Although Van Halen won’t be performing during the halftime show at next Sunday’s (February 7) Super Bowl, one of their earliest hits, “Running With The Devil,” will be heard in a commercial for the highly anticipated 2017 Acura NSX. The luxury car company produced a 30-second spot that will be seen during the game, and a 60-second version.
The ad starts with some of David Lee Roth’s trademark grunts, growls, and ad-libbed lines, many of which seem to have been lifted from the popular “David Lee Roth Soundboard” game website, where visitors click on a selection of buttons and hear some of his best known isolated vocal tracks, screams, and yelps from the 1978 song. This won’t the first time a Van Halen song appears in a Super Bowl commercial. Last year, the band’s 1982 “(Oh) Pretty Woman,” cover (of the Roy Orbison tune) was used in a Nationwide Insurance commercial starring Mindy Kaling.
In other Van Halen news from the past, former lead singer Sammy Hagar (who fronted the band from 1985 – 1996 and again in 2004) used Twitter to wish former bandmate Eddie Van Halen “Happy Birthday Eddie – hope you’re doing good,” and added the hashtags #5150time and #BestOfBothWorlds, referring to their time together in the past. The guitar legend responded “Thanks Sammy. Hope you’re well too,” marking what was probably the first cordial exchange they’ve had since the vocalist left the band (for the second time) in 2004 after an acrimonious reunion tour. Although the two reportedly have not spoken since then, Hagar has used the media and a 2011 autobiography to take shots at members of the band.
While the civil Tweet and response sparked hopes of another reunion among fans of the Hagar era of the band, former bass player Michael Anthony took to Facebook on January 16 to shoot down other rumors of him or of him and Hagar returning to the band. After a photo of him appeared online with a road case with a Van Halen logo on it, some fans went wild speculating that he was back in the band — replacing Eddie’s son, Wolfgang. Anthony pointed out that the road case is one of many he owns and it being there had no significance. To emphasize the point, he gave a publicity boost for a show that he was doing with The Circle bandmate Hagar the following week.
Meanwhile, EVH Gear (a line of guitars and related musical products created by Eddie Van Halen and guitar manufacturer Fender) announced on January 21 that the brand will sell a limited run (20 items) of an exact replica of the the “striking, aged-looking Wolfgang USA guitar that Eddie Van Halen played onstage” during the band’s tour last summer and fall.
Yesterday, in a discussion about the future of the band on chat forum Van Halen Links, the owner of the Van Halen Store and Van Halen News Desk commented that Roth is about to end his yearlong self-imposed social media and internet blackout. Maybe 2016 will be the first time since 2012 that the band keeps fans informed.