This week, Van Halen released their new LP Tokyo Dome Live in Concert, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band's first live collection with David Lee Roth on the mic. In an interview with Washington Times, Eddie Van Halen reveals why the band finally decided to drop a live album with Roth, the current state of his relationship with the singer and whether Van Halen plans on hitting to studio to record a follow-up to 2012's A Different Kind of Truth.
"We were trying to figure out what to do since we didn't have time to put a studio record together," Van Halen says of Tokyo Dome's genesis. The guitarist briefly considered remixing the band's original 25-song demo but those tapes were lost, and attempts to remaster old bootleg recordings vacuumed the energy out of the original recordings. "So we decided, 'How about a live record?'" Van Halen said.
"In the old days, to make a live record, you had to have a mobile truck following you everywhere and all the BS that comes along with it. Not to mention the money it costs. Nowadays, we've got a Pro Tools rig out by the console, and we just let it run every night," the guitarist continued. "When it came to doing a live record, none of us wanted to sit there and listen to 200 shows to pick the best one. So we left it up to Dave… Dave said, 'How about Tokyo Dome?' We said fine. The bonus of that show was we didn't have an opening act. So we played much longer. It's about a two-hour show."
Given Van Halen's tumultuous history with Roth, the state of their relationship will always dictate how long this reunion lasts. For now, fans can breathe easy. "He is always off doing his own thing," Van Halen said of Roth. "The relationship has always been the same, really. Just because he quit back in 1985 to pursue a solo career, the press I think made a bigger to-do out of our relationship being sour than we did, you know what I mean? When Wolfgang joined the band, he was actually responsible for calling Dave and getting him back in the band. "
Things are going so well that, after their current tour, Van Halen will "probably hunker down and do a studio record." "We certainly have enough material. It is a matter of timing and getting everybody together. That's the only way it can be done," Van Halen said, even though he expressed frustration that fans aren't as eager to hear new tracks as they are for "Panama."
"We put out [A Different Kind of Truth] in 2012. But then you go onstage and play those new songs, and the audience looks at you like, “What’s this?” They really want to hear the classics," Van Halen said. "It’s kind of a double-edged sword… Maybe 10 years from now stuff off of A Different Kind of Truth will be considered classic and people will want to hear those.