The Van Halen front man reports that the renowned rock group has resumed work on new studio material.
Just don’t expect to hear anything soon, says David Lee Roth. In a recent interview with Jim Florentine on the Sirius XM radio station Ozzy’s Boneyard, Diamond Dave talked about meeting with Eddie Van Halen and resuming work on new material.
“I was up at (guitarist) Edward (Van Halen)’s house, maybe three days ago – just before I came here to the city – and we’re starting to put music together. Not to give away exactly what the package will be, it’s gonna be about 18 months, I think.”
The reason? Roth says the band begins by working on the album artwork first, before they focus on the actual music. “We start way, way, way in advance, ’cause we are eminently art-centric, which is a really fancy way of saying we really do generate all the artwork, the graphics, etc. We don’t hire out and have somebody design a bunch of album covers for us and then choose…. we start from scratch ourselves. Same thing with the merchandise – if you buy a t-shirt, that was designed, literally, in my living room.”
David Lee Roth continued to discuss how Van Halen sets up their stage show. “On and on… stage design, lighting rig, putting the show together – it takes about a year and a half, 18 months, because any idea that you have is 85 phone calls. Anybody can go, ‘I got an idea, it’s a stage that’s shaped like, uh, like a square on top of a circle’.
“Great, my question never was, ‘were you able to dream up a stage design’, my question is, ‘are you prepared to do the 87 phone calls that are about to follow now, to make sure it came out the way we decided’. And then there’s another 80 phone calls that are gonna follow that because we have to figure out how to take the fuckin’ thing apart and put it in the trucks and buses. And, and, and. So if you really want to generate the ideas from scratch and bring them all the way to the finish, you’re gonna have to learn a few other languages, and you’re gonna have to speak those over a lot of extra phone calls. And that’s usually the break point for most artists.”
But Dave assures that Van Halen is still, at least somewhat working on new music. “Oh, yeah, we’re writing… I write lyrics routinely. It’s a perishable skill. And the band plays together routinely, at least three times a week. They’re up at Ed’s place, routinely.”