Van Halen Retrospective (Parts 1 & 2)

Earlier this summer, we featured Part 1 of Midnight Phil’s two part Van Halen Retrospective. We’re glad to say that Part 2 is finished!

A message from Midnight Phil to VHND readers:

“Thanks for all the amazing feedback on Part 1 of the Van Halen Retrospective! Part 2 was tricky, because it involved discussing some of the more frustrating things about the band’s history (for me, anyway). As a result, I think this half comes off a little less enthusiastic. Still, I tried to keep the energy and humor up to the same level, so I hope you enjoy it! If you do, you can check out more of my work at midnightphil.com, including more videos, audiobooks, and any other projects I happen to have going.”

Here again is Part 1, with Part 2 below it. Enjoy!

  • littledreamer

    Midnight Phil,
    Outstanding job! I was laughing so hard that I didn’t realize my eight year old was quietly standing behind me watching as well.

  • 51504VH

    @Ed is God…I can’t remember the last time I heard Van Hagar on the radio here in Denver but I hear Runnin With The Devil, Eruption/You Really Got Me, Hot For Teacher and Panama everyday.

    I wonder why the Van Halen website only acknowledges the first six albums???

    Because they are timeless-classics that are still being played today.

    “Hero’s come and go but legends, their forever” (DDLR)

  • kayser sozay

    Wow Leaps – your last post about the singer being an important part of the band was actually respectful to people that like Sam. I’m confused. What happened? Must have been a really good Friday night, yeah? Cheers. But don’t mellow out too much – you don’t want Halen High to take your crown as king of the warriors. I think he’s making a clever play for it by denying he cares about record sales and then talking about it in almost every post.

    My own two cents on VH not playing much CVH after Dave left – I suggest you guys rewatch Midnight Phil’s clip. In case you forgot he effectively reminded us that VH – not just Sam – was trying to distance themselves from Roth. Dave wasn’t out of the band because they loved him at that time. I’m glad they did ATAL, Panama, Jump, etc. but under the circumstances, it’s a bit surprising they did. Kind of the same reason you don’t see any Sam era albums on VH’s website now. You cross the brothers and you’re persona non grata. Dave went through it. Sam went through it. Gary, well lets just say you’re unlikely to hear the brother ever mention that album again let alone hear VH do any of those songs again.

  • Roth_Leaps_83

    @ Kayser —-

    I’m not saying I like Sammy, but at least most of the Van Hagar fans appreciate the whole package of the Hagar-era and not just the guitarist.

    It’s this certain segment of fans who come in here and say “It’s all about Eddie” that confuses me to no end. If it’s “all about Eddie”, then why didnt “VH 3″ sell as many copies as “1984″ — after all, it’s only about Eddie, right?

    Any VH fan with some common sense knows that the frontman has a big influence on the overall vibe and sound as much as Eddie does with his guitar. These people need to start being truthful and call themselves “Eddie fans” and not “Van Halen fans”.

  • Halen High

    @ kayser sozay – I’m responding to others who bring up the topic of album sales as evidence of Van Hagar’s success across almost every thread on this website – I thought that was obvious. There’s nothing ‘clever’ about it.

  • Halen High

    kayser sozay says:
    “I suggest you guys rewatch Midnight Phil’s clip. In case you forgot he effectively reminded us that VH – not just Sam – was trying to distance themselves from Roth.”

    I take your point about ‘distancing’. The problem is, they took it too far. I blame Eddie, Alex and Mike mostly, for being weak and not insisting Hagar sing more CVH songs. They allowed him to get away with it. And did they still need to ‘distance’ themselves in 1995 – a decade after the end of CVH?

  • jetblast190

    @ Roth_Leaps_83

    I’m sorry my comment made you so angry, but please never doubt my loyalty as a “Van Halen the band” fan. I know it’s all about the entire experience. I’m trying to put into context that I liked both versions of Van Halen because I was so drawn to the musicianship. I would be lying if I said I was eager to know what the next set of lyrics were when a new album was about to be released, because I wasn’t. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t sing along to my fair share of Van Halen songs…not very well, but I still do when I’m listening in my car or whenever I’m alone and listening and won’t bother anyone with mylousy attempt to sing. I love Van Halen as much as any other fan here…I check the site daily, or as much as possible for any news of new Van Halen material. We all experience the arts in our own individual ways. I acknowledge everything you said in your response regarding the entire Van Halen experience…studio recordings and in concert alike. I’m here like you to share my love of the band and share what part of the experience has meant the most to me over years. I wouldn’t spoil it for you by criticizing your point of view because I may not entirely agree with it. I guarantee that if we stood side by side at a concert for the upcoming tour, we’d both be rockin’ as hard as we could and would high five with every little great moment of the show.

