Eddie Says Van Halen Loaded With Songs, Short On Singers

Eddie Van Halen says he has 'no idea' whether David Lee Roth has a future with the band.

LOS ANGELES — Asserting that he "feels great," Eddie Van Halen says his band has racked up two or three albums' worth of new material but still doesn't have a 20 on David Lee Roth.

"I have no idea — I swear I really don't know," the guitarist said of his namesake group's future with its original singer. "I don't know what goes on in other people's realities, and I don't try to figure it out. He knows where I live. ... It's outta my hands."

The 46-year-old Van Halen, who announced in April that he was fighting cancer and winning, appeared relaxed and healthy Tuesday as he and his wife, actress Valerie Bertinelli, strolled the red carpet at the premiere of "America's Sweethearts," which stars Julia Roberts, Catherine Zeta-Jones and John Cusack. "I feel great," he said. "How do I look?"

He said the band continues to work on new material every day but didn't want to speculate on when Van Halen fans will hear it. "It's hard to say, really," he said. "We have enough material for a couple, three [albums]. We're just sitting around waiting to see what happens."

"If we don't get something going soon, I'm gonna start selling the stuff," he later quipped. "'Here, you need a song?'"

Van Halen is quoted in the August issue of Maximum Golf as saying that plans for a reunion with Roth "seemed to fall apart" after lawyers got involved. He said he last spoke with Roth in September.

A spokesperson for Roth could not be reached at press time.

Rumblings 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 that it was a casual arrangement with no long-term plans.

In an April posting on his Web site, Roth called the music that he and Eddie wrote together "astonishing."

Eddie Van Halen, drummer Alex Van Halen and bassist Michael Anthony formed the group with Roth in 1974. Diamond Dave was aboard for some of Van Halen's biggest hits, including "Jump" and "Panama," but he parted ways with the band in 1985. Sammy Hagar subsequently signed on, helping the group continue 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 foursome appeared together at the 1996 MTV Video Music Awards.