Reality and Sanity

June 2, 2007

On One of Rock’s Biggest Long-Running Debates (and Soap Operas)

Filed under: Long Live Rock--Be It Dead or Alive — Paul @ 5:23 pm

No, not over analog vs. digital, although that deserves its own post.

No, the debate I’m blogging about today is old Van Halen vs. “Van Hagar.” David Lee Roth vs. Sammy Hagar. The Original Lineup vs. The Replacement.

I’ve heard many people say the like the “old” Van Halen. That the band was better with David Lee Roth singing, screaming, and goofing the vocals. My stance all this time: “Eddie’s still in the band. What, he forgot how to play when Roth left?” My argument fell on deaf ears.

This kind of thinking isn’t limited to the ordinary fans. Check out this review of The Best Of Both Worlds, a Van Halen collection out out by Rhino:

As the title suggests, this collection covers the high points of Halen’s Sammy Hagar years as well as many of the highlights from the David Lee Roth years. That means the only problem with this album is that there are Sammy Hagar songs on it. (Two words: skip button.) Anyway, sometimes you just want to hear Eddie play.
– Mike McGuirk

At least he got the ‘Eddie Play’ part.

A cursory look at the classic first six albums as well as 5150, the first Hagar album, I noticed something that I hadn’t before. A difference that would be huge had not Roth left: they changed producers. Ted Templeman worked on the first six. 5150 was produced by the band, Donn Lardee, and…Mick Jones.

Mick Jones of Foreigner.

No wonder. Jones bland playing and production were evident on the last two Foreigner albums, (with the exception of the brilliant I Want to Know What Love Is.) Plus, his band was a lightweight compared to Van Halen’s classic lineup.

Different producers can make a band sound completely different even with all other elements exactly the same. But because of the change in frontmen simultaneously with the producer change, it became very easy for many fans to place the blame squarely on the shoulders on Hagar, and why so many fans pine for the days of the classic lineup.

To those fans, careful what you pine for; this may be good…or bad. According to TMZ, David Lee Roth is rejoining the band:

Break out your spandex pants, start practicing your karate kicks; David Lee Roth is officially returning as the front man for Van Halen.Founding band member Eddie Van Halen made the first official announcement to TMZ, saying “It feels like a whole new beginning to be back with Dave and to be playing with my brother and my son. We look forward to going on tour.”

Roth, an original member of Van Halen, quit the group in 1985. He rejoined the band briefly in 1996, only to quit again a few months later. Roth hasn’t performed live with the group since 1984.

As TMZ first reported, Eddie’s son, Wolfgang Van Halen, will be playing bass with the supergroup on their upcoming tour. According to the band’s rep, Janie Liszewski, the tour will cover most major U.S. cities, including L.A. and New York.

There is a poll running on the page that asks: Is the Van Halen reunion doomed?

68% of over twenty-one thousand votes say the reunion is doomed. “Dooomed!”

And if you check out this forum thread, you’ll find that people are not satisfied because Michael Anthony won’t be there:

Many of us are ‘flat’ on this Reunion because its not an actual ‘Reunion’ as such — re; Without Mikey (the original bass player).

I insist… F**k!!!!, I don’t know if I wanna see them together again without “Mad” Michael Anthony… mmm, it ain’t Van Halen without Mad!!!!

Some people are never satisfied.

Then, of course, this may all be a stunt. Check out this post from the same thread:

Something doesnt seem right here.1) Ive heard nothing from Dave – has anybody else?
2) VH hasnt exactly said that Dave is back in the band. I bet this is not a permanent deal.
3) Why such a low key press release with no video? This should have been big news, and all over the entertainment and music shows. Very wierd.
4) Dave must have no power, and is probably not even really in the band at this point, otherwise Mikey would be back in the band.

I would love to see a real VH reunion (mikey included). A new cd, or at least a Live cd of the classic stuff. The way this is being handled is lame. They should fire their management team. Its like they hired Dave to do this as long as he doesnt speak, which is exactly the wrong thing to do. And has anybody even seen a picture of them together? This doesn’t look good….

No ti doesn’t. So I googled Van Halen Tour Canceled and found that the tour was cancelled almost immediately after it was announced, due to ‘issues that need to be resolved.’ Interesting, since Rolling Stone had a pic of that lineup.

Van Halen 2007

This quote from the blog post where the pic came from is classic:

Wolfie looks like Eddie did way back in the day. Diamond Dave looks like he’s cleaned up his act, dig the jacket. Alex looks the same with a little less on top and Ed looks like a goof.How about we put Mike Anthony back on bass and put Wolfie on guitar? It would make a better picture.

Seriously, I want to see this show just to see Diamond Dave perform and to check out Wolfgang’s chops.

Then this from a commenter:

I’ll post more later but think about this: Dave was out, Sammy is out, Mike is out, Gary is out, and Alex says nothing without approval. What is the common factor?EVH and booze…..He’s a great player but he needs a reality check because he ain’t doing jack s**t without Dave or Sammy.

I agree.

So will there be a tour? No idea. But the Van Halen News Desk says Eddie’s been through rehab, and:

In addition, he will be on the cover of the September issue of Guitar World which is supposed to come out July 1 with an accompanying interview and first look at the 5150 III amp.www.guitarworld.com has posted some brief additional info today along with a photo and a snippet from Ed’s statement.

Who knows?

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