I went to bed about an hour ago, but Rosie decided that I and everyone within a quarter mile should wake up and be PISSED PISSED PISSED about the stray cats from down the block who had the nerve to walk up our alley-way. NOTE TO SELF- stop leaving the back door open at night for the girls.
Other than that, I have nothing to say other than I had a discussion with someone today who said they loved Van Halen, and when I asked them which albums they liked, they said 5150 and OU812. When I heard them say that, I guess I sort of felt like I was listening to someone say they liked the NFL because they enjoyed watching field goals. It made me physically ill.
Van Halen was one of the quintessential rock groups of the seventies and eighties, but Van Halen ended with the departure of David Lee Roth. Period. The Van Hagar and Cherone periods don’t count. They were not rock and roll, they were top 40 crap. I am so fucking sorry for all you idiots who think “Why Can’t This Be Love” is actually rock and roll, but it wasn’t.
Van Halen ended in 1985. Van Halen was Jamie’s Cryin’, Runnin’ With the Devil, Feel Your Love Tonight. Van Halen was the hard pumping chest throbbing rock and roll of Sinner’s Swing and Loss of Control and and Romeo Delight and Mean Street. Van Halen was the whimsical, with Ice Cream Man and Beautiful Girls and Big Bad Bill and Hot for Teacher and Could This be Magic and, of course, stuff that led to Dave TV:
Van Halen was the sick guitar riffs and chest thumping drums of the Van Halen brothers, and, of course, David Lee Roth that completely captured the late 70’s and early 80’s zeitgeist. And it died in the middle 80’s when I was a teenager when Roth left and they hired some jackass who liked to yell about his driving habits and speed limits.
Everything after David Lee Roth left should be considered the New Coke of Van Halen. Period.
I feel very, very strongly about this. I feel like someone is trying to rewrite the rock and roll of my childhood.
The prophet Nostradumbass
Gotta agree with you about Van Halen.
Ah. There’s the rub.
“Remakes” of movies, songs, et.al.
Adapt, or die, I suppose.
Welcome to your 40s.
So how do you like the new Van Halen, with Dave back at the mic and Eddie’s kid Wolfgang on bass? I figure this line-up should last until Eddie finds a relative who can sing, and everyone in the band Van Halen will actually be a Van Halen.
I dunno, John. 1984, which was the soundtrack to my junior & senior years of high school, was kind of crap, but other than that, I take your point. Post-Roth era VanHalen is just irredeemable garbage.
Rosie’s last name isn’t Zimmerman, is it?
Heard “Ain’t Talking About Love” on the radio going to work this morning, cranked it, Van Halen was one of the few late 70s-early 80s rock bands I could stand.
Villago Delenda Est
Um, let me just say one thing.
“Girl, you really got me goin'”
Yes, a cover. But a brilliant one.
While I don’t rabidly dislike the Hagar period as much as you do, John, I have to agree that VH was at its best early on, through 85.
I played “Panama” full blast in a rented Toyota in the Canal Zone, of all places, in 1985. Great, or what?
Villago Delenda Est
“Did you know that Paul McCartney was in a band before Wings?”
John you should see them if they come your way–I caught them about two weeks ago and the entire set list is from the vintage era. Middle-aged crowd too, great nostalgic feel.
Meh. Just another group I get confused with the Outfield. I guess I kind of liked that Sister Christian song they did, but they were no Mister Mister.
I admit to liking a few tracks on 5150. But, other than that, I agree with your insightful and witty commentary about this subject that I couldn’t care less about.
I generally agree about VH, but that said, Sammy Hagar is a ten-times better singer than Dave, who really isn’t a singer at all. And Dave sounds awful live… The Van Halen brothers, they are a real piece of work. Basically trailer-park trash with lots and lots of money. And nowadays, Eddie is more than half insane (and not in a good way).
I’d take Ozzy with Randy Rhoads on guitar any day over VH (Randy and Eddie were rivals back in the pre-bigtime days in LA) but thats just me
DLR is gross. As much as I agree with the thrust of your post, John, he’s a huge turn-off.
Ahh, a few more wealthy boomers grifting off the boomer nostalgia, sucking up money from a newer generation of musicians.
@Egg Berry: Meh. It’s not like the people at that show flipped a coin: heads we go to a Van Halen reunion, tails we go to Fleet Foxes. There’s room for all sorts of music, even stuff I don’t like.
@MikeJ: Yep. Doesn’t mean I can’t mock the shit out of these overpaid 60 year olds who haven’t created a lick of good music in years (which differentiates them from, say, Mr. Zimmerman), and the people who pay overinflated ticket prices to see their wrinkled faces prancing around like teenagers.
Horrendo Slapp (formerly Jimperson Zibb, Duncan Dönitz, Otto Graf von Pfmidtnöchtler-Pízsmőgy, Mumphrey, et al.)
