This past weekend, the Van Halen rumor mill began turning again. This time, Hits Daily Double reported that the three Halens and a Roth had signed a new recording deal with Columbia, ending a 35 year long relationship with Warner Bros. However, it wouldn’t be Van Halen news without a contradictory report. Shortly after the rumor hit the web, usually reliable fan site Van Halen News Desk reported that though there have been serious talks, a deal has not been signed “as of today.”
We’ve honestly lost count as to how many times we’ve heard that the new Van Halen album was completed and ready to be released, or when its first single was suppose to hit radio. All of this “he said, she said, no we never said” commotion surrounding the album is enough to make one question what all the fuss is about. “Why should I really jump for a new Van Halen album,” one has to right to ask.
Well, while it might not have a huge effect on the metal community (though the possible album sales from it would certainly help), a lot is riding on a new Van Halen album for Eddie, David, Alex, and Wolfgang. So this week, Metal Insider is counting down the Top 5 reasons Van Halen’s new album (whenever it may come) needs to kick some major ass.
No offense Gary Cherone, but this album made fans hope that the Van Halen brothers would reunite with even Sammy Hagar. Granted, there’s been worse albums on the face of the earth, but this isn’t the album that Van Halen should end their career with. Even if they never record after this one, recording one last great record would be a great way to end on a high note. Is it realistic to expect them to record an album as good as their first (or really any of the first six)? Of course not, but chances that they could record a better album than Van Halen III are better.
It would make the Van Halen brothers look really bad if Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony’s side project actually went on to write better music without them, especially after the messy split with both sides following the 2004 reunion. It doesn’t help either that Chickenfoot, also featuring Joe Satriani and (on albums anyway) Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Chad Smith, have released two albums (their second album Chickenfoot III comes out next week) since 2009 while Van Halen + Roth have released nothing during that time. Will the new Van Halen album be better than Chickenfoot’s entire discography? Eddie and Alex better hope so. But on the other hand, it’s hard to imagine VH without Michael Anthony’s trademark backup vocas.
Of course the reason why this is such a highly anticipated album is because it’s the first Van Halen album with Diamond Dave in 27 years. And if you ask most fans, chances are that they’ll say that the Roth era kicks Van Hagar’s ass. But truth be told, Van Halen actually had more #1 albums with Sammy Hagar. The band’s music with both singers speaks for itself, and most will always say that the older material with Roth reigns supreme. However, that was the early 1980s, and it’s not like the two songs the classic era of Van Halen recorded for the ’96 compilation were all that good (honestly, when was the last time you cranked up “Me Wise Magic?”). Thus, Roth needs to prove that he’s been the missing ingredient that Van Halen’s material has been missing all of these years.
Even though they announced that they were reuniting with Roth, many fans were extremely disappointed that Michael Anthony was not included in the 2007 reunion. And the fact that Anthony was being replaced by Eddie’s then 16 year old son Wolfgang didn’t help matters either. While he may have proven himself while on the road, the young Van Halen bassist still has to show fans that he can bring a lot to the table while in the studio.
The circumstances for Guns N’ Roses first original studio album since 1991 were a little different. It took about 14 years for Axl Rose, the only remaining member of the group, and numerous lineups to record the album. However, like Chinese Democracy, the new Van Halen album has had a lot of buzz surrounding it thanks to rumors and false “inside” reports. Because of all these back and forth reports, the pressure for Van Halen to deliver a quality product is high (as if it wasn’t already thanks to Roth). If Van Halen isn’t careful, their new album could easily find itself being sold for $1.99 at a Best Buy as well. But why does it matter to fans if the new album blows? Well sure, they’ll probably still be able to bring in a crowd on tour, but do you think Van Halen will tour behind an album that bombs for that much longer? Of course they’ll probably do a leg or two to support the album, but no way will they do extensive touring if the album does poorly both with fans and critics. And then you can say “bye bye” to Van Halen with Roth for good.