From left to right: David Lee Roth (vocals), Eddie Van Halen (guitar), Alex Van Halen (drums), and Wolfgang Van Halen (bass guitar), 2008
|Also known as||Genesis, Mammoth (early)|
|Origin||Pasadena, California, U.S.|
|Years active||1972–present (on hiatus as of 2015)|
Van Halen (/ / van HAY-len) is an American rock band formed in Pasadena, California in 1972. Credited with "restoring hard rock to the forefront of the music scene", Van Halen is known for its energetic live shows and for the work of its acclaimed lead guitarist, Eddie Van Halen. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.
From 1974 until 1985, Van Halen consisted of Eddie Van Halen; Eddie's brother, drummer Alex Van Halen; vocalist David Lee Roth; and bassist Michael Anthony. Upon its release, the band's self-titled debut album reached No. 19 on the Billboard pop music charts. By the early 1980s, Van Halen was one of the most successful rock acts of the time. The album 1984 was a hit; its lead single, "Jump", is the band's only U.S. number one single to date and was internationally known.
In 1985, Van Halen replaced Roth with former Montrose lead vocalist Sammy Hagar. With Hagar, the group released four U.S. number-one albums over the course of 11 years (5150 in 1986, OU812 in 1988, For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge in 1991, and Balance in 1995). Hagar left the band in 1996 shortly before the release of the band's first greatest hits collection, Best Of – Volume I. Former Extreme frontman Gary Cherone replaced Hagar, remaining with the band until 1999; Van Halen then went on hiatus until reuniting with Hagar for a worldwide tour in 2003. The following year, the band released The Best of Both Worlds, its second greatest hits collection. Hagar again left Van Halen in 2005; in 2006, Roth returned as lead vocalist. Anthony was fired from the band in 2006 and was replaced on bass guitar by Wolfgang Van Halen, Eddie's son. In 2012, the band released the commercially and critically successful A Different Kind of Truth.
As of March 2019, Van Halen is 20th on the RIAA list of best-selling artists in the United States; the band has sold 56 million albums in the States and more than 80 million worldwide, making them one of the best-selling groups of all time. As of 2007, Van Halen was one of only five rock bands with two studio albums that sold more than 10 million copies in the United States. Additionally, Van Halen has charted 13 number-one hits on Billboard's Mainstream Rock chart. VH1 ranked the band seventh on a list of the top 100 hard rock artists of all time.
1972–1977: Formation and early history
The Van Halen brothers were born in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Alex Van Halen in 1953 and Eddie Van Halen in 1955, sons to Dutch musician Jan Van Halen and Indonesian-born Indo Eugenia Van Beers. The family moved to Pasadena, California, in 1962. Young Edward first began studying classical piano, and became quite proficient (although he never fully mastered the art of reading sheet music). Eventually the brothers started playing music together in the 1960s—Eddie on drums and Alex on guitar. While Eddie was delivering newspapers to pay for his new drum set, Alex would sneak over and play them. Eventually Eddie found out about it, and out of frustration he told Alex, "OK, you play drums and I'll go play your guitar."
The Van Halen brothers formed their very first band, called The Broken Combs, in 1964. As they progressed and gained popularity, they started to play many backyard parties and changed the name of their band to The Trojan Rubber Co. In 1972, the Van Halen brothers formed a band called Genesis featuring Eddie as lead vocalist/guitarist, Alex on drums, and Mark Stone on bass. They initially rented a sound system from David Lee Roth but decided to save money by letting him join as lead vocalist even though his previous audition(s) had been unsuccessful. By 1974, the band decided to replace Stone, so Michael Anthony, bassist and lead vocalist from local band Snake was auditioned. Following an all-night jam session, he was hired for bass and backing vocals.
The band later changed its name to Mammoth when they discovered the name Genesis was already being used. In 1974, Mammoth officially changed its name to Van Halen. According to Roth, this was his brainchild. He felt it was a name that had power, like Santana. They played backyard parties and on a flatbed truck at Hamilton Park. In one early gig, in December, 1974, Van Halen played a gig at the Christmas Family Festival at the Greek Theatre in San Pedro, California. By the Spring of 1975, they were the regular Tuesday night band at Myron's Ballroom. Van Halen subsequently played clubs in Pasadena and Hollywood to growing audiences, increasing their popularity through self-promotion: before each gig they passed out flyers at local high schools. This sort of self-promotion soon built them a major following. Later that year, the band got its first break when it was hired to play at Gazzarri's, a formerly famous but down-at-the-heels night club on the Sunset Strip which closed in 1996.
Earlier, they had auditioned for the owner, Bill Gazzarri, but he claimed they were "too loud" and would not hire them. However, their new managers, Mark Algorri and Mario Miranda, who had coincidentally taken over Gazzarri's hiring, did the deal. Shortly afterwards, they recorded their first demo tape at the now-defunct Cherokee Studios in Northridge where Steely Dan recently had completed an album. Van Halen became a staple of the Los Angeles music scene during the mid-1970s, playing at well-known clubs like the Whisky a Go Go.