Eh, never could stand Van Halen. I grew up the same time you did, but somehow I ended up listening to stuff from the late 60’s and early 70’s. Still do. There’s a lot of good music coming out all the time, but, I don’t know, it must have been something abut the turmoil of that time, with the Vietnam War going on and all kinds of demonstrations and riots and anger and sadness that just gave all the musicians back then some kind of extra kick that’s been lacking ever since. Not that I want to go through anything like that again; my only point is that maybe wretched times lead to inspired music.
I feel like shit. Our little girl was sick all last week, and now she’s better but she’s given it to my wife and me. Worst cold I’ve had in I don’t know how long; feels like it’s bordering on pneumonia. I get cold and shaky, and then after a while, I get to sweating. I get these coughing fits that make me cough so hard I feel like I’m going to throw up. That’s great fun. At least the child goes back to preschool tomorrow for three hours…
Great guitar player–no musical taste at all, though.
Sorry, but the first time I saw VH was just before they broke wide open and they were opening for Black Sabbath (with Ozzy). Nobody here had ever heard of them so we didn’t expect much. We were psyched for BS. Well, they were a revelation and everyone in the old Civic Arena went nuts. They were so great that BS suffered majorly in comparison (Ozzy was probably drunk and drugged to the gills) and they got booed, big time.
They were in the ‘Burgh a little over a week ago and my friend, Dave G, got me a ticket. Dave is back in full “Jump” physical shape, Wolfie can play, and EVH still shreds those notes. They were great and I was transported back to my early twenties, when drugs, sex, and rock and roll still meant something. Sorry you missed them, John!
I generally agree, but I’ve included “Why Can’t This Be Love” in my workout sequence on my ipod, to help keep me going on the treadmill. So shoot me. If it helps, the rest of my VH selections are from the DLR period.
And how could you not mention “And the Cradle Will Rock”? That was the anthem of every dirty-haired deviant in my neighborhood growing up, and it still rocks. (“Have you seen junior’s grades?”)
Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again)
I’d say I couldn’t agree more, but- popularity and sales be damned- I think they phoned it in with Roth from Diver Down through 1984, too.
O, to be 16 again, making an early Sunday morning donut run on practically empty streets, jammin’ Tora! Tora!/Loss of Control full blast in the old man’s Cutlass…
David Lee Roth is the Garo Yepremian of rock music. He was a mediocrity who lucked into playing for a great team, and when he had his singular moment to shine in the Super Bowl, he threw the Worst Pass in NFL History. David Lee Roth is all that is WRONG with Van Halen. When I hear that squeaky upper register “voice” that sounds like a band saw cutting through galvanized tin, I want to plotz.
Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again)
“Nah,nah,nah,nah…Don’t take ’em off. C’mon…A little more to the right…”
What – did anybody think with Hagar that Van Halen would be the same band as when Dave was in it? Sammy gave up a decent solo career to play with some of rock’s best musicians, and considering how their sound and style changed, they actually put out some pretty good stuff. Sure, it didn’t sound like the stuff Dave sang, but Dave wasn’t there anymore. Learn to appreciate the difference between the Dave and Sammy eras and move on!
I was in high school back when they hit the big time with their first album, which ruled to no end, not when their mid-80’s crappy “1984” came out. By that time they had almost become a parody of themselves. Sammy breathed new life into a burnt-out band, which put out some really decent stuff from time to time. At least Hagar (definitely a better singer than Roth) got out at the right time, when the Van Halen brothers had degenerated into drugged-out drunkards. Now with Michael Anthony gone (his bass with Eddie’s guitar is what really made the old Van Halen sound) they are not anymore like the old DLR fronted Van Halen, just like they weren’t with Hagar. And after hearing “Tattoo”, it made me decide that I want nothing to do with them in their new incarnation anymore.
Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again)
Dude, it’s an album: You gotta switch it to 33 rpm.
BTW, a year earlier, Yepremian kicked a pretty long FG in the AFC Championship, in KC, to end the longest game played (for a long time).
Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again)
@Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again):
Whoops- first round game, not second. Still…
I know I’m gonna sound like a helicopter-parented millenial hipster when I say this, but I just can’t take VH seriously as rock n roll. Like Kiss and Twisted Sister get more cred. VH to me stands for over-technical wankery and that’s about it. If I want cheez I’ll take it without the pretensions to virtuosity.
VH is on the top of a long list of over-praised, under talented bands. Sure they had some shining moments, but EVH isn’t doing anything with a guitar any other guitarist of the time could do. Over-rated to say the least.
@Joe Bohemouth: I approves of this statement.
One could argue that Van Halen died with Eddie playing synthesizer on 1984. Although, I’ll always remember Jump playing as the intro to a glorious summer of Cubs baseball.
Any other guitarist of the time could do what EVH did? Sorry, but that’s not a defensible statement.
Back in the 90s, I had the experience of hearing Warren Zevon, in a fit of impromptu whimsy, perform a minute or two of “Why Can’t This Be Love?”. As such, I have to stick up for the merits of the song in general; your opinion of Van Halen’s rendition aside, it’s a perfectly fine rock ballad in the right hands.
