Running with the Devil: A Lifetime of Van Halen

From SLAKE: The Los Angeles Quarterly:

By John Albert

The first time I hear Van Halen I am fourteen years old, riding in a car through the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. My friend Steve Darrow is riding shotgun while his dad steers the dusty old Volvo station wagon. Chris Darrow is in his forties and has long hair and a slightly drooping cowboy mustache. In the sixties and early seventies, as a member of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and an obscure but influential group called the Kaleidoscope, he, along with Gram Parsons, Linda Ronstadt, and others, forged what became the classic California sound. His long-haired, Black Sabbath–loving son, Steve, sitting shotgun next to him, would go on to play in an early version of Guns N’ Roses. But on this particular night Chris is driving us and another friend named Peter home from a party thrown by a local ceramics artist. While the aging hippies and college professors sipped wine and purchased meticulously decorated casserole plates, my friends and I hiked into a nearby orange grove to smoke pot in the moonlight. And as the car heads home along Baseline Boulevard, passing the silhouttes of orange groves and vineyards, the three of us are still incredibly stoned and no one is talking much.

Someone turns on the radio. It’s tuned to KROQ, a small, independent station that has little in common with the corporate behemoth it would become. In 1978, the station broadcasts a strange mix of surreal sketch comedy and new music across the Southland. A show called The Hollywood Night Shift riffs on “barbecue bat burgers” and “downhill screen-door races.” Meanwhile, the station’s present-day last man standing, Rodney Bingenheimer, who morning goons Kevin and Bean use as a prop for their moronic shtick, introduces punk music to kids across Southern California. By this time, my friends and I have already fallen under the sway of the raw, new sounds emerging from a ripped, torn, and safety-pin-adorned England.

As we cruise along Baseline, I have no idea what’s on the radio. I stare out the window into a passing darkness with hazy, Mexican-weed-induced tunnel vision. Then, suddenly, this extraordinary sound from the car’s stereo snaps me back. Steve reaches over and turns up the volume. It’s guitar playing, but not like anything we have heard before. Until this very moment, the reigning guitar heroes have been English, amateur warlocks, such as Jimmy Page and Ritchie Blackmore, playing sped-up, bastardized versions of American blues. But this is faster and weirder. Toward the one-minute mark, the playing veers into completely uncharted territory, and the final forty-two seconds sound like Gypsy jazz legend Django Reinhardt on CIA acid.

It is a style of playing that will so dramatically alter the musical landscape that thirty years later it will sound normal, even rote. But in 1978, this burst of unabashed virtuosity and noise, something we’ll later learn is appropriately called “Eruption,” earns unexpected respect from three punk rock children and one middle-aged country rock musician. As the whole thing reaches a frenzied crescendo of undulating distortion, the four of us start to laugh.

Until, that is, the distortion immediately segues to a revamped version of the Kinks’ classic “You Really Got Me,” rumbling through the car’s little speakers. This is not hard rock as we know it—no highpitched, operatic wailing about sorcery or Viking lore. With no visual reference to go on, it seems to have as much in common with early punk as with bands such as Led Zeppelin and Rush—except, of course, for the crazy, outer-space guitar solo. In retrospect, this makes perfect sense. Before it became one of the biggest bands in the world, Van Halen routinely played on bills with prepunk bands like the Runaways, the Mumps, and the Dogs.

When the song ends, Steve’s dad, who may or may not be stoned as well, just nods his head and says, “Far out.”

***

It is the soundtrack to a world that doesn’t exist anymore. I know because that world is where I come from.

Van Halen had been playing the suburbs east of Los Angeles for several years before we heard them on the radio that night. In fact, the previous year, Peter’s diminutive, science-teacher mom, who when speaking tended to coo pleasantly like a pigeon, unwittingly supplied Van Halen with several bottles of bourbon and tequila. The occasion was the band’s appearance at a show on the local college radio station hosted by Peter’s older, but still underage, brother and some of his friends. Following seventies rock etiquette, they felt it only proper to provide the band with alcohol and other recreational substances.

I remember this because my friends and I had been coerced into distributing fliers announcing the band’s appearance on the show. Most of our peers glanced at the crudely rendered image of a young David Lee Roth flaunting his soon-to-be legendary chest pelt and bulging package and simply tossed the fliers away. A lot of those same kids would, several years later, pay large sums of money to see the band headline the massive Forum in Inglewood.

In the years leading up to their record deal and worldwide fame, the Internet was still science fiction and the only video game widely available, Pong, mimicked pingpong only without the riveting excitement and health benefits. As a result, kids were primarily focused on two things, rock music and getting wasted. Days were spent under the sun and smog, getting high, playing sports, skateboarding in empty swimming pools and on downhill streets. Weekend nights were devoted almost entirely to massive backyard parties. And Van Halen ruled the backyard party scene in and around the San Gabriel Valley.

Unsuspecting parents would leave town and hundreds of kids would descend on a designated home like tanned, stoned locusts. Down the block from my parents’ house was a large, ramshackle manor known as the Resort. Sunburned British drunks lived there, and their kids were a wild and eccentric brood bearing names such as Yo-Yo, Kiddy, Sissy, Lad, and Mims.

Parties at the Resort were notorious. I remember watching a formally attired adult couple slow their car in front of the Resort as a party raged inside. Some longhaired kids staggered into the street, walked onto the hood of the couple’s car and then its roof, howling like wolves. My preteen friends and I finally mustered the courage to venture inside one of the parties. There, we discovered a maze of hedonistic delights: the dining-room table lined with cocaine, a cracked door revealing a nubile high school girl having sex, people jumping from second-story windows into the pool, fights and noisy drag races in the street out front. Throughout the beautifully raucous affair, a young rock ’n’ roll band named China White stood precariously close to the swimming pool playing with all the swagger of the Rolling Stones at Madison Square Garden.

While Van Halen played the huge outdoor parties and lucrative high school dances, China White was the band of choice in my immediate neighborhood. The group was composed of young heroin addicts who wore cowboy hats and played Southern rock. Somehow, it was a style that made perfect sense in the slowed-down, drugged-out seventies suburbs. Besides a few performances at the Resort, the band’s highest-profile gigs were at the palatial hillside estate of a local ice cream fortune heir. The band’s leader, John Dooley, now lives in Bangkok, where he teaches music and plays in a rhythm and blues revue.

“Those were some epic fucking parties,” Dooley says when I reach him by phone in Bangkok. “We had a big stage on the tennis courts and the pool house was our backstage area. We invited 500 fellow students, charged a cover, and then got all my older brother’s biker buddies to bounce and run screen for the cops. There would be close to a thousand kids there and we would be getting high and fucking chicks in the pool house between sets. I remember we left with our guitar cases stuffed with cash.”

