New Van Halen album arrives; band pulls off the road

After years of rumors and speculation, Van Halen released its 12th studio album, A Different Kind Of Truth, on February 7th. The disc was the first full-length set of original material from the band in nearly 14 years and the first with founding vocalist David Lee Roth since 1984. At least seven -- if not more -- of the songs included on the album were reworked versions of tunes first recorded on demos or performed live back in the mid-to-late-Seventies. Although the album and subsequent tour were generally well-received, Van Halen pulled off the road and canceled most of a summer North American trek in June. While speculation rose that Roth and guitarist Eddie Van Halen were not getting along again, the band itself claimed exhaustion and an over-ambitious schedule as the reasons for the cancellation.

Just two months later, in August, Eddie had to have emergency surgery when he was stricken with a life-threatening bout of the intestinal track disorder known as diverticulitis. Eddie reportedly had to have part of his small intestine removed, needing four to six months for a complete recovery.

Roth rejoined the band in 2007 for a year-long world tour that grossed more than $90 million at the box office.

Original bassist Michael Anthony was replaced for that trek by Eddie's son Wolfgang, who makes his recording debut on A Different Kind Of Truth.

The band's last road trip before 2007 was an ill-fated 2004 jaunt that featured the return of Sammy Hagar on the mic eight years after he left the lineup.

Van Halen as a band and Eddie as a person have seen their share of ups and downs over the years, and we asked Eddie how he thinks Van Halen has managed to rise above both those and the fickle whims of the music industry: "I don't know if we've risen above anything, but I do know that we have never been one to follow trends. You know, whether it be punk, disco, rap, industrial, whatever terms they have nowadays -- we're a rock-and-roll band, and we make music that pleases us. We make music from the heart."

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