It was supposed to be a moment of rejoice for Van Halen fans, when the band premiered their comeback single 'Tattoo' on Tuesday afternoon (January 10, 2012). However, reception was decidedly muted, with some supporters of the returning heavy metal stars suspicious of their latest effort.
The group, who have welcomed back original vocalist David Lee Roth, debuted new material during an intimate show at Cafe Wha? in New York City last week and announced a headline world tour for 2012. Yesterday, four days before tickets for that tour are set to go on sale, the group premiered new single 'Tattoo' complete with a music video featuring Roth, 57, dancing on stage in his signature 'Diamond Dave' style. The song is the first Van Halen have recorded with their original singer for over 15 years, and contains lyrics such as, "Swap meet Sally.Housewife to bombshell in the time it took to get that new tattoo". When previous singer Sammy Hagar spoke to Rolling Stone magazine in November 2011, he alleged that the group's new material was mainly comprised of old music, saying, "I mean stuff from before I even joined the band.Ed and Dave didn't actually write new songs. They took old stuff from previous sessions, and then maybe Dave had to go in and add vocals because they just had scat vocals, or even no vocal part at all". Although the claims were played down at the time, it seems Hagar could have been onto something. After 'Tattoo' premiered on Tuesday, hard-core fans immediately noticed that it sounded a little too similar to the band's old song 'Down in Flames', which they briefly played live in 1977 but which never made it onto a studio album. The songs certainly share the same chugging guitar rhythm and feature similar melodies.
Van Halen's forthcoming tour kicks off at the Kfc Yum! Centre in Louisville, Kentucky, on February 28, 2012, before taking in 44 others cities across the US and Canada, including Detroit, Washington and Buffalo.