Van Halen reunion rumors gain steam
Rumors of Van Halen reuniting with original singer David Lee Roth, which have swirled around the group for years, have taken a turn toward reality now that guitarist Eddie Van Halen apparently has invited the motor-mouthed frontman back to the group.
“I’m telling Dave, ‘Dude, get your ass up here and sing, bitch! Come on!'” Eddie recently told Guitar World magazine. “As it stands right now, the ball is in Dave’s court. Whether he wants to rise to the occasion is entirely up to him, but we’re ready to go.”
That revelation appears in the February issue of Guitar World, according to managing editor Jeff Kitts, who said that the guitarist will also be featured on the cover of the magazine’s March issue.
Roth–who for years has publicly campaigned for the gig–has remained uncharacteristically silent since news of Eddie Van Halen’s remarks surfaced last week.
Eddie’s comments follow last month’s revelation that Van Halen is currently in the studio writing and rehearsing for a 2007 summer tour. Should Roth return to the helm for that outing, fans still won’t be seeing the original Van Halen lineup; as previously reported, Eddie recently announced that bassist/vocalist Michael Anthony had been bounced in favor of Eddie’s 15-year-old son, Wolfgang Van Halen.
“Wolfgang breathes new life into what we’re doing,” Eddie said during the recent Guitar World interview. “He brings youthfulness to something that’s inherently youthful. He’s only been playing bass for three months, but it’s spooky. He’s locked tight and puts an incredible spin on our s—.”
One of the few people who has heard Wolfgang Van Halen’s work with the band is photographer Ross Halfin, whose latest encounter with Eddie Van Halen took place last week.
“Edward is in a great mood, he’s easy to work with,” Halfin wrote in an online diary entry about the Dec. 13 photo shoot. “And I’m not saying who or what I shot, but I will tell you Edward played a couple of CDs which I thought were from 1978 (it was from two days ago) of Van Halen rehearsing with Wolfgang Van Halen on bass. It was jaw-droppingly amazing. They played ‘On Fire,’ ‘I’m the One,’ ‘Atomic Punk.’ I’m not listing the rest, but I will tell you the band sounded untouchable.
“It was as exciting as the first time I saw them,” Halfin continued. “They will come back and destroy the world. … Having Edward’s son on bass has rejuvenated them.”
Despite Halfin’s rave, it remains to be seen how the group’s decision to oust Anthony–a fan favorite whose background vocals are widely recognized as a defining element of the band’s signature sound–will impact the success of any reunion tour.
Van Halen last toured in 2004, at which time estranged singer Sammy Hagar–who replaced Roth in 1985, and then split with the group himself in 1996–returned to the fold. That outing ended with more bad blood between Hagar and Eddie Van Halen, and Anthony has since said that the Van Halen brothers had fired him before negotiating a discounted deal that allowed him to participate in the 2004 run.
Earlier this year, Anthony teamed up with Hagar for a summer tour that featured Hagar performing one set with his solo band, and a second set with his drummer, guitarist and Anthony. Billed as The Other Half, the quartet’s setlist was comprised entirely of Van Halen tunes.
Eddie expressed displeasure with the Hagar/Anthony outing during a September telephone interview that aired on “The Howard Stern Show.” For their part, Anthony and Hagar have claimed that Eddie’s alcohol consumption derailed the group’s 2004 reunion.
Van Halen reunion rumors gain steam