Van Halen gave up on demo, bootleg release plans

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Van Halen’s live album Tokyo Dome In Concert only came about because guitarist Eddie couldn’t use his first two ideas for a release, he’s revealed.

The 25-track title was launched this week, and the band marked the occasion with a TV concert in Hollywood – which got off to a bad start when singer David Lee Roth smashed his nose on his mic stand.

Van Halen tells the Washington Times: “We were trying to figure out what to do since we didn’t have time to put a studio record together.

“What I originally wanted to do was remix our original 25 song demos. That would have been really cool – but the tapes are lost. They’re gone. So that was out the window.”

Then the guitarist came up with another concept: “We started digging through bootlegs from the club days. We tried our best to make those sound good, but ultimately it wasn’t good enough to put out.

“The quality was so bad that we tried to enhance them – once we made them better you lost that ‘fly on the wall’ aspect of it. It just didn’t jive. So we decided ‘How about a live record?’”

Van Halen reveals that Roth chose the 2013 Tokyo concert – said to feature no vocal overdubs – from dozens of live recordings. “None of us wanted to sit there and listen to 200 shows, so we left it up to Dave,” he says.

“Alex, Wolfgang and I were pretty consistent every night. For a singer it’s more difficult. Dave said, ‘How about Tokyo Dome?’ We said, ‘Fine!’”

Van Halen launch a US tour on July 5.