Steve Penhollow of The Journal Gazette reports that VAN HALEN is a volatile band, and drummer Alex Van Halen is the first to admit it.
"We're volatile only to the extent that we're as good of friends as we are," Van Halen said in a phone interview. "It's because we are so intense.
"It's part of our nature. As much as I love (brother and guitarist Eddie),if you put us in a room with no one else for 15 minutes, we'd be at each other's throats.
"But it's always about creative differences. Always. It's never personal.
"Music is a dialogue. It's about an emotional reaction. We're very needy people, you know," Alex Van Halen said, laughing.
Alex Van Halen has nothing bad to say about VAN HALEN's previous singer, Gary Cherone (ex-EXTREME).
"He was just the wrong choice. It's that simple. No harm, no foul," Van Halen said. "Nobody sets out to make a bad record. I just think the chemistry was wrong. It was just one of those things."
Alex Van Halen says the band finally grew up.
"There is an intensity and depth in Van Halen that didn't exist before when things got ugly… real ugly. We just decided to say 'Why would we want to relive that? Let's forget it.' "
Every time it looks as if VAN HALEN is about to take on a new or slightly used vocalist, there is always much speculation about whether the band's first frontman, David Lee Roth, will return.
VAN HALEN says Roth fans just need to accept the fact that Diamond Dave is history, at least as far as this group of guys is concerned.
"I can say something comic, but let me preface that by saying, 'He needs meds.' I am very serious about that. It's that simple. It's not even his fault, really.
"Whatever our personal differences are, there are no bigger fans of this band than the people who are in this band. So we understand why people would love to see that sort of reunion. But that’s just not going to happen. Some things are impossible. THE BEATLES will never get back together and David Lee Roth will never again sing with VAN HALEN."
The return of Hagar to VAN HALEN coincided with one of the slowest summers in the history of rock touring. Lots of bands, including VAN HALEN, were forced to sell tickets at cut-rate prices and throw in food vouchers as an added enticement. Alex Van Halen downplays the seriousness of all this.
"I think it's been great, otherwise we wouldn’t be doing it. It's nice seeing everybody again — not that I am implying that I have a close personal relationship with every one of our fans."
Van Halen says the band is currently writing material that he believes is its best in a great while.
"I can't put it into words, unfortunately, but the stuff is absolutely brilliant," he says. Read more.