    But if I’m going to be criticized for my perspective, I will quietly keep it to myself…and still have a great time when I go to see the forthcoming tour.

  • kayser sozay

    Leaps, I wasn’t suggesting you like Sammy. I think we all know how you feel about him. Just pointing out my surprise that you actually acknowledged he has fans without going negative on him or his fans.

    Halen High – I realize you’re responding to others. Just strikes me that you must actually care about the record sales issue or you wouldn’t bother responding. There are way too many factors in play on the record sales debate to ever cite to it as evidence of merit of one era over the other.

    Respectfully, I don’t think you did take my point on ‘distancing’ if you say “they allowed [Sam] to get away with it.” My point was that it wasn’t just Sam’s idea to avoid the CVH catalogue and your statement suggests it was. I truly believe the entire band had no intention of going there, not just Sam.

    But I do think that Sam had a legit reasons for not wanting to do alot of CVH music. Can you imagine bigger shoes to fill than Dave’s? I can’t. Singing Dave’s songs would just feed into the constant comparisons and no how good a replacement singer is, if the original music is loved the replacement singer will never be able to match it. VH wanted to prove they didn’t need Dave to stay on top – and Sam wanted to be accepted. Best way to do that is with new material.

    I agree that Sam has blown several opportunities to be gracious about the parts of VH’s legacy that don’t include him. But I think it’s far less to do with being an asshole than being human and being insecure. I wouldn’t like living in Dave’s shadow either. Midnight Phil may have been on to something with the idea that VH should have changed their name…

    For the most part, the people here slagging him for things like his book were the same people who slagged him long before the book came out for all sorts of things including the direction VH took while he was in the band (as if that were all his doing.) The book just gave more ammo to take shots. Some folks here even slagged Sam for all of his charitable works for kids which pretty much tells me all I need to know about where the hatred is really comes from – it has nothing to do with Sam’s talent.

    There will always be Roth-loyal fans like you and Leaps and Sam has never made his peace with that fact. He should. He should understand that the hatred was never so much about a lack of talent otherwise people would just say they don’t him or his music with VH like they do with Gary. He should take the Roth warrior hatred as confirmation that while people may not like the music as much as CVH, he was good enough to make them feel jealous about VH’s continued success with him and like he was a threat to the warriors’ feelings about Dave’s superiority in the eyes of the rest of the world – which says a lot about his talent because Dave was the king. I’ve used the analogy before but it’s like kids hating their parent’s new spouse after a divorce – and feeling jealous for the parent.

    I disagree with any criticism of Sam for not doing more CVH that involves any comparisons with Brian Johnson and AC/DC. Replacing a dead singer isn’t the same as replacing a living singer. Brian Johnson was never going to receive any “Bon Scott warrior” backlash for replacing a Bon Scott because he was dead and Scott had to be replaced if the band was to continue. Going back to the divorced-parents analogy, the hatred a kid has for a parent’s new spouse is never as intense if the other parent has died.

  • Michael C.

    @jetblast190 I agree with you. Being a musician myself, I definitely find myself much more drawn to the musical aspect of the songs (and by musical aspect I mean the instruments)than the vocals, or more specifically, to the actual lyrics. I love VH as much as anyone else, but I couldn’t sing every word of any one song on their albums. And to be truthful, I really don’t care what their singing about half of the time. Vh puts me in a state of mind that I enjoy. The music does that. Sometimes the lyrics do, too. But most of the time it’s just the groove of the song itself. While I certainly see where Roth_Leaps is coming from, I think he would think differently if he were a musician himself. We just get transfixed on music sometimes. It’s our passion. But this subject, like so many others, are subject to opinion. And you know what they say about opinions…they’re like a$$holes…we all got one.

  • Black Sand 78

    Great work once again, Phil. I am not worthy. Following up on the stellar work of your first Van Halen installment was a tall order, but you pulled it off in fine fashion. The segment about Gary Cherone and VH 3 was beyond outstanding. Tremendous. I was able to deeply relate to both the laughter and utter pain that Van Halen fans endured during the Cherone era.
    One thing is clear. Gary was a likeable guy, but that does not earn him a free pass for helping to produce the most dismal music in the entire VH catalog. What still puzzles me to this day is that I liked Cherone’s voice with Extreme, and even on his most recent album, Hurtsmile, Gary’s voice is much more natural and within his range than on VH 3. Had a capable producer headed VH 3, and exerted some musical control over Eddie and the entire project, the album most likely would not have come close to previous VH classic records, but I’m certain it could have been far superior to what was recorded. If Gary’s singing had not been so absurdly strained, and had Eddie focused on melodies and let Michael Anthony’s voice shine, the results could have been far less disasterous. I consider “Without You” a gem of a song. More tunes like that would have done wonders for VH 3.
    And I’ll always be intensely curious as to what the unreleased demos for the planned second Cherone-era album sounded like.
    I’m a huge fan of both VH eras, and I think the band was able to explore new musical frontiers with Sammy at the helm, but I lean toward the Roth era and I eagerly anticipate new music from the classic lineup.
    But I’m still a little nervous. First, we get one VH-related tweet from producer John Shanks several months ago. Then nothing to this day. Then producer/engineer Ross Hogarth recently divulged his involvement with the new Van Halen album. That was roughly four weeks ago. Since then, silence. Just saying…

