Archive for August, 2010

Ezra Pound

August 31, 2010

Ezra Pound (1885-1972) is generally considered the poet most responsible for defining and promoting a modernist aesthetic in poetry. In the early years of the twentieth century, he opened a seminal exchange of work and ideas between British and American writers, and was famous for the generosity with which he promoted the work of such major contemporary modernist writers as WB Yeats, Ernest Hemingway, DH Lawrence, Robert Frost, William Carlos Williams, Yvor Winters, Marianne Moore, H. D., James Joyce, and especially T. S. Eliot, as well as visual artists including Henri Gaudier-Brzeska and musicians such as George Antheil.


Ezra Pound’s own significant contributions to poetry begin with his promulgation of Imagism, a movement in poetry which derived its technique from classical Chinese and Japanese poetry – stressing clarity, precision, and economy of language and foregoing traditional rhyme and meter in order to, in Pound’s words, “compose in the sequence of the musical phrase, not in the sequence of the metronome.”


A prolific author, he won the Bollingen prize for The Pisan Cantos in 1948. His later work, for nearly fifty years, focused on the encyclopaedic epic poem he entitled The Cantos, finally published in its entirety in 1975.


In 1959 Pound settled in Venice, Italy, where he lived in semi-reclusion until he died in 1972.


Selected works of Ezra Pound by year published


1908 A Lume Spento (poems)

1908 A Quinzaine for This Yule (poems)

1909 Personae (poems)

1909 Exultations (poems)

1910 Provenca (poems)

1910 The Spirit of Romance (essays)

1911 Canzoni (poems)

1912 Ripostes (poems)

1912 The Sonnets and Ballate of Guido Cavalcant (translations)

1915 Cathay (poems/translations)

1916 Gaudier-Brzeska (Memoir)

1916 Certain Noble Plays of Japan: from the MS of Ernest Fenollosa, chosen & finished by Ezra Pound, with an introduction by William Butler Yeats

1916 ‘Noh’, or, Accomplishment: a study of the classical stage of Japan, by Ernest Fenollosa and Ezra Pound

1916 ‘The Lake Isle (poem)

1916 Lustra (poems)

1917 Twelve Dialogues of Fontenelle (translations)

1918 Pavannes and Divisions (prose)

1919 Quia Pauper Amavi (poems)

1919 The Fourth Canto (poems)

1920 Umbra (poems/translations)

1920 Hugh Selwyn Mauberley (poems)

1921 Poems, 1918–1921 (poems)

1922 The Natural Philosophy of Love, by Rémy de Gourmont (translations)

1923 Indiscretions (essays)

1923 Le Testament (one-act opera)

1924 Antheil and the Treatise on Harmony (essays)

1925 A Draft of XVI Cantos (poems)

1926 Personae: The Collected Poems of Ezra Pound

1927 Exile (poems)

1928 A Draft of the Cantos 17–27 (poems)

1928 Selected Poems edited by T. S. Eliot

1928 Ta Hio: The Great Learning, newly rendered into the American language


1930 A Draft of XXX Cantos (poems)

1930 Imaginary Letters (essays)

1931 How to Read (essays)

1933 ABC of Economics (essays)

1933 Cavalcanti (three-act opera)

1934 Eleven New Cantos: XXXI-XLI (poems)

1934 Homage to Sextus Propertius (poems/translation)

1934 ABC of Reading (essays)

1935 Make It New (essays)

1936 Chinese Written Character as a Medium for Poetry, by Ernest Fenollosa, edited and with a foreword and notes by Ezra Pound

