Van Halen 'Weighing Options' After Label Split

Following Van Halen's surprise departure from Warner Bros. -- the band's base for more than 23 years -- the group's attorney, Alan Mintz, tells Billboard the band is "currently weighing all the option

Following Van Halen's surprise departure from Warner Bros. -- the band's base for more than 23 years -- the group's attorney, Alan Mintz, tells Billboard the band is "currently weighing all the options and seeing what the future brings, [but] it's still premature to say where the band will go." He says the band will "seriously consider" major-label offers, but that such a move isn't a given: "These are interesting times."

According to sources, Van Halen's contract was not up with the label, but the two parties negotiated a mutual release. While one source says Van Halen left because Warner Bros. wanted the act to record a new album with former lead singer David Lee Roth (with whom leader Eddie Van Halen had written three songs in 2000, according to Roth), Eddie Van Halen had vetoed that prospect. However, another source says the decision to split "was not a function of where the band was musically. There were business reasons."

The group's last album was 1998's "Van Halen 3," recorded with former Extreme vocalist Gary Cherone, who exited Van Halen the following year. A Warner Bros. representative declined to comment, other than to call the split "amicable." Warner retains the band's masters; the label reissued a handful of older Van Halen albums in September 2000.