode on the rocks. I pity Van Halens old manager... or even new manager.

I hope Michael Anthony writes a book. Especially since he's still friends with Sammy Hagar. I sure hope he made enough money off the Van Halen boys to make it worth it.
Seems similar to Steve Vai having few comments about his days with David Lee Roth.

Everything you NEVER wanted to know about Van Halen. Na
Don Gorman
Jul 06, 2017 rated it liked it
(2 1/2). This was not just another musical memoir for me, as I went to High School with the author. I didn't know him well, he was a quiet, self contained tough guy and staying out of his way was advisable. This book is really interesting for anyone who ever touched the music world, especially the concert end (I produced shows for about 5 years). Monk's first hand view, direction and now revelations of the career of Van Halen is terrific. The backstage look is great fun. It brought to mind that ...more
Mr Breeze
Aug 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was awesome. I like the music of Van Halen quite a bit, but would not consider myself a fanatic or disciple of Eddie Van Halen. I like both Van Halen and Van Hagar. This book really pulled the curtain back for me on what happened in Van Halen's early days and rise to superstardom, at least from one point of view.

I was surprised on who the "bad guy" was in the end. I was not surprised at the characterizations of some of the main characters. This was a good view into the inner sanctum o
Aug 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biographies
A great read for hardcore Diamond Dave-era VH nerds. It whet my appetite for Michael Anthony's life story, which I hope a ruthless agent is pestering him for RIGHT NOW. ...more
A book covering VH’s early rise by their main manager.
A mustvread for any fan of early Van Halen.

Included is what you would expect. There seems to be so much exploitation in the music biz, especially as more musical groups were able to generate sizeable revenue.

I’d like to see the P&L group statements for record companies and compare them to the band’s. Based on effort and return it the lion’s share never goes to the talent.

Enter Mr. Monk. He finessed to get the band a better contract (in a stea
Chris Wagnon
Jul 07, 2017 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Marco G
Nov 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a fun read. I could not put it down. It is not without it's flaws, especially the authors constant virtue casting. I mean, this guy could do no wrong. He has entertaining stories to tell though. One thing is clear: these douche bags out more value on protecting their intellectual property , like tshirts, than keeping young women from blowing an entire road crew to meet the band. Ah, the rarefied air these guys live in. ...more
Feb 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
A fun read about life - mostly on the road - with Van Halen from 1978 to 1985, as recounted by manager Noel Monk. If you like the band, you’ll enjoy the book. If not, don’t bother with it. Interesting details are shared about the business side of the group’s career, too, such as how a bad contract with Warner Brothers evolved into a much more lucrative agreement, scrapping with merchandise counterfeiters in arena parking lots, and handling paternity suit concerns.
Apr 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great stories from the prime Van Halen days. The author, Noel Monk, was the manager of the original band until just months before their break-up, so you know you're going to read some good stuff from the inside source. Makes me want to re-read Roth's biography and see how different his version of things were. If you have any interest in early Van Halen, this book is a must read. ...more
Jun 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Noel Monk was manager of Van Halen from 1978 - 85, the years that saw this iconic rock band rise to the top of their profession before it all came crashing down. Monk details many stories and anecdotes I had never heard, drugs, goliath sized egos and nasty business dealings.
Oct 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
This book wasn't fun or interesting. Became monotonous quick. Love Van Halen, not this book! ...more
Jun 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Pretty good. Paints the author in a rather postive light, which can't be the entire truth. ...more
Jason Meuschke
Nov 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating look inside the rise of the band from the manager’s point of view. Granted when you only hear one side you have to question but Noel does a pretty solid job of convincing. Overall rather sad, but still fascinating.
Jeremy Hudson
Jan 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
One of the best rock bios I’ve read. Certainly adds to the evidence the band wasted its talent and time, were terrible people and Michael Anthony deserves better.
Rick Elias
Jul 22, 2017 rated it really liked it

Only to a point...if this account is to be believed, these guys- Michael Anthony excluded- are some of the dumbest and worst people ever. Not breaking any stereotypes either, total Spinal Tap. Only for fans, everyone else will experience bias confirmation and disgust.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Van Halen Rising: How a Southern California Backyard Party Band Saved Heavy Metal
  • Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock
  • Ted Templeman: A Platinum Producer’s Life in Music
  • Losing It: And Gaining My Life Back One Pound at a Time
  • No Regrets: A Rock 'n' Roll Memoir
  • Living Like a Runaway
  • Off the Rails: Aboard the Crazy Train in the Blizzard of Ozz
  • Rust in Peace: The Inside Story of the Megadeth Masterpiece
  • Everybody Wants Some: The Van Halen Saga
  • Iron Man: My Journey Through Heaven & Hell with Black Sabbath
  • 18 and Life on Skid Row
  • Confess: The Autobiography
  • Dirty Rocker Boys
  • N�thin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion
  • Crazy from the Heat
  • Total F*cking Godhead: The Biography of Chris Cornell
  • Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir
  • Tommyland
See similar books…

Related Articles

  Walter Isaacson, it’s safe to say, is not afraid of tackling the really big topics. In 2011, he wrote about our ubiquitous computer culture...
102 likes · 19 comments
“Indeed, sometimes, if he was sufficiently shitfaced, Edward would even refer to me as Daddy.” 1 likes
“Manners flew out the window--along with tables, chairs, lamps and anything else that was of little obvious use and had the misfortune not to be nailed down.” 1 likes
More quotes…