  • dan slaughter

    Dirty Duck…..excellent August 6th post…very honest and gives your backstory which helps everyone else understand where your opinions are coming from and how to put them in the proper context. @HALEN HIGH…appreciate that you responded without mud-slinging and Hagar bashing. I used to think that I was hands down the biggest VH fan on the planet, collecting hundreds of magazines, newspaper articles,videos and books covering the band. For the first time ever I feel like there are a few people on here who could give me a serious run for my money. I still disagree about how you view Hagar Van Halen’s success. Only a small handful of bands how every record they released sell at least 2.5 million in the States…..even a double live record…UNHEARD OF!!! Even more so if we follow your logic that most TRUE rock fans didn’t like Hagar fronted Halen….mainstream (top 40 fans) don’t buy live albums. Yes, they didn’t have a lot overseas success with Sammy becaused the y never toured anywhere but the States….only a small tour of Europe in the spring of 93 and the cringe worthy stint with Bon Jovi in the late spring of 95. They played Japan twice(early 89 and fall 95) and had excellent attendance both tours(even playing the Tokyo Dome for two nights having only Private Life open). The Balance tour was very successful and was one of the top 5 tours of that year pulling in nearly 33 million(adjust that to 2011 numbers and see what the total was). Classic Van Halen records were bought several times over by fans because of format changes….records,eight tracks, cassettes, CD’s and then remasters. And MTV had no contribution to 5150 success…no videos were made…which was a very bold move at the time. But…without a doubt 1984 success was increased because OF MTV! I am a massive fan of Roth fronted Van Halen….I think Roth was the greatest frontman in the history of rock and that he had a major effect on VH’s success….just as much as Edward did. Those first six records are at the top of the list of the greatest albums of all time. I give as much credit as I can to Roth led Halen and I play songs from those records..EVERY SINGLE DAY. But to NOT give any credit to what they did after Sammy joined…to discredit the success they had in terms of almost anything of merit….to say that a great deal of their fans were bandwagon Top 40 posers and that their numbers of records sold are tarnished by this…..to say they became less and less successful with every passing year with Hagar(these ARE NOT quotes of what you said..just how I took what you wrote)…is just plain wrong. They won a Grammy with Hagar, they had number one records with Hagar and they wrote some the best rock tunes in history with Hagar. And Eddie and Al felt like they could write and perform any type of music they wanted to. They had four guys with the same musicial vision. I understand and sometimes agree with the views of some fans when it comes to Sammy and the albums and tours he did with the band. If someone hates Van Halen….then focus on writing positive things about the bands and the line-ups and eras of those bands that someone does like. And give credit where credit is due…..even if it’s something as small as number one records and sold-out tours. (sorry for the bad spelling and bad grammar….I wasn’t an English major in college).

  • Halen High

    kayser sozay says:
    “Halen High – I realize you’re responding to others. Just strikes me that you must actually care about the record sales issue or you wouldn’t bother responding. There are way too many factors in play on the record sales debate to ever cite to it as evidence of merit of one era over the other.”

    I don’t place much importance on record sales as a measure of credibility – but I don’t think we should completely ignore them if people want to talk about it.

    kayser sozay says:
    “Respectfully, I don’t think you did take my point on ‘distancing’ if you say “they allowed [Sam] to get away with it.” My point was that it wasn’t just Sam’s idea to avoid the CVH catalogue and your statement suggests it was. I truly believe the entire band had no intention of going there, not just Sam.”

    What I think happened was – when Sammy first joined they had a strong album to tour with, 5150, and they wanted to make a statement. But as the years went on, I believe Eddie, Alex and Mike wanted to play more of the CVH stuff and Sammy kicked up a fuss over it – and they just went along with it to keep the peace. My point is, it was Sammy and ‘his’ manager who drove the distancing. I no longer have a copy of Sammy’s unpublished bio from a few years ago, but he admitted to that (if anyone has it, it would be great if they could post the passage in which he talked about that specific issue – it was brief but very eye-opening). Even Mike has said Sammy did not want to sing the old songs, implying that the rest of them did (the interview is here on the VHND – ’96 I think?). And when Gary joined – what did they do? They started playing CVH again. Gary was a fan and he was happy to do so.