But it was with his next band, Mac Pinch, that Dooley’s path began to cross regularly with Van Halen’s as the two bands shared bills both locally and in Hollywood. “I was always really impressed by Eddie Van Halen and their bass player [Michael Anthony]. They definitely stood out musically, especially Eddie,” Dooley says. “Their singer, Roth, was like the guy we had—by no means a great singer, but really loud and worked the crowd well. They used to have a party van with the Van Halen logo painted on the sides, and Roth was always out there in that van. He was kind of obnoxious, but he had a real knack with the ladies. He would bring them out to that van one after another. I had more than my share, but Roth did better than his band and ours combined. We used to play this biker bar in Downey with them called the Downey Outhouse, where they served popcorn in bedpans and beer in urinals.

“It got pretty competitive between the bands, and one time our roadie unplugged Van Halen during a show at the Pasadena Civic.”

During these years, roughly 1974 to 1976, Van Halen surpassed all rivals, including San Fernando Valley stars Quiet Riot, to emerge as the premier hard-rock act in Los Angeles. Besides a willingness to play nearly anywhere at any time—the band once played an early-morning breakfast concert at my high school a few years before I attended—the band’s rise seemed due, largely, to two distinct qualities. One was the playing of Eddie Van Halen, who had perfected the innovative method of using the fingers of his picking hand to pound the guitar’s fret board, creating a lightning-fast, quasiclassical style that quickly became the talk of Southland musicians. Van Halen reportedly became so guarded about this technique that he began to play solos with his back to the audience.

And while the teenage boys came to marvel at Eddie’s technical virtuosity, the girls flocked to see the band’s flamboyant lead singer. David Lee Roth would take the stage shirtless, wearing skin-tight spandex pants or fur-lined assless chaps, none of which dampened his enthusiasm for jumping into the air and doing karate kicks and splits. Visually, Roth resembled a stoner superhero with his wild, long blond hair, muscular physique and exaggerated party bravado. But what set him apart from so many aspiring front men of the time, was that, unbeknownst to his mostly blond-haired, blue-eyed audience, Roth was Jewish. And though his father was a wealthy ophthalmologist, young Roth went to public schools and ended up attending primarily black John Muir High in Pasadena. As a result, he was able to merge an over-the-top, borscht-belt-like showmanship with the booty-shaking sex appeal of his Funkadelicized classmates. It was a combination that made Roth a near perfect rock star for those hedonistic times.

While Van Halen’s star rose, my friend Dooley and Mac Pinch were on a different trajectory. Instead of showcasing alongside their one-time rivals at Hollywood clubs such as the Starwood and the Whisky, the drug-addled young cowboys started booking USO tours and playing military bases to support their various nonmusical habits. When Van Halen finally had its big breakthrough and signed to Warner Bros. Records, Mac Pinch was off playing to halls of drunken Marines.

“Those were serious smack days for me,” Dooley reflects. “Eventually it all caught up to me and I had to come back home and do some jail time, and that was the end of the band.” (We don’t discuss how Dooley stole my parents’ television set.) I ask him if he has regrets after seeing his former rivals go on to such massive success.

“Do I think we should have tried harder? That maybe it could have been us?” he offers. “Sure. But we had a lot of fun playing those parties. I have some great memories. It was a pretty awesome time to be young and playing in a rock ’n’ roll band.”

***

Two years after first hearing Van Halen on the car radio, the world around me seems a dramatically different place. My once-long hair is now short and jagged and I’m wearing studded wristbands with a spider-shaped earring punched through an infected hole in my ear. In suburbs across Southern California, punk rockers have swelled from a besieged minority to an increasingly aggressive subculture. There are pervasive hostilities between the heavy-metal-loving “stoners” and the new punks. Both sides instigate violence. By now, I have been expelled from the local high school for truancy and am enrolled in something called Claremont Collegiate Academy. Despite its snooty name, the place is filled with kids who have failed at the local high schools. My classmates are mainly longhaired drug users, agitated Iranian immigrants, and kids with assorted behavioral disorders. The principal will eventually be arrested on child porn charges.

During one lunch break, I stroll out into the school parking lot and am greeted by the pounding, tribal drums of Van Halen’s latest single, “Everybody Wants Some,” blasting from the open doors of a huge four-wheel-drive truck. Two very attractive teenage girls stand on the truck’s roof, dancing to the music. Both are outfitted in tight, shimmering spandex pants, halter tops, and moon boots. They bump their perfectly shaped asses together and sing along with David Lee Roth: “Everybody wants some/I want some too/Everybody wants some, baby, how ’bout you.” As I walk by, a girl with feathered blond hair points at me and sneers, seductively, singing, “Everybody wants some, baby, how ’bout you?”

I do.

A week later, I end up ditching school with the monster truck’s down-jacket-wearing owner and the two dancing girls. We drive into the nearby mountains to sip Southern Comfort and smoke pot. The girls tell me that Van Halen singer David Lee Roth is a “super fox” and they both desperately want to fuck him. On the drive home, I’m in the truck’s back seat making out with the blond girl. Her lip gloss tastes like raspberry candy. I caress her nipples through her shirt and eventually slip a finger between her legs, which seems like a monumental achievement. I stop when I realize she has fallen asleep in my arms. A few days later, she pulls me into an unoccupied darkroom between classes and we fondle one another for a few seconds. After several more brief flirtations, the pull of our opposing camps is just too much and we eventually stop talking. A year later, I run into her at a local hamburger stand, where she works behind the counter. She hands me my food and waves me off before I can pay.

***

I’m an eighteen-year-old in the basement of a Hollywood nightclub called the Cathay De Grande. Slumped in an empty booth, my eyes are closed and my head rests on the table. Fifteen minutes earlier, I injected heroin inside the cramped restroom with the sound man. It is a Monday night and a local blues outfit called Top Jimmy and he Rhythm Pigs are on the small stage. They are fronted by a white-trash blues legend, Top Jimmy, and play the club every Monday night. The place is nearly empty. The Rhythm Pigs are cool, but like most in attendance, I am really here to score drugs. This accomplished, I nod off, lost in some distant dream world as the band plays their hearts out just a few feet away.

When I eventually drift back to reality, something odd catches my ear. Instead of Top Jimmy’s throaty voice, someone lets loose with an exaggerated, arena-rock scream. Perplexed, I lift my head and focus on the small stage. There, sandwiched between the band’s rotund bass player and slovenly guitar player, Carlos Guitarlos, is none other than David Lee Roth, holding the microphone and striking a majestic rock pose. It’s surreal seeing one of the most successful singers in the world standing in this dilapidated basement club alongside a bunch of musicians teetering on the brink of homelessness and liver failure.