1937 The Fifth Decade of Cantos (poems)

1937 Polite Essays (essays)

1937 Digest of the Analects by Confucius (translation)

1938 Guide to Kulchur (essays)

1939 What Is Money For? (essays)

1940 Cantos LII-LXXI (poems)

1944 Introduzione alla Natura Economica degli S.U.A. (prose)

1947 Confucius: the Unwobbling Pivot & the Great Digest (translation)

1949 Elektra (a play by Ezra Pound and Rudd Fleming)

1948 The Pisan Cantos (poems)

1950 Seventy Cantos (poems)

1951 Confucian Analects (translation)

1953 The Translations of Ezra Pound (translations)

1955 Section: Rock-Drill, 85–95 de los Cantares (poems)

1956 Sophocles: The Women of Trachis. A Version by Ezra Pound (translation)

1959 Thrones: 96–109 de los Cantares (poems)

1960 IMPACT: Essays on Ignorance and the Decline of American Civilization

1968 Drafts and Fragments: Cantos CX-CXVII (poems)



Selected posthumous works:


1975 Selected Poems, 1908-1959 (poems)

1976 Collected Early Poems

1975 The Cantos (ISBN 0-8112-1326-9)

1997 Ezra Pound and Music (essays)

1990 Personae: The Shorter Poems of Ezra Pound

1992 A Walking Tour of Southern France: Ezra Pound among the Troubadours (ISBN 0-8112-1223-8)

2002 Canti postumi (poems) (ISBN 88-04-51031-5)

2003 Ego scriptor cantilenae: The Music of Ezra Pound (operas/music)

2003 Ezra Pound: Poems and Translations (ISBN 978-1-931082-41-9)

2005 Early Writings (ISBN 0-14-218913-0)



Ezra Pound was a very skilled poet, as can be seen from the following poem:




The apparition of these faces in the crowd ;

Petals on a wet, black bough.



and a very skilled translator, as can be seen from the following translation:




The jeweled steps are already quite white with dew,
It is so late the dew soaks my gauze stockings,
And I let down the crystal curtain
And watch the moon through the clear autumn


by Rihaku


Note.—Jewel stairs, therefore a palace. Grievance, therefore there is something to complain of. Gauze stockings, therefore a court lady, not a servant who complains. Clear autumn, therefore he has no excuse on account of the weather. Also she has come early, for the dew has not merely whitened the stairs, but soaks her stockings. The poem is especially prized because she utters no direct reproach.



If you get a chance to read some of Ezra Pound’s poetry, then do so. It is clear, precise, interesting, beautiful poetry.


Ezra Pound’s books are available at:


R J Dent’s books are available at:



The Bridge by R J Dent

August 29, 2010


When the fear struck, Claire abruptly stopped, frozen to the spot, midway across the bridge.

          Oh no, not again, she thought, as she gasped and panted and closed her eyes involuntarily against the huge waves of panic that washed and broke over her, making her head spin, her body tremble and her skin break out in a simultaneously hot and cold sweat. Her heart was pounding like an industrial hammer, her hands were tingling with pins-and-needles and her throat was tightly constricted, making it difficult for her to breathe.

          With a supreme effort of will, she suppressed her fear and clung to her rationality, keeping a grip on her wits, forcing her eyes back open and carefully stepping back a few paces, away from the centre point of the bridge.

          And all the time she struggled to hold back an insistent urge to throw herself off the bridge and its whirling skyline and let herself plummet to the needle-sharp rocks below. Read more…

R J Dent says: ‘I’m particularly proud of The Bridge  because although it qualifies as one of the most unpleasant short stories I’ve ever written, and although I hated writing certain scenes, the story addresses several serious issues – namely that monsters appear in all guises – some human, some psychological, some emotional. It’s the one story of mine that gets more criticism levelled at it than any of my others.’




The Bridge

Copyright © R J Dent (2010)




Pascale Petit’s What the Water Gave Me

August 7, 2010

What the Water Gave Me is one of Pascale Petit’s most recent poetry collections.

The collection is subtitled Poems after Frida Kahlo, and as such, What the Water Gave Me contains fifty-two poems in the voice of the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. All of the poems are based on Frida Kahlo’s paintings or drawings; some of the poems are literary interpretations of Kahlo’s work, while others are parallels or version homages where Pascale Petit draws on her training and experience as a visual artist to create alternative word ‘paintings’.