    We will have to agree to disagree.

  • kayser sozay

    Halen High – I don’t think we necessarily disagree. I’m not implying Hagar had nothing to do with it. I’m just saying I don’t think it was all his doing. You may be right in the later years – I do think he should have done more CVH once he was VH’s popularity with him was fully entrenched. Sort of what I meant about him blowing chances to show a little for grace to the parts of the legacy that didn’t include him.

    I know the book you’re talking about. I tried to post a link to it on here once before and my post didn’t get through – perhaps an understandable fear of copyright infringment. Anyway, you can find Chapters 19 & 20 of Sam’s earlier biograpy by googling “Sammy Hagar Red Storm Rising” – You’ll get a link to a thread on guitars101.com – someone copied the chapters right into their post on page 1 of 5. I read it a long time ago. Probably should again just to contrast it with the book he did publish. I do recall there was a lot more info about the breakup and Ray Daniels’ role in it.

    Cheers.

  • Halen High

    dan slaughter says:
    “@HALEN HIGH…appreciate that you responded without mud-slinging and Hagar bashing…”

    I don’t consider myself a mud-slinger regarding other posters, just a bit of a typical Aussie stirrer! But I do give Sammy a slap across the chops now and then. The thing is, a lot of original CVH fans have a justified angst towards Sammy for his disrespecting of OUR band. And there are some Sammy fans here who get that, and allow us to vent without getting all sensitive about it.

    dan slaughter says:
    “And MTV had no contribution to 5150 success…no videos were made…which was a very bold move at the time.”

    I would call that a lazy move, rather than a bold one. They did release videos for WCTBL (live) and Dreams. Both were awful in my opinion but they did get a lot of coverage.

  • Halen High

    kayser sozay – yep that’s it. I kept it for ages then about a year ago threw it out. I remember it being quite depressing reading, but also very revealing and interesting. Yes, there was a lot of content on Daniels.

  • Lupercal

    Halen High

    I did respond to your post earlier, guess it must’ve got lost up there with all the other stuff. Looks like you’ve had a lot of correspondence here!

    You said: “”You also mention the Van Hagar tours, calling them successful. They were only ‘successful’ in the USA until the Balance tour when they experienced a decline in sales. Their presence in overseas markets diminished drastically (I can tell you that in Australia, Van Halen was THE coolest hard rock band on the planet in ’85, even surpassing ACDC – by the mid-90s people had almost forgotten they were still an active band). On the Balance tour, they were even reduced to supporting (of all people) Bon Jovi in the UK.”

    Yeah, VH were huge in America and that obviously came across to other English speaking countries (I’m in the UK). But they never really toured here that much, and didn’t VH come to you first in 1998? They were reduced to supporting Bon Jovi in Europe and the UK because they didn’t really bother touring here so much because they had so MUCH stuff, equipment, etc, that the smaller English stages and stadiums couldn’t cope with. That was their excuse, anyway. Their presence outside of the US was huge when the band was huge – and if they just ignore the continents entirely then they can’t expect the majority of people to remember them. Actually Balance was the last album they toured here. According to Wikipedia, we had ONE UK date for the Right Here Right Now tour in 93, and that was the first time the band had come to English soil since the 1984 Monsters of Rock tour. So only after 3 albums with Hagar were we able to get them over here for one night. After that, it was 3 dates opening for Bon Jovi, then they had to cancel whatever dates they set for the III Tour. Their presence outside the US has never been stellar.

  • Panama Red

    I’ve enjoyed reading the last cluster of lengthy posts. Seriously, not only are they really good posts but they might help make me look a little less crazy ;) But I’m sure my post will still be longer than any others here.