“Whoa-bop-ditty-doobie-do-bop, oh yeah, baby!” Roth yells out, putting his arm around an inebriated Top Jimmy. As bleary-eyed Jimmy leans in and begins to sing, Roth watches him with a beaming smile, clapping his hands and laughing in exaggerated-but-sincere appreciation. “Top-motherfucking Jimmy!” he yells out, as if addressing a sold-out arena instead of several stunned junkies and alcoholics. The reaction from the sparse crowd is indifference bordering on hostility. There is nothing less cool in the Hollywood underground than a seemingly happy millionaire rock star. But Top Jimmy is smiling with his arm around Roth. And a few years later, when Van Halen releases its multiplatinum-selling record 1984, the album features a track called “Top Jimmy.”

“Top Jimmy cooks, Top Jimmy swings, Top Jimmy—he’s the king,” Roth sings in tribute to his friend, who would eventually die of liver failure.

***

The next two decades are a creative dark age for Van Halen. After years of ego-fueled turmoil from all sides, David Lee Roth leaves the band to pursue a doomed solo career. An entirely unremarkable singer named Sammy Hagar replaces him and Van Halen becomes one of the most boring bands in existence. Roth recedes from the limelight, studying martial arts and making an ill-fated stab as a radio deejay.

Eddie’s excessive drinking begins to take a toll. One night in 1993 at the height of the grunge years, a drunken Eddie appears backstage for a Nirvana concert at the Forum. He reportedly begs Kurt Cobain to let him join the band on stage, explaining, “I’m all washed up; you are what’s happening now.” He also, for unexplained reasons, supposedly sniffs Cobain’s deodorant before calling Nirvana’s half-black rhythm guitarist Pat Smear a “Mexican” and a “Raji.” Needless to say, he is not allowed on stage.

In the following years, news of Van Halen is sporadic, largely unsubstantiated, and generally not positive. One story has Eddie sitting in with guitarless rap-rock buttheads Limp Bizkit. When they are slow to return his prized equipment, Eddie supposedly goes back with automatic weapons. An acquaintance of mine who sells rare guitars does some business with Eddie and subsequently receives lonely, rambling, late-night phone calls from him. An old friend who is now a teacher hosts a day for his students to bring in their grandparents. One student inexplicably brings in Eddie Van Halen. He stays for hours, politely talking to the kids about his Dutch heritage and childhood music studies.

During this time, Roth is arrested in a New York City park for purchasing weed. And when a meth-addled man attempts a wee-hours break-in at the singer’s Pasadena mansion, the intruder is surprised to find “Diamond Dave” wide awake and at the ready. Some accounts have Roth training a gun on the intruder while others have the lifelong martial-arts enthusiast, resplendent in silk pajamas, subduing the man with a lightening-fast nunchuck demonstration.

But as the years pass, “important” bands like Nirvana feel increasingly dated while the celebratory party anthems of Roth-era Van Halen continue to dominate the airwaves. Their songs are played repeatedly every day on multiple stations throughout the civilized world. And after several well-publicized misfires including an aborted reunion and a stint with a much-maligned singer named Gary Cherone, Eddie Van Halen and David Lee Roth finally find their way back to each other in 2007. The group announces it will be hitting the road, though original bassist Michael Anthony is to be replaced by Eddie’s sixteen-year-old son, Wolfgang, who reportedly suggested the tour and persuaded his dad to reconcile with Roth. What ensues is the band’s highest-grossing tour to date.

I catch Van Halen’s show at the gleaming new Staples Center in downtown L.A., anticipating a heartfelt homecoming. Instead, I get a slick and entertaining professional rock show. There are no missteps, but little if anything seems spontaneous. Then, leading into the song “Ice Cream Man,” Roth stops and delivers a monologue. I later learn from watching videos online that it’s pretty much the same speech in every city. Still, it has particular significance in Los Angeles, mere miles from where it all started. “The suburbs, I come from the suburbs,” Roth says to the cheering crowd. “You know, where they tear out the trees and name streets after them. I live on Orange Grove—there’s no orange grove there; it’s just me. In fact, most of us in the band come from the suburbs and we used to play the backyard parties there. … I remember it like it was yesterday.”

***

Not long ago, I’m at my parents’ house in those very suburbs, visiting with my dad, who is slowly dying, his body wasting away. After leaving his house, I stop for gas. As I stand at the pump, a tall, disheveled man approaches me. He begins to ask for spare change, then stops and stares at me. After a moment, he says my name. I look back blankly and he awkwardly introduces himself. It turns out that we grew up together. The once-handsome and talented athlete has been drinking hard and using cocaine, and his life has unraveled in dramatic fashion. The last I’d heard, he was living behind a local bar in an abandoned camper shell but was asked to leave for having too many guests and making too much noise. I ask how he is and he just shakes his head. I take out my wallet and offer a twenty, which he refuses. I insist, and he eventually palms the bill and slides it into a pocket. After some strained small talk, he asks for a ride to a friend’s apartment. I reluctantly agree.

The two of us drive through the streets of our shared childhood in awkward silence. The orange groves have long since turned into a sprawl of tract housing and circuitous dead ends, both literal and figurative. I turn on the radio, scan stations, and eventually stop on Van Halen’s 1978 classic “Ain’t Talkin’ ’Bout Love.” I turn up the volume. After a few seconds, the propulsive guitar riff fades down and David Lee Roth begins to talk.

“I been to the edge, an’ there I stood an’ looked down/You know I lost a lot of friends there, baby, I got no time to mess around.”

The music builds in intensity before exploding into a powerful, defiant chorus: “Ain’t talkin’ ’bout love, my love is rotten to the core/Ain’t talkin’ ’bout love, just like I told you before, before, before/Hey hey hey!” By this time, my old friend is singing along and pumping his fist in the air. His eyes are moist from either alcohol, sadness, or both. The song finishes just as we pull in front of a dilapidated apartment complex, and he climbs out. He hesitates and looks in at me.

“Hey man, remember those crazy parties back in the day?” I nod and force a smile. Those were some good fucking times,” he says, reaching in and slapping my shoulder affectionately before disappearing into the darkness.

This article was originally published in Slake No. 2. To read all of the stories from that issue, purchase or subscribe at shop.slake.la.

  • freddiegirl

    DunderChief.. “Boring” + “hugely successful” = Justin Beiber. Or almost anyone else topping the charts today. They can be very interchangeable.

  • chris

    What a cool story,the vhnd needs to find a few more people like this to tell their stories it would’ve been great to be there during that time

  • Joe

    You smoked too much weed dude…the Sammy years were epic…your loss!!

  • Devi

    Great article. Captures the time perfectly, and provides some interesting history. Love the old pics, too. The way Eruption came out of the blue like that, and Ice Cream Man, too — nothing like that was on the radio. Made you think these guys had a lot more going on than the other groups, and you had to go see them, and then you were hooked. Thanks for sharing.

  • jay

    Do a google image search for ‘van halen flyer’ for a trip in the wayback machine!

  • 3hater

    Want to hear Roth do a cover of Hagar? Gotta go way back to a VH bootleg called “Gazzari’s Dance Contest” (74-75) and VH does a Montrose cover called “Make It Last” (written by Hagar in ’73). I ;ve not heard it yet…anyone????