(This is a topic that I’ve been musing on lately, what with Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers’ cover of “I Can’t Go For That” — what songs are widely derided as bad songs, but have cover versions that demonstrate that any weaknesses of the song were the result of the original artist, not the material?)
@EconWatcher: Hell, C.C. Deville is a better guitar player even when playing some bubblegum rock music.
You can’t possibly play guitar if you think EVH is mediocre at best. Jeebus. It is to laugh. I’ll be sure to tell every guitar player I know (including some famous ones) that they don’t know what they’re talking about when they say what a virtuoso he is.
Worked as a stagehand in Saint paul civic cente on 3/11/1984. Watched the show from six feet in front of the stage left speaker stack.
ETA Van Halen
Actually, to give post-DLR VH credit where it’s due they did have a pretty awesome video in the early 90s. Sumthin about power tools and a ladies bathroom. Cant remember a thing about the song but it did disabuse me [sic] of any desire to become a Catholic priest.
Never could stand Van Halen, I thought David Lee Roth was the Barbra Streisand (narcissistic, shamelessly self-absorbed drama queen) of rock. Never could stand to listen to him. I thought “Just a gigilo” was a confessional.
David Lee Roth was “America’s Favorite Game-show Host.” It’s part of his idiot-savantness.
VH was tremendous, but I don’t think I could bring myself to go see them now. My first opportunity to catch them in concert was ’85 or ’86, and I wound up seeing both VH and DLR’s tours that year. Both great shows, but I wish I could have seen ’em together.
Amen, Cole. Amen.
Well, I am certainly going to have to forward this discussion to my son, who may have the world’s largest collection of Van Halen stuff and generally worships….etc……
John, don’t be so narrow. Many of us like later Van Halen, too.
Some groups age very well, e.g. The Moody Blues. My 44 year old son and I went to Moody Blues concert on the lawn in Indianapolis, Indiana a couple years ago.
I was stunned at how the band, by now consisting of only a three of the original members, Haywood, Lodge, and Edge. And of those, only Edge is one of the original original members. The group had two young women musicians added, and a young second percussionist.
But they were awesome, delivering classic Moody Blues across the entire continuum of the groups history.
I’m a guitar player and play in a gigging band (though its just a hobby, since I’m way to old to ‘make it’)… While I don’t think Eddie is mediocre I do think he’s way overrated. He mainly just plays slight variations of the same thing over and over. To me he’s not that impressive. There are much better guitar players out there who are much more diverse in their styles:
– Randy Rhoads (RIP)
– Steve Vai
– Joe Satriani
– Richie Blackmore
– Yngwie Malmsteen
– Steve Morse (the best guitar player I’ve ever seen live)
Just to name a few
>like I was listening to someone say they liked the NFL because they enjoyed watching field goals.
Hey, that’s what I like about the CFL!
This a thousand times. The posted video is a cover of an old Louis Prima song that DLR copies scat-for-scat. The point of scat singing is improvisationally in the moment, like a true solo in jazz or rock. To copy one note for note is just wrong. Roth was a hack with poor singing voice that he could belt out at 11. It gave all us stoner, would-be rock star (if it didn’t take so much darn hard work) high school losers someone to look up to. I liked it when I was that guy and some of the songs have a nostalgic quality like Rock Around the Clock did for my parents, but, like that song, is largely a tepid knock-off of more talented musicians.
@geg6: Didn’t know virtuoso meant doing the same as everyone else. I understood that some sort of innovation was supposed to be involved.
Settle down, John, don’t make me call your proby officer.
Be honest, back then you were listening to Leif Garrett. It was probably more like this…
I would disagree that he wasn’t an innovator. He was the first ‘modern’ type lead guitarist in his sound and style of play. He was the bridge between the classic-rock guitarists (Jimmy Page, Joe Perry, et al) and the modern shredders we have today. I’ll give him that much
For what it’s worth, Rolling Stone rated EVH number 8 on its list of 100 best guitarists of all time.
You are 100% correct John. Van Halen was not the same after Roth left, but Roth wasn’t good without VH either.
They ruined a good thing.
St. Louis, which for some reason seems to have a special relationship with Sammy, would drive you nuts.
You mean the list of the 100 famous male rock guitarists of all time. It is a very narrow, limited list.
Its not worth much LOL. Any list of ‘greatest guitarists’ that has Kurt Cobain on the list can only be described as a complete joke. He may have been an OK songwriter but as a guitarist he’s not even in the top 10,000
Nothing gives me a wistful childhood feeling more than seeing those old MTV titles in that classic font…
Sir. RE: Van Halen. You are correct.
You leave your back door open in the middle of the night?
@mcd410x: This is the correct answer. It was not DLV or Haggar that killed VH. It was the gad danged synthesizer! I can hear those sickly notes now – ack!