    Midnight Phil – When you put one of CVH’s most blistering, bad ass songs – “On Fire” up against a Sammy era love song, my first impression was that it was intentionally a little one-sided and biased. I mean, I got your point, that you were trying to display a pretty wide feeling or consensus of how a lot of fans felt VH had changed, but someone could also put “I’ll Wait” up against “A.F.U.” or “Jump” against “Judgement Day” or “Dancing In The Street” with “Get Up”
    The main issue I have with doing that is that it kind of insinuates that Sammy and Dave wrote the music.
    What kind of heavy sounding lyrics could go with the music in “When It’s Love” that would sound aggressive like “On Fire” does? And what kind of lyrics could Dave have come up with for “I’ll Wait” that sound as heavy as “Judgement Day” and still fit the song?…as far as I know Eddie almost always wrote the music first with Hagar and Roth and then they came up with the lyrics. I’m sure the vibe and content to a lot of the lyrics depended on how the music sounded to Dave and Sammy.
    By the way, I like “When it’s Love” , “I’ll Wait” and “Dancing in the Street.” I don’t think those are crappy songs, I’m just making a point that there are some heavy, aggressive VH songs and there are some that aren’t so much (from both eras)
    But I understood what you were doing. And I‘m not trying to bust your chops for doing that. I know you prefer Roth era so it makes sense that you were making your point in that way. And in a way, I thought it was clever and humorous making your point in such a way. There is a stark difference in those two songs and I thought the looks you were giving during the cutaways were funny. Even if I disagreed with something in your video, it was done in a funny way and not in a vindictive or thoughtless way. And of course if you prefer one era over the other, that impression is going to come across in your presentation a little, and that’s understandable and it shouldn’t be held against you. I’m just making an observation about your VH song comparison segment in the video and explaining my point of view about it. I love the Hagar era just as much as the Roth era so I obviously don’t share the same exact point of view that you have. I don’t think there are two people here that share the same exact point of view about VH ;) and that’s perfectly fine.
    You were being honest about how you felt about the different eras and that’s the only way to go about it. I think you did a great job.
    Oh and just becasue I love both eras, I don’t mean to pick the ‘always annoying option C’ – ‘Real Fans Like Both.’ HAHA! I don’t really believe you have to love both eras to be a “real” fan. Especially the people who come here, if you come to this website you are obviously a big fan of VH and a “Real” Van Halen fan.

    For the most part I agree with Midnight Phil about VH3. The most apparent affect Gary Cherone has on me is nausea…but having said that, I do like “Year to The Day.” I disagree with what Phil said about that song. “Year To The Day” IMHO is one of the best songs on the album. It has a lot of emotion and feeling in it. And Honestly, I never realized it was 8 and a half minutes long. It doesn’t seem that long to me at all, maybe because I’m such an avid Pink Floyd listener ;)
    I also like “Once.” Does that make me lose VH cred or something?
    Musically (Eddie’s guitar playing) in “Year to the Day” and “Once” have some strong feeling and some really soulful playing that stuck with me after listening to ‘em.
    We all have our own P.O.V.’s and we all appreciate different things about Van Halen. There is something for everyone to love about VH!
    There are one or two other things I disagreed with Phil about but I think I’ve rambled on long enough for now. Maybe if I have the time and energy I’ll bore everyone some more some other time ;)
    Phil, both of your videos were very entertaining and fun to watch, thanks for making them and sharing them here. Van Halen should send you should backstage passes for the next tour and you could share a chumweiser with Wolfie.

  • Halen High

    Panama Red says:
    “as far as I know Eddie almost always wrote the music first with Hagar and Roth and then they came up with the lyrics.”

    Hi Red – yes, Eddie wrote the music first but Dave would often suggest changes to some aspects of the song’s structures, including their length, which was a reason behind much of the tension. Eddie didn’t like Dave doing anything more than writing the lyrics.

    You mention VH3. There’s a song on it called ‘From Afar’ (I think). I thought it was a really good track, but I sold the CD years ago (along with LRHRN) at a second hand store.

  • http://u holmes

    Thanks kid for highlighting VH3 the way it deserved to be. BTW, who are those 9 morons that like it.

  • GDO’G55

    i love that part where he talks about Daves movie he should make an actual full length movie trailer that would be funny as hell

  • http://midnightphil.com MidnightPhil

    @Panama Red

    No worries. It’s all personal preference. :)

    Regarding the writing of the music: while Eddie of course wrote the instrumental music, the singers’ contributions was twofold (as I understand it):
    - My understanding is that Dave and Sammy wrote the vocal melodies and arranged the backup vocals (in addition to the lyrics). I could be wrong, of course, but considering the vocals/backup vocals sound pretty different for each era (and those singers’ solo careers, vocally, sound pretty similar to the vocals they wrote in VH…to me, anyway), I have no problem believing that.
    - The singers were often a filter between the writing and the release. Sometimes Eddie put his foot down and more or less insisted a particular piece of music be used, like with Jump. But often if a singer didn’t like a piece of music, it didn’t get lyrics written for it. It was vetoed, essentially. Eddie said in an interview back when Dave was in the band (paraphrase): “our singer always picks my weirdest stuff.” There’s also a fantastic (and recent!) interview with Eddie and Tony Iommi (http://www.guitarworld.com/tony-iommi-and-eddie-van-halen-cast-giant-shadow?page=0,4) where he says, “I’ve got all kinds of music that I could put out if I wanted to, but they (the fans) don’t take into consideration the other members of the band. Maybe the singer doesn’t want to do that.”

