Van Halen to Reschedule About 30 Concert Dates
Less than a week after Van Halen added five late-summer shows to its current North American tour, something went missing from band’s website – namely, all the scheduled tour dates after June 2.
With the reunited group’s long history of infighting, it was easy to assume that cracks have formed in the mended fences. In fact, Rolling Stone quoted a source close to the tour as saying the band members “hate each other” and are “arguing like mad.” But an insider tells The Hollywood Reporter it was just time for the fiftysomething band members to take their foot off the gas for a while.
“This had nothing to do with fights, illness or bad business,” the source says. “They’re simply burned out. After 50 shows, they need a breather.”
The source adds that the roughly 30 postponed shows will be rescheduled but offered no timetable for an announcement. Fifteen scheduled shows are still on, starting with May 19 in St. Paul, Minn., and including three nearly sold-out Southern California stops: June 1 and 9 at Staples Center in Los Angeles and June 12 at the Honda Center in Anaheim.
Van Halen is touring behind A Different Kind of Truth, its first album with singer David Lee Roth since the Reagan administration. Roth rejoined old bandmates Alex and Eddie Van Halen for a successful 2007 tour with Eddie’s then-16-year-old son Wolfgang replacing stalwart Michael Anthony on bass. The current tour with the same lineup, which launched Feb. 18 in Louisville, Ky., has grossed $38 million thus far and played to 95 percent capacity.
The new album of mostly rerecorded vintage unreleased material streeted Feb. 7 and debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 with 187,000 units sold. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band, which formed four decades ago in Los Angeles, has sold about 57 million albums in the U.S.
This isn't the first time a latter-day Van Halen tour has been interrupted. The band's 2007-08 reunion trek with Roth also was a financial success, grossing $93 million from nearly 75 dates. But that North American jaunt was halted twice -- first when Eddie Van Halen entered rehab and again several months later when the guitarist, whose career has been beset with alcohol problems, was sidelined with an undisclosed illness. The shows were Roth's first with the band since 1984.
It's an understatement to say that Van Halen has had colorful history. Since exploding out of L.A. in 1978 with its eponymous debut LP, which has sold more than 10 million copies in the U.S. alone, the quartet has become a staple of rock radio and a symbol of rock success -- and excess. The band released a half-dozen multiplatitum albums with Roth out front, though none reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 (its sixth disc, 1984, spent five weeks at No. 2 and also has been certified 10 times platinum).
Despite being among hard rock’s most popular acts, the group couldn't seem to cross over into the Top 40 mainstream at a time when rock was pop. That all changed in early 1984, when "Jump" -- an atypical Van Halen song fueled by Eddie Van Halen's uber-catchy keyboard riff -- spent five weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100. The song also was a hit overseas, and Van Halen suddenly was on top of the world.
But years of bickering caught up with the band in 1985, when Roth quit to go solo. He was replaced by hard-rock veteran Sammy Hagar, and Phase 2 of Van Halen's career began.
Although fans might argue forever about which iteration of the band was best, there's no denying the commercial punch of “Van Hagar.” All four of the studio albums with Hagar out front topped the Billboard 200 for at least two weeks and went multiplatinum. Its third disc, 1991's For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge, earned the band its lone Grammy Award, for best hard rock performance.
But the relationship between Hagar and Eddie Van Halen was fractious, leading to the singer's messy exit in 1996 that was followed by much public feuding in the press. About that time, the band quietly recorded two new songs with Roth for a forthcoming best-of album.
In September 1996, longtime fans were delighted when Roth joined his old bandmates as presenters during the MTV Video Music Awards -- the quartet's first time onstage together in more than a decade. But it was an awkward moment, with Roth chewing scenery, and he and Eddie Van Halen got into a heated argument later backstage. Any reunion hopes were dashed.
Sans Roth, the remaining band members hooked up with Extreme frontman Gary Cherone – who co-wrote and sang that group’s chart-topping power ballad “More Than Words” -- for an album and tour. But he was gone by decade's end. Hagar rejoined Van Halen to record some new songs for another compilation album and a 2004 tour that was rumored to be hampered by arguments, Eddie's drinking and bassist Anthony’s tenuous standing within the band.
Since 2009, Hagar and Anthony have been recording and touring with Joe Satriani and Chad Smith in Chickenfoot.