VAN HALEN WILL RETURN IN 2004 - AT LONG LAST!:
Van Halen is on the verge of a long awaited comeback. Long tortured fans are about to be put out of their misery, as the band looks ready to fire in 2004.
Details are still sketchy as plans are still in the very early stages of development and are therefore continuing to change as issues are sorted through.
Sammy Hagar is set to return to his role as Van Halen's lead vocalist. Original frontman David Lee Roth is not associated with this re-union.
Here's what's been happening, pieced together from a couple of my well known and reliable sources.
It's not clear who initiated first contact. I was told that Eddie & Alex Van Halen called Sammy Hagar, while it was also suggested to me that it was Sammy that called the brothers out of the blue.
Either way, contact was established and an attempt to bury the hatchet was made.
Sammy Hagar then made a trip to Eddie's house and the 5150 studio. The idea was to see if Sammy, Ed and Alex could in fact put the events of the last 7 years behind them and work together again.
It was also a chance for Sammy to hear the material that has so far been written and recorded by Eddie and Alex.
I'm told there have since been a few more meetings – which were apparently both good and bad, but issues are being dealt with and a future discussed.
Hagar has apparently already told members of his solo band of his plans to re-join Van Halen.
Hagar's legal team is already in discussion with Van Halen's legal team.
I was told that bass player Michael Anthony was not present at the first meeting and I am not yet aware of him meeting again with Ed and Alex, who he hasn't talked to for a couple of years now. But I was told that Sammy has insisted that Michael is part of the re-union line-up.
There is no timetable in place as yet for this re-union. As I said, this is still in the very early stages of being developed.
A few ideas are still being considered – such as playing a few shows to get things started before recording/finishing a brand new studio album.
What is almost definite though are plans for a new studio album – hoped to be ready for mid-2004, but possibly not until late 2004 - followed by a tour.
News leaked overnight of the band's intention to sign a new management deal with Irving Azoff Management. Azoff's office has made the official "no comment" on the matter, but expect this high profile management company to confirm their equally high profile signing soon.
Irving Azoff is a well known and powerful manager, who currently has The Eagles, Christina Aguilera, Seal, Jewel and of course Journey on his roster.
Azoff has also been Sammy Hagar's solo manager for the last couple of years.
As far as record labels go, Warner Brothers still has a relationship with the band, given that every album they have released has been with the label. I'm told that they will certainly be the first in line to sign the band should everything work out as planned.
Irving Azoff also has a strong relationship with the label.
Sanctuary Records is being talked about as a possible home for the band, but don't expect that to happen. Hagar had a solo deal with that label, but only for the Greatest Hits Live release and a yet to eventuate re-issue of his solo albums Ten 13 and Not For Sale, which should still happen when the current deal with the two issuing labels for those albums finish.
Not so good news for fans of the Diamond one. David Lee Roth is apparently out of the picture. It seems another attempt to work with him was made after the denied at the time get together in 2000. Once again it didn't work out and the Van Halen brothers have seemingly ruled out any future attempt to work with him.
This is the first contact the brothers have had with Hagar since he departed the band in a storm of ill-feeling in 1996.
Planet Us, the all-star project featuring Sammy Hagar, Michael Anthony, Neal Schon, Deen Castronovo and Joe Satriani is all but over – and has been for some time. The project has been left in the hands of guitarist Schon and drummer Castronovo. One rumor is that Neal Schon is still interested in such an album and has another singer in mind.
The guys only recorded two tracks together – Vertigo and Peeping Through A Hole – neither of which has been released officially.
There is still more to come.
I had planned to gather more information over the course of this week and the weekend, but the leaked news of the Azoff management deal by the music industry website Hits Daily Double has moved the timetable forward.
A new Greatest Hits album was one of the rumors leaked in association with the management news. But, to date I have heard no mention of such a plan, unless the band wants to get something into the public's hands while they work on a new studio record. I personally do not see such a thing happening. Could it be time for the Van Hagar CD re-masters to be re-issued?
This is a slowly developing situation and of course, nothing has been announced officially. When this will happen is another major question.
The answer is one I hope to bring to you in due course, along with further developments and details of any firm plans that have been put in place.
It's nice to be able to bring such positive news to long suffering Van Halen fans. It's news I have the utmost confidence in.
The band in happier times, circa 1986.
PAST NEWS - 2002-2003:
VAN HALEN - NO OFFICIAL MANAGEMENT AS YET:
Rumors seemed to have confirmed that Van Halen had taken up new management. The team deemed to have been given the hardest job in rock n roll - to resurrect the once invincible Van Halen - was apparently the Direct Management Group. So I thought I would call them up to confirm and see if they had any thoughts on just what they would be doing with Eddie and Alex. Their only comment was "There is no formal word..." That was it folks. Despite asking a few questions, all I heard was "no formal word". So Van Halen still do not yet have "official" representation.
MICHAEL ANTHONY SPELLS OUT VAN HALEN MESS:
Michael Anthony has appeared on US radio this week, interviewed on KSHE in St. Loius. His comments paint a very bleak picture for the future of Van Halen.
I have already heard rumors that any future Van Halen project will involve just Eddie and Alex with no mention of Anthony, plus plans to use a new 4th singer rather than return to Roth or Hagar. Any possible timetable for a return of the band still seems some time away.
