Friday, February 18, 2011

Gary Cherone talks Van Halen

Gary Cherone is keeping himself busy with his new project, Hurtsmile, while Extreme are on hold these days due to guitarist Nuno Bettencourt’s touring gig with Rihanna.

Hurtsmile sees Gary working alongside brother/guitarist Mark Cherone; the new self-titled album is available now.

While out promoting Hurtsmile, Cherone spoke to Brave Words about the project, including some of his experiences in Van Halen.

In 1998, Cherone took on the doomed role of third singer in the band’s history, a no-win proposition for anyone walking into that gig, following Sammy Hagar and David Lee Roth.

While "Van Halen III" took a beating, Cherone was much more engaging live with VH, performing strong versions of songs from the band’s entire history – including Roth-era material that Hagar outright refused to sing, such was the formidable shadow cast by Diamond Dave.

Here’s some of the VH chatter:

Cherone: My managers asked me to write my Van Halen story (my three years in the band), but I told them that that stuff is going to be taken to the grave. Speaking of Van Halen. The one thing I begrudge the record company is the unreleased live album. You recorded a show in Pittsburgh in 1998. The release was announced on the one-sheets and before it was due out, it was scuttled. I really wish they’d release it. It drives me crazy knowing that it’s locked away in a vault somewhere.

I’m surprised that it’s not out given the different technologies today. You can find it out there on the ‘Net if you look, but I want the official properly mastered version. Not some bootleg.

You want it official. You want it remixed, tweaked and EQ-ed. You know it’s funny I completely forgot about that gig. It was a good gig… And it should have been released.

Let me get on that for you (laughs). I was watching your Van Halen in Australia footage and I see you jumping around, rolling down the aisle and more…

I got a few scars from that show that are still on my body. I remember that Australian show. We started the tour in New Zealand and the Australian show was the fifth show of the tour. I remember tripping down one stair and thinking ‘ah, what the hell just roll’. So, I rolled down the stairs and people always ask me if it was on purpose. Well, it didn’t start on purpose, but it ended on purpose. Are you surprised that Van Halen hasn’t released any new music since you left the band?

I’m not surprised. When I was there, there were vaults of music. Eddie is not lying when he says he has a garage full of music. The rumor is that they’re in the studio right now and Eddie is in good shape. Nuno actually bumped into him recently and told me that he sounded great. There will be new music. They did the reunion with Sammy in 2004 and Eddie wasn’t in the greatest shape. They did the 2007 reunion with Roth, which I thought was great. I thought Roth was great and from that they are moving to this. I’m as big a Van Halen fan as anyone else and I’d love to hear new material from them and knowing Eddie – he doesn’t want to live off his catalogue. The fans want to see them tour, but Eddie is an artist and he needs to put out new material. So, I’m looking forward to it.

Check out the full Cherone interview at Brave Words here.

Van Van Halen

Van Halen – Mean Street
Sydney Entertainment Centre - Sydney, Australia – April 20, 1998

See also:

Van Halen: new album due for summer release?
Eddie Van Halen’s guitar enters The Smithsonian
Van Halen tops the hennemusic Hot 10
Michael Anthony looking forward to hearing new Van Halen
Van Halen begin recording new album