  • enough already..

    I don’t begrudge anyone their opinions, to each his own. But some Roth era fanatics and their revisionist history is staggering. They act like Eddie wasn’t even in the band for the Hagar years. You can hate Sammy all you want, and I understand where he rubs people the wrong way, but Eddie was writing the music and 1984 and 5150 were a clear indication that Eddie was going where he was going with the music with or without Dave.

    You want to say you liked Dave’s style and he fit the band better than Sammy, and it was the soundtrack to your youth, and all that.. fine, that’s a fair take. But Eddie was as responsible as anyone for the shift in direction of the band. And if you want to simply gloss over an entire 10 year period of some of your supposed guitar hero’s best and most inspiring work like it never even existed simply because you prefer Dave to Sam you’re sadly missing the point..

  • Mikey

    I have that ’74 bootleg. Just listened to it too. I didn’t realize it was a Montrose cover. The quality is absolutely horrific but from what I can tell, I think I like VH’s version more than the Montrose version. Who woulda guessed Dave actually sang a song penned by Hagar? Hahaha

  • 51504VH

    @Joe…lol, “The Sammy years were epic.” ???

    Maybe compared to Warrant, Poison, Skid Row and all the other late 80′s hair bands but they weren’t nothin compared to the Original Van Halen.

    Van Hagar music has come and gone, while the Mighty Van Halen music still stands strong!!!

    Van Hagar was a boring/sappy listen just like their stage show. They were legendary rock stars when Dave was in the band and then they became another Dire Straits with Sambo.

    Van Hagar didn’t change anything in the music world and thats why EVH has deleted them from his memory.

    Go listen to VH I, II, WACF, and FW, those albums are untouchable from beginning to end.

    5150, 0U812, F.U.C.K, and Balance was just some Top 40 bullshit music that are moms could handle listening to.

  • http://heavyrolls.com Greg L. Williams

    There’s the way we want, and the way it is. 1975 to 1985 came as close as it has evercome to the way we wish it was…

    Great Read,

    Greg Williams:
    Rocker for HeavyRolls

  • Nat

    @Roth_Leaps_83: “For people like RA812 and ME!! — you guys are just clueless and always will be. This article was written by a fan of the Dave years — the REAL years, and we will NEVER hold Van Hagar in the same light as our beloved CVH. When are you boneheads going to understand this?”

    The only clueless people are the ones that think that CVH are somehow the only “REAL” years. If I’m not mistaken, both Van Halen brothers were in the band during the Sammy (and the Gary) years, and EVH wrote a few of those tunes ;-)

    The boneheads are the people (on either side of argument) who think their opinion is the ONLY one that’s right. Lots of people like the Sammy years better than the Dave years, so why not just accept that?

    You might like the CVH years best, and that’s fine. Personally I like all eras, including VH3 – I’m a fan of the band.

    Besides, if Dave had stuck around after 1984, who knows where they would have ended up? They were already on the path to a more “pop” sound with a lot of 1984 and Dave ultimately ended up doing a lounge act in Vegas.

    Maybe it’s best he left when he did so we didn’t have to witness the gradual (or not so gradual) decline of that beloved original lineup.

  • enough already..

    “5150, 0U812, F.U.C.K, and Balance was just some Top 40 bullshit music that are moms could handle listening to.”

    Did you even listen to the albums? I guess your mom listened to Good Enough, 5150, Source of Infection, Black and Blue, Runaround, Judgement Day, The Dream is Over, Seventh Seal, Don’t Tell Me What Love Can Do, Aftershock, Feelin’, Humans Being..

    Mine certainly didn’t. Way to prove my exact point. Some of Eddie’s absolute best playing, tone, and flat out dirty riffs completely dismissed because you don’t like Sammy Hagar..

  • Roth_Leaps_83

    51504VH —

    You slammed this dippy Joe just like he well deserves. He’s just another Hagar apologist who lives inside his own delusions. Van Hagar was nothing close to “epic”, and everyone knows that. They made a few catchy pop ballads that enjoyed short runs on Top 40 radio, but how is that “epic”? If that’s the benchmark, then I suppose REO Speedwagon was one of the most epic bands of the 80′s. Everyone needs to remember that each successive Van Hagar album sold LESS than the one before it — so how is that “epic”?

    The true meaning of epic is how much a band influences other artists or an entire generation. Roth-era Van Halen was that kind of band. There are literally HUNDREDS of rock bands who name Roth-era as a big influence on how they write and play and perform music. Just read Zlozower’s photo book for proof of that. I dare anyone to name me just one artist who states Van Hagar as an influence. It can’t be done.

  • “Lemon Scented Pledge” (bbl70)

    Sparks: That is so friggin funny, its not even funny…. I remember that the boot had this killer early version of Fools with this great double bass flam interlude by Uncle Al that just kicked ass. I used to listen to it over and over again and wound up clearing out a huge space in my parents basement and rigged up four drum kits in attempt to have an Al-esque monster set. I wanted to paint them all white so it would look like the kit Al used on the 88 monsters of rock/ou812 tour. So glad I didn’t do that because one of my kits was a 1966 Slingerland that I still have.

    Anyhoo, I have decided to change my VHND handle to “Lemon Scented Pledge” because I love that so much, (not sure why, but I do). There will be a transitional period where I will still refer to myself as bbl70 just so those who care will know who I am. I figured that 4/20 is an appropriate day to announce this change.

  • “Lemon Scented Pledge” (bbl70)

    Happy 420 everyone!!! Its like any other day for me though. Spark it up!!! (No pun there Sparks)

  • Kayser Sozay

    Thanks, Leaps, for setting us all straight on the true meaning of the word “epic.”

  • Hooey!!

    Runnin’ With the Dave-ll!!!!

  • littledreamer

    Roth_Leaps,
    Hear, hear!

  • anythingleftinthatbottle

    God, I’ve got a great buncha stories as we all do! It’s cool to hear someone from the neighborhood though. I remember moving out ot L.A. to play music and I flew out there first for the weekend and went to Gizarri’s on the strip and gawked at all the Van Halen photos on the wall. Dave era VH WAS epic. You guys are right, Sam is a good singer but he didn’t make you dream..

  • jeff adams

    Now we’re hav’in fun. Much better than the bullshit political debate. anythingleftinthatbottle, great point, Dave made you dream. Perfectly said.