In any regards - that's speculation. Michael Anthony's comments however, are not, He is quoted as saying that the Van Halen brothers were not happy with him playing with Sammy and that he hasn't talked with Ed or Alex in a year.
Mike will be playing with Sammy when he tours again this summer and added that he and Sam are closer now than ever.
Additionally, plans for a Planet Us record are still underway, with the guys hoping to get together later this year to record.
VAN HALEN - NO SIGN OF ANY NEW PLANS:
I have it on good authority from a regular contact that Van Halen as we know it will not be reappearing anytime soon, if ever. There could be one plan in motion and I'll do my best to get further details, but it sadly won't be a new Van Halen line-up or a re-union with Sammy Hagar or David Lee Roth.
Adding to the off-the-record news I was given, the latest Classic Rock Magazine in the UK has an interview with Leslie West (Mountain), who says he spoke with Eddie Van Halen recently and they talked about the possibility of recording a Blues album together.
Additionally Sammy Hagar has gone on LA radio this week saying that he has had NO contact whatsoever with Eddie or Alex regardless of Mike Anthony's attempts to get them talking. He added that perhaps some things are best left behind and that Mikey is basically jobless - which is very much the case according to my source.
EDDIE VAN HALEN BOWS OUT OF DVD APPEARANCE:
Earlier in the week I ran news of the new live Mountain DVD Sea Of Fire. I added that the DVD included the guest appearance of Eddie Van Halen, after he joined the band on stage last year. Not so. The footage does not contain Ed's appearance. I e-mailed the company behind the DVD to ask why not. Their simple reply - "Eddie backed out."
So, another chance for Eddie to give fans something to keep them going goes begging.
In related news, the original Mountain CDs Mountain Climbing and Nantucket Sleighride - both expanded and remastered are released April 8. The Best Of Mountain is released April 15. All releases are from Columbia/Legacy.
MICHAEL ANTHONY ROCKS WITH TOJ:
A special report has been sent in by site regular Eric, from the band Vox Tempus, who is a huge Van Halen fan and was at the Viper Room in Hollywood, for the Tribe Of Judah show this week.
Here's his report:
I wanted to share a little post-NAMM story with you. Jack Frost (Seven Witches, ex-Savatage) and I were parading around Hollywood last night, with some friends in tow - and found ourselves at the sold-out Viper Room.
Gary Cherone's Tribe of Judah was scheduled to perform, opening for Metalshop - which features some of the same guys from Atomic Punks, the popular Van Halen tribute band. And what a night it was!
Gary's set was unbelievable - the new material ROCKS! Towards the end, Gary announced that he was "feeling a little sick", and asked if "there were any doctors in the house".
Suddenly Michael Anthony sprung up out of nowhere, and joined the band for a rousing rendition of Somebody Get Me a Doctor! At the tail end of the song, Mike yells out "Somebody better give me a fucking shot!", and magically, drinks appeared! He and Gary started downing drinks right there on stage.
When the song was over, Mike announced that "they don't want me to leave yet. Hey, you know we stole this guy from someone else...Nuno, you out there?" And the band jams on an insane rendition of Zeppelin's Rock and Roll.
At this point, the band clears off, and Mike leaves....or so we thought.
Metalshop then comes up and does their regular set of 80's madness, and the band starts teasing Ralph Saenz (the singer) about how he was "just waiting for the call to join Van Halen...and then they went and hired Gary!"
They were joking about vocal auditions for the new VH record, and someone joked that maybe there would be one tonight! At this point, Mike jumps back on stage once more, and joins the fun.
They rip into an awe-inspiring version of Unchained. Mike's playing was tight, and his vocal harmonies brought back memories of vintage VH. As the song ends, Mike is clearly feeling no pain...and the drummer immediately starts playing the intro to Hot for Teacher! Another awesome performance, more comedy between Mike and Ralph, and then Mike steps down.
Ralph then asks Billy Sheehan and Paul Gilbert to join the stage, as they tear through some more standards. In between songs, Ralph is taunts Gary Cherone to "get back up here and sing the song that made you famous, dude!" After 20 minutes of on/off ribbing, Gary finally gets up there and sings More Than Words - and during the second verse, Gary literally starts climbing along the walls of the Viper Room, because the guys in the band "can't do the harmonies right, so let's find the guy that used to sing this with me!" Gary finally got to Nuno, who unfortunately declined.
This was definitely a special evening, shared by members of Fates Warning, Bang Tango, Charlie Benante of Anthrax, Jack Frost, and myself.
Thanks Eric. Don't forget to check out Vox Tempus (created from the remains of Equinox) at www.vox-tempus.com
BTW - the band are still looking for a new drummer.
Photo's from the event are online now at Michael Anthony's website: madanthonycafe.com/news.html
EDDIE VAN HALEN AT NAMM - DRUNK OR NOT?:
A couple of e-mails arrived regarding my Eddie Van Halen at NAMM news item. There are a few other outlet's running a more negative slant on Eddie's appearance, stating that he was late, drunk and impolite.
From the info I heard (I was not there first hand), this was not the case, but I'd love to hear from anyone that was there and has a first hand experience they would like to share. Given the recent history of Van Halen - or lack thereof - it's all too easy to put a negative angle into any report, so I'd like to provide a fair and definitive account of the day.
