For a long time in the Van Halen camp, things looked very shaky at best that they'd ever be able to hold it together and get an album finished, let alone out in the world.
Somehow they were able to get over the finish line with A Different Kind of Truth, which will drop on February 7, followed by a U.S. tour launching on February 18 in Louisville Kentucky.
There are more leaks coming on the 'Net of the new Van Halen tunes, quite a few of which aren't exactly new as it turns out, and at least to my ears it's not bad, certainly not the trainwreck I was expecting.
As I've written before, it ain't Van Halen at peak power, but hearing the, ah, new songs, they may still have some life left in 'em yet. (Again, the fact that anything got finished and released at all is a miracle).
After years of stonewalling the press, David Lee Roth finally broke his silence to the L.A. Times on the eve of the album release and tour, and as we all know, once he starts talking, he's never at a loss for words. He even made the famous LSD – Lead Singer Disease – joke, about how many lead singers does it take to screw in a light bulb? Instead of screwing it in, "You hold the bulb and wait for the world to revolve around you."
Addressing the drama that's kept the reunion from coming together all this time, Roth told writer Geoff Boucher, "We accused each other of betrayal and thievery and lies and treachery. And it was all true. We were all guilty. Dig up the past, and it's going to get all over everybody. And, man, do we have a past…"
As far as Ed's sobriety struggles, Roth insists Ed is sober and is "doing really well," but also mentioned that Ed "really never enjoyed his fame or success, and that might be part of what compels him." (The Times also mentioned that the rest of Van Halen, Ed, Alex and Wolfie, declined to be interviewed for the story. Ed especially has never had much use for the press, even though they've given him a free ride his entire career).
And as far as the album going back to some really old stuff the band came up with back in the seventies, Roth said, "It's material that Eddie and I generated, literally, in 1975, 1976 and 1977," and according to Boucher, the band tried to "do a sort of collaboration with their past."
Many great bands have a musical clairvoyance where they can communicate with each other through music, and John Shanks, who produced A Different Kind of Truth, said he saw it when working with the band in the studio. He felt when the band got back together again to play there was "a synchronicity in their feel and rhythm and playing. The nuances of the way they communicate is staggering."
Whether this synchronicity works for the whole album, and the tour, both of which are just around the corner still remains to be seen. Because Van Halen's been away so long, and because the real serious metal and hard rock fans hold their favorite bands up to pretty tough scrutiny, the live arena's absolutely going to be the real test. Again, the answer whether they pass that test is only a few weeks away.