According to a January 4, 1977, L.A. Times article by Robert Hilburn, entitled "HOMEGROWN PUNK", Rodney Bingenheimer saw Van Halen at the Gazzarri club in the summer of 1976, so he took Gene Simmons of Kiss to see Van Halen. Simmons then produced a Van Halen demo tape with recording beginning at the Village Recorder studios in Los Angeles and finished with overdubs at the Electric Lady Studios in New York. Simmons wanted to change the band's name to "Daddy Longlegs", but the band stuck with Van Halen. Simmons then opted out of further involvement after he took the demo to Kiss management and was told that "they had no chance of making it" and that they wouldn't take them.
The Starwood Gig, a Major Label Deal and Recording the First Album
In mid-1977, Mo Ostin and Ted Templeman of Warner Bros. Records saw Van Halen perform at the Starwood in Hollywood. According to a December 1977 story in the Los Angeles Times, it was Van Halen's first booking at the Starwood and the first time they hired their own roadies. "We wanted to come on with a little class," David Lee Roth said, "and we couldn't be seen setting up our own stuff in Hollywood." Although the audience was small, Ostin and Templeman were impressed with Van Halen and within a week they offered the band a recording contract. The group recorded their debut album at Sunset Sound Recorders studio in mid-September to early October 1977, recording guitar parts for one week and then recording vocals for two additional weeks. All of the tracks were laid down with little over-dubbing or double-tracking. Minor mistakes were purposely left on the record and a simple musical set-up was used to give the record a live feel. During this time, they continued to play various venues in Southern California, including some notable concerts at the Pasadena Convention Center produced by their promoter and impresario, Steve Tortomasi, himself a fixture in the local rock and roll scene.
1978–1985: David Lee Roth era
Upon its release, Van Halen reached No. 19 on the Billboard pop music charts, one of rock's most commercially successful debuts. It was highly regarded as both a heavy metal and hard rock album. The album included songs now regarded as Van Halen classics, like "Runnin' with the Devil" and the guitar solo "Eruption", which showcased Eddie's use of a technique known as "finger-tapping". The band toured for nearly a year, opening for Black Sabbath and establishing a reputation for their performances. The band's chemistry owed much to Eddie Van Halen's technical guitar wizardry and David Lee Roth's flamboyant antics and stage persona, strong points which later made them rivals. The band returned to the studio in late 1978 to record Van Halen II, a 1979 album similar in style to their debut. This record yielded the band's first hit single, "Dance the Night Away".
Over the next few years, the band alternated album releases and touring (see Van Halen concert tours). Their Women and Children First album was released in 1980 and further cemented Van Halen's status. But in 1981, during the recording of the Fair Warning album, tensions rose. Eddie's desire for more serious and complex songs was at odds with Roth's poppy style. Nonetheless, Roth (and producer Templeman) acquiesced to Eddie's wishes.
Diver Down performed better. The band then earned a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for the highest-paid single appearance of a band: $1.5 million for a 90-minute set at the 1983 US Festival. Despite this return to form, Roth and Eddie's differences continued, and this caused friction with other band members. Billy Sheehan, after his band Talas completed a tour with Van Halen, claims he was approached by Eddie Van Halen to replace Michael Anthony. The reasons for this were never clear to Sheehan because nothing came of it. During this time, Eddie contributed the score and instrumental songs to the movie The Wild Life, starring Eric Stoltz. The score was drum machine heavy and hinted at some sounds and riffs that would come with their next two albums, 1984 and 5150.
1984 (released on January 9, 1984) was a commercial success, going five-times platinum after a year of release. Recorded at Eddie Van Halen's newly built 5150 Studios, the album featured keyboards, which had only been used sporadically on previous albums. The lead single, "Jump", featured a synthesizer hook and anthemic lyrics, and became the band's first and only No. 1 pop hit, garnering them a Grammy nomination. Other singles included "Panama" (No. 13 U.S.), "I'll Wait" (also No. 13 U.S.), and "Hot for Teacher". Three of the songs had popular music videos on MTV. 1984 was praised by critics and fans alike, peaking at No. 2 on the Billboard charts behind Michael Jackson's Thriller.
The album, however, was also a breaking point for the band. In the midst of the 1984 Tour, the artistic and personal tensions among the musicians reached a fever pitch. Reasons for the breakup vary based on the band member interviewed, but were rooted in control of the band's sound and image. Roth was upset about Eddie playing music outside of Van Halen without checking with the band, and his alleged drug abuse that allegedly prevented the band from viable practices. Roth was also launching a successful solo career with two hit songs off his Crazy from the Heat EP, a remake of The Beach Boys classic "California Girls" (#3 U.S.) and the old standard "Just a Gigolo" (#12 U.S.). Roth was also offered a $20-million film deal for a script titled Crazy from the Heat. Roth hoped Van Halen would contribute the soundtrack; however, the film deal fell through when MGM Pictures was sold in 1986.
