Tag Archives: 1996

Van Halen: Best Of Volume One

As previously discussed, the first Van Halen compilation came along with the rotation of singers. Yet, despite this, how does it sound?

It was a shame that for this particular compilation only one disc was released. Van Halen had more than enough material to fill up two discs of songs, but regrettably only chose one instead. There are many tracks that could have made it onto another disc which would have been amazing.

The two new songs with David Lee Roth were amazing.

Picture courtesy http://www.vhnd.com/2014/09/04/van-halens-original-lineup-presents-mtv-award/

Still, there is a fairly good selection here of music by Van Halen. It begins with ‘Eruption’, leading all the way to ‘Panama’ (or ‘Hot For Teacher’ if you had the Japanese copy of this album) for the first David Lee Roth era. Once that is over, very much the hit singles from the Sammy Hagar era are here. And yes, many fans were aware of these songs yet for a one disc compilation it strikingly sounds well chosen.

Then we have the new tracks. ‘Humans Being’ is very much of one the worst “Van Hagar” tracks you will hear. It is a dirge like song, only redeemed by the loud, prolonged scream at the end of the song. A poor effort indeed.

It is really hard to know what Van Halen and Eddie Van Halen himself were really thinking around this time.

Picture courtesy http://www.guitarplayer.com/news/1024/eddie-van-halen-performs-jimi-hendrixs-fire-and-little-wing–video/52965

Then we get two brand new David Lee Roth songs, ‘Can’t Get This Stuff No More’ is very cool indeed. “Got a date with a supermodel, I know I can make it…” begins Dave on the first new song. It sounds wonderful and fresh, something that Balance seems to lack. Not bad.

More catchy though is ‘Me Wise Magic’. A full on, rhythmic tune with style, it is an underrated gem out of the Van Halen cannon. Eddie Van Halen uses some cool licks on his new Peavey Wolfgang here, and it does justice indeed.

Eddie Van Halen really does show his Brown Sound progression on this particular album.

Picture courtesy http://atlasicons.photoshelter.com/gallery/EDDIE-VAN-HALEN-1996/G0000wb.BUOeMwgk/C0000YdNgrVtpTBs

The good thing about this compilation, regardless of it needing to be more inclusive, is that we can clearly hear for the first time Eddie Van Halen’s Brown Sound transition throughout the years. From the first Frankenstrat on ‘Eruption’ to his Peavey gear on ‘Me Wise Magic’, somehow upon listening one gets the feeling that this is exactly what Eddie desired to show listeners. He seemed very content with showing the difference in sound and tone over the years.

The bad thing about this compilation though is that it does fall short of a truly amazing listen by being too selective of some songs and also needs more of them. After the fade out of the last track, you may sit there and feel left out of what could have been much more.

There could have and should have been another disc of Van Halen material. Yet, despite this, this album is absolutely essential to understanding the Brown Sound progression over the years.

Picture courtesy http://www.covershut.com/cover-tags/Van-Halen-Best-Of-Volume-1-1996.html

It is the better of the two compilations though, and is a must for those who wish to understand the Brown Sound in a logical progression. A photo of Eddie’s Peavey Wolfgang is in the booklet. Unfortunately, nobody saw the future at the time, which is exactly what this compilation was for.

Chaos in Van Halen – The Beginning of the Singer Revolving Door

It was not a good or easy time for Van Halen in 1996. The pressure within was definitely consuming the once powerful and cohesive group. Although Eddie himself was busy promoting his brand new line up of Peavey Wolfgang guitars to show that he still had the genius and ability to craft wonderful instruments, the truth was that Eddie Van Halen was in an alcohol (and some say drug) induced decline.

All parties involved with Van Halen were running to the media to explain the problems within Van Halen. Unfortunately, Eddie Van Halen was no exception to this.

Picture courtesy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqUJ9Vdjs88

The fact was that Ed and Sammy Hagar did not see eye-to-eye on what Van Halen represented. Different stories have emerged from both parties on what really happened around this time, yet one thing that was certain was that in 1996 Sammy Hagar and Eddie Van Halen had a large fallout after Van Halen indicated that they were seeking to get David Lee Roth back into Van Halen to record some new songs for their first greatest hits album Van Halen: The Best of Volume One. Although this website is about Eddie Van Halen, it is important to cover these issues as well.

Once Sammy Hagar was no longer a part of Van Halen, in an odd stroke of fate, Eddie Van Halen attempted to recruit Mitch Malloy into the band. This was kept top secret at the time and no real leak of what happened did not occur until many years later when Mitch Malloy confirmed that until the MTV Music Awards in that year happened, he was given the green light to be their third singer. He revoked the offer after seeing David Lee Roth with Van Halen on that night.

Mitch Malloy was keen on joining Van Halen around this time until bad things got their way.

Picture courtesy http://wileykoepp.com/2013/12/mitch-malloy-van-halen-replacement-for-sammy-hagar-almost/

Perhaps Eddie Van Halen himself was foreseeing a return to David Lee Roth era Van Halen? Who knows, but what was clear is that they did indeed record two songs for their first compilation with David Lee Roth, ‘Can’t Get This Stuff No More’ and ‘Me Wise Magic’, and both are the most underrated Van Halen songs you will listen to. Still, it was not enough to keep the band going together after the infamous MTV Music Award 1996 Ceremony.

Although stories do differ, what is clear is that David Lee Roth and Eddie Van Halen did not see eye-to-eye on the fact that Roth wished to be returned as lead singer of Van Halen, but Eddie wanted a more methodical approach. Of course, regardless of any bad blood on either side, the pair fell out and prompted a rethink of a new singer for Van Halen. After the MTV Music Award night, Van Halen were never the same again.

The fact that the entire band were now relying upon the media to express their disgust at what had happened with Van Halen revealed a lack of confidence in any musical project whatsoever involved with them.

Picture courtesy http://www.vhnd.com/2014/09/04/van-halens-original-lineup-presents-mtv-award/

The band eventually returned to their rehearsals for a new singer. They selected Extreme frontman Gary Cherone, who had not really worked along with Van Halen before and was a new addition to the Van Halen group. By all accounts, Gary was very easy going with the group and although the following record proved he may not have been David Lee Roth or Sammy Hagar, he did fit the bill at the time indeed.

Gary Cherone only lasted in Van Halen for three years and sung on the disastrous Van Halen III album, but he seems much more respectful towards Van Halen and what they represent than what Sammy Hagar shows nowadays, strangely. Although he is not suited to Van Halen’s style of music per se, it was what the band needed at the time.

Gary Cherone really did do his best to hold things together in Van Halen.

Picture courtesy http://www.vhnd.com/2015/06/09/gary-cherone-van-halens-tokyo-dome-live-concert/

 

References:

 

  1. Greene, Andy. 2013. Flashback: Van Halen tours with former Extreme singer Gary Cherone. http://www.rollingstone.com/music/videos/flashback-van-halen-tours-with-former-extreme-singer-gary-cherone-20130115
  2. Van Halen News Desk. 2013. How Mitch Malloy Almost Became Van Halen’s Third Singer (Video). http://www.vhnd.com/2013/11/06/how-mitch-malloy-almost-became-van-halens-third-singer-video/
  3. 2013. Van Halen News Story on The David Lee Roth & Sammy Hagar Break-ups – 1998. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etsan65vOqc
  4. Van Halen News Desk. 2013. Gary Cherone Reflects on his Three-Year Stint in Van Halen. http://www.vhnd.com/2013/01/17/gary-cherone-reflects/