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Van Halen Appreciation thread


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VH will always be one of the greatest bands ever.  Changed music, and for the record Fair Warning is the best VH album..  DLR era was incredible, but DLR had to go.  Hagar took VH to another level.  I saw VH on one of their last tours with DLR. Eddie was spot on, but Roth really is not good live.  He spent 20 minutes talking about his fucking sheep dogs.  Saw Sammy Hagar with his band the Circle recently.  He is 70 and can still bring it live.

 

Bruh.

 

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I used to think the DLR and Sammy versions were both just different variations on the same wonderful theme. I never got to see the DLR version live, you know? Only the Van Hagar version.

And then, on their first reunion tour with DLR (with Wolf on bass), from the very first note I knew that Van Hagar was counterfeit.

Wish I'd been able to see them with DLR and Mikey.

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I used to think the DLR and Sammy versions were both just different variations on the same wonderful theme. I never got to see the DLR version live, you know? Only the Van Hagar version.
And then, on their first reunion tour with DLR (with Wolf on bass), from the very first note I knew that Van Hagar was counterfeit.
Wish I'd been able to see them with DLR and Mikey.


It was Michael’s background vocals that pulled it all together.


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The rumor around my school around 79-80 was that Van Halen and Kiss were the same band.  I remember kids trying to compare facial features from album covers,and coming to the conclusion that they were, if fact, the same band.  We were stupid, but at least we didn't eat soap.

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I will fight any of you who are say Van Halen with Hagar was better.   Van Halen with Roth, even 1984, was epic.   There are some underrated songs on 1984 like House of Pain and Drop Dead Legs.   Personally, even though I really enjoy the covers on the album, Diver Down was their weakest album with Roth.  But overall, those 6 albums are still ultra-listenable from beginning to end.  

And I really like the some of the Sammy stuff.  But Van Halen as never the same after Roth left/got kicked out.  

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On 4/17/2018 at 2:03 PM, kt-horn said:

I saw VH for their Black and Blue tour when they were a part of the Monsters of Rock that played at Rice Stadium. While the show was great I just felt that it was more Hegar and less VH. 

My favorite album was VH II

I was at that show too. Epic trash fight during Dokken's rain-soaked shitty set. Some dude caught a trash can in the back of the head after some upper-level dumbass chunked it over the railing. That's how I know Roth-era was far superior to Hagar-era. As good as Van Hagar was that night, they couldn't compare to the site of that dude getting ambushed by a flying garbage can. But DLR would've topped it somehow -- assless chaps, katana sword displays, rubbing his crotch on some chick's boobs, something. Hagar just ran around shrieking in day-glo workout wear. Advantage: trash can.

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  • 3 years later...
  • 4 months later...

It always cracks me up how certain VH fans slobber all over "Unchained". 

I mean, in one post @tchookem claimed it was the best hook ever and then quite literally posted a song with a better hook next ("Outta Love Again").

"Unchained" is utterly pedestrian, junior varsity, throwaway Van Halen.  I have no idea why people fawn over it.  It's a "D" on their internal report card.

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It always cracks me up how certain VH fans slobber all over "Unchained". 
I mean, in one post [mention=1549]tchookem[/mention] claimed it was the best hook ever and then quite literally posted a song with a better hook next ("Outta Love Again").
"Unchained" is utterly pedestrian, junior varsity, throwaway Van Halen.  I have no idea why people fawn over it.  It's a "D" on their internal report card.
Yeah well, fuck you.
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Scrolling through some archive video for a project and came across this clip from the 1980 NBA Finals in Bostonimage.thumb.jpeg.7307a994311f5dac74b11457fccb5a18.jpeg

And saw the promo for the upcoming Van Halen at the Garden July 25, 1980 concert image.png.3e4e6828412f876f5f17bab380049533.png

and went to Google and easily found the set list for that show. Probably something that only interest me, ha!image.thumb.png.44484901ff2254f776970909571fca16.png

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  • 9 months later...
  • 5 months later...

Man, at this point I think I've read every book worth reading on the band.

When you've been as obsessed with a band for as long as I have, read this many books about them, you get a really well-rounded view of everyone.

The Breakup

Most interesting thing to me is that everyone blames someone else for the breakup of the band.

  • Dave blames Ed.
  • Ed blames Dave.
  • Sammy... sidesteps the issue (which gets interesting given what Ted says).
  • Noel Monk blames himself
  • Ted Templeman... blames Sammy.

