Tag Archives: Reunion

A Different Kind Of Truth

The test had arrived for Van Halen to commence on a path once again with David Lee Roth. Indeed, the band had for the most part, gotten their act together. Being a reunited front with the new line up of David Lee Roth, Eddie Van Halen, Alex Van Halen and Wolfgang Van Halen, Eddie’s son the band had to deliver a new record for the Van Halen fans.

The test came when the record was released in February 2012. However, although on paper the songs were old, leftover rewrites, the record itself is an enjoyable listen, although not exactly a perfect record itself.

Van Halen have got back to work with a renewed and fresh approach to their music.

Picture courtesy http://loudwire.com/van-halen-launch-2012-north-american-tour/

The record begins with the trashy and enjoyable, “Tattoo”. Although the song is enjoyable, it wears out after successive listens. Still, it is way better than anything on Van Halen III, pure proof of the band’s new and more focused direction.

The glorious “She’s The Woman” is a much better song. It starts off with a brilliant guitar part, leading into a loud and catchy tune, with an interesting solo in the midsection. Not bad overall.

The chugging “You and Your Blues” follows, indicating a different side to the band’s repertoire of music. Entertaining and very listenable.

For the new Van Halen record, Eddie Van Halen used the latest in EVH Wolfgang guitars, an EVH USA Wolfgang Stealth which sounds loud and powerful as it does here.

Picture courtesy http://www.evhgear.com/gear/guitars/wolfgang-usa/wolfgang-stealth-ebony-fingerboard-stealth-black-w-case/

The next song, “China Town” is rather awful. In a way it is sort of laughable, but sounds very ordinary indeed. For those who like skipping tracks, you may be best off doing so here.

“Blood and Fire” follows, which is another rather ordinary song with a forgettable chorus. Still it is miles better than anything that Van Halen have recorded since Balance.

The pseudo-thrash of “Bullethead” follows, rather strangely catchy. It is a loud, full on roar of a song. Good listening.

Eddie Van Halen himself is back on track and happier than ever to create new music.

Picture courtesy https://www.celebritydiagnosis.com/people_tag/eddie-van-halen/

“As Is” continues the rather nonsensical lyrics that seem to dominate this album. Indeed, some of the older Van Halen fans may be disappointed by this approach to lyric writing, yet is very musically viable indeed.

The rather boring and forgettable “Honeybabysweetiedoll” makes as much sense as it sounds by the song title, and the song itself. It seems as though Van Halen had put the worst tracks on the first half of this record…

It is fantastic to see Eddie’s son Wolfgang Van Halen part of the Van Halen crew, a remarkably musically talented young man.

Picture courtesy http://www.guitarworld.com/interview-wolfgang-van-halen-talks-bass-different-kind-truth-and-more

Next up, “The Trouble with Never” is a rather good and catchy piece which demonstrates how wonderful and well respected Eddie Van Halen should be considered and deserves every bit of respect for his great guitar skills on it. Not bad at all.

“Outta Space” is obviously a rework, but not a bad one at that. Deeming indeed that the earth is full, it continues the nonsensical slur of lyrics that predominates the album.

The “Ice Cream Man” of this record, “Stay Frosty” is an anti-religious and reveals that in life, one must Stay Frosty in terms of laidback attitude. Starting off acoustically, it becomes a loud and rocking song that is well served.

David Lee Roth and the three Van Halens have successfully buried the majority of issues between each other and work cohesively together as a unit with great success.

Picture courtesy http://www.vhnd.com/2012/02/16/van-halen-allowing-fans-to-shoot-photos-video-at-shows/

“Big River” follows, which is a good rework of one of the songs on the Van Halen Zero demo. With all these wonderful songs here, one must think that the wait for a new Van Halen record was sure worth it.

The last, loudest and heaviest, and most likely, the best song of the album “Beats Workin’” shows Eddie Van Halen at his best. Indeed, those many years of tone chasing per se have proved that EVH himself can create a monstrous and undeniably brilliant sound. Legendary.

As long as their efforts continue with this new approach, Van Halen will continue to survive well into the 21st century.

Picture courtesy https://wallpapersafari.com/free-van-halen-logo-wallpapers/

Overall, the critics all agreed that this was a good, though not great, effort from Van Halen. Indeed, it has been many years between the previous Van Halen III and the A Different Kind of Truth record. Despite all this, it is a solidly good record that shows the future direction of a reworked and re-energised band. Well done.

Cleaning Out The Closet – Van Halen Gets Their Problems Sorted

After the disastrous reunion tour of 2004, Van Halen again went into hiding. Nothing really seemed to change for the once mighty and cohesive group. There seemed to be such a long time where nothing but silence was observed from the group. Barely anything seemed to come out of this.

In 2006, some changes occurred, however. Firstly, Michael Anthony, long time bass player of Van Halen was dumped from the band in favour of Eddie Van Halen’s son Wolfgang. For many older fans in particular, this seemed a criminal move. Why on earth would Van Halen do such a thing?

The renewed Van Halen seemed to once again really understand why they were there for rock and roll in the first place.

Picture courtesy http://www.vhnd.com/2014/09/27/7-years-ago-van-halen-launches-first-tour-with-david-lee-roth-since-1984/

Turns out that from a logical marketing point, it was very clever. Although Wolfgang was only in his teen years at the time, he grew into the role very quickly. To this day, Wolfgang Van Halen has proven an excellent singer and bass player, and has ventured outside of Van Halen musically to do his own thing with other groups quite well. Although neither can be compared to one another, Wolfgang Van Halen perhaps seems more musically active than Michael Anthony ever really was in his own right in Van Halen.

