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Van Halen Reunited

 
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tdcheetah



Joined: 27 Jul 2006
Posts: 487
Location: The Cheetah's Lair (aka Clarendon VA)

PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2012 2:39 pm    Post subject: Van Halen Reunited Reply with quote

Some people go to the online magazine Grantland because -- or in spite of -- Bill Simmons.

Me, I'm just profoundly grateful that it now gives me Chuck Klosterman in small doses rather than having to wait for a complete compilation.

And one of the things Klosterman does best is review rock music. :)

Live show review: http://www.grantland.com/blog/hollywood-prospectus/post/_/id/40410/the-incredibly-insanely-undeniably-awesome-return-of-van-halen

New album review: http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/7561092/judging-new-van-halen-album-different-kind-truth

Quote:
Which brings us to the new stuff.

It's not great. That doesn't mean it's awful or humiliating or anything to get upset about — it just means that none of this new material is within the airspace of "Panama." It's not MJ with the White Sox, but it's MJ with the Wizards at the end of a six-game road trip. The playing is tight, because Van Halen would never release an album that wasn't hyper-professional. But a song like "Honeybabysweetiedoll" is just overstuffed with notes. It's more impressive than enjoyable. This is my theory: When Sammy Hagar wrote his autobiography and described Eddie and Alex Van Halen as broken, booze-filled corpses (he compared EVH's home with Valerie Bertinelli to the mansion from Grey Gardens), it motivated Eddie to get clean and re-crush society. The power of spite fueled his desire to prove he was still Godzilla. And — to his credit — he does seem totally recovered. The intro on "China Town" is like a condensed, economical version of the opening to "Mean Streets." So why don't I like it more than I do? Probably because it actually is what it sounds like — a condensed, economical, conscious replication of something that used to be an organic extension of his genius. It's no one's fault. Eventually, everyone becomes who they always were.



Lee
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jdw
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2012 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's kind of amazing he doesn't mention Mike in the piece, and puts over Wolfie with a freaking A. The concert review has one mention of Mike, again while putting over Wolfie. Pretty annoying considering Mike's solid bass support over the years and massive hidden strength as the background singer / chorus carrier while Roth was squeeeeeeeeling.

John
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CFTV



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PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to say I enjoyed the video that accompanied the new album.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SoXYiG0t_H0
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tdcheetah



Joined: 27 Jul 2006
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Location: The Cheetah's Lair (aka Clarendon VA)

PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 10:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jdw wrote:
It's kind of amazing he doesn't mention Mike in the piece, and puts over Wolfie with a freaking A. The concert review has one mention of Mike, again while putting over Wolfie. Pretty annoying considering Mike's solid bass support over the years and massive hidden strength as the background singer / chorus carrier while Roth was squeeeeeeeeling.

John


[Note: I originally read what John wrote as confusion about who's currently _in_ Van Halen, but in doing the research below realized probably he was commenting more on Klosterman not giving Mike enough credit in the various articles.]

Wikipedia has the current lineup as: David Lee Roth, Wolfgang Van Halen, Eddie Van Halen, and Alex Van Halen. I haven't heard VH for many, many years so can't speak to Wolfie's talent and/or maturation. Maybe he's a genetic freak or something. :P Also perhaps there's some surprise that a 20 year old could "keep up" with the established members - Klosterman's of the age where we forget how young the Beatles were. ;)

Former bassist Michael Anthony got close with Sammy Hagar during his sojourns in VH, and they finally split off to do their own stuff such as creating Chickenfoot with Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith and guitar virtuoso Joe Satriani. Don't ask me how I know this. ;)

I actually think Klosterman gives a very qualified rating to the various participants in the album, and I mentally adjust any live show rating for the OMG-it's-LIVE! effect (the bold text below is mine):

Klosterman-live-review wrote:
Alex Van Halen was a little restrained owing to the size of the room, but his drumming remained precise and propulsive. Eddie’s son Wolfgang was equally competent on bass and did a remarkable job simulating Michael Anthony’s soaring background vocals, even on songs like “Dance the Night Away.”


Klosterman re: album wrote:
So why don't I like it more than I do? Probably because it actually is what it sounds like — a condensed, economical, conscious replication of something that used to be an organic extension of [Eddie's] genius. It's no one's fault. Eventually, everyone becomes who they always were.

As for the rest of the group: Wolfie Van Halen gets an "A" and Alex Van Halen gets an "A-," but only because we're grading on a curve and AVH has never performed poorly on any song I've ever heard. Roth's effort is tougher to quantify. Whenever you write about Dave, there's always an unspoken responsibility to note his "limitations as a vocalist," but that misses the point. That's an issue for American Idol. Gary Cherone had very few "vocal limitations," and nobody in North America likes Van Halen III. Nobody likes John Corabi more than Vince Neil or Steelheart more than Hole or Stick It To Ya more than Powerage. Roth sounds the way the singer from Van Halen is supposed to sound, so he only competes with himself.



Lee
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jdw
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 12:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah... saw/read the same stuff out of Klosterman and thought his mentions of Mike were undersold. Feels like he wanted to bash Wolfie (as a lot of people want to), and couldn't bring himself because Wolfie didn't totally suck.

Problem? Mike was really good. Really, really, really good. Set aside the hometown loyalty that I have for Mike (which I'll admit to). He was just flat out one of those great supporting guys surrounded by a ton of flashy guys:

The Next Jimi (Eddie)
The Front Man (Roth)
The Other Van Halen (Alex)

All of whom were very good in their roles relatively speaking. Eddie was a fab fresh guitarist. Roth was a front man to a T, even if he had a annoying streak as well. Alex was strong drummer.

Those three sucked up attention, even if Alex wasn't trying... he did get more as The Other Van Halen.

Mike... was just super solid as the monster back beat on bass, and flat out terrific as the *anchor* on choruses so that Diamond Dave could do all his little signature squeals. He was especially impressive in being able to perfectly match with both Roth and Hagar, who are pretty different lead vocals.

It kind of sucks that he got stuck between Hagar and the Van Halens. He got fucked over on the last Sammy-Halen tour of not even being paid as an "official" member rate, and instead was on only because Sammy forced the brothers to use him: No Mike and there would have been no Sammy.

I'll fully admit that VH1 and VH2 are the "classic" VH albums, and Hagar-Halen never made a lot of people's blood pulse. Though... it was a wildly successful era for them both in terms of the four albums (their four #1 studio albums) and touring (they did consistently strong business). Considering it was the period where Eddie was 31-40 and they were having to "go on" without their charismatic front man (who bombed quickly after a couple hits)... it was a pretty strong period.

Music? Less so.

John
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