Former singer Gary Cherone said that unheard material he worked on with Van Halen sounded closer to their classic sound than the songs heard on Van Halen III.

The Extreme frontman joined Eddie Van Halen’s band in 1996 but left in 1999, after working on a follow-up album to III that was never released.

“It was more in the strike zone of Van Halen,” Cherone told Eddie Trunk on Sirius XM’s Trunk Nation recently. “We were comfortable.” He described the experience of joining the band as a “whirlwind." "The stuff that we were coming out with, we were actually comfortable writing," he added. "It was in the strike zone of VH or the classic VH stuff. It was good.”

He noted that he retained a good relationship with his former bandmates, joking that he was available -- “cheap” -- for a reunion. “It’s a very tight circle,” he said. “But when I left the band, it wasn’t bad blood or anything. We just got separated and then hooked up.”

Cherone didn't want to comment on the recent rumors concerning Eddie Van Halen’s health, but he did say that "he’s okay. That’s a tight circle, so it’s all about loyalty. You’re not gonna get a lot out of me right now.”

Meanwhile, the singer said work on the next Extreme album was nearing completion. “I finished all my vocals," Cherone explained. "There’s about 15, 16 tracks, probably not all of them are going to be on the record. It’s in [guitarist] Nuno [Bettencourt]’s hands – he’s a perfectionist. He’s tweaking it. … By the time it’s ready to be released, I’ll probably sing a few more lines. But it’s good. I think it’s the best stuff we’ve done in a long, long time.”

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