Van Halen still makes news, even though the band came off a successful tour supporting the live album “Tokyo Dome Live in Concert” in early October and has not announced any plans for a new album or another tour.
Although David Lee Roth repeatedly mentioned during shows throughout the tour how much it means to him to share a stage with Eddie Van Halen, and that — despite their well-known differences over the years — they get the band together every “couple of summers,” some fans worry about his spot in the band. On October 23, Wolfgang Van Halen tweeted a videoclip of himself playing 15 seconds of the keyboard portion of “Right Now” — a song from the Van Hagar era (1986-1996, when Sammy Hagar replaced Roth as the band’s singer). Given the bassist’s influence with his father (Eddie), fan reaction was mixed — many begging the bass player to not bring back the former replacement frontman and to instead record a new album with Roth, while some others pleaded for some Hagar-era songs to be added to the setlist the next time the Roth-fronted band tours or even to bring back the former replacement vocalist, and others eagerly awaiting Wolf’s upcoming solo album.
In case the Van Halen gig falls through for Roth, he apparently has at least one solo album in the can. Renowned guitarist John 5, who played on the singer’s 1998 “DLR Band” album, recently told Jude Gold of “Guitar Player” magazine that he and Roth “did another record recently… I guess a couple of years ago, or a year ago. I would go to his house and I’d write these songs with him, and he would say ‘Let’s go into the studio.’” They went to Henson Studios in Hollywood, where Van Halen recorded their last studio album “A Different Kind of Truth” and did a warm-up show a few weeks before heading out on tour. He revealed that drummer Gregg Bissonette (who played on two of Roth’s solo albums — 1986’s “Eat ‘Em and Smile” and “Skyscraper” two years later) also performed on this album.
However, John 5 noted that fans may have to wait a long time, if ever, to hear the album. “I know one thing — Dave loves the record,” he said of the album. “But he’s doing Van Halen, which is doing great, too. So we’ll see what happens in the future.”
It’s unclear if this is the same album that was apparently recorded in late 2012 or early 2013, which the Rob Zombie guitarist talked about last year in an interview with music journalist Mitch Lafron. It may or may not be the musical he spoke about with “Rolling Stone” in a February 2013 interview.
Meanwhile, Mark Tremonti is eager for Wolfgang to return to his Tremonti solo project. The bassist played on his second album, “Cauterize,” but missed the first few months of the latest Tremonti tour because Van Halen also went on the road at the same time. “It’s totally up to him,” Tremonti said. “I think they just finished the Van Halen tour… and he’s working on an album of his own.”
Meanwhile, drummer Alex Van Halen will be honored at a charity event — the Nashville Drummers Jam 7 at the Exit/In club in Nashville, Tenn., on December 14. The annual event “will see Nashville’s finest musicians team up to perform Van Halen tunes while paying tribute to the band’s drummer and co-founder,” according to hennemusic.com.
“It’s an honor to be chosen for the Nashville Drummers Jam Number 7,” Alex said of the charity tribute concert. “Thank you, have a great time with it. I want to hear you on the West Coast.”