Friday, March 13, 2009

The Great Debate

The above pictures were ripped off from the website Go there for all news related to anything that is and ever was Van Halen.

The Great Debate has never been about Politics. There has never been a bigger debate than the one that involves Diamond David Lee Roth, The Red Rocker Sammy Hagar, and Van Halen. There probably never will be either. Why am I writing about this topic now, when there really isn't any reason? I dunno. I haven't blogged in a while, and I guess I needed a fix.

Van Halen. A band that at this point in their storied career needs no real introduction. But since it's not a blog without words, here it is. They feature one of the Planet's greatest guitarists, Edward Van Halen. His Brother, Alex pounds the drums. Rounding out the rhythm was Michael Anthony on bass, and the original Frontman was David Lee Roth. From 1978 to 1984 they enjoyed all the success expected of a multiplatinum, hard rocking, band of their time. The music was about partying hard, having fun and looking damn cool doing it. Diamond Dave was the pinnacle of frontmen, providing his audience with high flying acrobatics, flashy clothes, and a huge dose of oozing sexuality. All of this was given at the cost of the actual lyrics! Probably the biggest complaint that anyone would have had of Diamond Dave was that he could not accurately reproduce what as on the record. High notes aside, some said he couldn't even get the lines right. But it didn't matter. He was no less than the greatest Frontman of his time. But in 1984, his time was up. He was given the boot from the band. He didn't like the direction that Edward wanted to take. Exit Dave, and enter the Red Rocker, Sammy Hagar.

Sammy Hagar was not as big a name as Van Halen, but he wasn't a stranger either. People knew him from his early work with Montrose, and his subsiquent solo albums. He was a musician, and that was something Eddie really liked. Dave played the part of frontman/lead singer better than anyone, but how musically talented was he? Sammy was a decent guitarist in his own right, and could sing in a wider range than Dave could. All signs pointed to Van Halen now being complete. Again. The new album sold like crazy and solidified Sammy's place in the band. All was well. It seemed. Die hard Davers did not accept Sammy Hagar, and did not like the new music. They bought it, went to the shows and got just as drunk as they did in 1980, but they didn't like it. What didn't help is that aparently Sammy would find a way to dig at David whenever he could. Probably not the best idea when you're taking over for someone the entire fan base adored, and considered the definition of Van Halen. The Rift had been created. Sammy went on for the next 10 years continuing to write poetic lyrics to Eddie's more pop influenced guitar and synth riffs, while DLR tried to soldier on with a solo career. Van Halen moved on, but some of the fans (a lot of them) wouldn't let the ride go smoothly. Over the years, and even to this day, Sammy gets slammed because he is not David Lee Roth. Dave gets slammed because he's not Sammy. ARGHHH!!! It makes the brain hurt, quite frankly. Both singers (yes, Dave can sing) are different. Sammy is not Dave, and that's where the real crux of the Debate begins. People don't like change. Even when the Change works out, and the realization sets in that without the Change, the greater good would not have come about, people still don't like the change.

Which side am I on? I like the music Van Halen made with Sammy Hagar. I just do. I don't dislike the Original stuff, I just like what I like. But more than anything, I'm an Eddie Van Halen fan. I love guitar, and between Eddie and Jimmy Page, it doesn't get any better than that for me! I don't care who sings. I don't. If I don't care, then why do I bring any of it up? Because Van Halen is trying to get back into the limelight again. They had a wildly successful US tour in 07, that eventually spilled over into dates in 08. I saw it. Eddie was out of this world. Seemingly sober (as compared to the Sammy Reunion tour in 04....oh, God what a mess...) and happy as a clam, Eddie shared the stage with his son on the bass. That's right, Michael Anthony, the original bassist, and the only guy who really just had to shut up and put up with the brothers VH bitching about who they wanted to sing, was ousted in favor of Eddie's teenage kid. The popular story is that he was booted because he spent so much time with Sammy, playing shows with Sammy's band, and Eddie had the audacity to complain about the money Michael was making from the Van Halen name.

Like I said though, Van Halen is trying to get back to form. They swear they have a DVD coming out of the latest tour. Where is it? Eddie swears he has all kinds of new music he has been writing and recording. Where is it? EVH has a new line of signature guitars that go for about the cost of a small car. Those came out on time. He also has his own line of amps, again, they cost about as much as it did to raise a kid in 1989. Those came out on time. My point is that us, the fans, have been chomping at the bit for new music from the band we call Van Halen for years! As much as I love Sammy, the new tracks from 04 aren't enough. Sammy Hagar, minus Van Halen, has been putting out music consistently. The quality is usually hit or miss, again as much as I love Sammy, "Livin It Up" wasn't really that good. His latest though, "Cosmic Universal Fashion" is MUCH better.

So what the Hell is my point? I don't really have one. It's just that when I go to a website like, which is the Van Halen News Desk, every single time they post an article that relates to Sammy Hagar, you wouldn't believe the infantile animosity that ensues within the comment section of each one. It's crazy. I tried reasoning with these cretins long ago, but have since stopped since it seems that part of their brain died in 1984 when Davey was out. Now, since Dave is back, they assume they've won the War. Whatever....I just don't care anymore. If Eddie decides it's time for a new album then you bet your ass I'm going to buy it. He says they're going to wait until after June to really work on it because that's when his kid, Wolfgang (only a musician would name his kid that, right?) graduates High School, and Eddie himself is getting married again. We'll see, I guess. Hopefully by Halloween I can be ripping some serious air guitar to some new Eddie masterpieces. Until then....

1 comment:

Kidbilly said...

You know, when you get down to it, VH made a lot more music than they did with Dave. I like them both, but think they're two different bands. I could never picture Dave singing "Dreams" or "Why Can't This Be Love?" I'm not sure if they did the Sammy songs on this last tour with Dave. I've always thought the band was about Eddie,too. Interesting debate, but both lead singers got the shaft from the band at one time or another. I still like VH though. Always will.