1986–1996: Sammy Hagar era
Eddie invited Patty Smyth of Scandal to replace Roth but she declined. Eddie was then introduced by an auto mechanic to Sammy Hagar, the former frontman for the hard rock group Montrose, and at that time a solo artist coming off a very successful year. His hit single "I Can't Drive 55" came from his 1984 album VOA, produced by Ted Templeman who had also produced Montrose's first album Montrose, as well as all of Van Halen's albums up to that point. Hagar agreed to join and also serve as a rhythm guitarist on stage to add to the Van Halen sound.
In the May 2015 season premiere episode of the TV show Live from Daryl's House, musical guest Hagar stated that he had heard a rumor from "several people" and asked host Daryl Hall of Hall & Oates to confirm if he had been "asked by Eddie to sing in Van Halen." Hall affirmed that he had been asked after a Hall & Oates concert in 1985, but declined.
The first time the record company heard any of the new material with Hagar was when Warner Brothers president Mo Ostin came to the band's 5150 Studios. Hagar said the band played "Why Can’t This Be Love" live with Eddie on keyboards, after which Ostin proclaimed: "I smell money."
The 1986 Van Halen album 5150 was a huge hit, becoming the band's first No. 1 album on the Billboard charts, driven by the keyboard-dominated singles "Why Can't This Be Love" (#3 U.S.), "Dreams", and "Love Walks In" (Top 30 U.S.). To further introduce the new era for the band, a new Van Halen logo was put on the cover. The new logo retained elements of the original, but now the lines extending from either side of 'VH' wrapped around and formed a ring.
Following the release of the 5150 album, the "5150 Tour" tour was launched to support it across North America. Footage was released on VHS and DVD as Live Without a Net. In the band minimized the use of pre-Hagar Van Halen songs in the set, other than the band's best known classics. This was a trend that continued, with the expanding repertoire of Hagar-era songs slowly whittling away at the number of Roth-era songs on the set list.
All four studio albums produced during this period reached No. 1 on the Billboard pop music charts and 17 singles breached the top 12 of the mainstream rock tracks chart. During that era, a single taken from 1988's OU812, "When It's Love", reached the Top Five, peaking at No. 5. In addition, Van Halen was nominated for two Grammy awards. The band won the 1992 Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance with Vocal for the album For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge. Van Halen continued to enjoy success throughout the mid-1990s. In 1995, Van Halen released the album Balance and supported Bon Jovi on their European Summer stadium tour. They also made a live album called Live: Right Here, Right Now.
During the recording of songs for the film Twister, escalating tension between Hagar and the Van Halen brothers boiled over and Hagar departed on Father's Day, 1996. The band had recorded "Humans Being", a song for which Eddie, unhappy with Hagar's lyrics, retitled the song and wrote the melody. This upset Hagar, and when they were to record a second song for the soundtrack, Hagar was in Hawaii for the birth of his child. It was not an easy birth as the baby was breech, so needed to be delivered via C-section. With Hagar back in Hawaii and against the idea of doing the project, but having another song left to contribute, the Van Halen brothers alone recorded the instrumental "Respect the Wind". The performance, which featured Eddie playing guitar and Alex playing keyboards, was nominated for Best Rock Instrumental Performance at the 39th Annual Grammy Awards.
The band was also working on a compilation album. This led to conflicts with Hagar and the group's new manager, Ray Danniels, (Ed Leffler's replacement and Alex Van Halen's former brother-in-law), even though it was Leffler who had renewed their contract with Warner Bros. Records and had added in the Best Of album option years before. Hagar was reluctant to work on a compilation album before a new album came out, but if the rest of the band and Danniels insisted on going forward with one at that time, his preference was that it should include only Roth-era songs, or as a second choice, that two volumes should be released, one of Roth-era songs and one of Hagar-era songs. During this same period, competing personal priorities and creative differences contributed to increasing interpersonal tensions within the band, particularly between Eddie and Hagar. The relationship between Hagar and Van Halen broke down.
1996: Temporary reunion with Roth
David Lee Roth called Eddie to discuss what tracks would be included on a planned Van Halen compilation (work on which had actually begun before Hagar's departure). They got along well, and Eddie invited him up to his house/studio. Shortly afterwards, Roth re-entered the studio with the band and producer Glen Ballard. Two songs from those sessions were added to the band's Best Of – Volume I album and released as singles to promote it.