In the meantime - here are some shots of Eddie at the Peavy booth:
SAM & DAVE & EDDIE & ALEX?:
Van Halen bass player Michael Anthony talked to Nashville's The Tennessean Daily with the following reported by classic rock station WHTQ:
"Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony "would really like to see if we could pull it off, a reunion with [former Van Halen frontmen] Dave [Lee Roth] and Sammy [Hagar]," the bassist told Nashville's The Tennessean Daily newspaper last week. "The whole thing is really frustrating," Anthony added. "You know, unfortunately, some things that seem like they should be so easy to fix become kind of difficult. Of course, it would be great to do something again with Sammy or Dave or both of them. … Maybe just kind of put a cap or a final ending on this whole era."
Now Mikey has said a lot of things over the past year or so, but from what I have heard, there are attempts being made to broker such a deal for a sequel to this year's Sam & Dave tour.
More news hopefully soon...
2000 RE-UNION FLASHBACK:
In related news, Todd Rungren went on record a week or so ago, stating that he was asked to be the producer of the previously reported Van Halen Reunion album/tour - the Roth reunion that was hoped for 1999-2000 that is.
Meanwhile, Eddie Van Halen was spotted at last weekend's Widespread Panic show in Berkeley, California.
Eddie was spotted by a site regular hanging with Lars Ulrich of Metallica!
And if that isn't enough Van Halen for one day - checkout this page for a good laugh: VH & Mr. T?
EDDIE COMES OUT FOR GOLF CHARITY:
Eddie Van Halen made a rare public appearance this weekend at the annual LAPD Celebrity Golf Charity.
At the VHForums there are topics going featuring photo's of Eddie from the day and also a firsthand account of a conversation held between Eddie and a Forum's member, Joe5150.
Joe gave me the ok to re-print some of those details, although unfortunately is seems nothing has changed in the Van Halen camp and we continue to await the guitarists next move.
"Eddie said Alex is fine. He sees him every day. They jam together.
I asked him about the singer situation. He said they have a lot of singers. Frankly, I don't know what he meant by this: if he was avoiding the question, or what.
He kinda complained about Roth and Hagar touring and playing "his music." I then asked him if there were any chance of joining Sam and/or Dave at Universal Amphitheatre. He replied, "are you kidding me, after both of those guys left the band?!"
I asked him about the supposed radio report that Mike is no longer with Van Halen. He told me that I'm listening to too many people. He said that he's easy, that he'll jam with anybody.
With regard to a time frame for releasing new music, he said, "In God's time."
I asked him about a Warner Bros box set. His reply, "you think they would ask us," ie, Warners hasn't approached him about a box set.
Eddie apparently "looks like a 47 year-old guy who just spent the last two-plus years battling cancer, etc, ... (and yeah, he's still smoking )."
Read and see more at:
www.vhforums.com - pix & www.vhforums.com - story
LUKE SAYS EDDIE DID GREAT!:
It's always entertaining to hear from Steve Lukather. This time he wanted to update me on his solo Christmas album, due out (obviously) later this year.
The album features a new guest guitar spot from Eddie Van Halen.
Steve says: "It's all done. Eddie did great as did all my friends. VERY cool record. Fun and humour and also great playing and arrangements. You'll dig it!"
The album Santamental includes guests like Steve Vai, Eddie Van Halen, Slash, Edgar Winter, Trevor Lukather, Simon Phillips, Scott Hamilton and Lenny Castro.
VAN HALEN - NO UPDATE, NO NEWS:
Many have e-mailed and asked for Van Halen news/rumor updates. Well, it ain't going to happen. Sorry folks, but the entire sum of information coming my way = zip. It seems that nothing is going on with the Van Halen Brothers, now or is planned in the near future.
There appears no plans or ideas on how to resurrect one of the greatest rock bands of all time. For the time being, things are very much in limbo.
Expect Michael Anthony to continue making special appearances on the Sam & Dave Tour and to then join Sammy Hagar, Neal Schon and Deen Castronovo for Planet US later this year.
EDDIE VAN HALEN AND WIFE SPLIT:
An unfortunate confirmation today from US Magazine. No doubt the first of several press reports to follow. It's not good news and certainly not musically related, so I'll leave it at this short post:
VAN HALEN Guitarist, Wife Split Up - July 9, 2002
47-year-old Van Halen guitarist Eddie Van Halen, and wife Valerie Bertinelli, 42, have split up after 21 years together.
Break-up rumors dogged the couple through Eddie's fight against alcoholism and his tongue-cancer scare, but this time it's official. "Because they are the parents of a young son, they have requested that their family's privacy be respected at this time," Van Halen's rep told Us Weekly magazine.
BREAKING VAN HALEN NEWS:
More to come later today I hope, but for now - here is the news we have all not wanted to hear:
Van Halen and Warner Bros. have ended their relationship, which stretches back to the group's 1978 debut. The band has also changed attorneys, hiring Alan Mintz to take over for Don Engel, who was with them for 15 years.
The band also remain without management and without a vocalist.
Apparently the split with Engel was not entirely amicable.
More news on the split ASAP.
I contacted Warner Bros. this morning, who were unable to offer any information or news on the apparent dropping of Van Halen.
However, I was able to make brief contact with Don Engel's office, who would make absolutely no comment, but did say that Don is not representing the band.
The VHND has just received confirmation from Brad Starks, webmaster of the official Van Halen site, that the split with Warner Bros. is true and confirmed.
