Billboard.com has an interesting story about the series of meetings that Van Halen had with Interscope Records that “presented the band with a global plan that included extensive marketing, merchandising, touring and, of course, recordings.” Here’s the Billboard article, followed by our own comments:
Van Halen To Sign With Interscope
By Shirley Halperin, THR
Iconic rock band Van Halen are set to sign with Interscope Records, says a source familiar with the negotiations. The deal is expected to be finalized next week, marking the first time in 35 years that the band will not release music through Warner Music, its longtime label home.
It had been rumored — and reported — that the band was joining the Columbia Records roster. In fact, an insider tells The Hollywood Reporter that the contract for the Sony deal was drawn up and approved but hadn’t been signed when Universal Music stepped into the picture.
The signing was a group effort involving UMG chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge, UMG International COO Max Hole, Interscope Geffen A&M vice chairman Steve Berman and Interscope’s Jimmy Iovine, who, says a source, “heard the band was available and wanted to work with them. It was decided at the 11th hour.” What came next was a series of meetings that presented the band with a global plan that included extensive marketing, merchandising, touring and, of course, recordings.
So what derailed the Columbia deal? The usual rock band complications, says an insider. While the group reunited with original singer David Lee Roth in 2006, the Sony label could not come to terms with Roth, who has a separate management, legal and accounting team than the other three members, guitarist Eddie Van Halen and his son Wolfgang (who replaced bassist Michael Anthony) and drummer Alex Van Halen. The main issue for Roth? He was apparently adamant about being on a west coast label. “He was never on board [with Columbia],” says the source. “It was as complicated as anyone would imagine, when one side says black, the other says white. The label was pretty skeptical that things would work out.”
It’s expected that as frontman, Roth will have to carry much of the marketing burden and it seems the band members ultimately want their singer to be happy with the deal which is why they went with Universal’s west coast-based Interscope.
A new album, their first studio effort since 1984, is believed to be nearly finished with the hope that it can be released in 2012. The band is expected to make a “special announcement” on Nov. 30 at the Grammy Awards nominations concert, which will air live on CBS from Los Angeles’ Nokia Theater.
An Interscope rep had no comment.
First, a note from VHND regarding the last paragraph of the above article. The new album has actually been done for quite awhile – mixing was completed in August and mastering was done in September. Also, it will definitely be released in early 2012.
As an extension of the article, sources have told VHND that David Lee Roth was the driving force behind the move to Interscope (A division of Universal – which has a stable of artists such as U2 and the Police) and it seems his desire was to be on a more “hip” label. One that would take advantage of all promotion tools available (such as new media and new technology). While the other three members (Wolf, Alex and Eddie) were ready to go with Columbia, it was Roth who prevailed upon them to go with Interscope and when presented with Interscope’s package they agreed it was the way to go.
It must be noted that, if Roth will be charged with promotions with the new album, Van Halen is in good hands. Simply put, this is something DLR does VERY well. Since Ed and Alex don’t particularly like interviews it seems only natural to place this in the capable hands of Roth, who guided the Van Halen promotional ship from 1978 to 1984.
It’s especially interesting that the band chose Interscope over Columbia mainly because of Roth. It’s also very exciting that the story implies that Roth might do much of the marketing, which makes sense, as that’s what he was born to do! All this shows that Roth has quite a bit of say in what Van Halen does!