Yowwwww! Deeedle-leedle-lee! Do you know what that sound is? That is the sweet sound of a Van Halen/David Lee Roth reunion, as well as the sound of a mammoth sheet of ice crystallizing over Hades. It was announced earlier today that Van Halen will perform live with the Diamond One for the first time in more than 20 years, on a 25-date North American tour that begins Sept. 27 in Charlotte, N.C.
At a press conference this morning at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills (where mimosas and bloody Marys were served), DLR turned the charm up to 11, spitting out soundbites like it was 1984 all over again; Eddie Van Halen, Alex Van Halen, and Wolfgang Van Halen mostly looked on with amusement. Roth (pictured, left, with Eddie) scissor-kicked off the festivities by stating, “This is the press conference that you probably never thought that you would see happen, certainly not while we were all young, skinny and good-looking.” When a woman shouted to him, “How’s your athleticism these days?” he retorted, “Well, let’s have a look at you, hot stuff!” And later, he declared: “Saving the world is Bono’s job. We just want to save 100 cities.” (It’s too bad that Alex didn’t bring his drumset to punctuate Roth’s quips.)
There is a slight catch to this we’re-baaaaack announcement: MichaelAnthony, the band’s amiable bassist (and one of rock’s best backingvocalists), was not invited to the party. (Long, convoluted story, butit has something to do with his friendship/touring schedule with formerVH frontman Sammy Hagar.) Anthony’s duties will be assumed by a16-year-old kid who goes by the name of Wolfgang Van Halen, as inEddie’s son. Don’t worry, the other VH members assure us that hiscradle rocks. And as Dave clarified: “This is not a reunion — this is anew band. This is a revision with hits that you’re so familiar with —it’s as familiar as the roof of your own mouth is to you — but theambition has nothing to do with old history. Usually when a band comesback like us, it’s rockers with walkers, and this is everything but.Meet us in the future, not the pasture.” (For the record, the future may include a new album, and the pasture is filled with multiplatinum records and aborted reunion attempts.)
Incase you were wondering, the freshly sober Eddie looked good, and whilehe didn’t spend a lot of time on the mic, he did rave about thenew-union: “It is totally blowing our own minds… It’s better thanit’s ever been.” The guitar deity went so far as to refer to DLR as his”new brother.” (A new brother that he might kick in the groin by thefourth show? Oh, time — please do tell.) But leave it to Dave to throwdown this challenge to us: “The bar is set unbelievably high. We knowwhat your expectations are. Are you prepared for it to be better thanit ever f—ing was?”
You heard the man. Are you?