Now, get this. Ted loves Sammy. He says he had more fun producing VOA than he did with any other album. He and Donn Landee were talking about putting Sammy in place of Dave right from the get-go because DLR clearly couldn't sing. (After a couple of weeks of talking to DLR and working with him, Ted realized that only DLR could be the frontman for VH -- a position that led him to refuse to produce 5150 and OU812.)

But he saw the VH split as being no different from any other intra-band argument he'd seen ... until Sammy got involved. "What Sammy did isn't much different than the guy who puts the moves on a wife who has recently separated from her husband." After that, both sides dug in.

Personally? I blame Ed's addiction more than anything else.

David Lee Roth

A legitimate genius and an egotistical asshole, too. Nearly everyone, even Sammy, says that Van Halen doesn't become Van Halen without David Lee Roth's influence. Everyone! The lone exception is Ed. Ed was jealous, and felt he had done most of the work (true!) and DLR got more credit than he deserved (false). Market placement matters more than hard work. DLR is the guy who dragged the VH boys out of the doldrums of 1970's Heavy Metal, threw in his 1940s Dance Hall influences, and made it something better than it could've been.

Also notable: Of all the books above, every biography/autobiography/memoir was written with someone else's help except for Dave's. Dave wrote that fucker himself. To some extent, it shows; it's clearly not the work of a professional writer, and not nearly as well-done as e.g. I am Ozzy. But it's worth it for being written by the man himself.

Sammy Hagar

On the one hand, this is the guy I'd most like to hang out with and have a beer tequila with. Fun to be around, amazing singer, mediocre lyricist. But jeez, watch your back around this guy. His version of events clashes with everyone else's and with basic facts (i.e., he's lying). Not to mention Ted's comment above.

Ed

Every bit the genius the most rabid fans make him out to be, and a complete sweetheart as well. If he hadn't drunk a single drop of alcohol, so many problems would've been avoided -- and we'd have a lot more of his music to enjoy.

Mike

The one guy nobody had anything bad to say about. Nobody had much to say about him at all, really. Ted said it best: Mike complained that Ted never talked to him when recording, but Ted said he never needed to. Mike got his vocals nailed on the first take (!), and knew exactly what he needed to do on the bass within the context of the band, in terms of what he played and how he played it. He was perfect.

Alex

The interesting thing to me is how little is said about Alex. Even less than about Mike. And yet you feel, whenever something happened "within the Van Halen camp," Alex's guiding hand behind it. Noel Monk's description of Alex's functional alcoholism is somewhat chilling.

1984

The album that broke the band. Noel knew Van Halen would make a masterpiece if they had more time to make it -- but also realized that giving them that extra time was what allowed their problems to fester. Ted was upset that, by doing it in a backyard studio, Ed's drinking was able to go unchecked (you behave better when on the clock in a pro studio, with other bands around waiting for their scheduled time, when you have to drive home afterwards). And Ed was upset that Ted didn't want him playing keyboards, when he wanted to expand in that direction.

Anyhow. I now officially know too much about Van Halen.

