Van Halen formally started work on a new studio album with Grammy Award winning producer John Shanks this past Monday, January 17th. Rumours of Shanks’ involvement with the band surfaced a couple of months ago at the Van Halen Newsdesk. It can now be confirmed. The band will record their first all-new studio album since 1998’s Van Halen III and their first with original singer David Lee Roth since 1983’s 1984. There are no further details available about this latest stint in the studio, nor any suggestion of when the band will be finished and anything subsequently released. Manager Irving Azoff is said to be pushing the band to tour, but I’m told Eddie Van Halen is reluctant to do so without any new material to release.
So while a 2011 tour has been publicly mentioned previously by Azoff, it remains up in the air as to when, or even if a tour will happen this year. A record needs to be completed and I doubt anyone will want to start speculating as to when that will happen. Questions remain about what happened to the much discussed 2010 recording sessions with producer Ross Hogarth. Officially denied, and not likely to ever be addressed, the fact remains the band were in the studio writing and working for much of 2010. Several famous names commented positively about hearing new material during 2010, including Dweezil Zappa & John 5. Additionally Warner Publishing issued a press release mid-year stating that the band had re-signed to the company, adding that they were (at that stage) in the studio recording.
Additional rumors remain about Warner’s desire to release remastered versions of the band’s Sammy Hagar fronted albums and there is talk of a career spanning Box Set at some stage – fuelled by news that Warner also reached new publishing agreements with Sammy Hagar, Michael Anthony and David Lee Roth in 2010.