David Lee Roth spoke out for the first time Thursday (April 19) about regrouping with his former Van Halen bandmates, calling the music that he and guitarist Eddie Van Halen wrote together “astonishing.”
But he and the band have not been in touch since July, the flamboyant singer said in an audio message on davidleeroth.com.
“I promised you the news, and here’s the news,” Roth begins. “About a year ago, myself and the great Van Halen band played together once or twice and it sounded amazing. In the following several months, Edward and I — Edward Van Halen and me, David Lee Roth — created some of the most amazing, phenomenal … the hands fell off the clock, ladies and gentleman, and we wrote three astonishing tunes.
“That was last July, and since then I haven’t been up to the studio, we haven’t really been in touch, and we haven’t made any music. But I am holding forth; I am in the shape of my life, and I got the high note — I’m ready to go.”
Roth ends the message by saying he is “positive for the future.”
Van Halen declined comment through their publicist at Warner Bros., but posted a message Friday (April 20) on their official Web site, saying “We’re aware of all the rumors, and rumors are just that.”
“We are continuing to work in the studio creating music for our next record,” said the posting at van-halen.com, signed, “Edward, Alex and Mike.”
A spokesperson for Roth could not be reached.
Speculation that Van Halen had rehired their original vocalist began shortly after the group’s third singer, former Extreme frontman Gary Cherone, left in late 1999. Sources close to the band said in March 2000 that Roth and Van Halen were working together, but added that it was a leisurely arrangement with no long-term plans.
While keeping mum about who’s behind the mic, bassist Michael Anthony said in January that the band’s next album will be a return to the classic Van Halen sound.
“It’s Van Halen,” he said. “As opposed to the last album, Van Halen 3, it’s more oriented toward the early Van Halen-type sound.” The bassist added that the band hoped to release the disc in the fall and stage a tour around its release.
Anthony, Eddie Van Halen and drummer Alex Van Halen formed the group with Roth in 1974. “Diamond Dave” was aboard for some of Van Halen’s biggest hits, including “Jump” and “Panama,” but parted ways with the band in 1985. Sammy Hagar subsequently signed on, helping the group maintain its success for another decade.
Van Halen briefly regrouped with Roth in 1996 to record two tracks for a greatest-hits album. The union fell apart when the original foursome appeared together at the 1996 MTV Video Music Awards.
(This story was updated at 4:06 p.m. ET Friday, April 20, 2001.)