David Lee Roth gave a lengthly interview to Rolling Stone and says he wants co-founding bassist Michael Anthony back in Van Halen -- among other things. Apart from a trio of Japanese shows in June, the band remains in a state of limbo. Last summer, Van Halen backed out of 31 North American dates, citing exhaustion, and then Eddie Van Halen was sidelined for four-to-six months after undergoing surgery for the inflammatory intestinal affliction diverticulitis.
Roth was pretty candid in the interview about the state of the band, especially on the prospect of coming up with some new songs, explaining, "I would certainly look forward to working with Ed on some new material, but we have yet to do that. Almost all of the music that you hear on our most recent album was written and demoed before the first album. . . 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."
Roth went on to say that there is no game plan for Van Halen on the horizon: "There's nothing on the ticket as far as travel, and that's a disappointment, frankly. How long have I been back with the gang? Maybe six years, we'll say and we have yet to travel to Europe, South America, Japan, anywhere outside of those basic 50 cities in the United States. And again that's been a disappointment. We have an audience and we have a potential future in many, many places. . . And I don't know where the Van Halen future lies aside from the States. We'll always be able to play our hits -- and keep in mind we have more hits than Beethoven, we have more hits than Tony Soprano -- so getting onstage and playing that is glorious, and certainly getting onstage with the brothers will always be an excitement for me. But in terms of taking the music past where we found it, I'm not sure where that's going to go."
Roth touched upon the touchy subject of ousted bassist Michael Anthony replacing current bassist -- and Eddie Van Halen's son -- Wolfgang Van Halen, from here on out: "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. . . 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."
He went on to say that he's pitched some ideas to help light the creative spark for the band: "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 (Roth's 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."
During the press conference announcing their 2007 reunion dates David Lee Roth promised that Van Halen was truly a new band: "This is not a reunion, this is a new band. This is a revision with hits that you're so familiar with; it's as familiar as the roof of your own mouth is to you. But the ambition has nothing to do with old history. Usually when a band comes back like us it's rockers with walkers and this is everything but. Meet us in the future, not the pasture."
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