Van Halen, Coverdale Rumor Debunked

Widespread Internet reports that former Deep Purple, Whitesnake and Coverdale/Page frontman David Coverdale is in negotiations to become Van Halen's third singer are totally false acording to a Coverdale staffer.

Longtime Coverdale tour manager Michael McIntyre tells MTV News that contrary to reports the singer has had no contact with the Van Halen camp.

The rumor first surfaced in August with a detailed (and ultimately false) report supposedly originating from a source at Warner Bros. that said Coverdale and Van Halen brothers Alex and Eddie had recorded over twenty songs together, including three new ones. The story gained some semblance of credibility when it was announced in early November that Cherone had left Van Halen (see "Gary Cherone Leaves Van Halen").

The Van Halen/Coverdale ruse recently returned to the frontburner courtesy of an "interview" fleshing out the Van Halen sessions rumor that was

e-mailed to a number of newsgroups and posted on a Coverdale fan site. However, the radio station credited with the interview, 97.7 Htz in Southern Ontario, says the conversation never happened. According to McIntyre, Coverdale hasn't talked to any media sources this year as the vocalist has only been concentrating on recording a solo project.

A spokesperson for EMI in the U.K. confirms that Coverdale will be releasing his own album on that label early next year (U.S. release details have not been confirmed). The project has been recorded and is about to be mixed and mastered. Coverdale's new band includes guitarist Doug Bossi, bassist Marco Mendoza and longtime drummer Denny Carmassi.

According to McIntyre, Coverdale would likely be receptive to exploring a Van Halen pairing, which would be reminiscent of Coverdale's stint with guitar legend Jimmy Page. The pair recorded an album together in 1993.

Van Halen, meanwhile, is reportedly lying low while Eddie Van

Halen recovers from hip replacement surgery. The guitarist went under the knife on November 16.

-- Sorelle Saidman