In case you’ve been living under a rock, 80s bad boys Van Halen are back and are gearing up for the release of a new album, A Different Kind Of Truth, their first since 1998’s Van Halen III.
But is the title a subtle reference to the fact that the band haven’t exactly been truthful until now about their new songs? Back from the dead frontman David Lee Roth has now admitted that the album and singles are pretty much just dud songs the band discarded from the mid-70s.
We can’t say we’re too surprised, the first single, Tattoo, got mixed reactions from fans with some hailing the return of the band and others calling the attempt for the 60-something rockers to stay ‘hip’ cringeworthy.
Talking to the LA Times about the record Roth opened up admitting “It’s material that Eddie and I generated in 1975, 1976 and 1977. Usually fellas in our weight division will kind of gamely – or ironically, wink-wink – try to hail back to it, but keep a safe, mature distance from it.”
According to Roth the band quickly came to the realisation that they’re not the young rockstars they used to be and can’t exactly write songs like they used to. “Are there second chances?” he asks. “I’m tending to ‘no.’ We’ve managed to stretch our adolescence like a chiclet to the moon, and maintained the respectful dignities along the way that got us on that turnpike up in the first place.”
Roth is also realistic about the bands reputation for infighting and rock star behaviour saying “We accused each other of betrayal and thievery and lies and treachery – and it was all true. We were all guilty. Dig up the past and it’s going to get all over everybody. And, man, do we have a past. Nobody well-adjusted ever got my job, much less kept it this long.”
A prime example is when in 2006 original bassist Michael Anthony was unceremoniously kicked out of the band in favour for Eddie Van Halen’s son Wolfgang, a move that divided fans of the group. More recently, the group were scheduled to headline Soundwave Revolution before infighting led to them to cancel, reportedly bringing the entire festival down with them.
But rising above his former bandmates, Anthony isn’t looking for revenge. Despite the fact the ‘new’ songs Van Halen are releasing were written at a time when all four members of the band got co-writing credits, Anthony told Planet Rock he won’t be pursuing royalties.
“I don’t want to do anything,” he said. “I just let it be. It’ll be nice to hear some of those old songs again that I haven’t played in a long time.” Anthony is currently playing with Chickenfoot alongside former Van Halen frontman Sammy Hagar.
A Different Kind Of Truth is due to be released on February 7th.