Steve Baltin of Rolling Stone magazine recently conducted a wide-ranging interview with VAN HALEN singer David Lee Roth that primarily documents the frontman's recent adventures living in Japan but also touches upon VAN HALEN's future plans and the possibility of new music from the band. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
On the possibility of new VAN HALEN music in the future:
Roth: "I would certainly look forward to working with Ed [Van Halen] on some new material, but we have yet to do that. Almost all of the music that you hear on our most recent album was written and demoed before the first album. And I would certainly look forward to writing a whole list of songs with Ed, but we haven't found the time to do that. [laughs] You hear the tone. I'm not sure what's in Ed's mind at this point. I'm gonna guess that his plans are to write with his son, and I'm not sure where that actually leads. But truth be told, Edward and I haven't written a new song in 20 years."
On whether there will be more shows after the upcoming Japanese dates:
Roth: "There's nothing on the ticket as far as travel, and that's a disappointment, frankly. How long have I been back with the gang? Maybe six years, we'll say and we have yet to travel to Europe, South America, Japan, anywhere outside of those basic 50 cities in the United States. And, again, that's been a disappointment. We have an audience and we have a potential future in many, many places, but our story is one of a whole lotta Shakespeare going on. And I don't know where the VAN HALEN future lies aside from the States. We'll always be able to play our hits — and keep in mind we have more hits than Beethoven, we have more hits than Tony Soprano — so getting onstage and playing that is glorious, and certainly getting onstage with the brothers will always be an excitement for me. But in terms of taking the music past where we found it, I'm not sure where that's going to go."
On VAN HALEN's future and the possibility of a reunion with bassist Michael Anthony:
Roth: "Ed has his own vision, I'm assuming. We haven't really been able to speak about it and it's a disappointment, just as not having a chance for a reunion of the original band. Clearly, vocals are every bit as much a component of success as a rhythm section or a guitar solo, and there's an old expression saying, 'They don't go home singing the lighting show, they don't go home singing the production.' You're right, they sing my words and my melodies. And what we have at our fingertips is arguably one of the greatest high tenor voices ever — that was in Michael Anthony. In our tiny little corner of the universe, that voice is as identifiable as the high voice in EARTH, WIND & FIRE, as identifiable as the high voice in the BEACH BOYS. VAN HALEN is an indelicate house blend of both — that's intentionally. So I would always look forward to that reunion, and I would always look forward to writing a whole variety of material. I've offered the fellows, come on out here to the land of the gods. And if you don't want to make it that far we'll make it halfway — Konishiki [his friend and former champion sumo wrestler] has said he'll lend me his house in Hawaii, Let's go woodshed. But so far there hasn't been any response, so hope and faith are not actual tactics and strategies — they're strippers from Albuquerque."
Read the entire interview from Rolling Stone magazine.