    The main point I was trying to establish is that there was a new partnership. Van Halen’s music comes primarily from Eddie, but a lot of other factors influence what actually makes it to the fans. When I was doing research for Part 2, I was surprised to learn that the band has never performed “Feels so Good” live. Mike and Al hated that song, and never wanted to do it when it came time to assemble a show’s setlist. Heh, there’s a free “Van Halen Fun Fact” for ya. ;)

    But in any event, I understand where you’re coming from. And for the record, I love their cover of “Dancing in the Street!” :D

  • Wilkster5150

    @Panama Red
    Yes generally Ed writes the music first but he has stated in the past that he would write, atleast to some degree, to fit the vocalist’s style and abilities. Hence, no real true ballads during the Roth era.
    Maybe you are suggesting that the Hagar era had just as many intense high powered rockers as the Dave era but I would have to strongly disagree with you there if that’s the point you are trying to make. The dynamics of the band changed and some of the music definitely lost its edge with the inclusion of Sammy and Gary. I’m one of the few who loves every album but the first six are far and away the greatest albums ever made by anyone, for my ears.
    I just hope Dave has brought that fire back to Ed’s writing on the new album.

  • http://www.vhnd.com 5150

    Roth Leaps says:
    If it’s “all about Eddie”, then why didnt “VH 3? sell as many copies as “1984?

    What happened to DLR’s solo albums and career?

    I agree with Michael C. I am a musician too. I have been a musician for over 20 years. We have gone through several vocalist in our band due to “LSD”! They just think they know more about music than the actual musicians. I am a VH fan. I love their music. All your previous posts were giving DLR too much credit. After all, when people first heard VH, which piece of music do they often mention…Eruption. Very seldom do I hear, “I heard DLR and I was blown away”! Don’t get me wrong, DLR is awesome and did give VH some kind of uniqueness. But you (and others) seem to blog as if DLR (or Sam) are the only member of VH. “Sam carried the band, DLR carried the band”….ugh! Where does EVH stand? Read Midnight Phil’s most recent blog. He gives EVH the credit he deserves. Honestly, what goes through your ears when you listen to Mean Street or Unchained? DLR? or EVH’s magic?

  • Craig

    Wow I think the easy and trendy thing right now is to bash Sammy Hagar. Phil’s take on this is a path of less resistance. EVERYONE bashes Hagar so how is this worth anyone’s time? For me I like my lead singers to be able to do one thing and do it well. Sing. Sammy can and Roth can’t simple as that. They are both ass clowns and both equally insane but Sammy’s voice was an equal to Eddie’s music. Roth would rather work on his high kick bullshit then to sing with an degree of skill.

  • Panama Red

    Thanks for the info Midnight Phil. I don’t remember hearing about the singers vetoing some of the music or the EVH quote from the Tony Iommi interview. That does make me see your point better. (Even though, I guess there’s no way to know what the music sounded like that they vetoed)
    It also makes me wish Ed and Al would’ve put out a solo album of sorts. I’ve said this here a couple of times before but I would love to hear an instrumental album from Ed and Al. They could experiment and do what ever they wanted to do with different sounds and instruments (w/ No lead singer) Eddie wouldn’t have to worry about L.S.D.
    I’ve wanted this ever since I heard the extended version of “Respect The Wind” from the “Twister” movie score.
    My first choice after Sammy left would have been VH doing another album with Dave in ‘96-‘98. My second choice would have been an instrumental album from Ed and Al…and lastly, I guess…VH3 w/ Cherone (insert Debbie Downer bugle sounds here)
    btw Midnight Phil, ending your video with “Light Up The Sky” – Perfect! Another great choice would have been “D.O.A.”
    My God VH2 Kicks Ass! I don’t think I listen to VH2 enough! Listening to it right now

    Hey Halen High, Thanks for the response too. Yeah, “From Afar” is the other song on VH3 I listen to sometimes. That would be the next song I would’ve mentioned that I liked from that album.
    Regarding your comments about Cherone singing CVH songs. I thought it was cool to hear some of those classic songs during the VH3 tour but I don’t think he sang those CVH songs because he was a fan like you said. I think more likely he did anything Eddie wanted him to do. He seemed like a “Yes Man” to me. I remember an interview with Gary Cherone where he admitted that he wasn’t even much of a Van Halen fan at all before he joined. (Which by the way, made my head spin) I also remember him flubbing the words to “Mean Street” more than once, like he really didn’t know the song correctly, something a hardcore fan who has become the lead singer for VH shouldn’t have a problem with. Was he trying to sing like Sammy and forget the words like Dave? ;) Just be yourself Gary, Hahahaha.
    I’m sorry, but he tried to sing like Hagar and he acted like some sort of poser trying to fit in and find his place in VH, and it was just awkward. He didn’t stay true to himself, he tried to be the New lead singer Eddie wanted him to be, instead of showing confidence in who he really was. It seems like Gary changes his style accordingly to what he thinks is cool at the time or what he thinks will be accepted by others, instead of being real and himself. That’s what I call a poser and I don’t use that word but maybe twice a year, so I can’t use that again till next year ;)
    He seemed so out of place, like he won a contest to front Van Halen for a night, except it was many nights and it was always the same awkwardness and no chemistry. But I did appreciate him singing those old songs, that was cool and it’s not like I hate Gary Cherone but…Man, I wish it could have been Dave with VH in ‘98, so I could have witnessed a true Van Halen reunion once in my life.

