Riding the short bus to video game outlets everywhere:
It’s tough being a Van Halen fan, because it’s basically the equivalent of supporting douchery. If you look up Eddie Van Halen in the dictionary, for instance, it might read something like this:
Dutch-born American guitarist who revolutionized the electric guitar. [see also: douchebag]
The Van Halen M.O. is such that whenever a member quits or is fired, the band not only continues on without them, but tries their damndest to erase them from the band’s history. 2004’s The Best of Both Worlds compilation, for instance, came at a time when the band was about to embark on a reunion tour with Sammy Hagar, and David Lee Roth was still the Antichrist. As such, the package not only included three brand-new songs with Hagar, but several new photos with him as well, and not a single one with Roth. As an extra-special fuck you, the set concluded with three songs taken from the band’s 1993 live album with Hagar – and they’re all David Lee Roth-era songs. Nothing gives Diamond Dave the finger quite like rounding out a career-spanning Van Halen compilation with Sammy singing his songs.
Enter 2007: Sammy’s once again out of the picture, and Roth’s back in, only it’s still not a full reunion; laying to rest any rumors that he wasn’t a total prick, Eddie fired founding member and bass player Michael Anthony, probably because he could no longer deal with the idea of a genuinely nice guy being in the band. And as an extra-extra-special fuck you, Eddie replaced Mikey…with his chubby 16 yr old son, Wolfgang. At least Wolfie’s a good bass player, right? No, actually he normally plays drums and guitar, and probably picked up a bass after finding out he was the new bass player for Van Halen. But, you know, whatever.
So 2009 brings us Guitar Hero: Van Halen, the latest musical skill button-pushing skill game to be devoted entirely to a particular band, and the latest example of EVHBAD (Eddie Van Halen Being A Douche). Because as anybody can gather from watching the above trailer, Wolfgang “Fatty Ding Dong” Van Halen is all over the game, with zero mention of Michael Anthony. Forget the fact that the Roth era ended well before Wolfie would even leave his dad’s nutsack; when you’re a guitar god like Eddie, you can also rewrite history.
The game also makes good on upholding Van Halen’s tradition of ignoring the past, as there’s not a single Hagar era song to be found in it. But for good measure, there’s also songs by Weezer, blink-182 and The Offspring thrown in. Wait, what?
Says Tim Riley, head of music licensing at Activision:
“At the end of the day, it became Wolfgang Van Halen, who is a serious Guitar Hero player — probably the best Guitar Hero player that I’ve ever seen including people at Activision…They knew that, the Van Halen brothers and David Lee Roth, so they were like, ‘Ask Wolfgang what bands he wants in.”
It’s a good thing they’re leaving the band’s 30+ year legacy in that kid’s pudgy hands. Because whenever I think of Van Halen, I think blink-182.