  • the atomicpunk

    AWESOME ARTICLE MAN!I REMEMBER THOSE DAYS!THIS ARTCLE BRINGS BACK ALOT OF GOOD MEMORIES FOR ME.ALSO A TEAR IN MY EYE.I MISS THOSE DAYS.LIFE WAS GOOD!SAD WHAT HAPPENED TO THE ATHLETE FRIEND OF HIS BUT EVERY STORY DOES NOT END WELL FOR SOME. BUT ON THAT DAY MY VAN HALEN FRIENDS FOR ONE LAST TIME HE REMEMBERED HOW GREAT IT WAS AND THAT MEMORY OF VAN HALEN WILL LIVE IN HIM FOREVER!THE LAST RIDE WITH HIS FRIEND WITH HIS HAND PUMPING IN THE AIR AS VH RANG LOUD IN THE CAR.I HOPE HE IS DOING WELL HE IS A FRIEND OF ALL OF US,A VAN HALEN FAN!LONG LIVE THE MIGHTY VAN HALEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • motorscooter

    I didnt grow up in the 70′s but I loved the music of the era like Bowie, T-Rex, ZZ Top, VH, AC/DC, Sabbath, etc.

    However, good music never stopped after 1984. Sorry folks, but there were and are still good bands out there who carry the torch for rock and roll.

    Jane’s Addiction was the VH for my generation and they came out with their first album either two or three years after the Roth lineup splintered. Let me tell you, they picked right where Roth Halen left off. The tongue in check humor and amazing riffs evoked CVH very well.

    Back in those days Perry Farrell was an amazing frontman. Songs like Mountain Song and Three Days were magic to my ears. I feel bad for the older generation who grew up in the late 70′s that decided to close themselves off to rock music after the early 80′s

    When you had bands like the Cliff Burton lineup of Metallica, Janes, Soundgarden, rock and roll was very, very much alive.

  • DunderChief

    I love all the lineups, and it’s hardly delusional to recognize that Van Hagar went #1 every time and the live show was instantly upgraded.

    1984 was epic, but that tour sucked if you’ve ever heard it. When Roth could remember the lyrics and timing he still only had two notes to belt out. He was much better in 2007 actually.

    Hagar was a solid pro on every tour, and he added another great guitar. How can you watch “Live without a Net” and not admit that?

    DunderChief says:

    “I didn’t know the words “boring” and “hugely successful” were interchangeable?”

    JACK N SAM says:
    They are not, but apparently the words, “Van Hagar fan” and “delusional” are.

  • Jeremy

    Here we go again here on the VHND with an article that talks about Van Halen from the times of the stone age. This song and dance shit of what era is better is like the comic strips B.C. and Hagar The Horrible.

    Once again, Roth_Leaps_83 and among others simply want all of you to remember an era from 78-85 that in their eyes was the greatest in all of music history. Now to a point, it’s true, but what these CVH “fans” don’t want you to know or talk about is the fact, yes I said FACT, that your beloved CVH from 78-85 was INFLUENCED, yes influenced by a band named Montrose, they used the same producer, Ted Templeman, and they guy in this band called Montrose was one Sammy Hagar.

    Also, what some fail to realize on this site is the simple facts that we can argue “album sales” and how they declined during Sammy’s time, but the one thing as usual that some guys/girls don’t understand AND appreciate is that Van Halen, Eddie, Alex, Mike, AND Sammy sold 4 straight number 1 albums in a row. It doesn’t matter if they were on the charts for a week to 200 years or who knocked them off the top spot. Also, during this period in Van Halen while Sammy was in the band, Eddie got better as a musician, not a guitar hero or shredder as some like to bestow upon him all the time and it showed. If these guys were so horrible, why did they succeed so much and do so well?

    Van Halen from 78-85 was straight up the shit period. I throw out Diver Down simply for the fact it was a hurried album to satisfy the record industry, the same industry that started going into the toilet during the early 90′s and look what’s happened since? Eddie Van Halen was behind EVERY album and ALL the music that was recorded for Van Halen. His arm wasn’t twisted or a gun wasn’t at his head saying “record Right Now or your dead!” Or “we are doing Feels So Good or I’m banging Valerie in front of you shit!”

    Some need to grow up from 78-85 and realize that after Dave left, Van Halen was still around, just a better band musically. Does Dreams match Feel Your Love Tonight in terms of energy? No, but when you compare the 2, what sounds young and hungry, compared to seasoned and sounding better with age? Van Halen released 6 albums in 7 years because they wanted to rule the world as the best band. Some say they didn’t care about #1 albums from 78-85 and I say that’s bullshit! You know damn well Dave wanted his records to go #1 and when thy didn’t, they blew you off the stage depending on what band showed up that night.

    It’s also funny that during the time when Sammy was in Van Halen is the time Eddie started making and marketing his amps and guitars. How many have a Frankenstein strat or a Wolfgang guitar on here? Were these made before Sammy or after Sammy?

    Bottom line here folks, Van Halen grew up, made different music with Sammy that Eddie and the boys wanted to make regardless of who liked it and who didn’t. 4 straight #1 albums shows what the people liked and to this day we got 2 singers to play with 3 guys who have made history since 78. We also have had 1 singer hold onto his time in Van Halen well after he was gone and another who had a career before Van Halen who quite frankly didn’t need Van Halen, but took the chance and did just fine.

    Remember this and I’m out: Edward Lodewijk Van Halen called Sammy Hagar, not the other way around. Without Eddie making that call, who would’ve filled the spot in Van Halen? Rememeber everybody turned it down; Patti Smyth to who cares!

  • In A Simple Rhyme

    I love all eras, but just because you don’t like a other singer like sammy you don’t have to say in stupid way. All you do here is argue about who is best and so on.

  • http://hubcapdave.blogspot.com HubcapDave

    Excellent story! Too bad the comments have become another bash-fest. I got turned on to VH in 1983, and I remember getting high at my friend Dave’s apartment, listening to VHII, poring over stories of the band in Hit Parader. Dave’s bedroom wall was dominated with Ozzy and VH posters (many of which I inherited when he moved).

    But my most awesome VH moment happened on the night I went to see my first VH concert. 10/31/86 they played the Cow Palace. I went with my new girlfriend Paula. She was a petite little thing, so I wasn’t going to go on the floor and try to get close to the stage. Luckily, we got excellent seats off to one side. When the band played Love Walks In, I kissed her throughout the entire song. At that moment, we weren’t in an arena packed with 12,000 fans. It was just me, her, and the song. That was the moment I knew I was in love with her.

    So maybe that makes me a “Hagar apologist” as Roth Leaps likes to label us fans who like the Hagar years. I don’t care. That moment is one of the highlights of my life, and no amount of name calling will ever take that away. Just like no amount of harping on the ballads they made with Hagar will cover up the fact that songs like Get Up (the closest VH ever got to Thrash Metal), Poundcake, Aftershock, or the grunge-inspired (Don’t Tell Me) What Love Can Do rock pretty hard.

  • http://yahoo therockmachine3

    sounds like a story with a lot of bullshit to me the vh tid bits were cool but completely lost me trying to find significance in life through vh music think it was just a story nothing more

  • http://vhnd.com joel

    1984 came out when I was 14 and I remember one of my brothers friends taking me cruising in his 1970 ss Nova, jet black…super fast. I had 1984 on cassette and I said “man you gotta hear this”…..we were drag racing on one way streets with Hot For Teacher cranked! No matter if Dave says in the Aeros Bogart bootleg “the more f-d up you are, the better the music sounds”….you never needed to be f-d up for them to sound good!

