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Van Halen/David Lee Roth Reunion Inevitable? Print E-mail
Thursday, 01 June 2006
According to reports on Billboard.com and on Sirius Satellite Radio, a Van Halen (not a Van Haggar) reunion is “inevitable” if you ask their former lead singer. Roth, considered to be one of the best and definitely the most flamboyant, frontmen in the history of rock is reeling from being fired by CBS as the East Coast replacement for Howard Stern. Radio analysts suggest the King of All Media (Stern) earns his title with over 20 years of broadcasting popular and relevant (farts and lesbians are always relevant) content for hit radio, satellite radio, TV shows, pay-per-view and feature films. Roth couldn’t (and shouldn’t have been asked) to fill his shoes. Roth and the brothers Van Halen didn’t exactly part on good terms in the mid-1980’s but have joined forces since the breakup after their signature Van Halen record 1984, to create two new songs on Van Halen’s Best of compilation. Without question, the songs were strong. Roth doesn’t have the range that he used to but he still has the swagger and that alone should have the Eddie and Alex considering the humble offer being made by Roth. David Lee is on a mission from God “its time to put the band back together?”

Why would Eddie and Alex Van Halen make a new record with David Lee Roth? Sources close to AVRev.com suggest that they don’t because there is much of a completed record already in the can with the former frontman. With a little polish and a little production – it could be ready for sale. And if it was – expect Van Halen to release the record either on their own or with very little being paid to any label to release it. The band ended its 25 year relationship with Warner Music a few years back and likely doesn’t need much of the label’s help considering the success that former WEA artists like Prince have had releasing his own records. Even with smaller sales volumes, the artist can keep the lion’s share of the revenue from a studio album which isn’t traditionally the case in a major label record deal. Marketing a new Van Halen record, unlike practically any other product you can think of, is absolutely free. Rock radio to this day, lives on historic acts like Van Halen. A hit VH song with David Lee Roth could send their album to the top of the charts instantly. MTV was made on videos from Van Halen and David Lee Roth’s solo material. Perhaps MTV could interrupt their day-long reality TV broadcasts to show a video or two? If Van Halen had a new video, 68 year old, MTV news anchor Kurt Loder, would make sure of it.

The question remains - could the brothers Van Halen learn to get along with Roth? Stranger things have happened in the history of rock (think Spinal Tap reforming when Sex Farm hit the charts in Japan). Is it possible that Roth has mellowed just a little from such a devastating failure on terrestrial radio? Perhaps Roth’s raging ego could be calmed by the fact that Sammy Haggar (denoting the Van Haggar era) was more commercially successful with Van Halen in terms of radio and MTV airplay thanks to hits such as "Right Now," "Poundcake" and "Why Can't This Be Love." Perhaps none of these arguments matter when you consider the money that is on the table with a studio album and even better a worldwide tour. With enough money coming in, Roth can have is own dressing room (complete with a bowl of only green M&Ms, if it pleases him), his own chartered jet, a jet for the rest of the band and any other worldly comfort Roth might want or the band might need to make the gig fly.

If Van Halen wanted to make Jerry Garcia roll over in his grave with tour numbers that would eclipse that of anything The Grateful Dead ever posted – they should consider a reunion with both of their frontmen. Why not release a double album with both singers and tour with both singers. Haggar and Roth were on tour (although it reportedly had some rough spots) together a number of years ago. If the band is pulling in millions upon millions of dollars per show – could bygones be bygones? With enough money on the table – you bet.

Money can cure the evils that haunt Van Halen however that shouldn’t be the reason why the band plugs back in with David Lee Roth. The motivation should be the music or even more importantly Van Halen’s musical legacy. In today’s music scene where the only frontmen are Baby Boomers like Roth and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, younger, whiny-ass bands of today need to actually learn how to rock with the actually skill and attitude that those in the past did. Older fans clamor to hear an Eddie guitar solo or a complex Alex Van Halen drum fill, having been starved from anything musically technical for decades now. The simplistic music of bands the likes of The White Stripes without question has rock and roll energy but the musical complexity of the hit tunes is at the level that sixth graders can easily handle. The music loving audience has been fed crappy sounding downloads and even crappier pop-rock music for long enough. It’s like being fed a musical diet of nothing but chemically pleasing fast food. Today’s music can taste good when you eat it but much like filmmaker Morgan Spurlock eloquently pointed out in Super Size Me, you feel sick 15 minutes later. Eddie and Alex need to call up Dave and make something happen even if it is just finishing the studio record. Van Halen fans and music fans alike deserve to aurally dine at the likes of The French Laundry or at Il Mulino – not suffer in the Denny’s-like musical purgatory we are forced to eat at today.

Sources: Billboard.com, Sirius Satellite Radio

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