Once this had occurred, the three Van Halens worked on the next idea: David Lee Roth coming back to Van Halen. The question was though, how would it be done?

Strategically driven, Wolfgang Van Halen gave a call to David Lee Roth in 2006 and asked if he would be interested in rejoining Van Halen. After consideration, David Lee Roth said yes and rejoined the group.

Although relations between David Lee Roth and the Van Halens are never perfect, the group of four are happier and more productive than ever.

Picture courtesy http://aarontallent.com/?p=4061

Also, Eddie Van Halen cleaned up his state of mind around this time. Inspired by his young son Wolfgang, he began a fight to overcome his addictions. Although taking one step back in 2007 by visiting a rehabilitation clinic for addiction to a substitute drug for alcohol, Eddie took two steps forward and is now alcohol free and much more focused. He also switched from smoking cigarettes to smoking an electronic cigarette in an effort to clean up.

Eventually by 2007 Van Halen were ready to tour again and did just that. The tour of that year was a critical and commercial success, and gave Eddie Van Halen the chance to test his new Fender prototype gear along the way. This happened with a lot of effort, patience and understanding from the Van Halen fans in particular. But now Van Halen were on a definite up, and never looking back.

Now that Van Halen were working properly once again, they fared very well with their contemporaries in music.

Picture courtesy http://aintitbalenews.com/node/2622/van-halen

 

References:

  1. Eddie Van Halen’s Struggle With Alcohol And Drugs: What’s The Root Cause? 2013. Clarity Way. https://www.clarityway.com/blog/van-halens-struggle/

A Reunion?

Nobody knew what really began the Van Halen downward spiral. A series of bad events unnerved the once great band that was Van Halen. It started as early as when David Lee Roth left the band in 1985. Sammy Hagar never really got along with the boys terribly well, although early on they shared some good moments together. Gary Cherone left as it really was becoming far worse than anybody could imagine.

Eventually a call by Alex Van Halen after five years of no lead singer was made to Sammy Hagar. There was no real explanation why so, perhaps money was involved. But eventually Sammy Hagar met the boys at a rather notorious meeting at Eddie’s 5150 studios to sign a contract to release another compilation and to go on tour.

A happy reunion for Van Halen? It was a disaster waiting to happen.

 photo SamandEd2004_zps191369ea.jpg

Picture courtesy http://smg.photobucket.com/user/pt5150/media/SamandEd2004_zps191369ea.jpg.html

Eddie was certainly not in a good frame of mind at this point. Really, for many Van Halen fans, their days had gone. A reunion tour out of the blue did not seem very wise, and turned out to be a disaster.

Although the tour was a financial success, from a musical standing point it was really very bad. The band performed well…except for Eddie Van Halen. Eddie constantly made mistakes and sung off key.

But the worst part was how Eddie looked. He was totally drunk at the time, possibly taking drugs (many people who dislike Eddie personally called him “Meth Eddie” around this time), disheveled with black teeth and truly looked like a Frankenstein like creature. Sadly, for one of the greatest guitarists in living history he had lost it around this time. It was such a transformation that had happened gradually over time: from rock legend to living joke.

Sammy Hagar and Eddie Van Halen are definitely no longer friendly due to the events that occurred on the 2004 Reunion tour.

Picture courtesy http://www.musicradar.com/news/guitars/sammy-hagar-i-dont-see-a-new-van-halen-record-happening-393416

It is no surprise that Sammy Hagar wrote a detailed autobiography after this tour due to the horrific events that occurred during this time entitled Red: My Uncensored Life In Rock aimed squarely at Eddie Van Halen, with some attacks also at Alex Van Halen.

Regardless of the truth or non-truth from either camp, Van Halen were at a terrible stage in their musical career. But once Sammy Hagar left after the last show in Tucson, he and Eddie were never on good terms again. Eddie smashed his favourite Peavey Wolfgang guitar at the end of the show, threw the pieces into the crowd and told the crowd: “You don’t understand. You people pay my rent. I love you people.”

Eddie Van Halen was really messed up at this point.

Picture courtesy http://concertshots.com/vanhalensilvertide604_.htm

Also equally bad was Eddie ending his contract with Peavey in 2004. This was due to breaking contract negotiations with Peavey to sell and market instruments to other corporations, in Eddie’s case, the Charvel Art Series guitars. Also Van Halen had lost their contract with Warner Bros. in 2002 who signed them way back in the late 1970s. Eddie lost his long term wife Valerie Bertinelli in 2001 as well. In general, not a great time for Van Halen.

Still, a compilation with three new songs was released, reminding people of past glories. But Van Halen were still not ready to be a band yet. This part of the Van Halen story will go down in rock history as one of the worst overall. The only way from here was up, however.

The Best Of Both Worlds compilation was the only really good thing to result from the brief reunion.

Picture courtesy http://lyrics.wikia.com/wiki/File:Van_Halen_-_The_Best_of_Both_Worlds.jpg

 

References:

  1. Ultimate Classic Rock. 2015. 11 Years Ago: Van Halen Mount Disastrous Tour With Sammy Hagar. http://ultimateclassicrock.com/sammy-hagar-van-halen-reunion-2004/
  2. Rock News Desk. 2011. Hagar Tried To Quit Van Halen During Disaster Tour. http://rocknewsdesk.com/world-news/hagar-tried-to-quit-van-halen-during-disaster-tour/712/
  3. Van Halen – The Unofficial Very Cool Fan Site. 2015. http://www.vanhalen.8k.com/bio.htm