Gary Cherone on Hurtsmile, Extreme, and Van Halen’s “Vaults Of Music”

Gary Cherone recently talked to Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles about his new band Hurtsmile (which has a record out and available at iTunes, Amazon, Best Buy, etc), Extreme’s future, and Van Halen’s “vaults of music” and what he thought of their last two tours with Sammy and Dave.

The Van Halen segment is below. For the full interview, check out

Cherone [in response to the question of if he ever thought of writing a book] : I’m sure everybody has a story to tell, but I’m not ready. My managers asked me to write my Van Halen story (my three years in the band), but I told them that that stuff is going to be taken to the grave.” Speaking of Van Halen. The one thing I begrudge the record company is the unreleased live album. You recorded a show in Pittsburgh in 1998. The release was announced on the one-sheets and before it was due out. It was scuttled. I really wish they’d release it. It drives me crazy knowing that it’s locked away in a vault somewhere.

Cherone: “I’m surprised that it’s not out given the different technologies today.” You can find it out there on the ‘Net if you look, but I want the official properly mastered version. Not some bootleg.

Cherone: “You want it official. You want it remixed, tweaked and EQ-ed. You know it’s funny I completely forgot about that gig. It was a good gig…” And it should have been released.

Cherone: “Let me get on that for you (laughs).” Are you surprised that Van Halen hasn’t released any new music since you left the band?

Cherone: “I’m not surprised. When I was there, there were vaults of music. Eddie is not lying when he says he has a garage full of music. The rumor is that they’re in the studio right now and Eddie is in good shape. Nuno actually bumped into him recently and told me that he sounded great. There will be new music. They did the reunion with Sammy in 2004 and Eddie wasn’t in the greatest shape. They did the 2007 reunion with Roth, which I thought was great. I thought Roth was great and from that they are moving to this. I’m as big a Van Halen fan as anyone else and I’d love to hear new material from them and knowing Eddie – he doesn’t want to live off his catalogue. The fans want to see them tour, but Eddie is an artist and he needs to put out new material. So, I’m looking forward to it.”

  • DiamondDean

    Gees most EXTREME albums were better the VH 3!

  • Lupercal

    “Eddie was too wrapped up in his own little world in 1996 to fully realize how big an impact that now infamous MTV Award show appearance with Dave made on people. ”

    Well when things aren’t right things aren’t right. Do you think there is a minute possiblity that Eddie didn’t see David Lee Roth as the pinnacle of Van Halen? By that time they’d already had a decade of success with Sammy, and for whatever reason Eddie chose to do things his way – getting Roth back in may have just stirred up old feelings. And apparently it did at the MTV awards, hence why Eddie wasn’t fussed about having Roth back in the band. Its funny, because people seem to somehow think that Van Halen is somehow Roth’s band – he may have been the original, but by the late 90′s Eddie was calling the shots. I think he had every right to choose what singer he had in the band. Just like Iommi did with Sabbath, Lukather with Toto, Cantrell with Alice In Chains. The singer doesn’t always make the band. Van Halen showed that the minute 5150 hit the shelves.

    I’m just trying to explain that Eddie was probably more interested, in 1996/7, in getting some music done that he thought he wanted to do. Yes, the music with Roth on BOV1 was incredible. But if 2 songs is all he managed to get out of Roth, then he couldn’t just sit around and wait for him to have artistic enlightenment. Gary was probably the best man for the job at the time.

    I hate to come across as an argumentative guy, because I totally understand your point. The public were stoked, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that what they say goes. Nobody but Eddie and Roth knows how their relationship works, and perhaps at the time it was just better for Ed to put out an album with Gary than struggle with Roth.

    Its all just speculation, as always.

  • fielderdreams

    Roth_Leaps_83 – check out youtube stuff of howard stern interviews in 1998 with the band to see how sober EVH was at that time. weird stuff indeed……

  • Sparks on the Horizon!!!

    A long cold winter is about to be chased by one hot kick ass summer. Cant’cha just feel it? Takes a while to sift through a garage of tape. Hope it’s a double CD. Or a triple…quadruple?


    I was at the show in Pitts. It was pretty awesome.
    They were great live with Cherone. But that album was… not the best work.

  • temple5150

    “When I was there, there were vaults of music. Eddie is not lying when he says he has a garage full of music.”

    Looks like “Eddie” will be putting out albums upon albums posthumously like Tupac and MJ… And to think, he’ll probably live as long as Keith Richards as pickled as he’s been all these years — hope I make it that long.


