Van Halen fans, there’s a new project – coming soon – that will rock you to the core. Guitarist Bart Walsh (DLR Band, Atomic Punks) is forming a band appropriately titled “6 degrees of Van Halen” which will perform old school Van Halen – even complete albums – start to finish.
Why is he doing this? Bart’s short answer is, “It’s simply the best fucking music to play live. If you want to go out and play… I’m sorry, but it just doesn’t get any better than old Van Halen.”
Here’s the players who have committed so far:
BART WALSH – Guitar (David Lee Roth Solo, Atomic Punks)
BRETT TUGGLE – Keys, Guitar (David Lee Roth Solo, Fleetwood Mac)
PAUL SHORTINO – Vocals (Raiding The Rock Vault, Quiet Riot, Rough Cutt)
This will be a FLUID band, so that members can come as they can, and go as they need to. Bart wants to recruit multiple players for each spot, so that the band can play indefinitely, so that Van Halen fans can count on regular performances, no matter what other commitments the members might have. He definitely anticipates more band members to be added, even if they can only do a show or two. He sees the band’s lineup as somewhat of a revolving door, but a permanent vehicle to celebrate Van Halen’s music.
This band is all about “6 Albums, 6 years, and 6 strings that Changed the World.” This will be CLASSIC VAN HALEN – performed by – and featuring – players with 6 degrees of separation in the Van Halen extended family, or stellar talent in their own right, who want to get out and jam some Van Halen.
Bart tells VHND, “My new project is called 6 degrees of Van Halen. The impetus for it came from Kieren McClelland, my former tour manager and FOH engineer from the DLR band days. Kieren was the guy who did the final scouting on me with Dave’s sister, Allison, at a strip club in Pasadena, where the Atomic Punks were playing. We’ve been close friends ever since.
“Kieren came to Florida recently, where I bought a house and built a studio. He was tour managing an ABBA tribute band that was playing at my local performing arts center, which has a 3,000 capacity, and is a very nice theatre. I can’t believe how big these tribute bands have become, because when the Atomic Punks started [in the mid-‘90s] there basically were none, and we only formed the band to cover a gig I had booked for my original band. I thought it was a fluke, and wasn’t intended to turn into a long-running band.
“My singer had gone missing, so I called Ralph [Saenz]. I looked at this performing arts center’s schedule and saw all these bands that were all doing a single classic album – start to finish – by bands such as Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, or the Stones. I started looking around and didn’t see anyone doing Van Halen. I had been a full time Clinician and employee for Gibson guitar for the last 12 years and couldn’t play out except at clinics but now I had started to get the itch again as I don’t work there anymore. So I called Kieren and said what do you think of doing Classic VH albums live, but getting players that have actually played with the members of Van Halen, or are known and great in their own right and love VH. He said “fantastic” and we’ve partnered up. He knows a lot of stellar cats from all his years on the water, and then I started thinking about who I know and have played with or want to play with.
“So I hit him up and he said, “Sounds great.” Kieren knew and recommended Paul Shortino from Quiet Riot and Rough Cutt and he was into to it, as well. Kieren also contacted Bret Tuggle who was DLR’s keyboard player in the EEAS band and he was in.
“The drum spot hasn’t been secured yet, but I have my short list.
“I intend on each chair being 3 to 4 deep so the project can work around anyones schedule to continue and I have just started to seek more players. First and foremost this has to be a labor of love for the music and I’m seeing a lot of interest these days in Classic Van Halen, especially from musicians paying homage to a band that has influenced more from my generation than almost anyone. We will do our best to stay true to the recordings, and also play some DLR and other solo material, as well as other cuts from each of the band members’ catalog. I want to do a 360 pay per view as well. It’s a treat for band members and fans alike, because where are you gonna have a band play a VH record start to finish from guys that have played with the original members of VH?
“This will be ’78 – 84.’
“6 albums, 6 years, 6 strings and 4 guys that changed the world.
“6 degrees of separation from the VH extended family, performing early, classic VH.
Bart tells VHND, “Van Halen’s music is near and dear to my heart. It’s always been therapy for me. Every time I revisit it, it’s fresh beyond fresh. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. This is all about preserving their legacy, and about us having fun, playing some of the best rock music ever!”
“6 Degrees of Van Halen” will be coming soon to a Performing Arts Center, Theatre or Festival near you. The band’s website is not yet up, but you may want to visit Bart Walsh’s website, ALLOFITMEDIA.com, or email him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, or “6 Degrees of Van Halen” manager, Kieren McClelland, at email@example.com
Special thanks to Brian Eller from Weirs Beach Media Group for the “6 Degrees of Van Halen” logo.
Stay tuned to VHND for more info on their first gigs, which should be later this year.