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Man, at this point I think I've read every book worth reading on the band.
When you've been as obsessed with a band for as long as I have, read this many books about them, you get a really well-rounded view of everyone.
The Breakup
Most interesting thing to me is that everyone blames someone else for the breakup of the band.
  • Dave blames Ed.
  • Ed blames Dave.
  • Sammy... sidesteps the issue (which gets interesting given what Ted says).
  • Noel Monk blames himself
  • Ted Templeman... blames Sammy.
Now, get this. Ted loves Sammy. He says he had more fun producing VOA than he did with any other album. He and Donn Landee were talking about putting Sammy in place of Dave right from the get-go because DLR clearly couldn't sing. (After a couple of weeks of talking to DLR and working with him, Ted realized that only DLR could be the frontman for VH -- a position that led him to refuse to produce 5150 and OU812.)
But he saw the VH split as being no different from any other intra-band argument he'd seen ... until Sammy got involved. "What Sammy did isn't much different than the guy who puts the moves on a wife who has recently separated from her husband." After that, both sides dug in.
Personally? I blame Ed's addiction more than anything else.
David Lee Roth
A legitimate genius and an egotistical asshole, too. Nearly everyone, even Sammy, says that Van Halen doesn't become Van Halen without David Lee Roth's influence. Everyone! The lone exception is Ed. Ed was jealous, and felt he had done most of the work (true!) and DLR got more credit than he deserved (false). Market placement matters more than hard work. DLR is the guy who dragged the VH boys out of the doldrums of 1970's Heavy Metal, threw in his 1940s Dance Hall influences, and made it something better than it could've been.
Also notable: Of all the books above, every biography/autobiography/memoir was written with someone else's help except for Dave's. Dave wrote that fucker himself. To some extent, it shows; it's clearly not the work of a professional writer, and not nearly as well-done as e.g. I am Ozzy. But it's worth it for being written by the man himself.
Sammy Hagar
On the one hand, this is the guy I'd most like to hang out with and have a beer tequila with. Fun to be around, amazing singer, mediocre lyricist. But jeez, watch your back around this guy. His version of events clashes with everyone else's and with basic facts (i.e., he's lying). Not to mention Ted's comment above.
Ed
Every bit the genius the most rabid fans make him out to be, and a complete sweetheart as well. If he hadn't drunk a single drop of alcohol, so many problems would've been avoided -- and we'd have a lot more of his music to enjoy.
Mike
The one guy nobody had anything bad to say about. Nobody had much to say about him at all, really. Ted said it best: Mike complained that Ted never talked to him when recording, but Ted said he never needed to. Mike got his vocals nailed on the first take (!), and knew exactly what he needed to do on the bass within the context of the band, in terms of what he played and how he played it. He was perfect.
Alex
The interesting thing to me is how little is said about Alex. Even less than about Mike. And yet you feel, whenever something happened "within the Van Halen camp," Alex's guiding hand behind it. Noel Monk's description of Alex's functional alcoholism is somewhat chilling.
1984
The album that broke the band. Noel knew Van Halen would make a masterpiece if they had more time to make it -- but also realized that giving them that extra time was what allowed their problems to fester. Ted was upset that, by doing it in a backyard studio, Ed's drinking was able to go unchecked (you behave better when on the clock in a pro studio, with other bands around waiting for their scheduled time, when you have to drive home afterwards). And Ed was upset that Ted didn't want him playing keyboards, when he wanted to expand in that direction.
Anyhow. I now officially know too much about Van Halen.

This is great. I both want to read the books now and feel as if I don’t need to.
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2 hours ago, Chad Fuck said:


This is great. I both want to read the books now and feel as if I don’t need to.

You should read I Am Ozzy. Everyone should. There's no way I can possibly do it justice. It's one of the most entertaining and funniest books I've ever read. 

Opening:

Quote

My father always said I would do something big one day.

‘I’ve got a feeling about you, John Osbourne,’ he’d tell me, after he’d had a few beers. ‘You’re either going to do something very special, or you’re going to go to prison.’

And he was right, my old man.

was in prison before my eighteenth birthday.

It just gets better from there on.

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11 hours ago, Rimbo said:

well. If he hadn't drunk a single drop of alcohol, so many problems would've been avoided -- and we'd have a lot more of his music to enjoy.

Well, this and the eleventy-billion cigarettes he smoked. That certainly didn’t help. 
 

But moreover, thanks for your very well thought out and insightful post. 
 

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11 hours ago, Rimbo said:

1984

The album that broke the band. Noel knew Van Halen would make a masterpiece if they had more time to make it -- but also realized that giving them that extra time was what allowed their problems to fester. Ted was upset that, by doing it in a backyard studio, Ed's drinking was able to go unchecked (you behave better when on the clock in a pro studio, with other bands around waiting for their scheduled time, when you have to drive home afterwards). And Ed was upset that Ted didn't want him playing keyboards, when he wanted to expand in that direction.

I LOVE VH1, 2, Diver Down, W&C1st, etc.

However, I was in 9th Grade in ‘84 and when this hit the airwaves- I was immediately pulled back in. It’s sad to read that what pulled me (and potentially millions of other fans) back to the band may be what ultimately destroyed it. 
And given Eddie and Alex’s literal history of their music as it relates to their training; how could someone not want to let Eddie play keyboard?? 
I’ve not read Templeman’s book, but you mentioned he blames Sammy- perhaps he, himself, could share some of the “blame”. 
 

Anyway, thanks again for the post/info!

 

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1 minute ago, NTVTXN said:

And given Eddie and Alex’s literal history of their music as it relates to their training; how could someone not want to let Eddie play keyboard??

Paraphrasing Ted: When you heard Eddie play guitar, you knew immediately who it was, and that you were hearing a transcendent talent. When you heard him play keyboards, it could've been just anyone playing. There was nothing special about his keyboard playing.