    In ’96 I think Ed had a right to do whatever he wanted, but he can’t complain if people didn’t buy it. And I think in the case of VH, it was 90% Dave and 90% Eddie. Dave brought a lot more in terms of creativity to that band than just singing the songs. That was clear as soon as 5150 hit the shelves, and even more so with OUSUK12. I also think Ed was totally pissed to find out that after all the “success” they had with Sam that the public still went ballistic at the hint of Dave possibly returning. That was why, after Mitch turned him down, he went with Mr Nice Guy, soulmate, Gary. He wasn’t ready to move forward with Dave because he wanted to take “baby steps”. All of which is perfectly understandable. I would rather have VHIII than have Ed lose his mind because he wasn’t ready to deal with the Diamond One.

  • Roth_Leaps_83

    I think Eddie is a little too much of an egomaniac to look at himself critically and the choices he makes.

    When it comes to choosing lead singers, he has a rather lazy method that involves using whatever is available in his little circle of friends and associates. He got really lucky when he found Roth and his “free PA system as a bonus” perk. Then, he picked Hagar because of a suggestion from his auto mechanic Claudio. Finally, he picked Cherone because they both had the same manager (Ray Daniels).

    2 out of the 3 singers worked well, and one didnt. I just wish Edward would admit that he should have at least held exhaustive tryouts in 1996 instead of quickly choosing Cherone because Ray Daniels was pushing it. At the very least, there would have been a more objective way to find a competent lead singer/writer for the mighty Halen and “VH III” probably wouldnt have been such a disaster.

    Still, Eddie passed up a HUGE payday by passing on Roth in 1996. That tour would have made him a gazillion bucks, and they still had enough time to cut a new album with Dave so he could satisfy his artistic integrity instead of just doing a money-grab reunion tour — which he ended up doing anyway in 2004 and 2007-08.

  • Sparks on the Horizon!!!

    @Roth_Leaps_83- Well put. Especially the reasoning behind selecting Gary Cherone. Being a bit of an Extreme fan at the time, I imediately pictured Ed not wanting to go through all of the contractual hullabaloo that came with bringing Sam into the fold. I do recall the interviews with Ed where he mentions not being too impressed with Gary’s demo but liked him once he met him in person. At that point, a meeting in person at all, to me, smacks of a persistent manager, determined to finesse a situation. Why even meet if you’re like, “ehh, got anything else?”. I like Gary, and I appreciate his efforts and the gracious way he handled himself in and out of VH, but unfortunately, mixing a flavorful vegetable in with a bowl of your favorite ice cream…doesn’t quite stand a chance from the get go.
    As for Garys remark about “taking it to the grave”, one can only imagine what that means. Admirable that a book documenting only those 3 years of his life is a project he’s passing on. Probably a lot of stuff aired in those few years that a guy as good as he is, knows would do no one any good to rehash, especially now.

  • Bocephus

    Some of Ed’s best playing. Poor Mike Post choice. Gary did as well as anyone could have despite the strain Van Halen was undergoing at the time.

    A class act in Gary Cherone.

  • Sparks on the Horizon!!!

    Left part of my thought out…

    Being a bit of an Extreme fan at the time, I was aware of the management connection between the two bands and figured that played a part in the decision to give Gary a whack at job. Then bla bla blah.

  • No Mas Tony

    Roth_Leaps_83 says: “Eddie was too wrapped up in his own little world in 1996 to fully realize how big an impact that now infamous MTV Award show appearance with Dave made on people. Just seeing the original VH lineup onstage got people so fucking stoked you could feel the electricity sparking in the air. I remember not being able to sleep that night — just thinking about a possible Van Roth reunion tour and album!

    I liked a lot of what you posted. Damn, I try not to be one of the people that lives in the past (Not that you have much choice as a Van Halen fan :-( ) Anyway, I remember the standing ovation they got that night and all the praise from the other musicians; all of which, could not wait for the Van/Roth reunion. Then, of course, like a week or two later Eddie is smoking a cig on MTV looking all moody and talking about how Roth disrespected Beck. (?!) I even remember Beck saying he didn’t take it like that at all, but whatev…

    It’s the past and yeah, a HUGE letdown and one can only imagine the full album and concerts that COULD HAVE BEEN. Cause even Roth as a solo artist has done way more than Van Halen after the 96 let-down.

    As far as Cherone… yeah, he did a respectable job with Roth era songs and sang some of the Hagar stuff okay. Never liked VH3 but he tried. We all know how much Van Halen loves recording stuff they never release.

    Like 51504VH was saying, it is kinda funny that the ex-bandmates are giving us news on Van Halen’s progress…

    Stay tune next week when Mitch Maloy is grocery shopping and talks about the release date for the new album. Later Alex’s hair dresser will ‘tweet’ the track list.

  • anythingleftinthatbottle

    @ Roth_Leaps_83 says: You see things precisely the way I do!