Van Halen is kicking back into high gear starting next month with the start of their 2012 tour on February 18th and the release of their new album on February 7th. The group announced plans for their upcoming tour during a special performance at New York’s Café Wha? last week. The album, entitled A Different Kind of Truth will be the first one featuring David Lee Roth since the multi-platinum 1984 which was released during January of that year.
After Roth’s departure from the group in 1985, Van Halen worked their way through through replacement frontmen including Sammy Hagar and Gary Cherone. They even engineered a fleeting reunion with Roth during 1996 which ultimately resulted in a further souring of relations between Roth and Eddie Van Halen.
In addition to the on-again-off-again relationship problems between Roth and Eddie Van Halen, the group also experienced a falling out with long-time bassist Michael Anthony who was officially fired from the band during 2006 and was replaced by Eddie Van Halen’s son Wolfgang. The departure of Anthony may have been the result of his friendship with Sammy Hagar who reportedly refused to join Van Halen for a 2004 tour unless Anthony was included. The reason for the plans to exclude Anthony were not clear, but he was permitted to re-join the group after Hagar’s ultimatum. After that, Anthony’s role as part of Van Halen was gradually diminished until he was let go.
After sporadic rumors of a reunion with Roth came and went for a number of years the announcement was finally made during 2007 that Roth would indeed reunite with Van Halen for a tour which kicked off in Charlotte, NC on September 27th, 2007. Although the tour was plagued by numerous cancellations and the rumors that were spawned as a result, the tour was ultimately considered a success for the group, reportedly bringing in almost $93 Million which marked the most profitable tour in the group’s history.
Today Van Halen released the first single from the new album. “Tattoo,” is the kind of hard-rocking guitar-driven track we’d expect to hear from Van Halen with soaring vocal harmonies and David Lee Roth’s trademark theatrics dominating the accompanying music video.
I strongly suspect that the upcoming tour will not include the cancellations and drama that disrupted the 2007-2008 tour since tour organizers and the band members themselves are probably being extra vigilant and making sure that each and every member is physically able to meet the demands of the tour, which spans about three months and includes shows in 40-plus cities.
Although there are likely still fans who will not consider the current incarnation of Van Halen representative of a genuine reunion without Michael Anthony, the group is clearly intent on reviving brand Van Halen and fortifying their position as one of the most successful rock acts in history.