Archive for van halen

A FEW WORDS ON VAN HALEN’S TRIUMPHANT(?) RETURN…

Posted in Music with tags , on 01/10/2012 by Chris

I’m a huge Van Halen fan. I don’t talk about them often, because let’s face it – aside from a borderline-disastrous reunion with Sammy Hagar in ’04, and a tour with Roth in ’07-’08, the band has been less active than the surviving guy from Milli Vanilli’s manager. In short, it’s been tough being a Van Halen fan these past 14 years (and I actually liked parts of Van Halen 3). I’ve already shared my thoughts on who I feel is the group’s best singer in the long run, as well as my opinion of Eddie Van Halen in the wake of shit-canning original bassist Michael Anthony in favor of his teenaged son.

But after over a decade of being jerked around, I’ll take what I can get; at this point, I’d still have been excited even if they brought Gary Cherone back. So if it means getting new music from these guys, I’ll deal with the awkward site of a 20-yr-old kid jamming with a bunch of dudes in their 50s, knowing that at least Chickenfoot is putting money in Michael Anthony’s pocket (he deserves it).

My biggest fear with a full-on Roth reunion (new album ‘n all), is that the band would regress back to the more one-dimensional, party rock vibe that they did nearly exclusively during the Roth era. I love all periods of the band, but they didn’t exactly grow that much with Roth at the helm – who always compensated for his so-so vocal range and limited lyrical abilities with his over-the-top persona and wild stage antics. I feared that, though Roth’s vocals remain in surprisingly good shape, anything “new” the band does with him would seem trite and lightweight compared to the leaps and bounds the band achieved with Hagar (though they only did four albums with him, no two sound identical). It should be noted, however, that a relatively modern, forward-thinking Van Halen with Roth did exist to some extent, in the two songs they cut for 1996’s Best Of Volume I release. (“Can’t Get This Stuff No More” was largely forgettable, but “Me Wise Magic” was a winner.) Despite Roth back at the mic, musically the songs still sounded like a natural progression from their previous album Balance.

And so after being shrouded in secrecy, Van Halen 4.0’s new album, A Different Kind of Truth, is suddenly right around the corner (Feb. 7), but so far, the two songs I’ve heard have done nothing to absolve my fears:

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I WONDER IF KIM KARDASHIAN CAN NAME MORE THAN FIVE VAN HALEN SONGS

Posted in Music with tags , , on 09/19/2010 by Chris

Retro-looking band shirts never fail to attract the masses. Whether or not people are actual fans of the band are secondary to that oh-so-cool retro look, and the false sense of cred that comes from wearing one. It reminds me of the time I almost murdered somebody in public. The near-victim in question was a waitress in DC who, upon seeing the retro-looking Pink Floyd shirt my friend had on, exclaimed, “Heeey I saw a shirt like that in Banana Republic! I almost bought it because it looked retro, but then I realized I didn’t know what Pink Floyd is.” Well at least she stopped herself. Unbeknownst to her, it was all that prevented her from getting stabbed in the eye with my fork.

What kills me the most are the band “tour” shirts with a random year from the band’s “classic” period slapped on, worn by people who clearly hadn’t been around to experience it. I’m sure Zac Efron feels cool in his Van Halen “Live 1982” shirt, despite the fact that he wouldn’t be born for another few years. Perhaps he heard the show from his dad’s nutsack?

DEVIL’S ADVOCATE PART 1: WHY I LIKE ‘VAN HAGAR’ BETTER THAN VAN HALEN

Posted in Music with tags , , on 07/21/2010 by Chris

Despite the fact that the Van Halen brothers are all peachy with David Lee Roth again, have a highly successful reunion tour under their belts and Eddie swears up and down that a new album is in their future, I have a strange feeling we’ll have a new president in office before we get a new VH album on the shelves.  Therefore, the only thing we VH loyalists have left to do (besides stand here holding our dicks, of course) is to reminisce about the times Van Halen was, y’know, active.

Now it’s no secret that despite the band selling a FUCKTON of records with Sammy Hagar, most Van Halen fans probably prefer the original era, when David Lee Roth was fronting the band. Some fans even insist that the only true “Van Halen” was with DLR, and so the name “Van Hagar” was coined to separate the two. Perhaps it’s the fact that my first true exposure to VH was in ’96 (when Sammy was still technically in the band), but despite loving all of Van Halen’s stuff (yeah, even a couple of songs from Van Halen III), I’ve always gravitated more towards the Sammy era.

Three reasons why, after the  jump… Continue reading

GUITAR HERO: VAN HALEN LOOKS FUCKING RETARDED

Posted in Music with tags , on 09/10/2009 by Chris

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.