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Van Halen to Rock On With Roth
a n h a l e n’s t ou r
with David Lee Roth
ended last July with
one final triumphant version
of “Jump” – but if Eddie Van
Halen gets his way, that’s not
going to be the end of the reunion. “We are a band – it
wasn’t just a one-off tour we
did,” says the guitarist, who
plans to meet with Roth this
summer to play him demos of
new songs. “We had a lot of
fun on the tour – Dave was a
blast. And next time we go out,
we’re going to have some new
stuff, too. I’m looking forward
to getting on it.” The 75-date
tour, which began in September 2007, grossed more than
$93 million, making it the most
lucrative of the band’s career.
June will be a busy month
for the Van Halens: Eddie will
marry Janie Liszewski, his
girlfriend and publicist; and
17-year-old bassist Wolfgang
Van Halen (“a permanent part
of Van Halen,” according to
with his signature sneaks
and Wolfgang guitar
his dad) will graduate with his
high school class after taking
a year off for the tour. “Wolfie
had it the toughest,” says Eddie.
“He had three or four hours of
tutoring every day and then
the gig.” And after that, Eddie
hopes to start recording what
could be the band’s first new
studio album since 1998’s Van
Halen III (with short-tenured
lead singer Gary Cherone) and
its first with Roth in 25 years.
“I’ve got tons of music written, such a variety of stuff,” says
Eddie, who thinks some of it
may surprise fans. “The essence
of me is obviously there, and
Weezy Kicks Out the
Jams on New Rock Disc
Inside the superstar Big
Easy MC’s new ‘Rebirth’
– as a guitar hero
By Nicole Frehsée
ow that lil way ne
has dominated hiphop – Tha Carter III
crushed the competition for
2008’s biggest album, scoring
eight Grammy nods – he’s step-
ping up to Bruce, Bob and Bono
with his first-ever rock album,
The Rebirth (due April 7th).
“He wasn’t getting any beats
that inspired him to rap,” says
Wayne’s manager, Cortez Bryant. “So he brought live instruments into the studio – drums,
keyboard, guitars – and started
making his own beats.” When
producers like Timbaland and
Cool and Dre heard about the
project, they signed on. “Cool
and Dre were like, ‘We’ve been
waiting to do this forever!’ ”
says Bryant.
On the first single, “Prom
Queen,” Wayne warbles about
his high school crush (sample lyric: “I loved her fancy
underwear/I sit behind her
ever y year”) over thrashy
electric guitar. Other tracks
may include the Auto-Tuneheavy “Hot Revolver,” which
lifts lyrics from Green Day’s
1994 jam “Basket Case”; “Little
Girl’s Eyes,” a duet with Lenny
Kravitz; and “Fuck Today,” a
20 • Rolling Stone, February 19, 2009
AX MAN Lil Wayne onstage in
New Jersey in October
cut on which Weezy “rants and
raves about what’s going on
in today’s society,” says Miami
producer Infamous, who coproduced “Prom Queen.” “He
wanted to make a 100 percent
rock album. We tried adding
organs and strings, and he
those drums, they’re always
recognizable. But people expect a certain thing from Van
Halen, and this isn’t exactly
bang-your-head-against-thewall stuff.”
Roth is keeping busy too –
he lives part time in New York,
where he works as an EMT,
an unlikely passion he began
pursuing in 2004. His spokeswoman said he couldn’t be
reached for comment on his
future with the band.
At the same time, Eddie is
continuing his own side career
as an entrepreneur: He just
launched a Website, EVHgear
.com, where fans can buy replicas of nearly everything he
plays and wears, from his signature Wolfgang guitar, which
he used on the band’s last tour
(upgraded over two and a half
years to what he calls “NASA
quality”), to Converse-style
sneakers with his red-whiteand-black-striped design,
which he’s been wearing since
the Eighties. “I’m not shoving
it down anyone’s throat or trying to be a clothing designer,”
he says. “I just think my tennis shoes are cool, and I love
my equipment – everything I
put out is exactly identical to
what I use.”
said, ‘Take that shit out! Keep
it guitar-driven.’ ”
Weezy even learned to play
guitar – including the solo on
“Prom Queen.” “He’s only had
two or three lessons,” says Bryant. “It’s weird how good he’s
getting.” But why now, when
he’s at a career peak? “He wants
to be different, do something
nobody ever did,” says Ronald “Slim” Williams, owner of
Wayne’s New Orleans label,
Cash Money Records. Adds
Bryant, “I don’t know if Wayne
patterned himself on Prince,
but he’s one of the first musicians Wayne looks up to.”
So far, reaction has been
mixed. “We’re playing ‘Prom
Queen’ lightly,” says Ebro
Darden, program director for
New York hip-hop station Hot
97. “But groups that fused rap
and rock, like Linkin Park and
Limp Bizkit, had good-to-great
success, so we’ll see.”
Eddie opens up about
Wolfie, his new shoes and
the future of Van Halen
By Brian Hiatt