In September, Van Halen was asked to present an award at the 1996 MTV Video Music Awards. They agreed, and on September 4, 1996, the four original members of Van Halen made their first public appearance together in over eleven years. This helped to bring the compilation to No. 1 on the U.S. album charts. However, unknown to Roth, Eddie and Alex were still auditioning other singers, including Mitch Malloy.
The band's appearance on the 1996 MTV Video Music Awards fueled reunion speculation. But several weeks after the awards show, it was discovered that Roth was out of Van Halen again. Roth released a statement in which he apologized to the media and the fans, stating that he was an unwitting participant in a publicity stunt by Van Halen and manager Ray Danniels. The next day, Eddie and Alex released their own statement, claiming they had been completely honest with Roth and had never suggested he was guaranteed to be the next lead singer.
Eddie Van Halen later explained (in regard to the MTV Video Music Awards appearance) that he had initially been embarrassed by Roth's antics while on camera behind Beck, who was giving an acceptance speech for the award that Van Halen had presented to him. Immediately following this, the band had been taken to a backstage press conference where press queries about a reunion tour were met with Eddie Van Halen saying that he needed a hip replacement and would have to record an entire new studio album before any tour. In private Roth told Eddie to avoid talking about negative things like his hip and the two almost came to blows, thereby shattering any chance of a full-scale reunion.
1996–1999: Gary Cherone era
Van Halen's next lead singer was Gary Cherone, frontman of the then-defunct Boston-based band Extreme, a group which had enjoyed some popular success in the early 1990s. The result was the album Van Halen III. Many songs were longer and more experimental than Van Halen's earlier work. It was a notable contrast from their previous material, with more focus on ballads than traditional rock songs ("How Many Say I", with Eddie on vocals). Sales were poor by the band's standards, only reaching a Gold certification, despite the album peaking at No. 4 on the U.S. charts. However, Van Halen III did produce the hit "Without You", and another album track, "Fire in the Hole", appeared on the Lethal Weapon 4 soundtrack. The album was followed by a tour. The III Tour saw Van Halen playing in new countries, including first ever visits to Australia and New Zealand. "Without You" acquired No. 1 place on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Charts in 1998, the 13th song of theirs to do so, and thus making them the band with the most Mainstream Rock No. 1s.
Shortly afterwards, Van Halen returned to the studio and in early 1999, they started work on a new album. Working titles of songs included "Left for Dead", "River Wide", "Say Uncle", "You Wear it Well", "More Than Yesterday", "I Don't Miss You ... Much", "Love Divine", and "From Here, Where Do We Go?". The project was never released, with Cherone leaving the band amicably in November 1999. Citing musical differences, it is likely III's poor sales and critical reception had a big impact. None of the material from these sessions has ever been released, and in fact the band released no new material at all until three new songs were included on the 2004 Best of Both Worlds compilation. Lyrics that Cherone had written for the Van Halen III follow up would be used in his next project with Tribe of Judah.
Touring with Cherone had proven disappointing in terms of attendance. Eddie later admitted that "the powers that be" (Warner Bros.) had forced his hand in parting with Cherone. Unlike with the previous two singers, there was reportedly no bad blood behind the breakup, and Cherone remained in contact and on good terms with Van Halen. As when Hagar left, speculation resumed on a Roth reunion.
1999–2003: Hiatus from public
Eddie recovered from his hip surgery in November 1999, but from 2000 to early 2004 no official statements were made by Van Halen and no music was released. However, information about members past and present trickled in. The Van Halen brothers continued writing at 5150 Studios, Cherone recorded an album and toured with new band Tribe of Judah. One of the songs that Cherone had written for the scrapped second album with Van Halen, entitled "Left For Dead", would see its lyrics set to a new musical arrangement with Tribe of Judah.
Responding to speculation that he had been approached to replace Cherone, David Coverdale said, "I called a mutual friend and said, 'Tell Eddie I had nothing to do with this.' It just got ridiculous. I've heard that they were going to approach me, but since I left Purple I've always done my own thing. Why would I join anybody else?"
As reported by Slawterhouse, in 2000 at 5150, the band worked with Roth, writing new music, before falling out again. Eddie kept quiet, but made a rare appearance at the Los Angeles Police Department charity golf tournament in May 2001. Any band progress was interrupted on October 15, 2001, when Eddie and his wife of 21 years, actress Valerie Bertinelli, separated (though the couple did not file for divorce until December 8, 2005). In November 2001, Anthony claimed Roth had been working with the band again for a few months, but lawyers had shut it down. Anthony later denied this. The band was also dropped from Warner Bros., which had signed them in 1978. More positively, Eddie underwent treatment for cancer and announced his recovery on Van Halen's website in May 2002.
