Van Halen's Gary Cherone Talks Lead Singers, David Lee Roth Releases New Tunes

When Gary Cherone took over as Van Halen's third lead singer last year, the big question was whether the public would buy the former Extreme frontman in a role previously defined by such vivid personalities as David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar.

So far, the answer appears to be "yes," as "Van Halen 3" entered this week's Billboard chart at number four. MTV News caught up with Cherone recently and asked him about his new Van Halen gig and the inevitable comparisons he expects his presence and vocal style will get with that of his predecessors.

"In some ways it's unfair," Cherone said. "In some ways, you're damned if you do, damned if you don't. If a song on this record sounds a little bit more like old Van Halen, they'll knock me that way, if it doesn't sound like old Van Halen, they'll knock me that way [600k QuickTime], and it seems I'll be the scapegoat for a lot of those things. But it's a new record, it's a new band. We know

what we can do and life goes on."

Cherone and the rest of Van Halen will launch a U.S. mini-tour on May 13 (see "Van Halen Maps Out U.S. Tour As Album Cracks Top Five").

Meanwhile, original Van Halen singer David Lee Roth is back on the radio with a new single, "Slam Dunk" (and its B-side, "King of the Hill"), which a spokesperson says should be out in May or June on an album to be released by Roth's own Wawazat label. A summer tour is expected to follow.