Far more than a mere verse biography, What the Water Gave Me is a vibrant poetry collection which explores how Frida Kahlo transformed and transmuted the trauma of a near-fatal bus accident into personal, but always universal, art. Pascale Petit, with her feel for nature, her understanding of pain and redemption, and her vivid and colourful style (she was once described as ‘Sylvia Plath on acid’) fully inhabits Frida Kahlo’s turbulent world.


In a poem at the beginning of the collection, Pascale Petit sets out her unflinching agenda:



What the Water Gave Me (1)



I am what the water gave me,

a smoke-ring in a jar,


the braided rope

my ladder to the light,


my shivering bird-heart



my mouth a bubble

of not-yet-breath,


while in my nuclei

two spirals dance,


my budding body sheathed in pearl

as I learn,


even before birth,

to doodle in the dark.



© Pascale Petit (2010)



It’s right there in those words: ‘as I learn… to doodle in the dark’ that Ms Petit manages to catch the unmistakable voice of Frida Kahlo; a voice that can be heard in every poem in this collection. And it’s that kind of scrupulous attention to detail that makes this such a vivid, painful, powerful, vibrant, colourful, and explosive collection of beautifully-crafted poems.


Pascale Petit has commented on What the Water Gave Me:



‘The poems in What the Water Gave Me are spoken in the voice of the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo and bear the titles of her paintings. A few sequences, such as the title poem, represent one painting over several poems and are woven through the collection. Some poems keep quite close to the paintings, while others are versions or parallels. I have concentrated on the main events of Kahlo’s life in chronological order: her polio as a child, the near-fatal bus accident she suffered as a teenager which left her in constant pain for the rest of her life, her tempestuous marriage to the muralist Diego Rivera whom she loved but referred to as her second accident, his infidelities, her miscarriages, the many surgical procedures she underwent, her vivacity and love of nature and ideas about the interconnectedness of living things, and most of all, how she turned to painting as recompense for her suffering.  However, this book is not a comprehensive verse biography and some aspects of her life are not included, mainly because I wished to focus on how she used art to withstand and transform pain.’



Others have also commented on What the Water Gave Me:



“Petit’s collection is a hard-hitting, palette-knife evocation of the effect that bus crash had on Kahlo’s life and work. ‘And this is how I started painting. / Time stretched out its spectrum / and screeched its brakes.’ WH Auden, in his elegy for Yeats, tells the Irish poet: ‘Mad Ireland hurt you into poetry.’ Petit’s collection, exploring the way trauma hurts an artist into creation, celebrates the rebarbative energy with which Kahlo redeemed pain and transformed it into paint.” Ruth Padel The Guardian 12 June 2010



’Their apparent shared sensibility makes the ventriloquism of these poems entirely unforced, and while Kahlo’s voice is subtly distinguished from Petit’s own, both women have a way of taking painful, private experiences and transmuting them, through imagery, into something that has the power of folklore…They capture the unsettling spirit of Frida Kahlo and her work perfectly.’ Poetry London


’A dazzling and kaleidoscopic look at one of the greatest artists in the world, by Pascale Petit, who is a truly remarkable poet.’


’In What the Water Gave Me by Pascale Petit, the poet has achieved far more than a biography of Kahlo through verse. The combination of historical details and poetry in this collection is unique…’ The Black Sheep



Ultimately, What the Water Gave Me is a very powerful and important poetry collection. In a number of ways it’s as powerful and as important as her 2001 collection, The Zoo Father.



Pascale Petit’s website can be found here:




and her blog can be found here:



and What the Water Gave Me can be found here:




Try What the Water Gave Me. Read it. Then read it again. It’s the best poetry collection published so far this year.

What the Water Gave Me

by Pascale Petit

ISBN: 9781854115157

Seren Books



Van Halen

August 6, 2010

Van Halen is an American rock band formed in Pasadena, California. In 1972 the Van Halen brothers, Eddie and Alex, formed a band called Mammoth which featured Eddie as lead vocalist/guitarist and Alex on drums. After recruiting David Lee Roth as lead vocalist and Michael Anthony as bassist and backing vocalist, the band changed its name to Van Halen.

