LOS ANGELES, California (Reuters) -- Rock band Van Halen has reunited with the group's original singer David Lee Roth for their first tour together in more than 20 years, they announced on Monday at a news conference.
Van Halen, with David Lee Roth (2nd from right), got together in 1996 for the MTV Video Music Awards.
Roth, 52, spoke virtually nonstop at the press event, promising that the band's upcoming 25-date North American trek was merely the precursor to a world tour and to a new album.
"This is not like the Police," Roth said, referring to another band that recently papered over personality differences to launch a one-off reunion tour. "The idea is that this will continue on and on and on."
"We think we got it right this time," Roth added. "You come and judge the performance harshly, please. I beg you, come on down and see."
The 25-date trek begins on September 27 in Charlotte, North Carolina, and wraps up on December 11 in the Canadian city of Calgary. Key stops include Chicago (October 16, 18), New York City (November 13) and their native Los Angeles (November 20).
But it will not exactly be a reunion of the classic lineup famed for such hits as "Panama" and "Runnin' with the Devil," because bassist Michael Anthony has been replaced by lead guitarist Eddie Van Halen's 16-year-old son, Wolfgang.
Roth heaped praise on the band's newest member, claiming Wolfgang picked the songs the band will perform, and "brings a young energy and a spirit to this that'll knock you out of your socks." Watch Diamond Dave ham it up at the press conference »
Asked about Anthony's absence, Roth said, "This is not a reunion. This is a new band. ... Usually when a band comes back like us it's rockers with walkers and this is everything but. Meet us in the future, not the past."
Roth and Van Halen were supposed to hit the road earlier this year for a reunion tour, but plans fell through when Eddie Van Halen entered rehab in March for undisclosed issues. His illness also scuttled a potential reunion at the group's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction later that month.
Roth, now 52, quit Van Halen in 1985, during the band's heyday, in hopes of attaining solo stardom. After some initial hits, those dreams crashed and Van Halen continued successfully with Sammy Hagar on vocals.
The band's luck ran out a decade later when Hagar and Van Halen acrimoniously parted ways, and a new album with a third singer tanked. Since then, both Roth and Hagar have briefly aligned with Van Halen, and the two singers even toured together, despite Roth's barely concealed enmity for Hagar. E-mail to a friend
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