Eddie's only live performances during this period were joining Mountain to play "Never in My Life" in August 2002 and participating in a private audience jam at NAMM in January 2003. This jam took place at the Peavey booth (Peavey produced Eddie's signature "Wolfgang" model guitar). When word quickly spread through the NAMM show that Eddie was to play at the Peavey booth, he attracted a large number of people. But Eddie showed up late and drunk, and when he finally appeared, he was incoherent. As a result, Peavey chose not to offer an extension on their contract with Eddie, and thus stopped producing any EVH-signature products. Fender, which had purchased Charvel-Jackson, began a licensing deal with the EVH brand, including producing new amps and signature guitars, such as a copy of Eddie's famous "Frankenstein" Strat-style guitar.
In the summer of 2002, Roth and Hagar teamed up in the Song for Song, the Heavyweight Champs of Rock and Roll tour (also known as the 'Sans-Halen' or 'Sam & Dave' Tour). The tour, with both singers headlining, attracted media and audience fascination because it seemed more improbable than even a Van Halen tour with Roth or Hagar. It drew large crowds and featured no opening acts, Roth and Hagar alternating as the first act. Roth contrasted his personality with Hagar's: "He's the kind of guy you go out with to split a bottle with a friend. I'm the kind of guy you go out with if you want to split your friend with a bottle." Michael Anthony guested with Hagar's band, The Waboritas, numerous times and sometimes even sang lead vocals. During performances, Hagar would tease Anthony by asking, "Do the brothers know you're here?" Anthony never played with Roth. Cherone appeared on occasion. Hagar released a live album (Hallelujah), featuring vocals by Anthony and Cherone, and a documentary DVD, Long Road to Cabo, about touring with Roth. While the two singers promoted the tour and publicly claimed mutual respect, rumors of bitter acrimony and mutual loathing swirled. The allegations were later supported by backstage video, which showed the Roth and Hagar camps maintaining strict separation.
Next, Hagar joined with Joe Satriani and Journey guitarist Neal Schon to form a side project, Planet Us, with Michael Anthony and Deen Castronovo (also of Journey) on drums. The band recorded just two songs and played live a few times before dissolving when Hagar and Anthony rejoined Van Halen.
On July 4, 2004, Roth performed with one of the world's most popular orchestras, the Boston Pops, at United States' annual Pops Goes the Fourth celebration in Boston. Hagar remained active, releasing five albums and creating his own merchandising brand Cabo Wabo, which lends its name to his line of tequila, as well as his franchise of cantinas. He reunited with Montrose in 2003 and 2005 for a few performances and maintained contact with Michael Anthony, often playing with him. With Van Halen inactive, Anthony set up a website and worked on merchandising projects such as his signature Yamaha bass and range of hot sauces. He became involved with the annual music industry NAMM Show.
2003–2005: Reunion with Hagar
During January 2003, the VHND (Van Halen News Desk) website reported that Sammy Hagar was working with the Van Halens. No official confirmation came for an extended period of time. In late March 2004, Van Halen and Hagar announced that Hagar would reunite with the band for a new compilation release and a Summer concert tour of the USA.
In July 2004, Van Halen released a new 2-CD compilation featuring three new songs with Hagar: "It's About Time", "Up for Breakfast", and "Learning to See". These new songs were credited to Hagar/Van Halen/Van Halen, which was unusual since normally the entire lineup, which also included Michael Anthony, would be credited. However, the performance was credited to the entire band. Anthony later revealed in interviews that Eddie Van Halen had in fact not wanted him to be a part of the reunion and for this reason Anthony had not been allowed to perform in the sessions (explaining his lack of a songwriting credit), with Eddie playing the bass parts himself instead. However, Anthony did provide backing vocals for the three tracks. No songs with Gary Cherone from Van Halen III were included. It was certified platinum in the USA in August 2004.
The Summer 2004 tour grossed almost US$55 million, and Pollstar listed Van Halen in the top 10 grossing tours of 2004. Professional reviews of the tour, however, proved to be mixed. On some shows, Eddie's son Wolfgang came onstage and played guitar with his father during "316", a song dedicated to his son, taking its name from his birthday. During the later stages of the tour, stories of Eddie being drunk began to surface along with fan-shot video footage of poor playing. At the band's final show of the tour, in Tucson, Eddie smashed one of his guitars at the end of the show.
After the tour, things broke down. At first Hagar stated he had yet to decide what he would be doing with Van Halen, although he was still an official member of the band. Soon after, however, both Hagar and Anthony admitted that Eddie had problems with alcohol during the tour that affected everyone involved. Hagar stated that he was "done with Van Halen" and wished that everyone would have "taken it more seriously." Despite this, Eddie later described himself as "satisfied" with the tour.
After the tour ended, Hagar returned to his solo band The Waboritas, and Anthony appeared with him on tour occasionally. The band quickly faded from view after Hagar left again. In December 2005 Anthony revealed in an interview with Mark & Brian that he had not talked with the Van Halens and was unsure of their plans.