With Engel and Warner Bros. confirmed as now out of the Van Halen picture, there is one more big VH related story brewing. I hope to have details of this extra story confirmed in the next few days.
YES, IT'S ANOTHER SUPERGROUP UPDATE:
From Sammy Hagar's Official website:
"Slash wasn't able to make it to the studio on short notice. We took that opportunity with the four of us Sammy Hagar, Michael Anthony, Neal Schon & Dean Castronovo and recorded the two songs, Vertigo and Peeping Through A Hole.
The working name of the band is Planet Us.
We are hoping that Slash can join us down the road because we won't be doing anything serious until the fall since Sammy and the Waborita's and Journey will be on tour this summer. *Dates to be announced.* It is possible that Planet Us will be part of the Meltdown in Cabo this October."
I might add that the songs have now been sent to Slash for consideration and that there is at least one other name under consideration for the group.
VAN HALEN LOSE ANOTHER PART OF THE MACHINE:
Yes, Van Halen have sacked another of their inner circle. As it stands right now, there aren't many left to let go.
Van Halen's long time tour manager Scotty Ross was given notice last Thursday.
Rod Poplin, friend of Scotty Ross confirmed Scotty informed him he is no longer employed with Van Halen. Scotty is happy and actively seeking employment.
Scotty seemed to be one fellow still remaining within the band's circle that was held in high regard. In fact, it was Scotty who kindly called me from LA back in February 2000, while I was dealing with my Van Halen hoax story.
All the best Scotty.
Van Halen now have no label, no singer, no tour manager, no management and an AWOL bass player.
As Grant Fisher at the essential VHND.com so aptly stated, "...it's no longer fun being a Van Halen fan any more..."
When will Eddie Van Halen go on record with news of what's to follow for the band?
SUPER GROUP SETTLE ON NAME PLANET US:
It seems that the Hagar/Schon/Anthony/Castronovo super group have settled with the name Planet Us for their project together. I only heard of one other name being considered, that was RedDog.
No further updates from band possible Slash.
Updated news from Michael Anthony on the project. From his website:
March 8, 2002
Things are getting pretty exciting these days. I thought you'd like to hear a little bit about two of the kick ass songs we've been working on, so strap in and check this out!
Vertigo has a slow, heavy groove and has Sammy's killer pipes all over it. Watch out for Neal Schon too, 'cuz this fucker be-a-shreddin'!
Peeping Through A Hole is a high energy song that will almost leave you pissed off by the time you're done listening to it because it's so intense.
I especially dig the killer drum work on this song, compliments of my man Deen Castronovo.
We're currently bashing out some more tunes and I can't wait to open this baby up full throttle. Ow!
Stay tuned for more, Michael
NEW SUPER-GROUP PROMISES TO BRIGHTEN UP 2002 FOR ROCK MUSIC FANS:
A new supergroup is being formed in Los Angeles, with plans being formulated for an album then a US tour.
The group will be fronted by former Van Halen vocalist Sammy Hagar. Playing alongside Hagar will be long time friend and current Journey guitarist Neal Schon.
It's no secret that Sammy and Neal have been looking for a situation where they could work together again.
News of the pair's intended plans have been the subject of discussion on a dozen Internet message boards.
Current Journey (and former Hardline) drummer Deen Castronovo is also involved with the project.
But the interesting twist in this tale is the question of just who would be the bass player.
The hottest tip out of L.A. for this position is none other than Sammy's former band mate - Van Halen's own Michael Anthony.
Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony have maintained their friendship over the years, despite Hagar's acrimonious split with the band he fronted for over a decade.
The only individual that has recently commented on anything related to the band's activities - Brad Starks, Van Halen's webmaster, was contacted for a comment, but had not replied at time of printing this.
It is understood that a legendary rock n roll manager is behind the super group's plans and is shopping a Studio Album and US Tour package to various companies.
The other rumour associated with this super group project is the possible inclusion of a second guitarist.
If so, the hottest tip from LA based sources is that the position was offered to and accepted by former Guns N Roses guitarist Slash.
Planning is still in it's early stages and there is as yet, no suggestions on the board for a name to the project.
Until a formal Press Release is made available, consider this group a work in progress. No one yet seems sure about the time line involved here either. But I hope full confirmation of the band's line up, plus plans for the album and tour will be announced soon.
Schon and Hagar have previously recorded and toured together, with the 80's supergroup HSAS, which was rounded out by Michael Shrieve (drums) and Kenny Aaronson (bass).
Interestingly, Hagar has also shared the stage with Schon and Castronovo on at least one previous occasion - as a special guest of Hardline, live in Marin County, California in 1992. As a show finale, they jammed on the HSAS track Top Of The Rock.
Neal Schon jammed with Slash as recently as last night in Los Angeles as guests of Bad Company vocalist Paul Rodgers. Slash and Schon both previously appeared as guests on Rodgers' Muddy Water Blues album.
Yet another odd connection between this group of musicians was the recent appearance of Slash performing Eddie Van Halen's famous guitar parts on Michael Jackson's latest TV special.
Neal is again scheduled to guest on stage this weekend - with Sammy Hagar live (February 2 & 3) at Konocti Harbor,
Kelseyville, California. Tickets are available from the venue.
One big question is whether or not another guest - Michael Anthony - might also join the guys onstage?