Van Halen played clubs in Pasadena and in Hollywood during the mid-1970s, consistently playing at well-known clubs like the Sunset Strip and the Whisky a Go Go. In 1977, Mo Ostin and Ted Templeman of Warner Bros. Records saw Van Halen perform at the Starwood in Hollywood and offered them a recording contract.

Van Halen is the band’s debut studio album.

Using Sunset Sound Recorders studio from mid September to early October 1977, the band recorded the guitar parts in one week and the vocals in two additional weeks. All of the tracks of Van Halen were laid down with little over-dubbing or double tracking. Minor mistakes were purposely left on the record and a simple musical set-up was used to give the record a live feel. Despite its simple components, Van Halen proved innovative in musical technique, production, and arrangement.

On release, Van Halen reached #19 on the Billboard pop music charts, one of rock’s most commercially successful debuts. It is a highly regarded heavy metal and hard rock album. The album included songs now regarded as Van Halen classics, like ‘Runnin’ with the Devil’, ‘Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love’, and ‘Jamie’s Crying’.

Eddie Van Halen set a new standard for guitar playing and spawned a generation of players utilizing his unique style and approach. The instrumental track, ‘Eruption’, an arpeggio-glissando-feedback-drenched guitar solo, showcased Eddie’s use of hammer-ons and pull offs, and his mastery of tapping, the use of the right hand to activate and fret notes along with the left. The sheer blazing delivery and solid composition shocked the guitar world and instantly set him apart as one of rock’s premier guitar virtuosos.

The album cover was shot at the Whisky a Go Go. The guitar pictured on the cover of the album is Edward Van Halen’s famous Frankenstrat Guitar, made from a neck purchased from Boogie Bodies and a Stratocaster style body custom made by Wayne Charvel in California and assembled in Edward’s parents’ garage.

The band toured for nearly a year to promote the album, establishing a reputation for their electric performances. The band’s chemistry owed much to Eddie Van Halen’s technical guitar wizardry and David Lee Roth’s flamboyant stage antics.

Van Halen was released in February 1978 and sold over 10 million copies in the US alone, becoming one of the most successful debuts by a hard rock band. Along with 1984, it gives Van Halen two original albums with Diamond status in sales. In 2003, the album was ranked number 415 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

All songs are written by Alex Van Halen, Edward Van Halen, Michael Anthony and David Lee Roth unless otherwise stated.

Tracks are:

Runnin’ with the Devil – 3:34

Eruption – 1:42

You Really Got Me (Ray Davies) – 2:38

Ain’t Talkin’ ’bout Love – 3:49

I’m the One – 3:46

Jamie’s Cryin’ – 3:29

Atomic Punk – 3:03

Feel Your Love Tonight – 3:42

Little Dreamer – 3:23

Ice Cream Man (John Brim) – 3:19

On Fire – 2:57

Van Halen II is Van Halen’s second album, released in 1979.

The band returned to the studio in 1979 to record Van Halen II, similar in style to their debut. This album yielded the band’s first hit single, ‘Dance the Night Away’.

The actual recording of the album took place less than a year after the release of their eponymous debut album. Many of the songs on this album have been known to exist prior to the release of the first album, and are present (in various forms) on demos recorded in 1976 by Gene Simmons and in 1977 by Ted Templeman, including an early version of ‘Beautiful Girls’ and ‘Somebody Get Me a Doctor’.

The black and yellow guitar on the back of the album is not actually used on the Van Halen II album; as it had only been completed just in time for the photo shoots for the second album. David Lee Roth is shown in a cast in the inner liner notes, as he allegedly broke his heel making the leap on the back cover.

All songs, except where noted, are written by Edward Van Halen, Alex Van Halen, Michael Anthony, and David Lee Roth.

Tracks are:

You’re No Good (Clint Ballard, Jr.) – 3:16

Dance the Night Away – 3:06

Somebody Get Me a Doctor – 2:52

Bottoms Up! – 3:05

Outta Love Again – 2:51

Light Up the Sky – 3:13

Spanish Fly – 1:00

D.O.A. – 4:09

Women in Love… – 4:08

Beautiful Girls – 3:56

Women and Children First is Van Halen’s third studio album.

