David Lee Roth says he has no plans to perform material from the Sammy Hagar years when Van Halen head out on their North American tour this summer.
"Well, there's a credibility issue there,” Roth tells Billboard following the group’s appearance at the 2015 Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas on Sunday. “Good, bad or in the middle, you know Roth means it; the other guy doesn't. And that's why it sold half as well. Literally, Midas Bible half. Never did better than half.
“And why would you bring that into the proceedings? This hamburger don't need no helper. Ain't no rehearsing pants in my closet."
Hagar joined Van Halen in 1985 as the band’s second choice to fill the lead singer spot vacated by Roth that same year; Patty Smyth of Scandal was offered the gig before Eddie Van Halen approached the former Montrose frontman for the role.
Hagar reluctantly performed the same three Roth-era songs in concert during his time with the group – “Panama”, “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love” and the band’s cover of The Kinks’ “You Really Got Me” – while playing the same number of tunes from his solo career in the set.
Hagar split with Van Halen in 1996 – Extreme singer Gary Cherone jumped in for 1998’s “Van Halen III” album and tour – with the Red Rocker returning for an ill-fated reunion tour in 2004 in support of a greatest hits album.
Roth rejoined the group for his own reunion tour in 2007 – this time without original bassist Michael Anthony, who was replaced by Wolfgang Van Halen – before the group went on to release and tour behind their 12th album, “A Different Kind Of Truth”, in 2012.
In terms of album sales by singer, Roth’s comments appear to be accurate: the latest statistics show the Roth-era studio albums have sold about 57 million copies, while the Hagar years have sold about 27 million worldwide.
Capitalizing on the momentum built during the band’s original, classic era with Roth, the Hagar-led Van Halen produced four US No. 1 albums.
The Roth-led lineup has been denied two US No. 1 records under similar circumstances – “1984” peaked at No. 2 due to the juggernaut created by the best-selling album of all-time, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”, while 2012’s “A Different Kind Of Truth” debuted at No. 2 when sales of Adele’s powerhouse, “21”, spiked after winning 6 Grammy Awards on its way to reclaiming top spot.
In support of their latest release, “Tokyo Dome Live In Concert”, Van Halen will launch a North American tour in Seattle on July 5.
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