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Exclusive: Diamond Dave Spills His Guts About Van Halen Reunion

February 15, 2007 5:46 PM ET

Van Halen recently announced that they'd be touring together with their original frontman David Lee Roth for the first time in twenty-three years. Roth spoke exclusively to our Brian Hiatt about burying the ax with Eddie, playing the old favorites with a different attitude and the possibility of a permanent VH reunion. He also dropped more metaphors than we ever thought humanly possible. Read highlights from the interview, which will appear in its fully-realized form in the next issue of Rolling Stone, which hits stands everywhere February 23rd.

On his first post-reunion jam with Eddie:
Eddie and I wrote the songs, every note, every syllable, as if we invented a language that only we can speak. It was an easy, natural thing...When you speak a language that you both created, it's natural to go, "I know you." So it was very easy. There wasn't any stumble at all. I just showed up, and twenty minutes later, it was the usual, "How's the wife, how's the kids, let's play." When you're born to do that language, you speak it naturally. I never forgot it.

On how rehearsals are going:
The chemistry is combustible. There's an explosive sound there that is, I think, perhaps, unless you were there, which most folks weren't, than you may have forgotten. This is really sophisticated, smart stuff. Everybody's at the top of their game in terms of...it's not just intangible things. My voice is arguably better than it was when I left the band back when. I love what I do, perhaps for some different reasons now than I did, more so than I did. It's a privilege to do what I do for a living.

On whether or not the reunion will be permanent:
God willin', and the creek don't run dry, just like Grandma Roth used to say. Barring any act of God or Ferrari...yeah. I have hope and faith, and that's more than just the name of a couple of strippers from Albuquerque.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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Song Stories

“San Francisco Mabel Joy”

Mickey Newbury | 1969

A country-folk song of epic proportions, "San Francisco Mabel Joy" tells the tale of a poor Georgia farmboy who wound up in prison after a move to the Bay Area found love turning into tragedy. First released by Mickey Newbury in 1969, it might be more familiar through covers by Waylon Jennings, Joan Baez and Kenny Rogers. "It was a five-minute song written in a two-minute world," Newbury said. "I was told it would never be cut by any artist ... I was told you could not use the term 'redneck' in a song and get it recorded."

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