But it was more the circumstances around the album, the way Donn and Ed kept falling further into far too much coke and booze, getting very weird and paranoid about what Dave and Ted wanted... Dave and Ted just wanted to finish the album on schedule! They wanted their gifted engineer and guitarist to be on time and sober for half a day at a time!

The blame Ted puts on Sammy mostly comes down to him being opportunistic; he truly believes Dave and Ed make up if Sammy doesn't inject himself into the mix, because he had seen bands go into spats like that before. But once Sammy tried out for VH and got in, both sides dug in their heels. And based on the... shall we say, numerous discrepancies between what Sammy says happened vs many verifiable facts about what happened (and others' accounts)... Sammy doesn't come out looking like a very good person in all this.

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Van Halen doesn't become Van Halen without David Lee Roth's influence.


True. But Dave is also just a karaoke singer without Ed.

Crazy thing about music, and one of the coolest imo, is that when it’s right 1 + 1 = 9.

And for whatever reason the front man singer always gets the credit and adulation while the ones really doing to most work don’t. But that’s just how it is and always will be. In a band, you have to be ok with that.

And like it or not, whatever your perspective is, Ed did way better without Dave than Dave did without Ed.
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1 hour ago, Rimbo said:

The blame Ted puts on Sammy mostly comes down to him being opportunistic; he truly believes Dave and Ed make up if Sammy doesn't inject himself into the mix, because he had seen bands go into spats like that before. But once Sammy tried out for VH and got in, both sides dug in their heels. And based on the... shall we say, numerous discrepancies between what Sammy says happened vs many verifiable facts about what happened (and others' accounts)... Sammy doesn't come out looking like a very good person in all this.

Dave may have been the perfect front-man for VH at the beginning, but after six albums he had hit his celling. You can only hide the fact that he's a terrible singer so many different ways.   If DLR had stayed in the band, VH doesn't evolve and they just put out more of the same stuff; it would have sounded a lot like Dave's solo crap but with better musicians.  I have no insights in to the back-stabbing that may have gone on, but Sammy rejuivnated that band and gave it a 2nd life. 

 

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1 hour ago, tbone_ said:

True. But Dave is also just a karaoke singer without Ed.

That's the cool thing about it: Dave knew that. That's why he was so determined to basically sneak his way into the band. He basically got into the band the same way Ozzy got into Sabbath: He owned his own PA.

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28 minutes ago, 0xdeadbeef said:

Sammy rejuivnated that band and gave it a 2nd life.

Nah. It was Ed's growth and embracing of keyboards and better songwriting that rejuvenated the band.

I disagree with Ted on that point. Ted hated the keyboards, because it wasn't the band he'd signed, not the way he wanted the band to grow.

If Dave had stuck with them, they still would've grown in that way, but the lyrics would have been better, the shows would've been showier.

They didn't even try to hide Dave's lack of singing talent. They left it that way because it worked for that band. And it still would've. A Different Kind of Truth, Me Wise Magic, etc attest to that.

Oh here's another thing I learned. Van Halen did Michael McDonald dirty. Mike wrote the melody and lyrics to the refrain for "I'll Wait," and didn't get credit or a single dime for it.

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I don't mind bands "evolving" per se.  Nobody should be expected to do the same trick for decades.  But the problem with Sammy wasn't his voice, it was his lyrics.  He's just an awful lyricist.  Dave wrote "Jamie's Cryin'", "Runnin' With The Devil", "Somebody Get Me a Doctor", "Panama", "Hot for Teacher", even "Jump".  Sammy could NEVER write those songs. 

Van Hagar was a terrible, sappy, hopeless version of Van Halen.  Sammy appears to be a great guy, but he is a lousy songwriter.

Edited by jimmyjazz
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4 minutes ago, jimmyjazz said:

Sammy appears to be a great guy, but he is a terrible songwriter.

I'm not even sure I'd agree with the first half of that sentence at this point. Make no mistake, Sammy's a fun guy to be around, but of all the people involved, he's the one who ends up looking the worst.

But yeah. Dave's lyrics were unique... and only got better over time:

I'm a real good loser

Cause I get a lot of practice

With the breaks

When they're beatin' my boys

So I asked her,

"what's the only thing to do in this town?"

An' she gives me a multiple choice!

It's like Peter Pan, an' Tinkerbell

Poised on the proverbial brink

I asked her,

"how the hell you get in those tight blue jeans?"