Released in 1980, Women and Children First continues the trends laid out on the first two albums, relying on the vocals of David Lee Roth and the guitar playing of Eddie Van Halen.

This is the first Van Halen album to feature all original band compositions. The opening track, ‘And the Cradle Will Rock…’, begins with what sounds like guitar chords, but is, in fact, a phase shifter-effected Wurlitzer electric piano played through Van Halen’s 1960’s model 100-watt Marshall Plexi amplifier.

‘Could This Be Magic’? contains the only female backing vocal ever recorded for a Van Halen song — Nicolette Larson sings during some of the choruses. The rain sound in the background is not an effect. It was raining outside, and they decided to record the sound in stereo using two Neuman KM84 microphones, and add it to the track.

Only one single was released from the album, the keyboard driven ‘And the Cradle Will Rock…’ Although the single was not a success like the previous singles ‘Dance the Night Away’ or the cover of ‘You Really Got Me’, the album itself was well received and further entrenched the band as a popular concert draw. The song ‘Everybody Wants Some!!’ was also a concert staple through the 1984 tour, and continued to be played by David Lee Roth after he left Van Halen.

The album contains a hidden track at the end of ‘In a Simple Rhyme’, a brief instrumental piece entitled ‘Growth’.

All songs are by Michael Anthony, David Lee Roth, Edward Van Halen and Alex Van Halen.

Tracks are:

And the Cradle Will Rock… – 3:31

Everybody Wants Some!! – 5:05

Fools – 5:55

Romeo Delight – 4:19

Tora! Tora! – 0:57

Loss of Control – 2:36

Take Your Whiskey Home – 3:09

Could This Be Magic? – 3:08

In a Simple Rhyme – 4:33 (Hidden track Growth begins at 4:19)

Fair Warning is Van Halen’s fourth studio album.

Released in 1981, Fair Warning went double platinum, which means it was a substantial hit, but still the band’s slowest-selling album of the David Lee Roth era.

The front cover art features a detail from The Maze, a painting by the Canadian artist William Kurelek.

The album’s cover artwork is accompanied by an insert of a black and white picture of the band, as well as a view of a ghetto drywall. This drywall has a wire running across it, cracked windows at the top and a Roth-era Van Halen logo with plaster cracked over the left wing. Also on the wall is the lyric ‘And someone said Fair Warning. Lord will strike that poor boy down. Turned from hunted into hunter. Went to hunt somebody down,’ which is from the album’s opening song, ‘Mean Street’.

All songs are by Michael Anthony, David Lee Roth, Edward Van Halen and Alex Van Halen.

Tracks are:

Mean Street – 5:00

Dirty Movies – 4:08

Sinner’s Swing! – 3:09

Hear About It Later – 4:35

Unchained – 3:29

Push Comes to Shove – 3:49

So This Is Love? – 3:06

Sunday Afternoon in the Park – 1:59

One Foot out the Door – 1:58

Diver Down is Van Halen’s fifth studio album.

Released in 1982, Diver Down spent 65 weeks on the US album charts and had, by 1998, sold 4 million copies in the United States.

The album cover displays the ’diver down’ flag used in many US jurisdictions to indicate a diver is currently submerged in the area, and caution is advised to nearby boats. Asked about the cover in a 1982 interview with Sylvie Simmons (Sounds, June 23, 1982), David Lee Roth said it was meant to imply that ‘there was something going on that’s not apparent to your eyes. You put up the red flag with the white slash. Well, a lot of people approach Van Halen as sort of the abyss. It means, it’s not immediately apparent to your eyes what is going on underneath the surface.’

Eddie and Alex Van Halen’s father, Jan Van Halen, plays clarinet on ‘Big Bad Bill.’

