Grammy-winning producer John Shanks has confirmed via Twitter that he is working with VAN HALEN on the band's upcoming studio album. The group is allegedly planning on recording the next CD at John Shanks' Henson studio as well as the band's 5150 studio, making it the first time VAN HALEN will track an LP outside its own studio since it was built in 1983.
Shanks is best known for his works with BON JOVI, FLEETWOOD MAC, MELISSA ETHERIDGE, ROD STEWART, SHERYL CROW, KEITH URBAN, PINK, JOE COCKER, and CELINE DION, among others.
Unofficial VAN HALEN site Van Halen News Desk reported in December the members of VAN HALEN were "very eager to tour, and that they want to tour behind new material. Eddie Van Halen has been very busy during most of 2010 writing music," reads a posting on the site. "Alex and Wolfgang Van Halen often join Eddie in the 5150 studio and the three of them have been hard at work jamming and recording demos. The three Van Halens have been sending the music to David Lee Roth, who's adding the lyrics." Two of the site's "sources" have "heard some of the early versions of the tracks (without vocals) and were very pleased. The music is said to sound like straight ahead rock 'n' roll and 'very VAN HALEN.'" In addition, "the band is re-exploring Eddie's extensive library of unreleased songs and riffs, even reaching back to their early unreleased demos for added inspiration. The band is retooling and tweaking some of this mostly-unheard, incredible music, which have completely new lyrics from Roth. Eddie is even considering developing a song or two from the material that he wrote for 'The Wild Life' movie score in the mid-1980s."
Music publishing company Warner/Chappell Music announced in August that it had extended its publishing administration contract with guitarist Eddie Van Halen and drummer Alex Van Halen, noting that the band "is currently in the studio recording an album with (singer David Lee) Roth that is due for release in 2011."
Meanwhile, according to Billboard.com, VAN HALEN manager Irving Azoff, who is also the executive chairman of Live Nation, mentioned on two separate conference calls that VAN HALEN was expected to hit the road later this year, presumably in support of a new record.
Word of a new VAN HALEN album, the band's first with David Lee Roth on the mic since 1983, first began circulating in late June 2010 when MelodicRock.com reported from an unnamed source that the project was halfway completed.
VAN HALEN spokesperson Janie Van Halen, Eddie's wife, denied the rumors, telling Rolling Stone, "I don't have any updates at this time."
Eddie himself told Rolling Stone in 2009 that he was working on material for a new record, but was waiting for his hand to heal from surgery and for Wolfgang to graduate from high school.
A new VAN HALEN record would be the band's first full studio effort since 1998's "Van Halen III", which featured Gary Cherone on lead vocals.
VAN HALEN's 2008 reunion tour with Roth grossed more than $93 million and drew nearly one million fans to 74 shows.