Since reuniting with David Lee Roth in 2007, Van Halen has toured the U.S. countless times. They even finally got their act together to release a new album, A Different Kind Of Truth, last year (even though it’s made up of re-recorded demos). However, there’s still one thing that has left many fans disappointed: the fact that Eddie’s son Wolfgang was playing bass instead of Michael Anthony. Well as it turns out, David Lee Roth feels the same way.
Roth was recently interviewed by Rolling Stone about Van Halen’s upcoming dates in Tokyo and his time living in Japan. During the chat, Roth voiced his frustrations with the band’s lack of touring outside the States and that there are no plans as of yet to tour after the Japanese run. The singer then went into his disappointment over there not being a reunion of the original lineup, saying:
“… But Ed has his own vision, I’m assuming. We haven’t really been able to speak about it and it’s a disappointment, just as not having a chance for a reunion of the original band. Clearly, vocals are every bit as much a component of success as a rhythm section or a guitar solo, and there’s an old expression saying, ‘They don’t go home singing the lighting show, they don’t go home singing the production.’ You’re right, they sing my words and my melodies. And what we have at our fingertips is arguably one of the greatest high tenor voices ever – that was in Michael Anthony. In our tiny little corner of the universe, that voice is as identifiable as the high voice in Earth, Wind & Fire, as identifiable as the high voice in the Beach Boys. Van Halen is an indelicate house blend of both – that’s intentionally. So I would always look forward to that reunion, and I would always look forward to writing a whole variety of material. I’ve offered the fellows, come on out here to the land of the gods. And if you don’t want to make it that far we’ll make it halfway – Konishiki [his friend and former champion sumo wrestler] has said he’ll lend me his house in Hawaii, Let’s go woodshed. But so far there hasn’t been any response, so hope and faith are not actual tactics and strategies – they’re strippers from Albuquerque.”
In addition to Anthony’s absence and lack of touring/festival appearances, Roth says numerous times throughout the interview how disappointed he is that he and Van Halen haven’t actually sat down to record new music. He even goes so far as to say “Almost all of the music that you hear on our most recent album was written and demoed before the first album. And I would certainly look forward to writing a whole list of songs with Ed, but we haven’t found the time to do that [laughs]. You hear the tone. I’m not sure what’s in Ed’s mind at this point. I’m gonna guess that his plans are to write with his son, and I’m not sure where that actually leads. But truth be told, Edward and I haven’t written a new song in 20 years.”
However, Roth reveals that he recently reunited with his former guitarist John 5 (now with Rob Zombie) to create what he describes as a “jukebox musical” inspired by The Book Of Mormon. When asked whether we can expect to see the autobiographical musical titled Somewhere Over the Rainbow Bar & Grill, Roth said “absolutely” and even revealed he offered it to Van Halen. “Again, I’ve offered it up to the Van Halens, but I seriously doubt there are going to be any takers there,” explained Roth. “As I’ve said, we haven’t written a new song since I left in 1984. Almost everything on that record [A Different Kind of Truth] is from before we recorded the first album or out or about somewhere in that time frame. Wait, what am I saying? ‘Stay Frosty’ is brand new, and I wrote that whole song myself. I wrote the chord structure, played the guitar, the vocals, etc. Therein that was remanded to the back side – well, it’s not a record anymore, side B, next to the last of whatever. It’s an update, thinking symmetrically – ‘Ice Cream Man,’ ‘Stay Frosty,’ I get it [laughs].”
Granted, it’s not surprising to hear that there is tension within the current Van Halen camp. And it’s been well known that most of what appears on A Different Kind Of Truth were leftovers from the band’s early days. Still, finally a current member of Van Halen (Roth nonetheless) admits that Michael Anthony should be a part of the reunion. While things seem to be falling apart for Van Halen, we doubt that the current reunion will be calling it quits anytime soon (then again, as the brief 1996 VMA reunion proves, Van Halen are never predictable).