    Wilkster5150 – Thanks for the input. Although I wasn’t trying to “suggest that the Hagar era had just as many intense high powered rockers as the Dave era.”
    I haven’t ever compared all the tracks side by side from the different eras to see what era I thought had more intense high powered rockers. But in my head, I do think of there being more Love songs for sure, during the Hagar era. I think Dave could write many good time VH party songs but he also seemed like a more abstract lyricist/songwriter compared to Sammy. I like his zen poetry type stuff. I can’t even think of one “Love” song Dave wrote, at least in the way that Sammy writes love songs. I can’t see Dave writing a song like “When it’s Love.” (That probably made some Dave fans smirk or roll there eyes like “Yeah, No Shit.”)
    I think Sammy is a more direct lyricist for the most part. Sammy also wrote many great VH party songs, but he is more direct about singing about love. I remember him even saying once in an interview that writing love songs comes more natural to him than writing Heavy, high powered rock songs.(I’m paraphrasing)

    Anyway my point in my eariler post was that, I understood what Midnight Phil was doing. Putting those two songs together wherein showing some fans discontent with the musical changes VH went through after Dave left. But, I felt that each era produced a respectable amount of hard rock songs and it wasn’t all “On Fire” type songs with Dave and it wasn’t all “When It’s Love” type songs with Sammy. But Sammy and Dave do have very different personalities, therein making them also have different styles of musical direction and lyrical content. It’s just kind of funny from my point of view to compare songs from both eras like “On Fire” and “When It’s Love” because to me, it’s the band I love in both respects. I listen to specific Van Halen songs according to what kind of mood I’m in and I love about 98% of ‘em.
    Btw – I was listening to my ipod on shuffle driving home earlier and “The Dream Is Over” came on, I love that song. I thought to myself – Man, I don’t care if Sammy or Dave write the occasional corny lyric because some VH songs have phenomenal lyrical content, like “The Dream Is Over” and “Mine All Mine” from Hagar and “Secrets” and “Light Up The Sky” from Roth. Some people are always bringing up the “bad lyrics” thing. Anything that Sammy or Dave has done that I think is kind of cheesy is more that made up for by the awesome shit they’ve done.
    One last thing I want to say, It’s cool hearing other VH fans’ point of view. Sometimes it helps to understand things better when you get someone else’s perspective. I like hearing all sides and trying to get a broader take on something.
    Cheers everyone!

  • JVH

    Fun piece by Phil. Made me laugh and was entertaining. I think he may have wanted to do quick notes about Ed’s divorce and cancer and then getting re-married. Also I think it may have been key to note the Grammy win; a few key parts of the history.

  • Lupercal

    @ Midnight Phil

    Great info man – how did you know about Mike and Al hating “Feels So Good”? They all look so chummy in that weird video they made for the song. (:

    (Perhaps Mike just didn’t like following a synth with the bass – you really can’t hear him on stuff like Mine All Mine or Feels So Good…or really at all on OU812)

  • Halen High

    @ 5150

    I suppose you think the Stones would have been just fine without Mick. Come off it. That’s a very snobbish position to take – that a lead singer is simply a disposable part of any band – just so long as you are still standing there with your guitar in your hands.

    As to your question, “what goes through your ears when you listen to Mean Street or Unchained? DLR? or EVH’s magic?” My answer is – both.

    And enough of this LSD crap. If Dave and Sammy had LSD, please tell us what the hell Eddie was suffering with when he posed the question, “How Many Say I?”

  • pete2

    @Craig…i have no real preference when it comes to dave or sam but tend to pick on dave more because its the least popular thing to do and daves fans take this WAY too serious.i remember someone giving me shit years ago because i said i didnt like pink floyd,he was like “everyone likes them,how can you not like them!!”…turns out he didnt like them either..he was just trying to fit in..lol

  • http://www.vhnd.com 5150

    Roth Leaps says,

    “These people need to start being truthful and call themselves “Eddie fans” and not “Van Halen fans”.

