Total Pageviews

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Van Halen "Jump"s back on stage

HELL HAS FROZEN OVER!! (see previous post)
After a long buildup following Eddie's trip to rehab, Van Halen will take the stage in September marking their first show with David Lee Roth in 23 years.

Replacing original bassist Michael Anthony will be Eddie's son, Wolfgang, whose playing has been described by dad as "dangerous". Wolfie is a triple threat, playing drums, bass and guitar and is expected to bring a youthful energy to rejuvenate a band that has fizzled out in recent times. The last tour in 2004 had Sammy Hagar returning to the mic after being away for 8 years following a bitter separation. The end of the tour marked the end of Sammy's return as old habits presented themselves again, namely Ed's drinking, which prevented the possibility of a new record with Hagar as told by himself.

Upon reading a recent People magazine featuring Eddie's ex wife Valerie Bertinelli, Wolfie mentioned some relief in his dad going to rehab, which put this tour off, but not just so he could get better. There was some question as to whether he felt ready for the task at hand, understandably. I see this tour as a way for Ed and Alex Van Halen to show that they've still got some magic left and the weight of carrying these two will rest firmly on the shoulders of the 15-year old Wolfie. I'm not expecting much from Roth, although I've never personally seen him live. My friend Tony, owner of the "Hazy Concert Memories" blog on my right sidebar, has seen him and reported that his voice is pretty much shot these days from the abuse over the years. If you heard his short-lived stint as the "replacement" for Howard Stern on radio, you clearly heard what Tony meant.

I'm excited for the fans of the Roth era, as this has been a long time coming and even Sammy has wished for this event. Sam took Dave on tour for what they called "The Heavyweight Champs of Rock N Roll" which was well documented on his "Long Road To Cabo" DVD. He mentions how much it would mean for the fans to have a tour with Dave and at one point Kid Rock steps in to get both singers to share the stage for a song or two; Roth backed out at the last minute, which spawned a running joke with Hagar. Overall, the tour proved highly successful for Hagar, who mixes a blend of Halen hits with his own solo catalog which spans 3 decades. At one point on the DVD, Sam reads a concert review of the tour, noting that Roth received icy cold reception while Hagar himself is gloriously applauded for doing what he does best and not trying to recreate Van Halen with his band, The Waboritas, but to celebrate the music he made with them.

I've always favored Sammy Hagar over David Lee Roth, and anyone who tries to deny that Van Halen's success was far superior under Hagar's leadership is in denial. Roth helped get that band in the spotlight, just in time for Sammy to launch them to icon status. Two of the best songs I think Roth recorded with Van Halen, "Me Wise Magic" and "Can't Get This Stuff No More", were included on their first compilation album, "Van Halen Best Of Volume 1" but proved to be a short-lived reunion as Roth claims to have been mislead into a tour and new album, while Eddie maintained that their intentions were always clear. Following the tryst between Roth and the brothers Halen, former Extreme frontman Gary Cherone stepped in. Van Halen released "III", which was so bad that it was originally scrapped by Warner Brothers and they were sent back to the studio to record new tracks. They toured shortly, but no amount of classics could save them and Cherone got the boot at tour's end.

It was said that this reunion tour with Roth is a jumping point for a new album and world tour to follow. During a recent press conference, Ed hugs Roth and calls him "my new brother". We'll see if their brotherly love carries them through the tour, hoping that the old days don't catch up with them. I honestly hope that they can get out there and blow their fans away, as they did in their Roth-era prime. I hope that they come back from this tour brimming with ideas and quickly put those ideas into a new album, and lastly I hope that once Ed gets this out of his system he'll call up Sammy and do things the right way (if Sammy will have him back).

Ed and Alex, along with Wolfie, have had nearly 8 years of "downtime" so we all know there is plenty of music ready for vocals. If the only piece of music Ed made during his time off was a couple tracks for an adult film, it may be a signal that this guitar giant has tapped out his creative resources. Here's hoping that son Wolfie can inspire dear old dad to belt out enough material to return them to the lofty status they once enjoyed, some 12 years ago.

No comments: