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Why Van Halen Wasn’t at the Grammy Nominations Broadcast

Van Halen
Michael Buckner, Getty Images

If, like us, you sat patiently through a fast-paced barrage of pop and modern country music awaiting Van Halen‘s appearance at the Grammy nominations show last night, well, you pretty much wasted your time.

Despite some pretty clear hints a month ago from the Grammy organization’s official Twitter page about a surprise appearance from a band that would make us wanna “‘Jump’ and ‘Dance the Night Away,'” we had all been since warned that Van Halen’s appearance was unlikely.

Still, any chance to see Eddie, Alex, David and (sigh) Wolfgang again is worth taking, even if it means enduring some absolutely bizarre and unholy fusion of country and hip-hop. Sadly, it became obvious about 15 minutes in that this broadcast would not be a good forum for the band to make an announcement about their much-rumored new album and 2012 tour.

The evening was geared towards spreading the spotlight out as thinly as possible on a wide variety of younger stars. Even host LL Cool J, a dexterous and cardiovascularly fit rapper, was barely able to keep up with the pace.  It’s unlikely Van Halen would have been granted more than 45 seconds of airtime.

Reuters reports that Recording Academy president Neil Portnow — that’s who puts on these shows — seems to explain, in a thinly veiled response to fan inquiries about Van Halen’s absence, how the rumors started and why the appearance didn’t happen.

Here’s Portnow’s statement: “In the world of creativity, everything is fluid. In the process of discussions that we had been having with an expectation that perhaps we would be at a point tonight where the artist involved and we, moving forward, would be ready to announce [a reunion], they weren’t quite at that point. So it’s live television, we go on to the next act. It’s rock and roll and so on. That being said, we were genuine about the intention and we are genuine about the discussion.”

Wow. He did it. He made the imminent return of Van Halen seem boring.

Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen and a sparse handful of classic rock performers were nominated in some categories, that largest being Jeff Beck‘s nod for Best Rock Album. You can read the full list here.

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