While fans keep waiting for a rumored new Van Halen album, last week Rob Zombie guitarist John 5 told the hosts of radio show “One On One with Mitch Lafon” that he and David Lee Roth recorded an album about a year and a half ago.
John 5, who played guitar on the Van Halen singer’s 1998 solo album “DLR Band”, said: “We just made another record, and it’s, like, the ‘California Sessions,’ he was calling it. And it’s 11 of the greatest songs you’ll ever hear,” he said, noting that it was just him, Roth, and drummer Gregg Bissonette in the studio last year. Bissonette played on 3 Roth solo releases – “Eat ‘Em and Smile” (1986), “Skyscraper” (1988), and “A Little Ain’t Enough” (1991). John 5 likened Roth’s performance on the album to his early Van Halen work: “It sounds just like Dave from that ‘Van Halen I’ or ‘II’ or ‘Women And Children First’ era.”
The guitarist mentioned that one song on the unreleased album is titled “Somewhere Over The Rainbow Bar & Grill,” which is also the name of the unreleased album that Roth discussed in a “Rolling Stone” interview nearly a year and a half ago: “And in the interim I’ve written and recorded an entire album of material with a fellow named John 5. It’s called ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow Bar & Grill,’ and it was designed as a jukebox musical after seeing what the ‘South Park’ fellows did. Those fellows are ardent Van Halen fans – they’re been to Vegas and L.A. variously on the last tour. I saw the play [‘Book Of Mormon’] and went home and we started putting together what I guess is called a jukebox musical, but it’s not particular to Van Halen. Indeed we can create Van Halen material as the interstitials, but we have 15 songs ready to go, and it’s my story. Indiana kid goes to the big city, sells his soul to the devil. Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets Dave. It’s knockout stuff.”
On a sad note, the singer’s uncle Manny Roth passed away last week at the age of 95. Manny was the owner of the iconic Greenwich Village (New York City) club Cafe Wha?, where Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, and many other rock legends played before becoming world famous. Van Halen played a “secret” show at Cafe Wha? on January 5, 2012, to announce their new album and tour, where David Lee Roth spoke lovingly about his uncle. The singer turned the front page of his website into a poignant tribute to Manny – a black background and a photo of the two men laughing and holding hands, with this text in white: “Uncle Manny has passed away. He was 95 years old. He was happy, laughing and smiling. Right up ’til the end. His presence already missed. His contributions with us forever.”