In the May issue of Esquire, the Van Halen guitarist said "the whole alcoholism thing" developed when he asked his dad how to combat his nerves when playing music in front of people.
His father gave him a shot of vodka and a cigarette to ease his nerves, and that started Van Halen on a near lifetime of drinking.
The 57-year-old Van Halen also talked about the struggle to get clean, pulling his son Wolfgang out of school at 15 to join the band, and his relationship with ex-wife Valerie Bertinelli.
The issue hits newsstands on April 24. The recently reunited Van Halen is now on tour.