What was Eddie thinking?! I know, I know, it was the 80’s.
Absolutely agree. It ended when DL Roth left. Panama was one of my final favorites…
Never was a VH fan, and I’ve listened to a LOT of music over the last 40 years. That sort of party music seems embarrassingly contrived, misogynistic and derivative. All of those criticisms could be made of most rock, but I don’t feel VH created enough that was unique to pay back what they borrowed.
FYI, Harry Nilsson on one turntable at the moment and Liz Phair on the other.
What was the song “Panama” about? Did it have anything to do with Panama?
Well, I’d go with Jeff Beck as the best I’ve ever seen live and, probably, on recording. But to say that Eddie is just your average guitar player who just ripped off others’ moves? That is someone (not you!) whose musical advice or criticism is not to be taken seriously in the least. At all.
Diamond Dave wasn’t a good singer, but that’s beside the point- VH was fun when he was frontman, they were “fun” when Sammy stepped in.
@Cromagnon: I can live with that I grew up during 80’s VH. In a time filled with Slash, Izzy, CC, Hammett, Mustaine and a huge list of just killer guitarists, I’m can’t see the big deal.
Van Halen was the best of their breed, which included KISS, Aerosmith, and the whole motley crew of 80s hair bands. (If that breed needs a name, it’s “bands consciously or unconsciously patterned after the New York Dolls”.)
Of course that breed was entirely mediocre.It goes without saying that Van Halen produced their best work when Roth was the singer, though that may be largely a coincidence.
Forum Transmitted Disease
Going to go see them in June, cannot wait.
Also, has anyone else noticed/realize that DLR is gay…or am I just seeing things? Don’t think so.
@Cassidy: EVH is a 70’s blues rock guitar player who innovated some flashy moves and played with a band that was more pop than average. I agree with Cromagnon that was was an important transitional player. He’s really good, but he wasn’t someone like Randy Rhoads who pretty much upended the whole heavy metal genre with his playing style. But my favorite guitar players are Johnny Thunders, Robert Quine, Greg Ginn and (yikes) Brian Setzer so what do I know?
Forum Transmitted Disease
@geg6: I would not call EVH “average” – not ever. That being said, about half his playing vocabulary is lifted directly from Allan Holdsworth, something about which Mr. Holdsworth is justifiably pissed.
Years ago I took my mom, a huge Satriani fan, to see Satriani, Vai, Eric Johnson and Adrian Legg at a big civic center show. She considers Vai ‘too flashy’. She framed Satriani’s autograph, and the pen he signed it with.
I had the pleasure of seeing Van Halen a few times at the Whiskey-a-go-go when I was in high school. They really kicked some serious ass. The first album came out, they went on tour, You Really Got Me was a hit, and the next time they played in L.A. was at the Long Beach Arena. Not quite the same ;-)
And yeah, Van Hagar sucked.
Late to the party, but AMEN, brother.
Marcellus Shale, Public Dick
david lee roth added his own 100 pages or so to the book on LSD. (lead singer’s disease) this much is true.
but what would have been overbearing in any other band was the exact amount of personality, and the right personality for the time, for van halen. their music is/was pretty cold and technical other wise.
they could have gone down the path of elo, triumph,or any other technical/prog band you want to throw out there. what made van halen fun and accessible, and something you didn’t have acquire as a taste, is dlr. his personality was/is that big, because he has a lot to make up for just to provide balance.
I recommend Geoff Nicholson’s book Big Noises, which has 100 capsule reviews of rock guitarists. His take on Malmsteen is devastating.
South of I-10
I had a ticket to see the Diver Down tour, but my Mom wouldn’t let me go. I did see 1984.
I’m with John 100% on this. Van Halen somehow managed to RAWK while being big, goofy fun. Van Hagar, by contrast, was a top 40 hit machine.
@Cassidy: For about a half-decade, from circa ’75 to about ’82 or ’83, he was was as fresh and unique as could be.
Look, no musician really innovates – the “innovative” ones just synthesize what is getting stale into something new and a little different (but not too different).
Forget the chops and the tapping – what EVH did was fuse the pentatonic-based bluesy wankery of the Page/Blackmore/Joe Perry crowd and added more gain and melodicism (to be sure, Richie dabbled in classical phrasing and melodies, but he always anchored it in traditional blues frames). Other dudes could play fast, but honestly, it was Eddie’s note choices and the fact that he played both extremely dirty and very cleanly, while still marinading in that 70’s cock-rock swagger, that made him unique.
Yngwie synthesized Richie Blackmore and Uli Jon Roth and EVH, but that wasn’t until ’82 or so. That spawned the whole 80’s shred deal, but EVH was pretty much there lurking behind every single big-haired wheedly-wheeldy guy.
@RossInDetroit: Woah, does she play guitar?
Used to play acoustic, but not for decades. She’s a big music fan with an appetite for more all the time. Finding fresh records for Mom keeps me from getting stale in my listening habits.