2006–2008: Second reunion with Roth
Rumors of a David Lee Roth reunion re-emerged and on January 3, 2006, Roth explained during an interview that he had spoken to Alex Van Halen the previous week and a reunion was "inevitable." However, he also said that Eddie Van Halen was "off in his own little world" recently. When asked if any problems occurred with Sammy Hagar during the 2004 tour Eddie Van Halen answered, "Sammy is Sammy, and for the most part that's just fine." Roth persisted with suggestions of a reunion, saying, "People want the reunion," and "No one will pay respect to what any of us do [musically] until we get the reunion out of the way." In May 2006, he told Billboard.com, "There's contact between the two camps."
On June 3, Michael Anthony began a successful tour with Hagar billed as "The Other Half" (a reference to them being half of Van Halen with the other half being Eddie/Alex), with Anthony singing lead vocals sometimes. Meanwhile, on June 19 the Van Halen brothers jumped onstage with Kenny Chesney at The Home Depot Center performing "Jump" and "You Really Got Me". This unusual performance was their first onstage since the 2004 tour. This was followed by another Eddie Van Halen performance on July 19, 2006, at the House of Petals in Los Angeles, playing new material. He followed this with an announcement on July 27, 2006, that some of his new music would be released on the soundtrack for the pornographic film Sacred Sin.
In March 2006, Anthony spoke to Japanese rock magazine Burrn!, claiming the brothers did not want him on the 2004 reunion tour, although Hagar did (and would not play without Anthony), but he had to agree to reduced royalties and end absolutely all association with the band after the tour in terms of rights to using the name to promote himself. It was in this same interview he admitted he was not involved in the new songs on Best of Both Worlds and only recorded three tracks for III.
Mike Anthony was replaced as bass player by Eddie's son, Wolfgang Van Halen, in 2006. On September 8, 2006, Howard Stern's Eddie Van Halen live interview broke the band's long silence. Eddie said he was willing to reunite with Roth and revealed a solo album in the works. Eddie confirmed that Wolfgang had replaced Anthony on bass; Wolfgang had played bass alongside his father on some 2004 concerts. When queried about The Other Half tour, Eddie said Anthony could "do what he wants" now. This shocked and offended many fans. In November, Eddie's spokesperson, Janie Liszewski, claimed the Van Halen family was writing/rehearsing for a summer 2007 tour, which Billboard magazine's website shortly confirmed. However, the Van Halen website remained in the state it had been in since the Hagar reunion.
On December 11, 2006, Eddie Van Halen stated to Guitar World magazine that David Lee Roth had been directly invited to rejoin the band. However, on December 28, Roth announced that he had not talked to Eddie in two years, and a reunion with Van Halen could result in a "Jerry Springer-style fight."
In January 2007, Van Halen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Van Halen brothers, Anthony, Hagar, and Roth were inducted, though only Hagar and Anthony appeared at the induction ceremony on behalf of the group. Billboard announced on January 24, 2007 that Van Halen would reunite with Roth for a U.S. tour. This was confirmed shortly after on the official Van Halen website.
The Van Halen News Desk announced on February 15, 2007, that a Van Halen Best Of (1978–1984), a single-disc compilation of Van Halen's David Lee Roth era, would be released by April 3. Shortly after, information arrived in a flood. Various sources claimed the tour was shut down as was the new "Best Of" CD. On March 8, 2007 Eddie announced on Van Halen's website that he was in rehab. Along with the announcement, a change was made to the website. The logo at the top of the page changed to the original Van Halen logo from their 1978 debut album.
As the band's Hall of Fame induction drew near, media focus shifted to that. Velvet Revolver would induct the band and speak on their behalf. On March 12, 2007, the band was inducted at a ceremony held at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. Anthony and Hagar were the only inductees in attendance. Velvet Revolver played "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love", and Anthony and Hagar performed "Why Can't This Be Love" with Paul Shaffer. At a post-induction press conference, Hagar said he would love to work with Van Halen again but that the Van Halens should tour with Roth first.
On April 21, 2007, Eddie Van Halen served as an Honorary Race Official for the NASCAR race at Phoenix International Raceway. On May 24, he posted a note to the Van Halen website confirming that he had completed rehab successfully.
After nearly 10 months of speculation and rumors, Van Halen (and Roth separately via his own website) said that the band would be going on a tour of North America. Roth claimed in the press release that, "the idea is that this will continue on and on and on" and also that a world tour and a new album were both in the works.
Press reaction to the reunion was largely warm, but the re-designed website sparked controversy when Michael Anthony was removed from images of old album artwork. The album covers were restored to their original condition a day later without a word. The Fall 2007 tour was originally 25 dates, but was extended into 2008 with a second leg.
Van Halen started their new tour on September 27, 2007, in Charlotte, North Carolina. Playing to sellout crowds, the tour generated positive reviews. Amid rumors of Eddie being back in rehab, multiple dates of the tour were postponed. The official reason was the need for medical procedures to be run on Eddie.
