News Segment


August 10, 2004

There’s no fat in the Van Halen coffers according to the band’s Alex Van Halen and Sammy Hagar. Almost every song they have ever finished recording since their first album in 1978 has been released.

“There are no real tracks that are unreleased. There may be two or three songs that were partially completed” Alex tells Undercover News. “If those songs were really worthwhile we would have released them back when they were written”.

“One of the biggest mistakes artists can make is to go back on the stuff they passed on in the first place and throw it out as new, which it isn’t” he adds. “Ed is very particular in which direction he wants to go in musically and that is forward. I don’t know if there is such a thing as going forward in music. It is either up, down, sideways or backwards. It goes in a circle. The intent that goes in to behind making a piece of music is as important as the perception of that piece of music. The intent is to go forward. If you go backwards, then forget it. It doesn’t work. We don’t go back and go through old tapes”.

Even since Sammy Hagar joined the band, almost every thing they recorded was released. “I can only think that for the 11 years I was in the band there is probably only three unfinished songs that we worked on, just like there is four from this one and we only released three”.

According to Hagar, “you wouldn’t want to hear it. It is not done. The lyrics aren’t done, the melody is not done and the structure is not there. It was left half cooked. The idea is probably still good but I doubt if we would ever go back and use it because when we get back together and go in the studio it is about where you are at at that moment, not about something you did back there and trying to rekindling that. It is much better to go fresh every time. It is more inspiring. It is like going back to your old girlfriend”.

The three news songs that made the Best of Both Worlds are ‘It’s About Time’, ‘Up For Breakfast’ and ‘Learning To See’. All three songs were created on the fly after Hagar rejoined the band. “For one thing we don’t keep an accurate log of when the idea came to mind or when the music came to fruition” Alex says. “It is kind of nailed jello to the wall. It just comes and it goes. It just happened that when the four of us got together we played as much music as Sammy could digest and the one’s that really stuck in his head were the ones that we worked on. It was nothing more or nothing less than that. It was that simple”.

“It was kind of when I first walked in, Ed and Al had been in the studio for a couple of years and they had a lot of ideas floating around with no lyrics and no song structure” Sammy said. “It was hard for me to digest at first but because of the time limit, as soon as we got together we said lets go out on tour which is what we like to do more than anything, play live, I picked on the ones that instantly sang to me, ones I thought I could come up with some good lyrics for. In a way it sounds like I took the easy road with the ones that just presented themselves. Otherwise we would still be in there sorting through music”.

“There is enough music for 100 years in that studio to write songs for laying around on the floor” he adds. “We had four songs and the forth one never got completed. These three got done in time to go out on tour and I mean barely. We were still in the studio mixing and rehearsing at night and mastering and being on tour. It was pretty intense. These three were the ones that came naturally to us”.

Van Halen has just released their compilation ‘The Best of Both Worlds’.

There upcoming tour dates are:

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 03 Atlantic City, NJ Borgata
Sep 05 Biloxi, MS Mississippi Coast Coliseum
Sep 08 Ft. Lauderdale, FL Office Depot Center
Sep 09 Tampa, FL St. Pete Times Forum
Sep 11 Jacksonville, FL Veterans Memorial Arena
Sep 12 Columbia, SC Colonial Center
Sep 14 Charlotte, NC Charlotte Coliseum
Sep 15 Greenville, SC Bi Lo Center
Sep 17 Atlanta, GA Phillips Arena
Sep 18 Cincinnati, OH US Bank Arena
Sep 20 Moline, IL Mark of the Quad Cities
Sep 21 Champaign, IL Assembly Hall
Sep 23 Houston, TX Toyota Center
Sep 24 Little Rock,AR Alltel Arena
Sep 25 Dallas, TX American Airlines Center
Sep 28 San Antonio , TX SBC Arena
Sep 29 Lubbock, TX United Spirit Arena
Oct 1 Las Vegas Orleans Casino
Oct 2 Albuquerque Journal Pavilion (Shed)

Paul Cashmere courtesy of Undercover