Check out David Lee Roth’s hand-written lyrics for the song “Blood and Fire,” one of the stand-out tracks from Van Halen’s new project A Different Kind of Truth.
The song seems to specifically address the long journey that Roth and Van Halen took to get to A Different Kind of Truth, after last recording together in 1984. This rough draft also mirrors their fanbase’s overwhelmingly positive reaction to the reunion: Toward the end, there’s a doodle from Roth that enthusiastically says: “BOOM!”
“‘Blood and Fire’” finds Roth howling with a robust vigor,” we said in our initial review of A Different Kind of Truth, “as Eddie returns to the pop-metal vibe that propelled ‘Dance the Night Away.’” Like that hit song, it has an easy-going riff, and no small amount of humor: “The tune cracked me up on first listen, with Dave’s hilarious aside: ‘Told ya I was comin’ back. Say you missed me: Say it like you mean it!,’” our Mark Saleski said in his review of the project.
Roth, who fronted Van Halen from its mid-1970s founding through 1985 (and then briefly in 1996 and 2001), appears on “Blood and Fire” with fellow original members Eddie Van Halen and Alex Van Halen as well as the group’s current bass player Wolfgang, Eddie’s son. He replaces Michael Anthony, 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, again, 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.
Van Halen issued A Different Kind of Truth on February 3, but didn’t add “Blood and Fire” to the set list until earlier this week, when the group performed it on March 26 in Reading, Pennsylvania. The lyrics to “Blood and Fire” were originally posted by the Van Halen News Desk.
Here’s a look back at our recent thoughts on Van Halen. Click through the headlines for complete reviews …
VAN HALEN – A DIFFERENT KIND OF TRUTH (2012): It’s interesting that A Different Kind of Truth doesn’t always go for the easy hook (recalling Fair Warning), something that may surprise late-arriving fans of keyboard-driven pop successes like “Jump” (and certainly the subsequent period with David Lee Roth’s successor, Sammy Hagar). Some of the material requires more than one listen to completely absorb, and Anthony’s cloud-bursting tenor is missed at times. But A Different Kind of Truth has a way of burrowing in. That’s largely thanks to the presence of Roth, of course. He’s always good for spandex-splitting laugh or two.
SHOWS I’LL NEVER FORGET: DAVID LEE ROTH, JUNE 24, 1988: What will always stick with me about that night was the showmanship. For whatever Roth might lack in vocal chops, he’s always made up for in stage presence and performance. On that night, he was on top of his game, bouncing around all over the stage, kicking and leaping with manic energy. At one point, he rappelled from the lights to the stage. He performed “Panama” from a boxing ring suspended from the roof of the arena and then rode a surfboard over the crowd back to the stage as he sang “California Girls.” It was a production drenched in the excess of the late 1980s, and I loved it.
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. Let’s start shredding!
ON SECOND THOUGHT: VAN HALEN – A DIFFERENT KIND OF TRUTH (2012): I stand corrected – and pleasantly surprised, too. When I went into my first listen of Van Halen’s A Different Kind of Truth, I was expecting a steaming pile of mediocrity. Instead, the album is loaded with big, crazy riffing from Eddie Van Halen. As I listen to the record, I keep coming back to one word – swagger. That could be a complete review of this album in itself. It’s something that the best work from Van Halen has always had, and something that, for me, was often missing in the post-DLR version of the band.