Van Halen fans can be excused for feeling a little confused at the moment. David Lee Roth, on the promotional trail for his upcoming Las Vegas show, has been telling the press that the band is essentially over. “It’s been canceled a number of times and I think Van Halen’s finished,” he recently said. “I’ve inherited the band, de facto, whatever that means. I think it means, you’ve inherited it, carry this proudly. Van Halen isn’t going to be coming back in the fashion that you know.”
He hasn’t explained why exactly the band is “finished,” but he did not dispute the (completely unsubstantiated) reports that Eddie Van Halen is going through some sort of health crisis. “I hear all the same rumors that you do,” he said, “and it’s not my place to guess.”
TMZ tried to fill in some of the gaps earlier this month when they ran a report about Eddie going to Germany to receive treatments for throat cancer. (Again, none of this has been confirmed by anybody and could be completely wrong.) But then last night, TMZ ran a story about the guitarist going to a Tool concert in Los Angeles. “He’s super stoked to see the band rock out,” they wrote. “The sad medical news had some folks thinking Eddie was on his death bed, but we’re told that’s anything but the case.”
They also ran a recent photo of Van Halen at a Beverly Hills car dealership just days ago where he posed with an employee and appeared to be OK. He’s not doing interviews, but the message is getting out there that rumors may be wrong or grossly exaggerated. But as is typical in Van Halen world, only a tiny handful of people really know what’s happening — and none of them are talking.
David Lee Roth’s decision to play Van Halen hits, along with songs from his solo catalog, in Las Vegas does seem to suggest that the band won’t be active for quite some time. Here’s video of the group playing “Everybody Wants Some!!” at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California on June 12th, 2012. They were touring in support of A Different Kind of Truth, which may wind up being their final album. Then again, they might hit the road with Sammy Hagar in a few months and release 10 more albums. Just like everyone else, we have no idea what is really going on.