Five of the twelve songs on Diver Down are covers, the most popular being the cover of ‘Oh, Pretty Woman,’ a cover of a Roy Orbison song. At the time, the record company thought they had a greater chance of a hit record if it comprised songs that were already successful. In retrospect, it turned out to be one of the Van Halen brothers’ least favorite albums with Eddie stating: ‘I’d rather have a bomb with one of my own songs than a hit with someone else’s’.

However, at the time whilst he admitted to the pressure the band was put under to record it, he was able to tell Guitar Player (Dec. 1982) that it ‘was fun’: ‘When we came off the Fair Warning tour last year [1981], we were going to take a break and spend a lot of time writing this and that. Dave came up with the idea of, ‘Hey, why don’t we start off the new year with just putting out a single?’ He wanted to do ‘Dancing in the Streets.’ He gave me the original Martha Reeves & the Vandellas tape, and I listened to it and said, ‘I can’t get a handle on anything out of this song.’ I couldn’t figure out a riff, and you know the way I like to play: I always like to do a riff, as opposed to just hitting barre chords and strumming. So I said, ‘Look, if you want to do a cover tune, why don’t we do ‘Pretty Woman’? It took one day. We went to Sunset Sound in L.A., recorded it, and it came out right after the first of the year. It started climbing the charts, so all of a sudden Warner Bros. is going, ‘You got a hit single on your hands. We gotta have that record.’ We said, ‘Wait a minute, we just did that to keep us out there, so that people know we’re still alive.’ But they just kept pressuring, so we jumped right back in without any rest or time to recuperate from the tour, and started recording. We spent 12 days making the album … it was a lot of fun.’

In addition to this, two of the original songs were around long before the album was made. ‘Hang ‘Em High’ can trace its roots back to the band’s 1977 demos. ‘Cathedral’ was also nothing new, being played in its current form throughout 1981 with earlier versions going back to 1980. Additionally, ‘Happy Trails’ had been recorded for their 1977 demos as a joke.

All songs are by Michael Anthony, David Lee Roth, Edward Van Halen and Alex Van Halen, except where noted.

Tracks are:

Where Have All the Good Times Gone! (Ray Davies) – 3:02

Hang ‘Em High – 3:28

Cathedral – 1:20

Secrets – 3:25

Intruder – 1:39

(Oh) Pretty Woman (William Dees, Roy Orbison) – 2:53

Dancing in the Street (Marvin Gaye, Ivy Hunter, William Stevenson) – 3:43

Little Guitars (Intro) – 0:42

Little Guitars – 3:47

Big Bad Bill (Is Sweet William Now) (Milton Ager, Jack Yellen) – 2:44

The Full Bug – 3:18

Happy Trails (Dale Evans) – 1:03

1984 (written as MCMLXXXIV ) is Van Halen’s sixth studio album.

One of the band’s more popular albums (in terms of both record sales and chart performance), 1984 is the final album featuring singer David Lee Roth before he left the band in the spring of the following year.

Eddie Van Halen, well-known for his guitar prowess but also a classically-trained pianist, used 1984 as an opportunity to take the band into different territory. Additionally, 1984 was the first Van Halen album to be recorded at Eddie Van Halen’s home studio, 5150. Eddie Van Halen’s keyboard playing is more prominent on 1984 than on any prior Van Halen album, particularly on the songs ‘Jump’, ‘I’ll Wait’ and instrumental album-opener ‘1984’.

The title track ‘1984’ is a short synthesizer and effects instrumental (the effects had been used as part of Michael Anthony’s live bass solo on the Diver Down tour); ‘Girl Gone Bad’ contained parts which had previously been played during the same tour; the hard rock songs ‘Drop Dead Legs’ and ‘Top Jimmy’ were tributes to James Paul Koncek of the band Top Jimmy & The Rhythm Pigs. The album concludes with ‘House of Pain’, a fast-paced heavy song that dates back to the band’s early club days of the mid ’70s.

The engine noise heard during ‘Panama’ was from Eddie revving up his Lamborghini; microphones were used near the tailpipes.