  • 3hater

    Many fans argue that the Dave-less VH was top 40 and not epic and that this was also Hagar’s fault. I contend that even with Dave VH would have still went down the same road. Let’s do a Van Halen(sans DLR) vs. DLR Band comparison.

    1986: 5150 vs. Eat’em & Smile
    Winner: Eat’em & Smile
    Thoughts: Almost a tie, but Eat’em stayed more faithful to the classic VH vibe.

    1988: OU812 vs. Skyscraper
    Winner: OU812
    Thoughts: DLR fully embraced keyboards/top 40 sound.

    1991: For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge vs. A Little Ain’t Enough
    Winner: For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge
    Thoughts: F.U.C.K. rocks a bit more.

    1994/1995: Balance vs. Your Filthy Little Mouth
    Winner: Balance
    Thoughts: I just like Balance.

    1998: VH3 vs. DLR Band
    Winner: DLR Band
    Thoughts: Almost tie because both are pretty terrible.

    2003: nothing by VH vs. Diamond Dave
    Winner: Diamond Dave
    Thoughts: Anything beats nothing!

    Score: 3 all Tie! This proves nothing. Oh well.

  • Carnal Knowledge

    Some of these Roth fans are getting a bit desperate. He and Ed better put out some music pretty soon. I can see these guys screaming at the TV recently with all the Hagar goings-on. Screaming at the TV.

    Lighten up RothLeaps and his minions. We’re not trying to get you guys to believe that Van Hagar was better than Original Halen. It should be perfectly acceptable to you guys that there are people who did/will/and do still enjoy Van Hagar. As there are people who enjoy solo Sammy, or Montrose, or Chickenfoot, or HSAS.

    Lighten up. If Classic Van Halen is as EPIC as you claim, you shouldn’t have to defend it…..which you’re always doing

  • RobCT

    Great read with alot of insight into the culture back then. I didn’t get into VH until about 1981 and didn’t get to see them until 87 without Roth at the helm! They provided a great soundtrack for us all and STILL DO! Did EVH really talk to Cobain and company like that? I never heard of it!

  • Jungleland2

    I hope those kind of parties still exhist (they did when I was in High School in the late 1980′s) There is no better soundtrack for a keg on the back porch party than classic Van Halen.

  • “Lemon Scented Pledge” (bbl70)

    Hey hubcapdave. Cool story. Reminds me of my front row experience of VH on the Balance tour except instead of kissing my petite little Andrea, I let her duke it out with a bunch of dudes over Sammys jacket that he threw out into the crowd while im checking out the show from the front row baby! I kissed her after the show though–you better believe it!!! I have told that story in here before so I wont rehash but it is one of my favorites.
    I love the Dave and Sammy eras of VH. I do prefer the Dave era and feel that those albums have really held up over time and get better with each listen. I am not however a Roth apologist like Leaps. Ha ha, just kiddin brah.

  • jeff adams

    motorscooter, I’m 50 yrs. old, and I dig Janes Addiction and your right, they may have been the CVH of the 90′s. Janes Addiction has a cool vibe and a great show. I also dug Montrose a lot. They were on regular rotation in my 68 Mustang back in the 70′s, but what some youger people don’t understand is back in the 70′s the times were WAY different. We didn’t have access to shit. We had to go outside to entertain ourselves, and a lot of times we would find ourselves smok’in some mexican weed and usually listening to CVH. Something about those four guy’s and the music they made was f’n magical, and the shows were 10 times better. Now, I understand how the youger generation would dig Sammy w/ VH cause it’s still Van Halen. Believe me I don’t hate Sammy, infact I think he’s good, but for an oldtimer like myself CVH is my cup a tea.

  • Roth_Leaps_83

    I only slam Sammy fans like Carnal Knowledge and others when they come in here to make a mockery of objectivity and facts.

    It’s hard to shoot down somebody when they say something like “I love Van Hagar and no one can change my mind”. Well of course I cant. But I wont tolerate blatant raping of the facts when some weirdo says something like “Van Hagar was just as epic as Roth-era VH”. Epic in your own mind does not equal epic based on facts.

    I’m finding that most Van Hagar fans were teenagers during the Sammy-era of Van Halen, and the teenage years are when music makes the biggest impression on your memories. So therefore most of the delusions about the greatness of Van Hagar comes from that demographic. I just wish most of you Van Hagar fans would admit that’s why it skews your opinion about both eras of Van Halen.

    I tend to base most of my arguments around how the world in general views Van Halen history — and this is done by combining documented evidence from album sales, statements from other rock bands, and even the hated music critics. All three of those sources easily rank Roth-era VH over Sammy-era by any standard of measurement.

    I’ve seen lots of “100 Greatest Rock Albums of All Time” lists in the last 25 years, and “Van Halen I” and “1984″ always appear on those lists, but I NEVER see a Van Hagar album. See what I mean?

    I travel frequently and listen to classic rock radio stations wherever I go, and I hear Roth-era VH on heavy rotation in any city I visit, but hardly ever any Van Hagar. Explain that one away, Hagar lovers?

    Even movies and sporting events exclusively favor the Roth-era. I heard “Unchained” during the NHL Stanley Cup finals in 2010. I heard “Panama” in “Superbad”, “Dance the Night Away” in “Mission to Mars”, “Everybody Wants Some” in “Zombieland”. It’s all because Roth-era is timeless. All the Van Hagar fans can brag about is some dumb Pepsi Clear commercial 20 years ago featuring one of their mediocre tunes.

    Sammy Hagar has even admitted in recent interviews that the Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame didnt need to include him when inducting Van Halen into the Hall, but they did and he was grateful. This is Sammy basically admitting that Roth-era Van Halen is the only version worthy to be inducted into the Hall.

    Is any of this PURE OBJECTIVITY and FACT seeping into the skulls of the Van Hagar bunch? I doubt it. Unfortunately, we’ll keep reading nonsense about how important Van Hagar is to the world because some dope kissed his teenage honey during “Dreams” and he loves the memories.

  • Sparks in ’11

    @Motorscooter- I agree with you about Janes A picking up the ball so to speak. I still remember the time a guy on my floor in college told me I had to check this band out. Said it was like a cross between VH and U2 which was pretty much the best way to describe one of the first hard rock / alternative hybrids of the late ’80′s. So he pops in an advanced copy of Nothing’s Shocking and I was immediately down with it. They, unfortunately, went on to have their own ego meltdown. Hopefully, they pull out a decent cd this year, too.

