Van Halen Previews Tour, Album With Blistering Hollywood Show
Shortly after Van Halen took the stage for a private show at a rehearsal space in Hollywood Wednesday night, David Lee Roth explained what the purpose of the secret show was. "We've been dusting off the furniture for a couple weeks here," he announced, "and now we're gonna dust off the barbecue."
The 250 or so assembled media and record-label types considered themselves properly torched as Roth and the Van Halen family threw lighter fluid on the figurative fire for the next hour. With the band's first Roth-fronted album in 28 years coming out next Tuesday, and a summer tour having just gone on sale, Van Halen is counting on the gatekeepers to pass immediate word along to the masses that they've still got it. Consider the message delivered, then: No vintage-era fan will feel unrocked, and no hairs will go unsinged.
Roth told the crowd that under the original plan, there was "supposed to be a press conference Tuesday morning at 11," but it "got moved to Wednesday at 8 so we could all drink." Somehow, the press conference idea got lost in the time shift… although Roth, ever the king of hard-rock bon mots, did end up answering plenty of unasked questions during the performance.
Like: "Would it kill you if I told you that 'Panama" was just a stripper from Albuquerque?" (Those of us who'd assumed the song was a sober recounting of the canal treaty of '77 were very, very disappointed.)
Back to back to back
Back to back to back
"We're making some noise here in the temple of silent film," Roth declared. "Most people don't know Charlie Chaplin was a major Van Halen fan. He inspired 'Hot for Teacher'… Chaplin was 35 when he married a 16-year-old. I think there's a lesson to learn here."
Of course, then-dirty-old-man Chaplin was a spring chicken compared to the boys in Van Halen (well, except for newish bassist Wolfgang Van Halen, Eddie's son and Michael Anthony's replacement, who still has the incongruous look of a student contest winner). How well are Lothario-nism and leather pants wearing on guys in their 50s?