News Segment


May 27, 2004

Van Halen is hitting the road this summer for the first time in eight years, and drummer Alex Van Halen and vocalist Sammy Hagar promise it will be well worth the wait. “This set we’re playing right now is better than any set we ever played before,” Hagar said during a teleconference today (May 27). “I used to be a little sensitive to the old material, but I’m not now. We have a whole different outlook on everything. Let’s make this the greatest songs the Van Halen fans have ever heard. The set list will kill you!”

Although neither artist would reveal specifics, the show will find Hagar singing many more songs from Van Halen’s David Lee Roth era than he did during his first stint in the band. “I’m really digging ‘Jump’ right now,” he said. “In the old days I never got off on singing that song. I would pull a guy out of the audience to sing it. Now, I want to sing this song better than it has ever been sung. I’m tearing it up!” He also insisted “there’s a couple of surprises in [the set], one in particular that is completely oddball.”

The group will issue its first new material since 1998’s “Van Halen III” on the upcoming “Best of Both Worlds” retrospective, due July 20 via Warner Bros. Hagar boasted that “there were 10 other songs we could have worked on. If there’d been time, we’d love to have done a whole record.”

“[Alex and guitarist Eddie Van Halen had been] jamming in the studio for years putting ideas down,” he continued. “I’d say, ‘that song’s great, let’s work on that.’ But then they’d say, ‘listen to this.’ It was never-ending. There’s so much material that needs to be finished for sure. It became a heavy workload on me as soon as we started getting into it. We had to kind of pick and choose. I took about two hours of stuff home with me and used to work out to it every day. That’s really how it got defined.”

Both artists said any ill will they may have harbored following Hagar’s rancorous 1996 exit from Van Halen is now water under the bridge, but Hagar admitted that before last fall, he hadn’t even spoken to Eddie Van Halen in at least six-and-a-half years. “Not even one conversation,” he said. “The first one, I was a little nervous. It was kind of like a little uncomfortable. It actually got heavy fast.”

“[But] when you see a person you truly have a deep relationship with, all the sudden you realize after time that, hey, forget it. We decided rather than go to therapy, no, no, we’re going to pretend like it never happened. We’re going to rise above it.”

The tour will be documented for potential release on DVD or a live album. “We’re very particular about how our music is presented,” Van Halen said. “When we do it, we do want control over it. But these days with all the different technologies, we might just join the bandwagon and do our own bootlegs.” Either way, Hagar stressed the impact of experiencing the show first hand: “the only way you’re gonna get fulfilled is to sit right there in that front row and just get your face bashed in.”

Current tour dates are as follows:

June 11 Greensboro, NC – Greensboro Coliseum
June 13 Hershey, PA – Hershey Park Stadium
June 14 Buffalo, NY – HSBC Arena
June 16 Philadelphia, PA – Wachovia Center
June 17 Philadelphia, PA – Wachovia Center
June 19 Worcester, MA – Worcester Centrum
June 20 Worcester, MA – Worcester Centrum
June 22 East Rutherford, NJ – Continental Arena
June 23 East Rutherford, NJ – Continental Arena
June 25 Washington D.C. – MCI Center
June 26 Albany, NY – Pepsi Arena
June 28 Hartford, CT – Hartford Civic Center
June 29 Pittsburgh, PA – Post-Gazette Pavilion
July 01 Indianapolis, IN – Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
July 02 Cleveland, OH – Gund Arena
July 03 Toronto, Ontario, CAN – Air Canada Center
July 07 Columbus, OH – Value City Arena (at Schottenstein Center)
July 09 Grand Rapids, MI – Van Andel Arena
July 10 Detroit, MI – Joe Louis Arena
July 11 Auburn Hills, MI – The Palace at Auburn Hills
July 19 Chicago, IL – United Center
July 20 Chicago, IL – United Center
July 22 St. Paul, MN – Xcel Energy Center
July 23 Green Bay, WI – Resch Center
July 25 Oklahoma City, OK – Ford Center
July 26 Kansas City, MO – Kemper Arena
July 28 St. Louis, MO – Savvis Center
July 29 St. Louis, MO – Savvis Center
July 31 Omaha, NE – Qwest Center
Aug 01 Denver, CO – Pepsi Center
Aug 03 Salt Lake City, UT – Delta Center
Aug 05 Phoenix, AZ – America West Arena
Aug 06 Las Vegas, NV – Mandalay Bay Events Center
Aug 07 Las Vegas, NV – Mandalay Bay Events Center
Aug 10 San Jose, CA – HP Pavilion
Aug 11 Sacramento, CA – ARCO Arena
Aug 13 Oakland, CA – Oakland Arena
Aug 14 Fresno, CA – Save Mart Arena
Aug 16 Anaheim, CA – Arrowhead Pond
Aug 17 San Diego, CA – Coors Amphitheater
Aug 19 Los Angeles, CA – Staples Center
Aug 20 Los Angeles, CA – Staples Center
Sep 08 Ft. Lauderdale, FL – Office Depot Center
Sep 09 Tampa, FL – St. Pete Times Forum
Sep 11 Jacksonville, FL – Veterans Memorial Arena
Sep 23 Houston, TX – Toyota Center
Sep 25 Dallas, TX – American Airlines Center
Sep 28 San Antonio , TX – SBC Arena
Sep 29 Lubbock, TX – United Spirit Arena

Jonathan Cohen courtesy of Billboard