15 years ago today, Gary Cherone and Van Halen parted ways. And both parties were better off for it. What resulted from their three year union was a great tour (really, the only Van Halen tour to feature both the Sammy and Dave eras equally—just without Sammy or Dave!). And of course it spawned Van Halen III—officially a Van Halen album, though we think of it more like a poorly produced, eclectic Eddie Van Halen solo project, with Eddie’s friend Gary Cherone singing. While III does have some incredible guitar work, it’s the only Van Halen album that was considered by many to be a disappointment. And how ironic is it that a great singer like Gary Cherone joins THE BEST rock band on the planet, but the album they release together turns out to be the only record he’s ever done that was somewhat lacking?
The breakup in ’99 would allow Gary to be back in his element, working on solo projects and back to being the frontman for Extreme, where his heart lies. And it allowed Van Halen (after wasting a few more years) to reunite with Hagar in 2004, and then with Roth in 2007.
Although Extreme hasn’t been overly active the last few years, they have released a very strong album, Saudades de Rock, in 2008, and a fantastic live DVD, Take US Alive, in 2009. And if you were lucky enough to catch them in concert during their last three tours (2008, 2009, and 2014) you saw one of the very best live rock bands you could possibly see. The only problem with Extreme is that resident guitar genius, Nuno Bettencourt, has been busy the last few years touring with Rihanna, which leaves less time for Extreme than he’d like.
So whenever Extreme is on hiatus, Cherone is fronting his other rock band, Hurtsmile, who have just released their sophomore album, Retrogrenade, last month. And trust us, Retogrenade is an absolutely GREAT Album!
Both of Cheone’s bands, Extreme and Hurtsmile, are HUGELY underrated. So, to all you Van Halen fans who are always starved for new VH music— we strongly encourage you all to pick up Extreme’s and Hurtsmile’s latest albums!
We wish Gary, Extreme, and Hurtsmile continued success, and look forward to the next Extreme record, which will hopefully be out in 2015.
A free download Hurtsmile’s new song, “Rock & Roll Cliché” is available HERE.
Another NEW Hurtsmile song: