'Internet has changed everything': Eddie Van Halen addresses outcry over reworking old demos

Something of a firestorm broke out among some when David Lee Roth offhandedly confirmed that Van Halen had reworked some old songs for its then-still pending reunion project, A Different Kind of Truth.

Thing is, Van Halen had been doing that from the beginning — something confirmed by Eddie Van Halen in a new interview. By our count, for instance, at least three previous albums — 1979’s Van Halen II, 1982’s Diver Down, and 1984 — included reworked songs from earlier sessions.

[YOU DON’T MESS WITH DIAMOND DAVE: Before their tour ended, the unflappable David Lee Roth stopped a Van Halen concert to deal with a fan fight; watch the video here!]

In the talk with Guitar World, Van Halen confirms that “Hang ‘Em High” from Diver Down, and “House of Pain” from 1984 (both mentioned in our earlier piece) grew out of old demos. He also says that “Mean Street/Voodoo Queen” from 1981’s Fair Warning had a similar genesis.

Apparently, most fans couldn’t have cared less, as A Different Kind Of Truth raced to No. 6 on Billboard’s mid-year list of top-selling rock albums for 2012. A blockbuster tour followed, though it was eventually cut short when the band acknowledged that it had over-scheduled itself.

“We approached this record no different than any other,” Van Halen tells Guitar World. “The internet has changed everything. Now everyone knows where things came from. Before the internet, nobody would have known that these were songs that we had already written but never released.”

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Here’s a look back at our recent thoughts on Van Halen. 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!

The Something Else! webzine, an accredited Google News affiliate, has been featured in The New York Times and NPR.com's A Blog Supreme, while our writers have also been published by USA Today, Jazz.com and UltimateClassicRock.com, among others. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.