Note to John: If you don’t have the first two Montrose albums with Sammy(disks for you young’uns) you are missing seriously good rock.
That you don’t like Sammy I could care less. He is more cerebral than David Lee Roth. Let us not question that David’s ego went to his head in the mid 80’s and his abilities were shown to be more limited than the marketing budget.
Case in point though….Chicken Foot is way better than the new Van Halen record. Nuff said.
@billgerat: Respectfully disagree. Michael Anthony’s background vocals made the VH sound. He was a serviceable bass player, but his tenor harmonies are what really stand out from their overall sound. And, EVH is the finest rhythm guitarist ever. His leads were groundbreaking, but it’s his riffs that make him such a legend.
@RossInDetroit: I only ask because I tend to assume that the guitar virtuosos are just playing for other guitar players. It’s pretty cool having a parent to listen to music with- my dad’s an audiophile and I have been buying him records as gifts… that just happen to be ones I want to listen to on his stereo.
“I feel very, very strongly about this”
And you’re completely wrong. Everything Van Halen ever did was crap. If you wanted to listen to bands from Southern California during the period to which you refer, you should have been listening to X, the Blasters, and the Plimsouls. Their records still work 30 years later. Van Halen is still noise.
I’ll give you a partial pass for liking Van Halen at the time, because you were a child and listened with the ears of a child. But that excuse no longer plays.
yup, and also “Atomic Punk”
I must be doing it wrong, then, because More Fun In The New World *and* 1984 are personal favorites.
Finally something worthy enough to draw me out of my commenting silence after so many years reading this blog. So glad it’s a topic that I can actually agree with John about too. Hagar’s a decent singer and the first Montrose album proves he’s got stock along with selected other cuts from his long career, but he was the wrong guy for VH. DLR may not be a perfect pitch singer, but that swagger he brought to that band was absolutely and quintessentially an integral part of what made them so great. Michael Anthony’s voice was the pudding in the middle as well. The new one is pretty good, but without Anthony’s voice it will always be limited to “pretty good” status.
Great post John.
@kindness: You’re right there. Chickenfoot is fun.
@Satanicpanic: Johnny Thumders…I listen to him almost daily. I’m a huge fan of early punk, though.
Its funny how the human species easily reverts to tribalism on almost any subject. Religion, politics, guitar players LOL
Nothing like a good debate on who’s the most awesomess guitar player ever :)
This is why I consider EVH average and no better (or worse) than anyone of that time period. In the glam rock era, VH was just not up to it. I’d rather throw in some Ratt or LA Guns before VH. I would listen to VH before Extreme or Nelson, but that ain’t saying much.
Oh, and Petrucci. EVH loses.
Damn dude, chill. Its just music and everyone has an opinion… For me, all those punk, new-wave, alternative bands were complete crap. Lame musicianship, even worse song writing. I’d rather listen to nails on a chalkboard. But that’s just me. If your into that sort of thing, thats cool, more power to ya :)
Totally OT, but the most stunning guitar-thing I’ve heard in years is The White Stripes’ Ball and Biscuit. I’ve heard it all, and this brutally visceral riff still raises the hair on the back of my neck. The song is basic rock sexual bragging but the bridge is incendiary.
Great chops in the service of crap music. A waste. I’d rather listen to Robbie Robertson, who actually had something to say and could say it in less than 1,000 notes.
The mistake that some on this thread seem to be making is the assumption that the well-established suckitude of Van Hagar is entirely or even mostly Sammy’s fault, or some knock on him as a performer and a talent.
VH was, is, and always will be Eddie’s band. As some have already noted, by the time that Diamond Dave left, Eddie had already begun moving the band into a more synth-and-sequencer dominated and pop-oriented direction.
VH’s fall is all on Eddie, as far as I’m concerned. I rather suspect that if DLR had stayed, the next Van Halen album after 1984 would have sucked just as much as 5150 did. Probably more, actually, since by that point it seems as if DLR’s only meaningful contribution to the band was in his selection of cover tunes to suggest to Eddie and Alex.
I agree with you on Petrucci. He’s a total shredder. Dream Theater are such awesomely good musicians it makes you want to throw up
The shibboleth scene from Airheads – Whose side did you take, Van Halen or Roth? – must mean a lot to you guys…
To be honest, I haven’t listened to any of my Van Halen stuff in ages. I recall Women and Children First as being awesome to my teenage ears, but I notice I don’t even have the CD release of it in my current collection.
By that logic, Michael Bolton’s version of “Since I Fell for You” is as valid as Lenny Welch’s. I’m sorry, that’s not just wrong, it’s stupid.
@Cromagnon: I was just talking about this with a friend the other day- if you’re a musician you get judged on the music you make- if you’re a listener, you judge others by what they listen to. I’m a giggin musician myself, and I couldn’t care less what other people like. I’m all for discussing various people, but I’m not going to get in a shouting match.
