Today is Eddie Van Halen’s 56th birthday. We hope the reports are true that he’s spending it cutting a new Van Halen album with producer John Shanks. It’ll be tough to top the group’s early albums with David Lee Roth (see the “Unchained” video above), but at least the band is trying again. Their last LP of original material was in 1998, and that was with Gary Cherone as the lead singer.
Sadly, the return of David Lee Roth doesn’t mean that the classic Van Halen line-up has reunited. Original bassist Michael Anthony was fired before the band’s 2007 reunion tour with Roth. “I haven’t seen Ed since we walked offstage after the final show of the 2004 tour,” Anthony told Rolling Stone in 2007. “Nobody even called me about the reunion with Roth. I found out like everybody else — through the Internet and word of mouth.”
The Van Halen brothers also didn’t want Anthony on the 2004 tour with Sammy Hagar. “I had to give up a lot to get on that tour,” says Anthony. “They made me sign something that said I was relinquishing any rights or claims that I had to anything that had to do with Van Halen.”