Van Halen are set to sign with Interscope Records, not Columbia as originally reported. An industry insider reports that the contract for the Sony deal was drawn up and approved, but hadn’t been signed when Universal Music stepped into the picture.
The deal is expected to be finalized next week, making it the first time in 35 years that the band will not be releasing material through Warner Music, its longtime label.
So what derailed the Columbia deal? The usual band complications, says an insider. While the group reunited with original lead singer David Lee Roth in 2006, the Sony label could not come to terms with Roth, who has a separate management, legal and accounting team than the other three members of Van Halen (Guitarist Eddie Van Halen, Drummer Alex Van Halen and Eddie's son, Bassist Wolfgang Van Halen). The main issue for Roth? He was apparently adamant about being on a west coast label. Apparently he was never on board with Columbia. "It was as complicated as anyone would imagine, when one side says black, the other says white. The label was pretty skeptical that things would work out."
It's expected that as the frontman, Roth will have to carry much of the marketing burden and it seems the band members ultimately want their singer to be happy with the deal which is why they went with Universal's west coast-based Interscope.
A new album, their first studio effort since 1984, is believed to be nearly finished with the hope that it will be released in early 2012. The band is expected to make a “special announcement” on November 30th at the Grammy Awards nominations show, which will air live on CBS from Los Angeles’ Nokia Theater.