David Lee Roth Explains Old Songs On New Van Halen Album
A lot has been written about the fact that a good deal of the new Van Halen album, 'A Different Kind of Truth,' isn't new at all -- several tracks are reworked versions of tunes unearthed from the VH archives (for a precise rundown of exactly where all the older tracks came from, check out this article, which also features audio snippets of all 13 songs) and other parts of songs were possibly written off previously unused vintage material.
Some fans may think of it as a cop-out of sorts, a band relying on its former magic when faced with the challenge of writing new material and having trouble delivering. Singer David Lee Roth, however, sees it more as a collaboration with the past, a way of connecting the current band with the creative juices that originally inspired them.
"It's material that [guitarist] Eddie [Van Halen] and I generated, literally, in 1975, 1976 and 1977," Roth tells The Los Angeles Times, explaining that they sorted through mounds of unused lyrics and unfinished recordings for salvageable ideas. "Usually fellas in our weight division will kind of gamely — or ironically, wink, wink — try to hail back to it [but] keep a safe, mature distance from it."
'Truth' producer John Shanks began the process of looking over old material with Eddie. "Some of it was recorded in Dave's basement when these guys were kids," Shanks explains, and sitting there next to Eddie, it was pretty cool just to go through that journey."
"And then when the sessions started just seeing how Eddie and [drummer] Alex [Van Halen] play together — there's such a synchronicity in their feel and rhythm and their playing," he continues. "There were times, honestly, I was just moved by it, not just as a musician but as a human being. The nuances of the way they communicate is staggering."