Two more brand-new tunes have emerged from the forthcoming reunion project between Van Halen and David Lee Roth — “Blood and Fire” and “The Trouble With Never.” Both are to be included on A Different Kind of Truth, the group’s first full-length recording with its original 57-year-old frontman since 1984.
[READ OUR REVIEW OF 'TRUTH': In a pre-release review, we called the Van Halen reunion album "a return to form in the most complete sense of the word."]
The revamped Van Halen has already issued the lead single — “Tattoo,” which shot to No. 1 on Billboard’s hard rock singles charts — from A Different Kind of Truth, which is due on Feb. 7. They’ve also announced a tour, where Roth will be joined by original guitarist Eddie Van Halen and drummer Alex Van Halen, as well as the group’s current bass player Wolfgang, Eddie’s son. He replaces Michael Anthony, who booted in 2006 after 32 years.
Van Halen carried on with singer Sammy Hagar starting in 1985, but he was eventually replaced in the mid-1990s (though only briefly) by former Extreme singer Gary Cherone. Van Halen then worked with Hagar again from 2003-05, before officially severing ties. Anthony and Hagar are now in the band Chickenfoot.
Here’s a look back at our recent thoughts on Van Halen. Click through the titles for complete reviews …
SOMETHING ELSE! FEATURED ARTIST: VAN HALEN: A long-waited reunion with original lead singer David Lee Roth has Van Halen back in the news … and us digging through some old albums. Here’s a look back at a few favorite moments with Roth — and yes, Sammy, too — along with updated tour date information, a link to video from Van Halen’s recent small-club date with Roth and an early demo of one of the tracks to be included on the forthcoming A Different Kind of Truth, to be issued on February 7. Let’s start shredding!
SOMETHING ELSE! SNEAK PEEK: VAN HALEN, “SHE’S THE WOMAN” (2012): Van Halen’s first reunion gig with original lead singer David Lee Roth included plenty of parachute-pantsed favorites, but there was also one new track. The reformed band played a 45-minute set on Thursday at Cafe Wha?, at 250-seat club in New York’s Greenwich Village. Van Halen opened with “You Really Got Me,” and closed with “Jump,” but perhaps most interesting was their inclusion of this previously unreleased song that was first demoed in the 1970s.
“She’s The Woman” was first recorded in 1976 with producer Gene Simmons of Kiss, then was re-recorded a year later as part of Van Halen’s initial Warner Brothers sessions. Riffs from the track eventually made their way onto “Mean Street,” from 1981’s Fair Warning album.
SOMETHING ELSE! INTERVIEW: STEVE HACKETT ON EDDIE VAN HALEN: Hackett is widely credited with creating the tapping technique later made famous by Eddie Van Halen, first employing the technique in 1971 on “The Musical Box” from Genesis’s Nursery Cryme: “When I joined the band, the song was already written,” Hackett told us. “They were performing it live. So, I came up with guitar parts on top of what they had written. I was trying to come up with something suitable. I thought: ‘I wonder if it is possible to use both hands on the fretboard?’ You could play extremely fast on one string. I quickly realized that the sky’s the limit for anyone who wants to use that technique. Eddie has, of course, acknowledged the influence. I came up with the technique, and he gave it a name.”
THE FRIDAY MORNING LISTEN: VAN HALEN – WOMEN AND CHILDREN FIRST (1980): Maybe the best thing about this Van Halen deal is the reemergence of the great Roth vs. Hagar debates. I’ve spent more than a little time over the years (and over the last week) reading fan commentary on this and it never fails to entertain. I’ve written enough about musical resonance to know that people have their own reasons, from nostalgia to general musical leanings, for their preferences. What cracks me up is when guys (and let’s face it, it’s mostly guys) start plastering the opposition (because face it, they are now “the enemy”) with all sorts of nasty labels. Gees guys, it’s only rock ‘n roll, you know?