David Lee Roth Releases Previously Unknown Version of Van Halen’s “Panama” (Listen)

David Lee Roth shared a new “studio live” track of a previously unknown version of the Van Halen song, “Panama.”

Videos by American Songwriter

The new song drop is the latest in a string of tracks shared by Roth on YouTube. It was recorded live in the studio with the band.

Roth shared the news on social media, writing, “Link in bio to full version. ROTH LIVES! PANAMA DAVID LEE ROTH STUDIO LIVE.”

There isn’t much known about the song, which hit streaming on YouTube on Thursday (September 1). There are some new vocal ad-libs from Roth and signature Eddie Van Halen guitar playing.

There wasn’t any explanation from Roth about who is backing on the song or when it was tracked. The release is leading some to wonder if the musician is really retiring, as he stated in 2021.

Roth has also released other tracks as of late, including “Nothing Could Have Stopped Us Back Then Anyway,” “Pointing at the Moon” and “Low-Rez Sunset,” which all include John 5 on guitar.

There has also been recent talk of a Van Halen tribute tour with Roth hinting that it could happen. Earlier this year, former Metallica bass player Jason Newsted made headlines when, in an interview with the Palm Beach Post, he said he’d been approached by Alex Van Halen and guitarist Joe Satriani to participate in a Van Halen tour.

Newsted added in his chat that after he flew to California with Alex and Satriani, the project “kind of just all fizzled.”

Well, the legendary guitarist Satriani is now talking about a Van Halen tribute tour.

“If it ever does happen, it would be a great honor and a terrifying challenge,” said Satriani.

Roth shared that he has been involved in talks with Eddie’s brother, drummer Alex Van Halen, about a possible “true tribute to Eddie” for “about a year.”

Satriani was asked about those rumors in a new interview on the Rock of Nations with Dave Kinchen podcast. Speaking to Kinchen, Satriani said he had been involved in discussions regarding the tribute. He said he’d spoken to not only Alex but with Roth and more. 

“I’ve been talking with Alex and Dave for about a year about doing something — a tour, something like that—that was gonna be a true tribute to Eddie and the Van Halen legacy,” revealed Satriani.

He added, “For me, it was a terrifying prospect of doing something like that, but I realized that it was something that would be a real labor of love for me. I was just so honored to take on the challenge.

“It’s very complicated. And all I can really say about it is that if it does happen, I know we’ll make it the greatest thing ever for the fans and we’ll all celebrate together not only the great Eddie Van Halen but the legacy that that band created, the amazing amount of music and the goodwill and good vibes they created as a band.”

Satriani said then that he wished the news hadn’t gotten out yet, offering, “These things are always happening in the music industry, and you’re supposed to keep very quiet about it because sometimes they don’t work out. 

“There’s usually about ten crazy ideas that float around and musicians are always, like, ‘Okay, I won’t say anything about this ’cause it may not work out. I don’t wanna hurt this person’s feelings or disrupt any other business plans.’ So, yeah, we were all pretty shocked that Jason wanted to go public with it ’cause we were all sworn to silence.”

He continued, “Like I said before if it ever does happen, it would be a great honor and a terrifying challenge. Eddie, you can’t reproduce what he did—you can’t. You can learn the notes and you can be taught all the fingerings and get the gear and everything, but there was only one Eddie and he was the epitome of an original genius. But if it does happen, I know that Alex will make sure that it’s the right way to do it.”

Time will tell if everything lines up in the future.

Check out the song below.

Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images

Leave a Reply

6 Artists Who Are Genres Unto Themselves

Ozzy Osbourne Set to Perform Halftime Show at the NFL’s Kickoff Game on September 8