Shorter Grownup: “That music’s not for me”
Shorter Teenager: “That’s not music”
@Cassidy: Yes, early punk and early 70’s english glam are my faves, the New York Dolls were the perfect mix of both
Well, there’s yer problem right there: you seem to choose your music based on geography and chronology. Some of us choose it based on music.
I mean, sometimes I’m in a Van Halen mood (and then, yes, it’s always DLRVH). And sometimes I’m in an X mood (absolutely an immortal band). But I don’t think I’ve ever been in a “bands from Southern California in the late ’70s and early ’80s” mood. It’s already nerdy enough to care about any of those bands in 2012, without caring based on extra-musical factors.
Listen to what you love.
[Long-time lurker, first-time commenter.]
@Satanicpanic: I don’t know if you are being ironic, but I think that Cassidy was referring to the early 80’s LA “glam metal” scene, and not Ziggy Stardust et. al.. He also seems to put EVH in with that lot of guitarists, where I tend to see him more in the mid-late 70’s. At least, that’s when he was doing his most interesting/groundbreaking stuff.
I have no idea who Lenny Welch is but I’ll take your word for it :)
@Joe Bleau: I was responding to his post about Johnny Thunders (of New York dolls/LAMF fame). We’re a bit OT.
Like Genesis after Peter Gabriel…
Lenny Welch was one of the great pre-Motown R&B singers.
@Satanicpanic: They’re a daily listen for me. The New York Dolls never gets old.
@Joe Bleau: I grew up in the 80’s. That doesn’t mean I haven’t heard older VH, but I just don’t really think he stands head and shoulders above any group of guitar players. Maybe he was an innovator in the 70’s, but by the 80’s he was just phoning it in.
For your listening pleasure.
Maybe it’s just because I’m older than dirt and have been playing since 1970, but when you put “guitar” and “innovator” in the same sentence I tend to think of Eddie Lang, Django Reinhardt, Robert Johnson, Charlie Christian, T-Bone Walker, Merle Travis, Wes Montgomery, James Burton, and Tony Rice.
Have all the kids gotten off the lawn yet?
That said, I would have been highly interested in hearing what Van Halen would have turned into had Eddie’s FIRST choice to replace DLR had not been eight months pregnant at the time.
What matters is having your own style and EVH has that in buckets. If you can cover a broad range of music well, or are technically brilliant, but don’t have a personality on the instrument then I don’t give a shit. Neil Young is technically zilch but I can listen to him all day.
I’m gonna start linking to some Bad English and Winger here in a minute. lol
Can’t say I disagree with that. But I guess my argument is that a big part of why he sounds tired in 1984 is that all of the super-stud axe-guys had been directly copping his shit for nearly a decade by then. Even the guys that had far superseded him in chops and pushed the bar so far forward that it’s hard to even hear the influence by then wouldn’t have sounded like they did w.o. EVH. I mean, by the mid-80s you had people like Jason Becker and Paul Gilbert and Yngwie and Tony Macalpine and Vinnie Moore etc. who admittedly make EVH sound like a piker, at least in terms of technical proficiency – but I don’t think that any of them would have really sounded like they ended up sounding w.o. EVH doing his thing back in the 70’s.
“I’m gonna start linking to some Bad English and Winger here in a minute. lol”
If you do that, I’ll be forced to retaliate with Strength in Numbers and the David Grisman Quintet.
@burnspbesq: I’m a repository of bad, 80’s glam metal. I’ll win this fight any day of the week. :)
@Joe Bleau: That’s fair. I guess growing up listening to 80’s glam, it’s hard to see that connection.
Just a true post. Agree 100%
Try this on for size. And remember, the guy playing guitar in this clip is not a guitarist, he’s a fiddle player (yes, that’s Mark O’Connor on guitar).
@Joe Bleau: Hot for Teacher sounds tired?
@burnspbesq: Impressive. Honestly, it’s not for me. I can hear the skill and be jealous that I can’t play like that, but I’m more of a Misfits, New York Dolls, Sex Pistols kind of guy. And glam. I love 80’s/early 90’s glam rock.
@dobrojutro: I think you’re getting into the DLR vs. Haggar argument there. Any band from that era could have played Hot for Teacher, but it was DLR, not EVH, that sold it.
@Suffern ACE: Meh-indeedy. A friend gave me two tickets to a show at Mohegan Sun a couple of years ago (with David Lee Roth), and my son and I went. I was vaguely familiar with at most a half dozen songs. A couple I knew fairly well. That about sums up Van Halen’s place in my musical universe.
@Cassidy: Respectfully disagree. VH bros could swing hard – I attribute this to their dad, who was a clarinet player from the Benny Goodman era. Sinner’s Swing, Hot for Teacher, I’m the One – no hair bands could do these convincingly.
