It turns out David Lee Roth was right. Not about fashion sense or talk radio, mind you, but about the inevitability of a Van Halen reunion.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-bound band—Roth included—have announced plans for a 40-date North American summer tour.
"I am very excited to get back to the core of what made Van Halen," Eddie Van Halen said in a statement Friday.
Roth, who unceremoniously parted ways with Van Halen in 1985, told billboard.com last summer that getting him and his former hair-band brothers back together would not be "rocket surgery."
"It's very simple to put together," Roth said. "And as far as hurt feelings and water under the dam, like what's-her-name at the end of the movie Chicago—'So what? It's showbiz!' So I definitely see it happening."
Unlike, say, his career in morning radio.
The former heavy metal frontman last rocked out with his fellow "Hot for Teacher" artists in 1996, when they recorded a few songs that ended up on the greatest hits album Best of Volume I. But an appearance at the MTV Video Music Awards that year by all four original bandmates—siblings Eddie and Alex Van Halen, Roth and bassist Michael Anthony—proved that the guys weren't really ready to reconcile.
While fans hoped that their group showing—the quartet's first public appearance together in 11 years—was a sign of a full-fledged reunion, Roth issued a statement several weeks later saying he'd been the "unwitting participant" in a publicity stunt engineered to sell more copies of Best of Volume I, and that he told Eddie at the time he didn't "think it was a good idea for the band to go to New York half-cocked."
The Van Halen brothers and Anthony denied Roth's take on the situation, saying "the intention all along was to do two new songs" and that Roth was "never led to believe anything but that."
Despite the inauspicious undertones of that exchange, along with Roth's comment to tmz.com last month characterizing a possible Van Halen reunion as "Jerry Springer meets Knots Landing," it looks as if fans are going to get the chance to "Jump" for Roth, Eddie & Co. after all, with Billboard reporting that a contract could be signed as early as Wednesday.
Anthony, however, will not be along for the proposed ride, having since joined up with Van Halen's second former frontman Sammy Hagar for a series of shows in which they billed themselves as the Other Half and performed both Roth and Van Hagar-era Van Halen tunes.
Instead, Eddie's 15-year-old son, Wolfgang, will take over bass responsibilities when the band hits the road again, a notion that apparently doesn't sit well with Hagar, who last performed with Van Halen in the summer of 2004.
"That’s a lot of pressure for Wolfie," Hagar told billboard.com a couple weeks ago. "Just 'cause he's Eddie's son doesn't mean he can go out and play in arenas and perform and entertain an audience for two hours. I would love to see Eddie and Alex get behind Wolfie, with a kid of his age singing, and produce the record for him and help him launch a career. I'd rather see it go that way than come out and say 'Wolfie's the bass player in Van Halen and maybe singing, too.' Van Halen's got way too much history to have that put on him."
Hagar will have a chance to give Eddie some parenting advice in person in March, when Hagar, the Van Halen brothers, Roth and Anthony are scheduled to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
"My hope is that everyone lets everything go and we go there in complete respect of each other and in a loving way, with the attitude that 'I couldn't have done it without you' toward everybody," said Hagar, ever the optimist.