On March 5, 2008, World Entertainment Weekly to CBS News reported that the reason the tour had been interrupted was Eddie Van Halen's needing to reenter rehab. The report also indicated that it had been a "furious backstage bust-up in Florida with his 17-year-old son and bandmate Wolfgang" which had motivated Eddie to seek help once again.
In response to rumors about Eddie being back in rehab Valerie Bertinelli said that "he is not in rehab." She did not, however, say if he had recently been in rehab, stating only that he was not currently, a statement echoed by Wolfgang during the 2008 Kids Choice Awards. Eventually, the tour started back up on April 17 at the Reno Events Center in Nevada.
The tour ended on June 2, 2008, at the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan. During the show Roth stated multiple times that this would not be their final show and that they would "see everyone next time." At this show the arena sign was altered to read "VAN HALEN ARENA". According to the Van Halen News Desk, the reunion tour with Roth was the highest grossing in the band's history, raking in almost $93 million.
On July 3, 2008, Van Halen headlined the Quebec City Summer Festival in front of a crowd of 85,000.
2009–2014: A Different Kind of Truth
In an interview with Guitar World, posted on November 12, 2008, about the making of his upcoming new EVH Wolfgang guitar from Fender, Eddie Van Halen said, in regard to new Van Halen music, "I'll be making music 'til the day I die. I've done all kinds of stuff, and more is coming. I can't tell you exactly when right now. Wolfgang is in the 12th grade and he needs to graduate first. Then I'm getting married in June. We'll pick it up after that." Eddie underwent surgery on his left hand in 2009, following some treatment for arthritis as he felt pain in his fingers during the 2007 tour. In an interview with Glide Magazine appearing in the May 2010 issue, Dweezil Zappa commented that Eddie had played him "new stuff from his record." It was not clear from the interview if the music was intended for a new Van Halen record.
In August 2010, Warner/Chappell Music extended its administration agreements with Van Halen (specifically Eddie and Alex Van Halen). Under the agreement, Warner/Chappell will continue to administer their catalog of works. This press release also stated that the group was in the studio recording an album with Roth, that was due for release in 2011.
Van Halen entered the Henson Studio C with producer John Shanks on January 17, 2011. Shanks posted on his Twitter account that he was in the studio with the band and posted a picture of one of Eddie Van Halen's signature amps. The new album would be the first full-length Van Halen album since 1998's Van Halen III and the first new music from the band since the three new songs from the 2004's Best of Both Worlds compilation. It would also be the first Van Halen album to feature Eddie's son, Wolfgang Van Halen, on the bass in place of Michael Anthony. This would also be the first full-length album to feature Roth on vocals in over 27 years, and the first new material with him in 15 years, since the two new songs with him on the Best Of – Volume I. It would also be the first recorded music from Roth since 2003's Diamond Dave.
On June 16, 2011, Creed, Alter Bridge and Tremonti guitarist Mark Tremonti claimed that he had been invited to 5150 studios and that Eddie, Alex and Wolfgang Van Halen performed the album live, in its entirety, for Tremonti and Creed touring guitarist, Eric Friedman. Producer/engineer Ross Hogarth claimed on July 31, 2011, that "[t]he whole Van Halen record has been recorded." On September 5, 2011, it was reported that the mixing on the new album had been completed in mid-August, and production had progressed to the mastering stage.
Their official website was updated on December 26, 2011, announcing that tickets for their 2012 tour would be available starting January 10, 2012. On January 5, 2012, Van Halen played an intimate club gig at New York City's Cafe Wha? which received widespread praise from media and fans. On January 10, the band's first single, titled "Tattoo", made its premiere on radio stations. The following week, the single debuted at No. 67 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart. The band's new studio album from Interscope Records, entitled A Different Kind of Truth, was released on February 7, 2012. It was Van Halen's first studio release since 1998 and first with Roth on lead vocals since 1984.
On February 8, 2012, Van Halen performed a "friends and family" dress rehearsal at the L.A. Forum in Inglewood, California. The show featured many classics as well as several new songs from their latest release, A Different Kind of Truth, which was released officially the day before in the United States. Despite Van Halen's long lay-off between studio albums, A Different Kind of Truth sold 188,000 copies during its first six days of release, debuting at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 Albums Chart. There was an overwhelmingly positive critical and fan response to A Different Kind of Truth, which helped to fuel the album's long run in the upper reaches of the U.S. Billboard 200 Album Chart; additionally, it earned the band its highest-ever charting album in the United Kingdom (debuting at No. 6).
Despite an average ticket price of approximately $150, Van Halen's "A Different Kind of Truth Tour" proved to be a commercial success as well, with nearly all U.S. arena shows "either sold-out, or close to it." Critically, the band received mostly positive reviews, particularly when performing throughout the U.S. Northeast and West Coast. R&B legends Kool and the Gang were hand-picked by frontman Roth to open the first two legs of Van Halen's tour.
