The rumor mill is abuzz with talk of a new Van Halen album — their first with original singer David Lee Roth since he left the band in 1985, the band’s first since 1998’s “Van Halen III” and the first to be released on a label other than Warner Bros. Records, where they spent the better part of 35 years.
Several reports cite that Sony-owned Columbia Records will be Van Halen’s new label home, with new music due out in 2012. Indeed, a source tells The Hollywood Reporter, “Nothing has been signed yet, but Columbia has been in the lead for some time,” adding that A&R executive Stephen Ferrera has been tasked with overseeing the album.
Ferrera came to Columbia in June after spending three years at executive VP of A&R at Island Def Jam, where he worked with such acts as Bon Jovi and Ne-Yo. Before that, he held a senior A&R role at RCA, where he worked with the likes of Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood.
Producer-songwriter John Shanks (Michelle Branch, Melissa Etheridge) tweeted early this year that he was in the studio with the band and THR hears Ross Hogarth (Sick Puppies, John Mellencamp) recently finished mixing the album.
Van Halen’s current lineup includes Roth, guitarist Eddie Van Halen, his son and bassist Wolfgang Van Halen and drummer Alex Van Halen.
A Columbia Records rep could not be reached for comment.