As for Van Halen - speculation of their future has again been rife after news of the band's amicable split with Warner Bros.
Unfortunately, everything I have been told suggests another year void of activity for the band in 2002.
Despite the passionate fan base holding out for a re-union with David Lee Roth, it appears hopes of that happening are slim.
There are current rumours of a David Lee Roth solo summer tour, plus he is busy currently working on his own DVD release.
Van Halen's webmaster Brad Starks has gone on record saying the split from Warner is a good thing. That might be so, but in the short term it means that there will be little band activity.
If Van Halen - the band did indeed have material with Roth recorded, there is no way that Warner would let the band walk away, or refuse to release whatever was on offer.
Despite a short re-union with Roth in 2000, the band are yet to provide any proof that any music was even recorded. Had the opportunity been there to release a Best Of Volume 2, my personal view is that option would have been taken already.
Industry sources say that Warner Bros. and future perspective labels will not be interested in the band until a line up is formalised.
It has long been rumoured that Warner Bros. wanted either Sammy or Dave back in the band for a new album, but was not interested in making the band an offer for an album with a fourth singer.
With neither re-union failing to materialise, the band and label split on agreed terms. This upholds the premise Starks made clear earlier - that Van Halen was not dropped by Warner.
But all is not lost - even though it appears that Van Halen are without a contract and without a singer, the split with Warner and long time attorney Don Engel is apparently allowing Eddie Van Halen to building the band back up again from square one. Whether the new look Van Halen camp includes Roth, Hagar or a fourth vocalist is anyone's guess.
Whether there will be any kind of Van Halen release this year - Best Of Vol 2 or a compilation of unreleased material - and through whatever label - is once again up for debate.
But either way, it might be some yet until the next chapter of Van Halen's long and colourful career is opened.
VAN HALEN LINK AND RELATED ROTH NEWS:
An interesting story on Van Halen is running in this week's Billboard magazine. Read It Here.
Meanwhile, DLR Band guitarist Bart Walsh has left the group, leaving the group with the line up of: David Lee Roth, James Lomenzo & Ray Luzier.
VAN HALEN 2001 UPDATE - RUMOUR WARNING!:
Here it is folks - the Van Halen update you have been waiting for (or not!).
Do I need to run through the obvious rumour only warnings for this material?
In case I do, please note that it is not my preferred practice to print unconfirmed reports - I do prefer to have some factual support, but as representatives for Van Halen, David Lee Roth, Gary Cherone, Sammy Hagar and Warner Bros. would not return any of my enquiries, I am left with only the rumours!
There is more news fresh in today though. I have heard that there are fresh attempts afoot to get David Lee Roth and Van Halen back to the negotiating table again.
BUT, if these current talks do not work out, the David Lee Roth solo Eat Em And Smile line up will almost certainly be back on the road and in the studio in 2002.
The consistent thread in the 'information' sent to me is that the band seemingly has no current timetable for any new release or tour. And despite several attempts over the months, they have not been able to yet secure a return to the band of either David Lee Roth or Sammy Hagar. These are apparently the obvious two options that have been looked at.
Ok, so here is what I have compiled from the rumours, hearsay, gossip and miscellaneous reports sent my way.
Take from it what you will and feel free to further investigate this and try and pick apart the information. Send me any updates and we might just one day get to the bottom of what is going on in camp Van Halen.
Van Halen - The Band In General
* Van Halen are NOT ready to call it quits.
* Eddie Van Halen would prefer to move on as a band and create something new, rather than go out on the road as a 'nostalgia' act.
Eddie though, is apparently itching to get back on the road and is looking forward to the point where this happens.
* SRO / Ray Danniels Management was fired the day Gary Cherone quit the band in October 1999. But a complete severing of ties between the band and management has only just been achieved. There have been ongoing legal issues regarding contractual agreements between SRO, Van Halen and Warner Bros. and those issues were only just finalized in June this year.
* Due to the above legal problems, Van Halen still do not currently have management set in place and have not had the right to hire new management until the above issues were settled.
* The band is now ready to choose new management. One source however said that management agencies are at the moment reluctant to look at the band until a line up (vocalist) is finalized.
* Lawyers for both VH and DLR have apparently once again been in contact with each other find out where each other stand. If there were no reply from one side or the other, it would appear the re-union would be doomed. $$$ and % share seems to be the major sticking points.
* VH1 have always had major interest in producing a Behind The Music special on Van Halen. To this date, this has been consistently refused, but recent rumours suggest the project is back on the agenda. A call to the VH1 Network by a good contact of mine received this quote - "They have not reached an agreement with the band to do one as yet..."
* My February 2000 Report: For the record, I am still no closer to uncovering the real identity of who called me. I still believe it was a set up (love conspiracy theories!), although have no idea why the Coverdale story was a part of that set up.
This report was the subject of a lot of contention and it's contents were later rejected in a phone call Scotti Ross made to me after I threatened to use the 'sources' name unless they called me.
Incidentally, Scotti got my phone number after I left it with SRO asking them to pass my message along. They obviously did so. This was in March 2000.
In July this year - only 2 weeks ago - and 18 months after the original set of calls came in, I was finally able to speak one on one with the alleged person who called me. They were not happy to hear from me, but his voice did not match that of the one who called and they denied all knowledge of the call and the information divulged.
Take the David Coverdale rumour out of the equation and the rest of the information remains a pretty good read!!