    Leaps, I have all 11 of their albums, 1 live cd, and two “best of” cds (and numerous videos). I listen to them all(and like them)…even VH 3. I don’t discriminate. I don’t judge each album or complain about a certain vocalist. I enjoy EVERYTHING VH released and I don’t care how many albums they sold! Those numbers have never been an inpiration to me. The VH music is the inspiration. Therefore, not only am I a EDDIE fan, I am also a VH fan. It sounds more like you are a DLR fan, not a VH fan. I bet you enjoy “Crazy from the Heat”!

  • 3hater

    @Craig – don’t poke the bear!

  • StJames888

    Both videos were very good, as fair and objective as possible; I gotta go with Phil, VH3 SUCKED! I think I listened to it twice – once in disbelief and again just to make sure it was awful. I think even though the band kept the same name the fans (yea the ones who really matter – without us, neither would have made it) made the differenciation: Van Halen and Van Hagar, fair enough- I view it like Pink Floyd; The version with Roger Waters is Pink Floyd, the version without I call The Big Pink (stadium shows, 1.21 gigawatts of lightshow, 12 other backing musicians to make sure you didn’t notice Roger wasn’t there, more lasers the Star Wars, but they played and they delivered). Don’t get me wrong; both Van Hagar and The Big Pink aren’t bad at all but a true key ingredient was missing. vh3 (well we know what a abortion that was, so no more wasted space on that) I see these videos sruck many nerves both good and bad; but guys and gals before us true =VH= fans start getting at each others throats; Lets all stipulate this is the most awesome band EVER!!! They are ready to take the World Champion Belt back when they are ready; and bottom line it’ll be beautiful!! Also something to think about the better financial success question: When Dave was with VH they charged about $12-15 a ticket, when I saw the 2004 reunion tour tickets started at $78 (get in and be grateful seats,my lower bowl seat was $110; $15 got you front row in 1984!!) I bear no one past or present in VH any grudges, they gotta do what they gotta do; Sadly VH has hit the dinosaur stage, big, majestic, when they make a splash it’s jurassic park sized, but only when they are ready… Until then I wait patiently… GOD BLESS THE MIGHTY VAN HALEN!!!!!!!!

  • JSG

    Very fun little retrospect. I liked watching it but the only issue is how incomplete it is. I realize this is a fan’s side project so not a big deal. However, it is missing tons of info.

  • Kevin

    I loved this little retrospective, fantastic job and just a general feel good watch for all Van Halen fans. I’m a relatively young fun, but no music compares to (in my opinion) both David and Sammy era Van Halen. So once again, thanks for a great watch!!

  • Wilkster5150

    @Panama Red
    The Dream Is Over is one of my favs from the Sam era. Great song all around.
    @Craig
    Everyone is entitled to their opinion but, sorry dude, you are flippin clueless.

  • Wilkster5150

    @Panama Red
    Agree wholeheartedly with wanting atleast one experimental instrumental album from the Bros. The extended version of Respect The Wind is phenomenal. I would love to hear Al play more keyboards, especially since Ed has said Al is better at it than he is. Without having to worry about vocal parts and structures as much, they could really come up with some amazing and long jams. Kind of like the South American leg of the Diver Down tour where their jams in the middle of Somebody Get Me A Doctor kept getting longer!

  • Halen High

    Craig says:
    “Sammy’s voice was an equal to Eddie’s music.”

    Do you realise how many people have powerful vocals if they want to use them? They are a dime-a-dozen. You see them on those stupid talent shows every week, or at your local pub doing karaoke. The frontman of a legendary rock band needs to bring a lot more to the table than just ‘power vocals’.

  • Ed

    Good vids. Nice production for do-it-yourself. I think it was totally fine to keep the Van Halen name for all versions of the band. It was a preference by the band and I thought there was nothing wrong with it. Phil is entitled to his own opinion. :)

  • Bill

    Very nice, clever work!! Great insight on VH!! Keep up the good work and keep doing this stuff. This is your thing!! Good luck!

  • VH Rocks!

    Wow Phil, that was awesome. I totally enjoyed the video and am totally looking forward to your part 3, possibly following this fall’s tour kick off??? Thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/mylesmatisse Myles Matisse

    One thing Phil left out during Part II when talking of Gary Cherone’s vocals were how close they resembled the style of Sammy Hagar. Too close for comfort, especially the higher, screeching levels. Way too sound-a-like for my tastes.

  • http://www.spoolphotography.com Neal Pritchard

    Nicely put together Midnight Philip .. throughly enjoyed it …

  • Wolfboy1

    Those 2 videos were fantastic and so reflected my opinion. You are a humerous, intelligent, entertaining and just plain funny videographer and I wish you the best of luck in your career. First heard EVH in my dorm in 1979, what guitar players take for granite now was such a phenomenal revolution then. You told a great story Phil….thanks!