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Monday, January 31, 2011

Everybody Wants Some (even 27 years later?)

Grammy-winning producer John Shanks has confirmed via Twitter that he is working with Van Halen on the band's upcoming studio album.  The group is allegedly planning on recording the next CD at John Shanks' Henson studio as well as the band's 5150 studio, making it the first time Van Halen will track an LP outside its own studio since it was built in 1983.  That was the story posted on on January 21, 2011, after Shanks uploaded a pic of Eddie's 5150 amp with the message "here we go kids....vh" on Twitter.  Previous stories of plans to record a new album following the 2007-2008 tour had been dismissed as rumors by Eddie's wife on the Van Halen News Desk, so while the smart fans will wait for official word from Eddie and Alex themselves, it appears that for the first time since Roth has returned to the band a new album is definitely in the works.

While this is an exciting development for Van Halen fans, it is not the reunion that fans of the original lineup have been waiting 27 years for, since original bassist Michael Anthony was replaced by Eddie's son Wolfgang.  According to some reports, it was Wolfgang who got the ball rolling to get Roth back in the studio after he, Eddie and Alex had been jamming on some early VH material.  It was announced in 2007 that Van Halen would go on tour with David Lee Roth, which Michael heard about on the Internet. 
Rather than taking any jabs at his former bandmates, he urged fans to go easy on Wolfgang, calling the bassist "a great kid" and adding, "Don't judge him too harshly — I'm sure he'll do just fine."  The tour grossed over $93M, making it the most profitable tour to date for Van Halen.

Since the end of the 2004 tour with Sammy Hagar, Michael and Sammy have been playing together regularly, including with Chickenfoot, the band they co-founded with guitarist Joe Satriani and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith.  Micheal announced recently at NAMM that recording would begin for the 2nd Chickenfoot album on January 29th, so although he is not recording WITH Van Halen, they are both recording new music.  I am mildly curious about a new VH album, mostly because I did enjoy the 2 tracks that Roth recorded for the "Best of Volume 1" album in 1996, but ultimately I think Chickenfoot is a much stronger unit who have benefited from Sammy and Michael's continued playing through the years while Ed and Alex have fallen into obscurity.  Van Halen's next album can be nothing short of perfection if they are ever to be a relevant presense in Rock music again, and without Michael Anthony that is almost impossible.

I would love to hear from Roth era fans about your thoughts on the '07-'08 tour and the new album in the works.  I'd also love to hear from Hagar era fans like me who think VH is OVER!

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