You wondered how long it would last with this reconstituted version of the always-fighting Van Halen. Answer, apparently: June 26.
The group, which recently reunited in the studio with David Lee Roth for the first time since 1984, have deleted all of its remaining summer tour dates after the June 26, 2012 appearance in New Orleans — without explanation. The 30 cancelled shows include stops from Utah and Texas to Ohio and South Carolina.
They called the new album A Different Kind of Truth. But it’s looking like the same old thing: For all of their successes — including the band’s highest charting song ever in “Jump” — Roth and band co-founder Eddie Van Halen have been the definition of on-again, off-again after Roth’s initial tenure as lead singer from 1972-85. He returned in 1996 to record a pair of new songs for a greatest hits package before everything fell apart, then was gone again until an even more brief stint in 2001, then returned to tour again in 2007-08, before finally getting back together for their new studio project last year.
Charged with keeping the peace, a thankless job if ever there was one, on this new album and tour was Eddie Van Halen’s son Wolfgang, who took over bass playing duties, picked the running order for A Different Kind of Truth, and had even been running the tour practices, according to a recent article in Esquire. The shows have been well received, and even included an intriguing number of deep cuts from the band’s early catalog.
Apparently, though, there was only so much interference Wolfie could run.
[YOU DON’T MESS WITH DIAMOND DAVE: At a recent Van Halen concert in New Hampshire, David Lee Roth had to deal with a fight of a different kind — the fans; watch the video here!]
Of course, Roth hasn’t been the only one to have a stormy relationship with the band Van Halen. His replacement, Sammy Hagar, who began fronting the group in 1985, was acrimoniously relieved of his duties in 1996, and then returned from 2003-05 — only to get axed again. In between those two stints, Hagar was replaced (again, very briefly) by Gary Cherone in the mid-1990s.
Before this reunion could get underway, Van Halen also ditched original bassist Michael Anthony, who had been with Van Halen since 1974 but had seen his role in the group dramatically falter in recent times. He appeared on just three cuts on 1996’s Van Halen III, Anthony’s last original full-length album project with the band. When Van Halen reunited to begin work A Different Kind of Truth, Wolfgang was at the bass, as he had been on the 2007-08 tour. Anthony has now joined Chickenfoot, along with fellow Van Halen ex-pat Sammy Hagar.
Rolling Stone is reporting that the newly reconstituted Van Halen is faring no better than those previous incarnations: They “hate each other,” according to a source. “The band is arguing like mad. They are fighting.”
Details are few as to why these new Van Halen dates have been shelved, whether the shows would be rescheduled or tickets would be refunded: Some local promoters — including United Concerts and AEG — issued statements, but confusion reigns. The Salt Lake Tribune reported that the concert there had been “temporarily postponed.” says “for those less trusting, refunds are available at the point of purchase.” Readers in Las Cruces, Mexico were told: “Future dates to be announced.”
Stunned arena operators were left to answer questions from fans and media, with little to go on: “You want to know the absolute fuckin’ truth? I have no fuckin’ idea,” one told Rolling Stone.
Here’s a look back at our recent thoughts on Van Halen, and Chickenfoot. Click through the titles for more …
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.
AFFABLE MICHAEL ANTHONY SAYS HE WON’T PURSUE ROYALTY CASE OVER NEW VAN HALEN ALBUM: When David Lee Roth confirmed that Van Halen returned to the band’s vaults in search of old pieces of music and existing lyrics for a much-anticipated new album, it brought up the question of royalties for original bassist Michael Anthony. Van Halen had a policy, back then, of crediting all four members equally for each song — meaning Anthony could potentially make a case for a cut of the cash when it comes to A Different Kind of Truth. That won’t happen, though. Anthony, who was ousted from Van Halen along with singer Sammy Hagar in advance of this reunion with original frontman Roth, says he won’t be lawyering up.
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 — including “Runnin’ with the Devil,” “Hot for Teacher,” “Jamie’s Cryin,'” “Good Enough,” “And the Cradle will Rock” and “Ice Cream Man.” 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.
SOMETHING ELSE! INTERVIEW: CHICKENFOOT’S KENNY ARONOFF: When superstar drummer Kenny Aronoff — on tour now with Chickenfoot — starts recalling his sideman projects, they spill out with no rhyme or reason. He’s, almost literally, played them all. Of course, today it’s Chickenfoot, an all-star rock group featuring vocalist Sammy Hagar and bassist Michael Anthony, late of Van Halen, and sizzling guitar hero Joe Satriani. Aronoff is filling in for Chad Smith, who did the record but is now on tour with his main band, the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Chickenfoot announced a new U.S. tour this week, after a string of successful European stops in January. Chickenfoot is just the latest stop in a dizzyingly diverse career for one of music’s most in-demand drummers. Aronoff starts listing them off then stops himself, taking it all in: “I mean, are you fucking kidding me?”
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