Update: Is David Lee Roth’s New Song a Farewell to Van Halen? Yes, Maybe
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Check out “Ain’t No Christmas,” above, which finds Roth offering a sad goodbye against a low-key guitar accompaniment. Is he actually bidding farewell to Eddie Van Halen, ending a reunion that’s lasted since 2007?
Greg Renoff, author of the new book Van Halen Rising, is one of many fans who thinks he just might be. “Roth’s vocal performance here is mournful and somber. His lyrics express feelings of bitterness and regret,” Renoff says. “My take is that the lyrics provide a commentary on Roth’s recent months with Van Halen and perhaps a window into the future of Van Halen.”
UPDATE 1: Roth was contacted by the Van Halen News Desk about the song, and offered a clarification. “It’s poetry,” he said. “It has nothing to do with Van Halen.”
Update 2: Roth seems to be re-thinking his denial. On February 29 he posted a tweet stating, “On second thought if all work is autobiographic maybe this song is about Van Halen…”
— David Lee Roth (@DavidLeeRoth) February 29, 2016
Whatever Roth is talking about, he couldn’t have delivered it in a more melancholy tone – both vocally and, as shown in a transcription by DRFC at VHLinks, lyrically. “Sure looked good on paper, once upon a lie; happily never after, and I’m not okay to drive,” Roth sings. “Let’s put the pin back in this one, and say we both survived / Last blank space on the map, I think we’ve arrived.”
If this indeed marks the conclusion of Roth’s latest stint in Van Halen, he leaves after helping push the band back to a significant plateau. Their 2012 reunion project became Van Halen’s first album in nearly 15 years, and their highest-charting release in almost 20.
Rumors that Roth could possibly be succeeded by his original replacement, Sammy Hagar, have become more persistent during Van Halen’s lengthy hiatus. It remains unclear, however, if any changes are coming soon.
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