Eddie claims to have written the arrangement for ‘Jump’ years before the album was recorded, and is evidenced in a 1982 interview where he played it over the phone. Roth said he came up with the lyric because it was leap year, and because he saw a man on television wanting to commit suicide by jumping off a building.

1984 peaked at #2 on the Billboard Magazine album charts (#1 at the time was Thriller, which featured an Eddie Van Halen guitar solo on ‘Beat It’) and contained future hits ‘Jump’, ‘Panama’, ‘I’ll Wait’, and ‘Hot for Teacher’. ‘Jump’ reached #1 on the magazine’s singles chart. 1984 is the second of two Van Halen albums to have sold 10 million copies in the United States.

All songs are by Michael Anthony, David Lee Roth, Edward Van Halen and Alex Van Halen.

Note: The album’s original release credits all songs to Edward Van Halen, Alex Van Halen, Michael Anthony and David Lee Roth.The label on the UK single release for ‘I’ll Wait’ credited Michael McDonald as a co-writer, but he was not credited on the U.S. version of the single.

Tracks are:

1984 – 1:07

Jump – 4:04

Panama – 3:32

Top Jimmy – 2:59

Drop Dead Legs – 4:14

Hot for Teacher – 4:42

I’ll Wait – 4:41

Girl Gone Bad – 4:35

House of Pain – 3:19

That’s it for the story and discography of this particular Van Halen line-up. Eddie, Dave and Alex – augmented by Eddie’s son Wolfie on bass – are back in the studio, recording a new album. It’s not the original Van Halen line-up, but it’s as close as it can be. 

You can find out more at:


A Different Kind of Truth is the twelfth studio album by Van Halen, released on February 7, 2012 on Interscope Records. Produced by both the band and John Shanks, it is Van Halen’s first studio album since reuniting with lead vocalist David Lee Roth in 2007, and the first to feature bassist Wolfgang Van Halen. This is the band’s first album in fourteen years.


The first single from the album, “Tattoo”, was released on January 10, 2012. One day after its release to iTunes, it was the #1 selling rock song in the US, Canada, Finland and the Netherlands, while charting in Sweden, Belgium, Germany and the UK. It received over two million YouTube hits in its first week of release and over four million to date. By January 23, 2012, “Tattoo” was ranked #1 on Billboard’s Hard Rock Singles chart, the #1 most played song at classic rock radio in its first week and #1 most added song at mainstream and active rock radio.


The songs on A Different Kind of Truth were described by Roth as “a sort of collaboration with [Van Halen’s] past.” Seven tracks that appear on the album are based on material which Roth notes, “Eddie and I generated, literally, in 1975, 1976, and 1977.” 1970’s demo versions exist of what became “She’s the Woman”, “Outta Space”, “Big River”, “Beats Workin'”, “Tattoo”, “Honeybabysweetiedoll”, and “Bullethead”.


Five songs on A Different Kind of Truth are brand new Van Halen compositions. “Stay Frosty” and “You and Your Blues” feature both musical and lyrical nods to the blues.


Lyrical themes on the album are diverse; however, a majority of songs deal with cyclical successes, failures, and fate, in an intricate but generally tongue-in-cheek style.Such lyrical themes are present on “She’s the Woman”, “China Town”, “Blood and Fire”, “Bullethead”, “As Is”, “The Trouble with Never”, “Stay Frosty”, and “Beats Workin'”.


A Different Kind of Truth is the first David Lee Roth-fronted Van Halen studio album not to include an instrumental as a stand-alone track.


Track listing:


All lyrics written by David Lee Roth, all music composed by Van Halen.


No. Title Length
1. “Tattoo”   4:44
2. “She’s the Woman”   2:56
3. “You and Your Blues”   3:43
4. “China Town”   3:14
5. “Blood and Fire”   4:26
6. “Bullethead”   2:30
7. “As Is”   4:47
8. “Honeybabysweetiedoll”   3:46
9. “The Trouble with Never”   3:59
10. “Outta Space”   2:53
11. “Stay Frosty”   4:07
12. “Big River”   3:50
13. “Beats Workin'”   5:02