@Cassidy: Before the internet, when you had to actually get off your ass, collect your friends, climb into a car and drive to a club if you wanted to hear an unsigned band, Van Halen were ours. We saw them countless times, opening for bands that were touring to promote albums, but weren’t big enough to fill arenas. Van Halen, as great as their first records were, were even better live, when they were just starting out. I wish someone had recorded a few of these live club gigs, but such is life. Good times….
No One of Consequence
. . .
Man I loved me (and still do) some Diver Down and Women and Children First.
Eddie is/was so gifted.
I hear you. The thing that drives me crazy is to listen to a great dobro player like Jerry Douglas or Rob Ickes. I can just about pull off some of those licks on guitar (on a very good day) with four fingers on the frets, and they are effectively doing it with one finger. Ridiculous.
And every time I listen to Tony Rice, I want to put my guitar up for sale. I could practice 12 hours a day, seven days a week for five years and not get close to what he can do. And the worst part is he makes it look absurdly easy.
Guitar discussions always devolve to Bluegrass. People camping at festivals and getting in line at dawn for a good spot on the grass get to hear stuff that teenagers at stadium shows will never know exists.
@dobrojutro: Not saying that that he couldn’t still bring it when he felt like it. But by ’84, there were a bunch of other dudes in the hard rock/metal genre who had caught up to Eddie, chops-wise (George Lynch, Randy Rhodes, Hell even Alex Lifeson was shredding by ’79), and some who had far surpassed him (Malmsteen). Meanwhile, he wasn’t doing anything on Hot For Teacher that we hadn’t already heard.
jake the snake
No guitarist has been worth a crap since 1975.
This one’s for you. Mark O’Connor and a bunch of Berklee students, circa 2009. You may recognize a couple of these kids (yup, that’s Sierra Hull taking the first mandolin solo, and Julian Lage on guitar). Jacob Joliff, who takes the second mandolin solo, is in a band called Joy Kills Sorrow that has one record out, and Courtney Hartman, the other guitarist, is in a band called Della Mae.
@jake the snake:
Ummm … Tony Rice? Bryan Sutton? Russell Malone? Emily Remler? Pat Metheny? Brad Paisley? Julian Lage? Tom Verlaine? Thurston Moore? Bob Mould??? Nels Cline??? Sonny Landreth??? Derek Trucks???
You need to get out more.
@burnspbesq: I see your Mark O’Connor and raise you Scotty Anderson (yeah I know it’s not bluegrass, but Dear Lord the things that this guy can do on the fretboard)…
thanks for introducing me to mickey avalon the other day (“my dick”)
here is his friend beardo and he is the goddamned MAN
@Joe Bleau: It’s music, not a race – no one passed anybody. Jimmy Page is the sloppiest player in rock, but Heartbreaker is killer. Plenty of cats play faster than Yngwie, but I’d still rather listen to him in that neo-classical genre. Billy Gibbons is lost over 90 bpm, but how can you not love the Reverend?
Couldn’t agree more, Mr. Cole. Van Halen ceased to exist for me when DLR left-never bought another record of theirs ever again. And they were my FAVORITE band.
Nancy Wilson? Tom Morello? Adam Jones?
Paul in KY
Think you can rest assured that Mr. Hagar will not be reuniting with Eddie & the boys.
@dobrojutro: Couldn’t agree more – I wasn’t really talking about speed, per se, but rather the application of a particular style of chops in a particular style of playing.
You may prefer to listen to EVH more than, say, Steve Vai in the Flex-Able/DLR years, and that’s cool (personally, at the time I liked Blackmore a lot better ‘n both of ’em anyway, but Yngwie kinda destroyed me guitar-wise). But subjectivity only gets you so far in these silly discussions – I’m only arguing that folks like Vai and Malmsteen were pushing the boundaries of hard rock guitar in the early-to-mid-80’s in ways that EVH objectively wasn’t…
The Other Chuck
Now if that isn’t a “tallest midget” contest…
Van Halen was great because of Eddie. Every singer they’ve had is ear rape.
Why is nobody mentioning the most important aspect of Eddie…the riffs. Yes, he’s an amazing soloist and technically was doing stuff that hadn’t been seen before (not that others weren’t already doing it, but mostly in far less popular venues). Yes, his style is repetitive (as is pretty much every guitarist…they have a “style” and they generally stick to it…myself included). Yes, there are a million other guys out there who do other things and do them better. But what made Eddie special was that he had not only great chops and tone, but that he wrote killer riffs that catch the ear far better than anyone else did at the time (Randy Rhoads riffs were hell-awesome too, but I think Eddie wins on the quantity of great riffs.) This is what made Jimmy Page so awesome too. Page was/is pretty sloppy much of the time but he has the endless list of awesome riffs. That’s why Page and Eddie are part of guitar history in a way that Vai, Johnson, etc., will never be. I’ll take the Mean Streets riff over anything written by the rest of the supposedly superior shredders, 7 days a week.
