Van Halen accept they can’t write music like they used to, says singer – so they’re keeping ‘safe, mature’ distance

Van Halen

No new tricks: Roth and Van Halen

Van Halen singer David Lee Roth has confirmed reports the band’s new album consists of old material.

A Different Kind of Truth, released next week, marks Van Halen’s first release since 1998 and the first with founding member Roth since 1984.

Speculation began mounting after former singer Sammy Hagar suggested Roth and guitarist Eddie Van Halen were reworking old demos for the album. Now the Roth has provided more details.

He tells the LA Times: “It’s material that Eddie and I generated in 1975, 1976 and 1977. Usually fellas in our weight division will kind of gamely – or ironically, wink-wink – try to hail back to it, but keep a safe, mature distance from it.”

The band’s reasoning, says the singer, is they know they’re not the men they used to be. “Are there second chances?” he asks. “I’m tending to ‘no.’ We’ve managed to stretch our adolescence like a chiclet to the moon, and maintained the respectful dignities along the way that got us on that turnpike up in the first place.”

Addressing Van Halen’s celebrated public and private brawls, Roth says: “We accused each other of betrayal and thievery and lies and treachery – and it was all true. We were all guilty. Dig up the past and it’s going to get all over everybody. And, man, do we have a past.”

But he has a defence: “Nobody well-adjusted ever got my job, much less kept it this long.”

Meanwhile, former VH bassist Michael Anthony says he has no plans to pursue the band for his share of royalties from the new album.

The tracks were written at a time when the band credited all four members with co-writing credits, meaning Anthony, who was sacked in 2006 by Eddie Van Halen, could have a legitimate claim for proceeds.

But he tells Planet Rock: “I don’t want to do anything. I just let it be. It’ll be nice to hear some of those old songs again that I haven’t played in a long time.”

Anthony is a member of supergroup Chickenfoot with ex-VH singer Sammy Hagar.

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