Friday, December 21, 2012

Rock News Artist Of The Year #1: VAN HALEN

As part of the 2012 hennemusic Rock News Awards – recognizing the biggest rock news stories and artists of the year - hennemusic is counting down the Top 10 Rock News Artists of the year.

Finalists for the 3rd annual hennemusic Rock News Awards are chosen by readers: winners are determined by the combined total page views of the top 50 hennemusic rock news stories of the past twelve months.

Rock News Artist Of The Year - TOP 10

#03 - KISS
#04 - RUSH
#09 – SLASH
#10 – QUEEN

Rock News Artist of The Year - #1 – VAN HALEN

2012 began with a major rock buzz brewing around Van Halen.

The group was set to release their first album with David Lee Roth since 1984’s monster record, “1984,” following a 2007-08 reunion tour that welcomed the singer back, along with introducing new bassist Wolfgang Van Halen.

The group were set to play a rare, intimate, media-only show at the Cafe Wha? in New York’s Greenwich Village and, on the flight to the Big Apple, VH made headlines when NBC weatherman Al Roker refused to give up his aisle seat for drummer Alex Van Halen and his wife, Stine Schyberg. The incident was #5 on the Rock News Story Of The Year top 10 countdown (here).

The 250-seat Café Wha? show, designed to help promote the forthcoming new album, “A Different Kind Of Truth,” featured mostly hits along with a few classics, and one new track, “She’s The Woman.”

The fan and media buzz grew with the release of the first single and video for “Tattoo,” which went on to debut on the Billboard Rock Songs chart at #16; it would go on to reach #1. The hennemusic premiere of the song would go on to become the #1 Rock News Story Of The Year (here).

Barely a week after the single’s release, former VH singer Sammy Hagar fired the first of many shots at the group, a trend that would continue any time Hagar was questioned about VH throughout 2012.

Prior to the February 7 release of “A Different Kind Of Truth,” VH brought their intimate club show idea to Los Angeles, playing at Henson Studios in Hollywood to create a west coast media buzz following the Café Wha? experience.

VH’s new album debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200 albums chart behind UK singing sensation Adele. VH sold 187,000 copies in its debut week, while Adele enjoyed a massive sales bump due to her increased profile around the Grammy Awards, where she swept her 6 categories, including Album Of The Year for “21.” Adele’s 242,000 sales week was virtually double of the numbers the week before, denying VH a #1 US debut.

VH kicked off their 2012 tour on February 18 in Louisville, Kentucky with openers Kool & The Gang. The band’s setlist showcased four tunes from the new disc; as the tour progressed, a cool trend took shape: the band was switching songs in and out the show in order to perform some rarely-played vintage VH tracks.

With the first leg of the tour set to wrap up late June in New Orleans, VH announced a full series of summer dates in mid-April, running July 7 through August 12.

Then, on May 17, VH dropped a bombshell on fans, abruptly postponed their summer US tour dates without explanation.

Days later, Roth posted a video offering some details behind the news, saying, “As usual, we bit off way more than we can chew when it came to scheduling. The band is winning, but our schedule has been sidelined for unnecessary roughness. If we continue past July 4th and all the way into Australia and Japan, then we’re asking for the robot zombie tour. We’re gonna take a break because this tour is gonna take us about two years.”

In the meantime, a series of November shows in Japan were announced, creating more confusion and speculation about the real reasons behind the band’s tour changes.

It wasn’t until August 29 that the pieces of the puzzle started taking shape. VH released a statement saying that “Eddie Van Halen underwent an emergency surgery for a severe bout of Diverticulitis. No further surgeries are needed and a full recovery is expected within 4 - 6 months. Van Halen's scheduled November 2012 tour of Japan is currently being rescheduled and the band looks forward to seeing and playing for their fans in 2013."

It was later revealed that Eddie had a serious flare-up of the condition when the group came off the road at the end of June; he reportedly spent three weeks in the hospital after surgery to remove the infected intestine, which resulted in another infection when he popped a few stitches.

Eddie’s recovery put VH on the sidelines for the remainder of 2012. Interscope Records, the band’s label, released no further singles from the album and the group continued to lose momentum, profile and visibility as a result.

Wolfgang went on to tour with Alter Bridge/Creed guitarist Mark Tremonti’s solo band for much of the rest of the year.

It was just announced that Wolfgang will tour with Tremonti throughout February but, other than that, nothing else has been revealed about VH’s plans for 2013. The Japanese dates have been rescheduled for June, with no other news regarding live dates on the horizon.

Van Van Halen