I think the demise of VH wasn’t Hagar’s fault. They had some rockin tracks: Good Enough, Summer Nights, Best of Both Worlds, AFU, etc. The bigger problem was the left-turn change of musical direction. Too much keyboards, too many ballads, and more 80’s sounding guitar (less raw) and drum tones (lotsof electronic drum sounds) etc. But I don’t know if Hagar had much to do with that or if it was just a sign of the times, and VH’s attempts to stay hip.
As far as great guitarists go, the list is endless. I’ll just throw out some of the ones that have made my jaw drop over the years: Vernon Reid, Jimmy Herring, Buddy Whittington, SRV, Bobby Lee Rodgers, Trey Anastasio, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Wayne Krantz. Many of them do things that are much more impressive to me as a 38 year old guitarist as I strive to find new inspiration. But without Hendrix, Slash, Page and Eddie, I never woulda picked up the damn thing in the first place.
BTW- Thank you Cole, for mentioning Romeo Delight. It’s one of my all-time favorites, of the lesser-known VH tracks (up there with Dirty Movies.)
Also too. I understand drugs may have been involved.
@Joe Bleau: @Joe Bleau: Fair enough – 1984/the Hagar years marked the money-grab era for VH and guitar innovation was less a focus, but Eddie did use the Steinberger trem to continue to innovate in the Hagar years.
@Uncle Ebeneezer: Word. I would add that Eddie came-up with some interesting chords that elevated VH above the hard rock fray. To wit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oCZ7AVX6BtI
@Joe Bleau: One last point – one would not say, “Billie Holliday’s fifth album was fine – just nothing we hadn’t already heard.” EVH developed a great style – how many techniques does a guitarist need to make good music?
Eddie saved rock guitar period.
After Jimi Hendrix there was nothing until Eddie, who redefined what rock guitar was to be for the next decades.
Don’t get me wrong, I only had RR posters on my walls, but Eddie’s contribution to staving off the death of rock are not to be ignored.
But , for me only the first three albums count, it was too commercial after that.
Saw them with Sammy H and they were all awesome performers and the live sound was to die for, but it was not really VH.
@dobrojutro: Oh, absolutely, again I agree completely. My comments about EVH really ought to be taken within the context of the larger point that I was trying to make – that if mid-80’s EVH didn’t quite stand out from crowd of hot-shot hard rock/metal guitarists as much as late 70’s EVH did, it was only because his early stuff was so friggin’ influential that by the 80’s it had already been appropriated as a huge part of the basic rocker’s vocabulary of the time, and that others had already taken what he started and were doing their own cool stuff with it. That’s no slag on Eddie, much less his talent, his music, or his influence.
Don’t feel too pregnant. I worked for a bookstore where the owner sold books written by Eldridge Cleaver or Angela Davis as high-priced vintage treasures. This same proprietor has told me flatly that nothing I say is of any importance. Guess who was actually at Soledad when they shot George Jackson. To use your metaphor, I should consider my former jobsite as the New Coke of bookstores.
@Horrendo Slapp (formerly Jimperson Zibb, Duncan Dönitz, Otto Graf von Pfmidtnöchtler-Pízsmőgy, Mumphrey, et al.):
Hey, man, sounds like poomoania to me. Hie thee to the doctore.
@Joe Bleau: Apropos of very little, have you heard the guy who took-over for Lynch in Dokken? He bit George’s style to-the-note. It’s creepy.
@dobrojutro: Nope. At least – I don’t think so. But from what you’re saying, I guess I probably have, and just didn’t notice (-;
Good stuff. Very much in the Albert Lee vein. People tend to forget that some country players, including some major country stars, have serious chops. Brad Paisley and Vince Gill come immediately to mind.
Thanks for sharing.
Richard Thompson? David Hidalgo?
Some guy named Vaughan?
@burnspbesq: Johnny A? Scott Henderson? Oz Noy? Tommy Emmanuel? Andy Timmons? Guthrie Govan?
(PS I heard that that Vaughan guy – used to play for the Fabulous Thunderbirds, right? – has got a little brother that could play a little bit too…)
Death Panel Truck
Hendrix. #1. Obviously.
And Jeff Beck is #2, no matter what that ridiculous list says.
Eddie Van Halen is an arrogant little shit. In the eighties, he said that he learned nothing from Hendrix, and that his style was based on Eric Clapton. Uh huh. Right.
God, guitar fights are so boring. Can we talk about rhythm sections? Hurley/Watt, Frantz/Weymouth? Bootsy Collins? Or his brother Catfish, one of the greatest rhythm guitarists of all time?
As far as lead guitar goes, give me Eddie Hazel. “Eruption” has nothing on “Maggot Brain”.
I have a record of Tommy Emanuel and Frank Vignola that is completely ridiculous.
@ Joe Bleau- I don’t listen to much country but I heard about Paisley on the forum for my favorite amp company. Great video of Brad rippin’ here. Mark O’ Connor is also pretty badass. And on fiddle too (the song is pretty awful, but there’s some serious shredding goin on by the whole band. Check out the ridiculous solo by Brent Mason.)