Rumors have been spreading like wildfire, and apparently this time they’re true.
Van Halen, with David Lee Roth on vocals, has actually completed an album, and as of this writing it’s supposedly, allegedly, reputedly in the mixing phase. Slash mentioned this in a recent interview, and in another recent interview Mark Tremonti, guitarist from Creed (but don’t hold it against him), said he heard the alleged album, and that it’s great. The question is, is there anyone else left that still cares?
If anyone could get Van Halen to do a reality show, it would be the highest rated in history because there’s more nonstop drama and tsuris going on with that band than possibly any other, with the exception of Axl’s nu “Guns N’ Roses.”
It’s amazing Van Halen’s been able to get anything done in the last decade or so with Ed’s health and substance abuse problems, and the endless infighting with Roth, the result of decades of baggage that will never be resolved. (There have been reportedly at least three or four previous attempts to get Roth back in the band before this one miraculously stuck, but ten minutes from now, who knows?)
Most of the band did reunite for a 2007 tour that was a pretty shaky proposition. Some shows were reportedly very good, some were drunken disasters, and many Van Halen fans were furious that long time bassist Michael Anthony was thrown under the bus by Ed. (He even took the step of having Anthony’s photo removed from the classic Van Halen album covers on the band’s website, and when the fans revolted, it was quickly put back.)
It’s a given that musicians can’t always have a good day when they’re out in public, but both Dave and Ed are well known for being very unpleasant towards their fans, and like a lot of musicians can’t get their head around the fact they didn’t buy their big pimpy houses and cars, the people who paid good money for their albums and concerts did.
There are indeed fans that don’t care how badly certain bands treat them, saying they don’t owe you anything other than music, but the real question is does anyone care about new Van Halen music.
Past a certain point, some audiences just want to hear the old stuff, which Black Sabbath and The Police wisely stuck with on their reunion tours, and no matter how many new albums a band will put out, nobody buys ’em or cares. Considering Van Halen hasn’t put out an album of original material since 1998, the lamentable Van Halen III, or an album with Hagar since 1995, they may be out of the public eye too long for anyone to do more than shrug, like everyone did for GNR’s Chinese Democracy, aka the Axl solo project masquerading as Guns N’ Roses.
Van Halen also took so much time trying to keep a singer and get an album finished that the music business collapsed from under them. They no longer have a deal with their longtime label Warner Brothers, and their best bet would be putting an album out through Wal-Mart, which is what their current manager, Irving Azoff did for Journey. Bet you didn’t know Journey’s still putting albums out, because again people want to hear the old sh*t, even if they’re basically doing karaoke with another singer.
Some will tell you with all this time out of the loop the next Van Halen album better be amazing, but even if it is, can the music still get out there for people to hear it (the band completely blew their Guitar Hero opportunity), and will the fans that don’t want to hear anything recorded past 1984 care?
I didn’t think Metallica had it in ’em anymore to do a good album, but they pleasantly surprised me with Death Magnetic. As much as they squabble and complain, at least Metallica has a real musical camaraderie, and they weren’t stupid and self-destructive enough to throw it all away.