Eddie Van Halen
* Was asked to do a commercial for Cancer research. He declined based on privacy and personal issues.
* Looks a possibility to appear at the annual City Of Hope event in Studio City, Los Angeles.
* Eddie Van Halen lays a lot of the blame for the failure of VH3 on producer Mike Post. He also admitted songwriting was a big problem and is determined to see the band redeem themselves on both points.
* Eddie's cancer scare was serious, but apparently never the main issue in ongoing delays in new material being recorded. The lack of a singer is!
Alex Van Halen
* Is also reported to have also been in below average health over the past months.
* Could be doing a new promo for Paiste Cymbals.
* A couple of reports suggest that he is working on an all new bass sound for the next record, whatever form that record should take and whenever it happens.
* Sammy has apparently been approached several times to hang out with the band and has so far declined. It must be noted though - there have been no formal offers. Sammy, however, at this stage, has repeated several times that he is quite happy as a solo artist and will continue doing that. He is also still looking for an apology from Eddie and Alex Van Halen.
* A new item sent to me suggests that the Sammy Hagar era Van Halen records have now been re-mastered. One rumour suggested these could have been released in November. But a new opinion is that these remasters will not be released until after the next studio album is released. This could be due to the fact the release of the Dave era albums caused no end of speculation about his imminent full time return to the band. The band do not want to repeat this by issuing the Sammy era albums right now.
* Sammy continues to call the studio and has done over the past few years, keeping in touch with Michael Anthony and other contacts in the VH camp.
* Sammy basically confirmed these details himself in a recent interview on US radio station KSHE95.
David Lee Roth
* What ever Dave does next - Dave wins. He can't lose! Well, that's what I think anyway...
His public profile is once again huge and interest in him as an artist is at a 10 year high. The expectation of his fans is that he will join Van Halen, but if he doesn't - for whatever reason - there are going to be several projects and many offers waiting for him to consider.
* Dave has been busy setting up a Plan B - the VH back-up plan to be considered if the re-union doesn't come together. He has planned to get his classic Eat 'Em And Smile band line up back together and that looks positive.
Billy Sheehan, Steve Vai and Gregg Bissonette are all ready to do so. This could happen in 2002. 50/50 I am told from another 'source'.
Billy Sheehan's schedule looks to be clearing up - see breaking news story below!
* Billy Sheehan, Gregg Bissonnette and Steve Vai have all talked to Dave on the EEAS subject.
* It is rumoured from one source that Electra Records have offered David Lee Roth a solo album deal with substantial promotional backing, if the album includes the above line up. Elektra is closely monitoring the feedback and success of Dave's current solo tour. If all is a success, a multi-album deal could go through. Remember, rumour only folks!
* Another rumour is that David was given the lyric rights to the three tunes recorded by Van Halen in their brief re-union last year. In line with the above rumour, Electra apparently have expressed interest in including these three songs as part of the Dave solo deal, naturally to be re-recorded by the band featured on the solo album. One source I asked dismissed this immediately.
* Roth initially gathered his band back together because he was tired of waiting and hopes to push his cause with good reviews from the gigs.
* But apparently, Van Halen were not pleased to see Dave out on his own solo tour.
* Dave has continued to keep his options open and is still working with other people in case the VH reunion flops.
* A hot rumour says Dave was paid a non-refundable retainer for the Van Halen sessions mid last year.
* Dave has maintained his silence in the whole affair in hope of the re-union still going ahead. Any negative comments from him would kill the project instantly.
* One rumour sent to me suggested that Dave wanted a 50% stake in the re-union after the 1996 bungling, with Eddie apparently offering 35%!
But, this issue went unsettled. I would love to confirm or deny this one, but it's pure hearsay.
These figures could also relate to any offer the band have made Sammy, as another source suggested to me, but these are the figures being gossiped about by some in the music industry.
* The former lead singer is now completely out of any legal dealings or wrangles with band or former management. Apparently this was only settled in June of this year.
* Gary was asked to forgo his rights to songs in progress that would have been the next Van Halen record. That includes apparently 7 or 8 songs. Apparently this was rejected, with one song titled Left For Dead, under consideration for Gary's new project.
* There was consideration given to Tribe Of Judah supporting Sammy Hagar on tour, but this has since been scuttled.
* Gary Cherone's new band, Tribe Of Judah (also featuring Mike Mangini & Pat Badger, both ex-Extreme members) has four mp3's free for the downloading at the following link: TOJOnline.com
* Gary is now being managed by ex-Extreme drummer Paul Geary.
* I was told the band has NOT been dropped from the label, but still DOES NOT have an official recording contract with the label.
However, Warner Bros. will get first option on the band's next album.
* There have been no deadlines from Warner for a new album, as the label have no say in the matter at all, due to the fact there is no current recording contract.
However, the next album is likely to be a big deal, so they retain very interested in developments.
* Apparently, the label did indicate that they wanted either Sammy Hagar or David Lee Roth back in the band for the next studio album. It appears rumours that Warner requested the next album to feature Sammy or David, or the band will be free to shop for a new deal...were true.
* Andy Johns is the very latest producer rumoured to be involved with the band.
His name is linked with rumours that Sammy Hagar is working with the band with Andy is overseeing this. Thus far totally unconfirmed, but I will be interviewing Andy next week on this topic and his entire production career.