On May 17, 2012, Rolling Stone reported that Van Halen was postponing all tour dates after their show of June 26 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Shortly thereafter, the Van Halen News Desk revealed that the band's members were in good health, had not been arguing with each other, and that the reason for the postponed tour dates was to take a break after 18 months of non-stop recording and touring as well as to allow the group the opportunity to enhance its concert presentation before resuming the tour in the late summer of 2012. However, the postponed dates were officially listed as cancelled shortly thereafter.
On August 30, 2012, Eddie Van Halen was diagnosed with diverticulitis and underwent surgery postponing the shows in Japan initially scheduled for November 2012. On April 20, 2013, the Roth-fronted Van Halen played its first show outside North America since 1984, and their first in Australia since 1998, at the Stone Festival in Sydney. This was followed by one show each in Tokyo and Nagoya, and two in Osaka, from June 18 to 26.
2015–present: Tokyo Dome Live in Concert, North American Tour and hiatus
In February 2015, Van Halen fansite VHND.com announced that Van Halen would be releasing their first ever live album with original vocalist David Lee Roth, Tokyo Dome Live in Concert on March 31, 2015. It was also reported that the band would be releasing newly remastered versions of their 1978 debut and 1984 on CD, digital, and vinyl. In an interview the same month, when asked about the status of Van Halen, Eddie Van Halen responded by saying "I'd love to make a studio record. Depends on everybody's timing. I don't know what Dave Lee Roth is up to now. I don't know if he's living in New York or Japan or wherever he is."
On March 24, 2015, Van Halen announced a 39 date tour with Roth to take place from July to October 2015 across North America. In April 2015, Eddie Van Halen told Rolling Stone that the band will "probably hunker down and do a studio record" after their tour. However, the band has not been active since the tour's conclusion.
On September 12, 2019, Van Halen announced that they would be releasing a box set of the Japanese singles, which was released on November 1, 2019.
On September 30, 2019, while promoting an upcoming 2020 solo concert, Roth expressed uncertainty towards the band's future, stating "I think Van Halen is finished." However, Sammy Hagar indicated in a May 2020 interview that he believed otherwise and hoped that a reunion with the original lineup (including Michael Anthony) could take place.
Van Halen had a notable effect on the modern rock music tour with their use of the concert technical contract rider. The band famously used contract riders to specify a "wish list", a practice now used throughout the music industry. They pioneered extensive requirements including power availability and stage construction details. The band's demands were not limited to technical issues; their now-infamous rider specified that a bowl of M&M's, with all of the brown M&M's removed, was to be placed in their dressing room. According to David Lee Roth, this was listed in the technical portion of the contract not because the band wanted to make capricious demands of the venue, but rather as a test of whether or not the contract had actually been thoroughly read and honored, as it contained other requirements involving legitimate safety concerns. If the bowl was present, then the band members could safely assume the other, legitimate, items in the technical rider were being fulfilled to their satisfaction. Conversely, if the bowl was missing, or brown M&M's were present, then the band members would be within their rights to have the venue inspect the work, ask that it be redone, etc. Their concern for safety was real: during their earlier tours, not only had equipment been damaged, but several members of their road crew were nearly electrocuted, both due to inadequate safety measures and preparation on the part of the local venue.
("Genesis" / "Mammoth")
(David Lee Roth era)
(Sammy Hagar era)
(recording new tracks for Best Of)
(Gary Cherone era)
(reunion with Sammy Hagar)
(reunion with David Lee Roth)
- Van Halen (1978)
- Van Halen II (1979)
- Women and Children First (1980)
- Fair Warning (1981)
- Diver Down (1982)
- 1984 (1984)
- 5150 (1986)
- OU812 (1988)
- For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge (1991)
- Balance (1995)
- Van Halen III (1998)
- A Different Kind of Truth (2012)
- Early Van Halen concert tours (1974–1978)
- Van Halen 1978 World Tour
- Van Halen World Vacation Tour (1979)
- Van Halen World Invasion Tour (1980)
- Fair Warning Tour (1981)
- Hide Your Sheep Tour (1982–1983)
- 1984 Tour
- Monsters of Rock Tour 1984
- 5150 Tour (1986)
- Monsters of Rock Tour 1988
- OU812 Tour (1989)
- For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge Tour (1991–1992)
- Right Here Right Now Tour (1993)
- The Balance "Ambulance" Tour (1995)
- III Tour (1998)
- Summer Tour 2004
- Van Halen 2007–2008 North American Tour
- A Different Kind of Truth Tour (2012–2013)
- Van Halen 2015 North American Tour
- List of awards and nominations received by Van Halen
- List of artists who reached number one in the United States
- List of artists who reached number one on the U.S. Mainstream Rock chart
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