OK, grab a beer or three and sit back.......
In early 1996, Van Halen with Sammy Hagar had just gone through a really painful process of coming up with music for the Twister movie soundtrack. The writing was on the way for the past year or two that Hagar was not long for staying in the band. He and Eddie clashed over every stupid thing and soon after they managed to get one song ("Humans Being") and one piano instrumental that played over the credits for the movie, Eddie confronted Hagar over the phone about his role in the band and Hagar more or less said he wanted to be a solo artist again and thus, exit Sammy.
During early Summer '96, Warner Bros asked Van Halen to put together a single CD "Best Of" compilation featuring Roth and Hagar era tracks and include perhaps a few unreleased or new songs. The record company contacts both Hagar and Roth for their input and Dave calls Eddie and they reconnect on a personal level. In Eddie's words, "we connected on a personal level that we never did when he was originally in the band." So Eddie gets the idea "why not have Dave sing two new tracks for the Best Of?" Dave was onboard and the apparently spent days upon days sifting through various half finished songs, instrumentals, riffs, etc trying to find something that Dave liked and felt comfortable singing on. During this time producer Glenn Ballard and Desmond Child contributed to the process and eventually the put together two songs "Me Wise Magic" and "Can't Get This Stuff No More" which was an instrumental shuffle fleshed out a couple years earlier that Sammy rejected. During this process Eddie repeatedly made it clear that this project was a one-off thing and there was no guarantee Roth was back in the band full time, plus Eddie was going to take at least 6 months off to get his hip surgery in early '97.
Now right at the tail end of these few weeks after the Roths songs were finished, Eddie had connected with 3rd tier rock singer Mitch Malloy and after a couple weeks working together at Ed's home studio, Eddie offered Malloy the frontman job for Van Halen. Literally a couple days later Malloy is living in Ed's guest house watching the MTV thing go down. The original VH lineup comes onstage to present an award to Beck to rapturous applause and Roth is like someone who just did a pound of blow - he's gyrating all over the stage and hamming it up. Meanwhile, Malloys watching this on tv and knew he didn't stand a chance at being successful fronting Van Halen when the entire viewing audience is thinking "Dave's back in VH!" It only gets worse during the post show press conferences when Ed repeatedly says this is a one-off little project and keeps mentioning his upcoming hip surgery. After about the 3rd presser, Dave confronts Eddie and demands he stop making this about his "fuckin' hip." They almost come to blows. Party over.
By early September, Eddie had been introduced to former (and now current again) singer for Extreme through their manager who managed both bands at the time (convenient, hmm?). Cherone was hired, they recorded a epically awful album "VH3" and not even a decent tour could save the lineup. Just a few months into doing preliminary work on the follow-up to VH3, Gary Cherone and Van Halen amicably part ways.
At this point, things start to really fall apart. Ed finally gets his hip replacement surgery which was supposed to have been done before the VH3 album and tour. Recovering, Ed is seriously stung by the bad press and is back full time on drugs and drinking heavily. In 2000, the band secretly reunite with David Lee Roth and recorded several complete songs. The song "As Is" is supposedly one of the finished songs that later would up on the "Different Kind Of Truth" album. Whatever project this was going to be fell apart when as Dave put it "Lawyers got involved" and the project was abandoned.
At this point early in 2000, Eddie had the first of several major cancer scares, leading to a large portion of this tongue being removed and rounds of quasi-legal/legit experimental therapy for some time. During this time, the band dropped Warner Bros and all their business support staff. The band was rudderless and basically ceased to be a band in every sense of the word.