* Ted Templeman is not now, nor has never been involved in the new VH project. I am sorry to be one of many that repeated this rumour last year.
He is no longer a Warner Bros employee and hasn't been for some years now. He has been totally uncontactable.
* Mike Clink was another name briefly mentioned several months ago...to no confirmation.
* But Glen Ballard apparently would like to be involved!
* Bob Rock is another name connected with helping out the band at some stage/s and again, has gone completely unconfirmed.
Other Miscellaneous Characters
* Apparently Pantera are interested in covering Van Halen's Everybody Wants Some as a possible album track or B-Side for their next album. Time will tell on that one...
* The upcoming Kiss box set will include a version of Christine Sixteen that featured Eddie Van Halen on guitar.
The box set it due later this year or early in 2002, so details should be available for this soon.
* The much loved Van Halen cover band Atomic Punks want to record a CD.
The interesting and exciting part of this news is that all the songs considered for this album are old unreleased David Lee Roth era Van Halen songs.
The band have recently recorded a demo to shop to perspective record labels.
But The Punks need Van Halen's official approval for the use of these songs, but that hasn't come.
My source for this information has Alex Van Halen on record as saying "We're not dead yet, so, why would we want this record out on the streets?"
The project remains in limbo...
* Michael Austin, son of Mo Austin - someone intrinsically involved with the band in the past - was rumoured to be a part of the new re-union. I was able to contact Michael, now working for Dreamworks, who kindly e-mailed me a reply that said he has nothing to do with the band or their current plans.
That's it on the rumours for now. If you choose to repeat these above points - please remember that they are rumours only at this stage! I am just repeating what rumours I have been sent over the last few months...
VAN HALEN UPDATE:
Just wanted to let you know there is one more Van Halen update coming. It's a follow up to my last big rumors report, with a few new details coming to light.
It's also likely to be the last one for several months, based on this new info.
I know many will be thinking that's a good thing!
TALES OF A TWISTED BAND:
Surfers of the Van Halen fans sites will be familiar with this item, but for the rest of you not quite sick of the band, this is fantastic for a laugh....
Brilliantly written and conceived by Lance Watts and beautifully illustrated
by fellow Aussie Garth Jones, Strange and Twisted Tales distills the entire Van Halen universe and all it's inhabitants into the most entertaining book ever written about the world's greatest rock band. It's a must-have for fans and collectors.
The guys put together this Press Release:
These days, it's tough to be a Van Halen fan. After the failed David Lee Roth reunion in 1996, the mercifully brief reign of frontman, Gary Cherone and Edward Van Halen's alleged battle with cancer - the future of Van Halen has remained uncertain.
Van Halen fans finally have a reason to rejoice. Crank Farm Comics, an independent publishing company located in Portland, OR, has released a new illustrated book, entitled Van Halen Strange & Twisted Tales. The book is an epic parody of the entire history and future of Van Halen. Nothing is sacred and no band member (past or present) is left un-skewered. The book also features a hilarious glimpse at the much anticipated Van Halen/Roth reunion.
To order a copy of Van Halen Strange & Twisted Tales, visit www.crankfarm.com. At just $9.95 (US) no Van Halen, Sammy Hagar or David Lee Roth fan should be without one.
THE February 2000 Report!
In this exclusive Van Halen report:
- Van Halen with David Lee Roth
- Greatest Hits Volume 2
- The Summer Tour
- Why Sammy Said No
- The Next Van Halen Vocalist?
- The DLR Band
VAN HALEN WITH DAVID LEE ROTH:
David Lee Roth is to reunite with Van Halen under the moniker Van Halen with David Lee Roth but don't expect this to be permanent, this will be very much on a trial basis. The band is still looking for a permanent singer but has finally given in to label and fan pressure to reunite with their original lead singer.
No contracts have been signed and no agreements reached but the following has happened. The band has been meeting with Roth and they have jammed together. They have also been working on song ideas. However, contrary to other reports nothing has been recorded yet. The title Van Halen with David Lee Roth is one the band is reluctant to adopt but feel it best fits the situation. They are not welcoming David back permanently but as a transitory member only.
It seems the idea of recording a full album of new material with Roth is not want the band want to do. They feel any material with Roth may not be strong enough and would rather move on than go backwards.
Their first choice for vocalist was to have Sammy Hagar rejoin. They feel his songwriting ability is a major strength. The band felt they could have picked up where they left off with Hagar but unfortunately Warner Bros. were firmly in favor of a reunion with Roth.
There is major pressure from the label for an album and tour with Roth.
The guys love touring and know that a big tour would be very successful.
I have been told from another source that Warners will put up big bucks if this tour was to get off the ground.
Eddie Van Halen is on record as saying that Van Halen is not a nostalgia band and wouldn't want to do a nostalgia trip. But to most it does seem inevitable this tour will happen.
Sammy Hagar was interested in rejoining but would rather see the fans and the label get over the whole Dave reunion thing before he could even contemplate further talks. He is also extremely happy with what he is doing now.
Warner Bros proposed a dual Sammy Hagar and David Lee Roth tour but Hagar rejected this immediately.
GREATEST HITS VOLUME 2:
Current plans for Van Halen with David Lee Roth do not include a full new studio album. Instead what is being prepared for release is Greatest Hits Volume 2, which will once again include 2 newly recorded tracks with Roth.