    I also like where Jeff Adams is coming from. I can only imagine what it must have felt like to be there for the magic being made. To those who have posted earlier that CVH fans have only a pot hazed memory of the mistake filled shows they were seeing, I say buuull shit. I have more boots than I can count and the difficulties they encountered most were technical. I listen to them both stunned and sober. Just in total awe of their collective ass kicking skills. I have never known a tighter band with such an abundance of cover tunes and originals under their belt all by their early twenties. I admit, I am guilty of digging in the pasture waiting for the future, but I never felt as though I’ve had a choice. There is no comparing a Van Hagar cover of Keep On Rockin’ or Wild Thing to a CVH cover of We All Had A Real Good Time or The Fool and Me.

  • http://hubcapdave.blogspot.com HubcapDave

    Ah, but you forget about Good Enough in Spaceballs, Roth Leaps! Or, Humans Being from Twister for that matter.

    This illustrates the flaw in your logic. When you present facts, you either present only facts which seem to support your argument, or you portray the facts in a manner which seems to support your point of view.

    Allow me to expand on this. One of your favorite arguments is that Roth-era albums have sold more than Sammy-era albums. On the face of things, this is true. However, it doesn’t tell the whole story.

    I am going to leave out counter-arguments about double-dipping; not because I think it’s invalid, but because it is not quantifiable. Rather, let’s take a look at how many albums were sold for each singer during their active periods with the band (Roth: 1978-1984, Sammy 1986-1996).

    By the time Roth leaves Van Halen, they have sold 17 million albums from six releases. That’s an average of 2.83 million records per release.

    During Sammy’s tenure, they release 5 albums (I’m including Right Here, Right Now Live) and sell 15 million albums. This averages out to 3 million per release.

    Right there, that tells us that during each singer’s respective active period, the fanbase for the band supported their current efforts equally.

    Now, there is the matter of the Roth-era catalog sales during Sammy’s tenure. The back catalog sold 14 million copies between 1986-1996. Problem is, there are mitigating circumstances, such as the aforementioned “double-dipping” and people discovering Roth-era via Sammy-era music. While it’s hard to quantify these things, I will say that Roth-era albums are more prone to double-dipping due to them being mainly available in less durable formats (LPs and cassettes) during their initial release. Sammy-era suffers from this, too, though not to the same degree, as CDs became ubiquitous midway through his tenure. Personally, I’ve double and triple-dipped on every VH album except RH,RN Live and Balance.

    I will agree that Roth VH and Sammy VH are differing experiences. I can understand the argument that some feel Roth-era is better; there are some ways in which I prefer it over Sammy. But to flat out say prima facie Sammy-era sucks and was vastly less successful does not hold up to scrutiny, as I have just shown.

    Now excuse me while I think about Paula……

  • Carnal Knowledge

    RothLeaps over the Facts: If someone thinks the band was epic, it’s THEIR opinion. There’s no pure definition of ‘epic’. It’s purely subjective.

    As far as the radio playing Van Hagar……you either change the channel or turn it off when Van Hagar comes on, that’s quite obvious.

    Besides, none of this matters. Point zero zero zero zero five percent of music lovers would list the Van Hagar years OVER the Roth years, yet you continually go out of your way trying to refute that miniscule minority of people. Just because we’re fans of Hagar doesn’t mean we skew the facts. And, it doesn’t mean that we’ll EVER EVER list that era above Roth’s era. Can’t you get that through your head. You’re yelling about nothing. Nothing at all.

    But, maybe it’s time you ACTUALLY address some questions: What do you want to happen with the Van Hagar years? An asterisk? What do you want to happen with Sammy’s large catalog of music with other bands? An asterisk? Eddie already took the Van Hagar discs off of his website. What MORE do you fucking want?

  • phillster

    Roth_Leaps_83:
    We see =VH= history exactly the same way dude…
    I was 15 when 5150 came out.After getting =VH=2 for `79 Xmas
    and then actually getting to see them on Mtv(3 oakland vids,pretty woman,Jump,Panama,Hot4teacher,)after not knowing what they even looked like aside from album covers,I was Convinced this was clearly the COOLEST american band in the world hands down!!Then came Just a Gigalo&Calfornia Girls..2 of the Best videos ever made.Couldn`t wait for the Next =VH= album.Then the sh*t hit the fan.All i knew was they split,and got the”Can`t Drive 55″ guy to replace Roth, who was literally untouchable in the Lead singer department.It was a mind F— to say the least.I still remember seeing the stupid blue angels video and shouting “wht the F—???”
    1st concert was EAT`M&SMILE.2nd was 0U812.I got “For Unlawfull”and came to a crossroads.That was the album that made me miss hearing Roth`s voice&delivery because the Music was incredible,but Sam`s delivery was just too cheesy to fully enjoy it.Like i said, i started to miss the DIAMOND that matched the music.vHagar just didn`t cut it anymore.It was good, but not nearly as dangerously Great as the original.=VH=3 failed simply because the world got thier taste buds ready for Filet Mignon but got a crappy cube-steak instead.Sammy`s post-Halen solo music was putrid,uninspired nonsense to say the least.If it was Sooo good,why did sammy have to ask Dave to tour with him?Answer:Because he Knew he was in direct competition with Dave to get his dream gig back after knowing Roth was attempting&recording with them again.Dave Saw that Ed&Al were in NO physical or mental condition to write,record&tour anything worthy of fans expectations,so he did the honorable thing& walked.
    Sammy however,who just said in his book that ED was in even worse condition,Didn`t walk because he stood to lose $5mill if he backed out.Zero artistic integrity.
    VanHagar fans have to realize that Sam puts money ahead of Ed`s friendship&health.Dave doesn`t.
    That`s why Dave`s back and sammy isn`t.
    Sam was on “Jimmy Kimmel” the other night and got Booed cause he dissed Gary Cherone.Class act indeed.The secrets out,the writings on the wall,Sam`s desperate,Dave isn`t.

  • Halen High

    Great story. I’m always nostalgic for the 70s and I think the writer really captured the essence growing up in those days and what CVH was all about. Actually, his style reminds me of a guy called Frank Meyer, who wrote several VH pieces in the late 90s covering the failed reunion.

    Regarding the writer’s comment on the Van Hagar era; other than the 5150 album, which was good on a purely instrumental level, I think the boring label is spot on. While OU812, FUCK and Balance had their moments, Eddie was uninspired and Sammy’s lyrics were generally banal or corny.

  • Halen High

    “The true meaning of epic is how much a band influences other artists or an entire generation. Roth-era Van Halen was that kind of band.”

    Well said Roth_Leaps_83. CVH was one of the most influential and cutting edge bands in the history of the hard rock genre. Any time I read or hear a musician or singer talk about VH, they always say “CVH” or “Roth era VH”. That is the true barometer of what defines a great band.

