Michael Buckner/Getty Images
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 13: David Lee Roth (L) recieves a kiss from guitar player Eddie Van Halen at the Van Halen Press Conference announcing their new tour at the Four Season Hotel on August 13, 2007 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images)
What could be better than a Van Halen reunion that features not just David Lee Roth, Eddie and Alex Van Halen, but David Lee Roth, Eddie and Alex Van Halen — and Alex's son Wolfgang on bass? That would be Van Halen reuniting at the Grammy Nomination Show on November 30. Maybe they will. Maybe they won't. But the rumor is creating the requisite buzz. This is from Rolling Stone:
Recently the Grammy Foundation tweeted, "Who do u predict the reuniting band will be @ #GRAMMYnoms? Does this hint make u wanna 'Jump' & 'Dance the Night Away'?" – a not-so-subtle hint about a Van Halen reunion at the Grammy nominations concert. But Hagar said any reunion wouldn't include him. "If Van Halen play, it will be Dave [David Lee Roth], Eddie [Van Halen], Alex [Van Halen], and Wolfie [Wolfgang Van Halen], his kid – it wouldn't be Mike [Anthony] and I. First of all, we wouldn't be invited and second of all, if we were invited, we probably wouldn't do it. If Eddie is in the same condition he was the last time I saw him, I don't want to step onstage with him."
Sammy didn't elaborate.
But now that Van Halen, the iconic '80s Los Angeles glam-pop-jam-rock quartet, has signed with a new label and is expected to release a new record next year, we can ask: Why would an iconic '80s glam-pop-jam-rock quartet want to get back together?
- Money. The Who has reunited numerous times, to lucrative effect. The Eagles did it (eventually). Led Zeppelin might get back together for a full tour, rather than one-off concerts. If there were a few more Beatles left, even the Holy Grail of reunions might come to pass, as Paul McCartney has hinted. But heck, even if Paul and Ringo just went out as the Beatles, they moolah would vaporize what Eddie, Alex, and Diamond Dave hope to garner. That said, VH 3.0 hopes to garner a lot. When they reunited and toured in 2007, they brought in $93 million.
- Music sales. It sounds like Interscope's Jimmy Iovine has really set this table with plans for a new Van Halen record. The last time Van Halen put out a new record? 1998. That was of course before Apple reinvented the music business. There's a whole new audience for the band's still very energizing blend of propulsive pop-rock and arena theatrics. So, even more money.
- Sammy might be right. Let's face it: the rock life isn't easy. Eddie Van Halen has already survived cancer, had a hip replaced, possibly fought off alcoholism and a coke habit, and found himself divorced from Valerie Bertinelli. That's a lot to pack into 56 years. Alex has also endured his battles with the booze. Dave doesn't seem to have suffered from much more than just being Dave. So obviously, to maximize the considerable physical and emotional investment that the band would have to put in, the time is now to, that's right — go get some more money while everyone can still walk and remember the notes and words. Also, let's not forget that the boys are liable to wind up hating each other all over again. Except for Wolfgang. He can learn to hate Dave for the first time.