She said,

"for starters you could buy me a drink"

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13 minutes ago, G650 said:

Sammy Hagar is pretty widely regarded in the industry as one of the nicest and most down to earth guys out there.

Yep. He's like that friend that you always want at your parties... but don't want to ever enter into business with.

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Saw Van Halen open up for Black Sabbath in 1978, walked out on Sabbath.  Used to play that shit so loud in high school it was crazy.

30 years later I am going to meet a buddy who I know is playing basketball outside with his son.  His son is a guitar god and total ripper but I knew he wasn't familiar with Van Halen.  There is a long downhill to his place in Great Hills and I roll down the windows and blast the living crap out of the opening of "Eruption."  His son bought the music the next day and became a big enough fan to drag his Dad to see them in San Antonio a few years back. My Buddy still thanks me for turning his son onto them, as does his son.

Generation after window shaking generation!  TURN IT UP LOUD!!!!

 

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19 minutes ago, horn4life said:

Saw Van Halen open up for Black Sabbath in 1978, walked out on Sabbath. 

I caught their first headlining tour on April 28, 1979 @ The Checkerdome in St. Louis.  To this day it might be the best concert I've ever seen.

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40 minutes ago, horn4life said:

Saw Van Halen open up for Black Sabbath in 1978, walked out on Sabbath.  Used to play that shit so loud in high school it was crazy.

 

Sabbath, and Ozzy in particular, were really falling apart then. VH blew 'em off the stage, so I've read.

They weren't very nice to Journey off the stage, either. (Seriously, Steve Perry my man, that bowl of guac WAS NOT MEANT FOR YOU. So sorry about that.)

The only band that Van Halen was afraid of sharing a stage with?

These guys:

 

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Appreciate y'all letting me yammer on about all this. My family is really wearing of me talking endlessly about these things... but this has been a true obsession for me, ever since that moment in the mid-1980s when my next door neighbor made a mix tape of VH's early stuff for @The Dog, I heard "Eruption" for the first time and naively asked, "What kind of synthesizer is that?"

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I saw dlr/sammy tour together at cynthia woods in 2002. Roth opened, it was an abortion. He never really sang, was constantly arguing  with personnel side stage. Highlight was ray luzier on drums. I think the guitarist was brian young and he was great.

Sammys performance was kickass. He actually tried to get Dave on stage for a duet….he refused. I think that tour ran 20 something dates and they eventually had to build a temporary wall backstage to keep them separated lol. But it was a huge financial success

 

 

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3 minutes ago, jimmyjazz said:

I'm struggling to think of a worse idea than DLR and Sammy touring together.  I'm drawing a blank.

It seemed like a good idea at the time. Van Halen was doing nothing -- even Cherone had bolted -- and the money was obviously there.

But... yeah.

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25 minutes ago, jimmyjazz said:

I'm struggling to think of a worse idea than DLR and Sammy touring together.  I'm drawing a blank.

The "Sans Halen" tour... a buddy saw that, and his reports echo that it was just as cataclysmic as @rungeflash describes

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1 hour ago, Rimbo said:

Sabbath, and Ozzy in particular, were really falling apart then. VH blew 'em off the stage, so I've read.

They weren't very nice to Journey off the stage, either. (Seriously, Steve Perry my man, that bowl of guac WAS NOT MEANT FOR YOU. So sorry about that.)

The only band that Van Halen was afraid of sharing a stage with?

These guys:

 

My one and only time seeing Van Halen live was at the Monster's of Rock Tour in 1988 at Candlestick Park (SF).

The band order was:  Kingdom Come, Dokken, Metallica, Scorpions, Van Halen. 

Van Halen was riding high with OU812, and without a doubt had the largest crowd, but Metallica figuratively stole the thunder.  "Master of Puppets" had been out a couple years and "And Justice for All..." was going to be released a few months later.   On top of that, they were a Bay Area band; this was like a home-game for them.

The Scorpions were the big losers.  Squeezed between Metallica and Van Halen. The Scorpions quote hard rock unquote sound just wasn't built to follow Metallica and wasn't as grand as Van Halen.  If they were following Dokken and leading into Van Halen, they would have been in a great spot, but the way it worked out, they came across as old and stale.

 

The biggest thing I remember from the Van Halen set was Michael Anthony had probably the worst Bass solo I've ever heard.  I have no idea if he was drunk, stoned, or just sucks at solos.  

 

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