  • Tater Salad

    Just heard Ice Cream Man in the car….I love Dave! Hahaha. Lighten up folks, only one more day til the weekend!! Love all the stories on here, this is why I come to this site. Unfortunately I missed the magic of those times, so I always find it awesome to read about them. The main story was a good one, but kind of melancholy (towards the end). It’s funny how all the Van Hagar people get their panties in a wad because of what the author said. I don’t necessarily agree with it, but hey it’s an opinion and I’m not gonna try and change it. Everyone who says Van Hagar and CVH are completely different are 100% right!! That’s why I don’t worry about what’s better, I just listen to what I want to listen to at the time. :)

  • the atomicpunk

    I AM A TRUE HARDCORE VH FAN AND THAT MUSIC AND THOSE MEMORIES WILL NEVER DIE.I CAN STILL CLOSE MY EYES AND REMEMBER THOSE GREAT TIMES.I DO BELIEVE THIS AUTHOR WAS TRYING TO TELL US HIS STORY OF THE GOOD OLD DAYS HE HAD WITH HIS FRIENDS AND MEMORIES OF HOW THE POWER OF VAN HALEN RANG THRU IS VEINS!WITH ALL THAT SAID,I LISTEN TO ALOT OF GROUPS LIKE LINKEN PARK,NICKLEBACK,GODSMACK,DISTURBED,AND STILL KICKIN IT WITH THE OZZ AND BLACK LABEL,ZAKK KICKS ASS!BUT I AM A REALIST AND VAN HALEN IS NOT AS GOOD TODAY AS THEY WERE WITH SAMMY HAGAR,THEY JUST SEEMED TIGHT AND TOGETHER AND HAVING ALOT OF FUN. I SEEN THEM TWICE OU812 SHOW!SEEN ROTH EAT’EM AND SMILE TOUR KICKED ASS MAN.JUST CAN’T BRING MYSELF TO SEE VH WITH ROTH NOW JUST NOT THE SAME MAN,JUST NOT THE SAME!!!!!!!!BUT THE OLD VAN HALEN MUSIC STILL PLAYS LOUD MY VETTE!!MY FRIENDS WILL LOOK AT ME AND SAY “YOU PLAY OLD VH AND IT ALWAYS PUTS A SMILE ON YOUR FACE DUDE”, AND I SAY “THATS RIGHT THERES NOTHING LIKE IT MAN,NOTHING LIKE IT”!

  • Halen High

    Carnal Knowledge says:
    “I can see these guys screaming at the TV recently with all the Hagar goings-on. Screaming at the TV.”

    I think you mean laughing. Did you see Sammy performing the national anthem the other day? It was so bad it was hilarious. Then again, he was a former member of VH so it’s also a little sad to see him in his current physical condition.

    Carnal Knowledge says:
    “Lighten up. If Classic Van Halen is as EPIC as you claim, you shouldn’t have to defend it.”

    I think the defensive stance taken by many VH fans grew out of Sammy’s total disrespect for what came before him. So he became viewed as the enemy rather than as a member of the VH family, even by those who were at first willing to accept him and the band’s radical change in approach. But you’re right, CVH needs no defending. It stands alone. That’s why everytime artists such as Henry Rollins, Dweezil Zappa, Zakk Wylde, Nikki Sixx, Mick Mars or 100s of others talk about CVH – it’s always with great reverence.

  • Halen High

    Tater Salad says:
    “Just heard Ice Cream Man in the car….I love Dave! Hahaha. Lighten up folks, only one more day til the weekend!! Love all the stories on here, this is why I come to this site. Unfortunately I missed the magic of those times, so I always find it awesome to read about them. The main story was a good one, but kind of melancholy (towards the end). It’s funny how all the Van Hagar people get their panties in a wad because of what the author said. I don’t necessarily agree with it, but hey it’s an opinion and I’m not gonna try and change it. Everyone who says Van Hagar and CVH are completely different are 100% right!! That’s why I don’t worry about what’s better, I just listen to what I want to listen to at the time.”

    Great post. And yeah it was a litle melancholy at the end – but it worked.

  • Nat

    @Roth_Leaps_83: “I’m finding that most Van Hagar fans were teenagers during the Sammy-era of Van Halen, and the teenage years are when music makes the biggest impression on your memories. So therefore most of the delusions about the greatness of Van Hagar comes from that demographic. I just wish most of you Van Hagar fans would admit that’s why it skews your opinion about both eras of Van Halen.”

    Let me guess – you were a teenager during the Dave era, right?

    As you say, the teenage years are when music makes the biggest impression, so it stands to reason that the Dave era had that effect on most CVH fans.

    I’m not arguing which era is better. I like them both and they have totally different vibes for me. The Dave era is an ass-kicking house party while the Sammy era is chilling at the beach in the summertime.

    I listen to classic rock stations too, and I tend to hear the same few songs from both eras. Unchained, Panama, Jump, You Really Got Me, Dance The Night Away and a few others from the Dave years.

    Why Can’t This Be Love, Right Now, Finish What Ya Started, Dreams, When It’s Love and a few others from the Sammy era. They both get pretty equal airtime on the stations I listen to.

    I highly doubt anyone will ever change their opinion of which version is better, but I just don’t get why people feel the need to insult people in the other camp.

  • motorscooter

    I dont have much time to reply back to everyone as I have to get up and shower. At 4 in the morning to go to to work, ugh…

    Anyway, Philster correction, Sammy didnt back out cause he was under contract and would have gotten sued. And he did try to talk to Eddie along with Irving Azoff and Alex about delaying the tour before it started.

    Eddie is the one who refused to back out of the tour. Talk about integrity, Sammy’s the one who stood up for Mike to play to the tour. Say whatever you want about Sammy musically, but that cat is loyal to his friends unlike some other people we know.

  • Halen High

    Running With The Devil – perfect title.

  • Carnal Knowledge

    Phillster: “The secrets out,the writings on the wall,Sam`s desperate,Dave isn`t”

    Tools like this actually have part of me hoping the new Halen album sucks. Thanks a lot guys. You guys should be ecstatic about DLR being back, yet you can’t help yourselves. The obsessional hatred of all things Hagar is relentless, shameless, and uncalled for.

    It’s been said many times before, but who, exactly, are you guys arguing with? OVH is better than Van Hagar. Why it needs to go any further than that is confusing.

    The amount of Hatred spewing from a few on here, is in major conflict with the aura of Van Halen. Drop the hatred. Van Hagar actually happened and there’s not a damn thing anybody can do about it.

  • TearItUp

    “The true meaning of epic is how much a band influences other artists or an entire generation. Roth-era Van Halen was that kind of band.”

    Roth_Leaps_83 hits the nail right on the head with that statement. I’ve also seen many of those “100 Greatest Rock Albums of All Time” lists & not once have I ever seen a Van Hagar album mentioned on that list. VH 1 & 1984 are always there. I’ve never seen an artist say he was influenced by the Hagar era of VH either. It’s always, “classic VH was a huge influence on me…” You never hear an artist go, “Man, when I first heard “Dreams” & “Why Can’t this Be Love”…it changed my life!” Haha