Today is the 15th anniversary of the release of “The Van Halen Story,” the must-see documentary about the formative years of the best rock and roll band ever.
Narrated by the late J.J. Jackson from MTV fame, the documentary covers Alex and Edward’s early years playing with small garage bands, all the early years with David Lee Roth, and concentrates mostly on the club days and the first world tour. Covers the same timeframe as ‘Van Halen Rising’, the biography by Greg Renoff, this could be thought of as a video companion to that book.
Despite the fact that it’s unofficial (there’s no Van Halen music within), it’s excellent, and about as good as a documentary could possibly be without the band’s involvement. Includes interviews with many band insiders, as follows:
* Mark Stone – Original VH bass player whom Michael Anthony replaced
* Andy Johns – Legendary record producer
* Eddie Anderson – Roth’s former body guard & manager
* Gregg Emerson – VH drum technician and childhood friend
* Neil Zlozower – Original VH photographer & partner in crime
* Jeff Hausman – Van Halen News Desk, VanHalenStore.com, and “The Inside” Van Halen magazine
* Jim Dandy – One of Roth’s prototypes. Roth was compared to him in the club days
* Dave Weiderman – long-time manager of The Guitar Center in L.A.
* Tom Broderick – VH’s soundman in 1978
* Kim Fowley – Sunset Strip concert promoter – booked the band into the Whisky a Go-Go
* Susan Masino – Survived VH’s stay at the Sheraton Hotel, 1978
* Mike Levine – (Triumph) talking about playing the US Festival with VH
* Ron Wikso – drummer with DLR around 1994
* Dennis Neugebauer- good friend of DLR’s in the high school days
* Mario Maglieri – owner of the Whisky a Go-Go
* Doug Anderson – shows his Van Halen Museum
* Roger Rennick – saw VH play at various backyard parties
* Mike Kelly – VH historian who attended most of their Starwood and Whisky shows
* Tony Codgen – guitarist from Michael’s original band, Snake
There’s also some footage of never-seen interviews with David Lee Roth & Eddie Van Halen, and vintage audio interviews with Alex Van Halen, Michael Anthony, and Gene Simmons.
Rare photos were seen for the first time from Mark Stone, Tom Broderick, Gregg Emerson, Eddie Anderson, Norman Seeff (who took lots of amazing shots taken from the Woman and Children First album cover sessions), and more.
No doubt that thousands of our regular visitors have already seen this, but we’re sure thousands haven’t. Either way, we think it’s very entertaining, and worth watching multiple times. And what better time to watch it (again?) than on the anniversary! The video is embedded above.