These 2 new songs will come from work the band had already started with Gary Cherone before his departure. Roth is contributing song ideas.
No recordings have taken place and a producer has not even been selected.
Danny Korchmar who was working with the band most recently and prior to Gary's departure will not be involved. A possible producer is Glenn Ballard who last worked with the band on the 2 new tracks that were added to Greatest Hits Volume 1.
THE SUMMER TOUR:
The planned tour will be to support Greatest Hits Volume 2.
The tour will go under the before mentioned name Van Halen with David Lee Roth. I have been informed it is at this point the band intends to let David Lee Roth go.
There are also contingency plans in place should the relationship with Roth deteriorate mid tour.
Van Halen's future from this point is so far undecided but several ideas are being discussed.
In order to explain the options we need to take a step back to Gary Cherone's departure.
WHY SAMMY SAID NO:
After Cherone left the band, Sammy Hagar was approached but due to label pressure and their dual tour idea, Sammy declined. The band then began their search for a new vocalist. The band talked with several singers before giving into label pressure for the current David Lee Roth reunion.
Talks took place between the band and Billy Squier, Chris Cornell of Soundgarden and even Sass Jordan. The band was looking for a vocalist with a solid reputation and past history yet who were not involved in anything at present.
Other singers talked about but never contacted include Eric Martin (Mr. Big), Patty Smyth, Mitch Malloy, Johnny Gioeli (Hardline), Louie Merlino (Beggars & Thieves) and Danny Bowes of Thunder.
The rumored Sebastian Bach link was false.
There is only one singer the band have met with and written and recorded any songs.
THE NEXT VOCALIST:
That brings us now to the bands current options. With the tour to support Greatest Hits 2 over there are two thoughts.
One is to record an all new studio album with a new lead singer, or the return of Sammy Hagar.
The second option is to record an album with multiple vocalists.
This is something that was previously touted, as this would allow the band to feature several vocalists at once and gauge fan reaction to each.
The feeling is should one of these vocalists make a specific impact with the fans then they would be the frontrunner for the permanent vocalist position.
Other possible vocalists for the project include the already mentioned Billy Squier, Sass Jordan and Sammy Hagar.
The band is in no way contemplating retirement and would like to settle the vocalist position. The fans and the label are all currently backing David Lee Roth but the band feel it would all be for show and are not totally comfortable with the idea of touring with him.
THE DLR BAND:
Meanwhile, a source within the DLR Band camp confirmed they are still booked to play some live dates in April/May and are scheduled to record a new studio album later this year. Van Halen are aware of these arrangements.
A VAN HALEN REALITY CHECK - DOUBTS PREVAIL:
Here's the few Van Halen facts available this week:
Michael Anthony commented on Van Halen's future plans (reported earlier in the week), with his statements verified by several individuals at the event in question.
News of these comments have spread like wildfire, despite no official word from the band, or definitive confirmation of these plans.
Warner Bros. still have no idea what exactly the band are up to, nor do they have a timeline for future plans.
Despite reignited rumours, it appears Van Halen are still a 3 piece, officially without a vocalist at this point.
David Lee Roth still says a re-union is inevitable, but has no timeframe for this and says he last worked with the band in 2000, with the 3 songs recorded in that session remaining unreleased.
I have a general idea at what will follow from the band, relating to David and Michael's most recent comments and the fact that Van Halen.com have tried desperately to hose down the reports of such a re-union.
Facts against a current re-union:
1. If Dave is recording with the band, he is behaving out of character by not confirming it. Recently he made statements during an on air interview that "There is no album that's recorded in the can, but I did a few songs with the fellas about 18 months ago, which is metric for a year and a half, and the songs were stellar, the music was superb. We haven't had any real contact with each other there because we don't like each other..."
He also just passed on another ideal PR opportunity, by refusing to comment during his latest public live appearance, disappearing without any comment on this week's mess.
2. David Lee Roth.com is back online in a new form, despite his recent statement that he doesn't need such a website.
3. Warner Bros. have no update on the band. One source of mine e-mailed to say: My source is inside the industry. Different label, but he knows people at WB. WB execs are his source of info. They readily admit that the VH world is "totally screwed up right now". I'm also told they don't honestly expect anything new in the foreseeable
4. There is no doubt that Eddie Van Halen is the man in control of every aspect of the band and he is happy staying at home being a dad right now.
5. There is still no management team in place.
The few facts for a re-union:
1. CIA reminiscent secrecy around any Van Halen movements.
2. The vicious efficiency that re-union discussion threads at the Van Halen online forum The Pleasure Dome were closed and dispatched!
3. Michael Anthony's slip of the tongue..."We are coming out with a new CD in the spring.....Dave did it this time..."
4. The following statement from a personal friend of Michael Anthony - again hosing down speculation:
"I spent much of the evening with Michael Anthony at Bonspeed last Saturday in Mesa, Arizona, and I would like to clarify what he actually said about CD's reunions, and tours.
What I heard him say was this there is a CD coming out this spring, there MIGHT be a couple of tour dates, and he MIGHT do SOMETHING with Sammy at some point in the future...."
Personally, I believe that the next Van Halen release will be a Best Of Volume 2, containing the new studio tracks recorded with David Lee Roth in 2000.
So once again I will retire the Van Halen updates, as another ruckus has come and gone with no word and I have little faith that we will be told anything this side of February.