Good news for Van Halen fans! In a new interview with Faster Louder, David Lee Roth reveals that Van Halen is planning to spend some time recording new music after they complete their Japan tour in June. Dave mentions “preparing for some new recording and some new songs.” While this is great to hear, we’ll be cautiously optimistic and not count on a full album being released anytime soon. We think they might be considering releasing one or more songs rather than an album. We’ll see!
Are there any plans for new Van Halen recorded material?
Yes. I was just on the phone with the fellas … We are going to be getting together, not this month, at the end of June to start preparing for some new recording and some new songs, but we’re touring a little bit this year. That’s kind of a surprise. We’re in Australia, we’re doing a Japan tour for a couple of weeks, and we’re doing some American stuff. That comes as a bit of a surprise. Van Halen projects are a bit like James Bond movies. They come around about once every three-and-a-half years. Any sooner and it’s like, “Weren’t you just here?” It’s like that third Johnny Depp pirate movie [Pirates Of The Caribbean]. Weren’t you guys just here? Oh, that’s a rough one right. Leave before the sun sets, quit just before the party begins to disintegrate, don’t be the first one back in next week. We’ve been around for so long that that is a deft kind of a tactic. And there’s politics. So with that in mind I imagine we’ll be doing extensive touring and travelling outside the United States after this upcoming tour.
We plan ahead by about two-and-a-half years in advance, which sounds extravagant … [But] from the time you go, “Let’s start to write some songs”, until all of the machines of production and humanity kick in, things move achingly slow. Achingly slow. Especially if you are art-centric, if you want something to last, it’s going to take a long time to put it all together. Quick up is quick down. We know about one hit wonders and we know about fast, but it’s about three years, it takes about three years.
I think probably the biggest issue last time around was Ed’s health [he was forced to undergo emergency surgery for Diverticulitis]. We have been struggling with that since we started recording this last record, but we’re tough. A lot of artists are very fond of checking into the hospital with “exhaustion”, whatever that is, and making sure everybody knows about it – and we don’t do that. But behind the scenes, there’s a lot of fragile politics, there’s a lot of world weary bodies here. You’ve heard the expression 40 is the new 30 … Well, for me, 58 is the new 80 [laughs] So we’ve been struggling with Ed’s health, but he’s fine now, he’s doing great. But we were up and down before we even started recording that record [A Different Kind Of Truth]. It took us quite a while to get the record out of the factory, because of that. And then we cancelled a whole number of shows in the United States and Japan etc. to accommodate Ed. But he’s doing quite well now. So stay tuned.
Last question then Dave – well, it’s only the second or third of my planned questions but we’ll go with it – tell me about the dynamic of the band now, especially with a 20-year-old in the band [bassist Wolfgang Van Halen], compared to all of those years ago, onstage and off?
Back then the goals were a little bit different, but the energies were a little displaced, I think the band is more focused now, on all of the details of what we do. So things like the website, show up a little more colourfully, as opposed to hiring it out to other folks. As you’re learning and new moving along, you have to subdivide, you have to have somebody else do your video, you’re gonna have to have somebody else working on your stage design, because those are languages you don’t know. We speak those languages now. And the band is, if nothing else, a bit more thankful for the privilege of the job that we have, compared to a lot of the other jobs that we’ve had … I think the Van Halens have the same perspective.
Having someone who’s 20 years old in the band? Well you’re gonna have to keep up with us. The brothers and I are still skinny and full of victory. ‘Gonna Fly Now’ and all those great theme songs [laughs]. It’s pretty rare that somebody our age just signs up for the first stop time and can just keep up, but there’s a thrill of competition, the band ensemble competing with the world, then individually we still compete with each other, and it’s not really soured notes in the symphony. It’s volition, it’s sparks, and I think you’ll find that with any good team. And I find Wolfgang fits right in. Now that the three guys look the same, and I’m the one that’s different, I feel like Sammy Davis Jr. I’ve got a better sense of how he felt in the Rat Pack [laughs].
Van Halen will perform at Stone Festival at ANZ Stadium this Saturday, April 20, along with Aerosmith, Jimmy Barnes, The Living End and “supergroup” Kings Of Chaos.