Van Halen surfaces with new record company execs; Hagar takes shots (not of tequila, either)

28 11 2011

To diehard Van Halen fans, this might be old news.  But it’s good news.  Van Halen has finally surfaced.  Apparently, in mid-November, they set up gear at the Roxy in LA where, reportedly, they were shooting a video.   A photo with the band and a bunch of record company stiffs all but confirms they’re with Interscope Geffen A&M Records.

Van Halen with Execs


Since Van Halen couldn’t be reached for comment, Rolling Stone thought it to be the second best thing to get Sammy Hagar’s take… on issues about which he knows nothing first hand (the new record and the band’s record deal.)

Sammy talks a big game about not being bitter.  He might have just cause to be.  But you wouldn’t know it from the shots he takes at the band.

We’re hearing that Van Halen signed to Interscope this week.
What? VH? Van Halen? I don’t think . . . How long has it been since they did a record?  And that last one doesn’t count. You have to go back to 1995. For them to take that long to make a record, I don’t think it’s ever going to happen. If it does, it better be good. Oh man. It actually might be. I’m not dogging them. I don’t understand why they couldn’t do something by now. [Laughs] Though I kind of do understand.

This seems legit. I think they actually, for real, signed to Interscope.
I thought they signed to Sony. Hmmm . . . Interesting. I’ll be the first guy waiting in line at the record store, if I could find one anymore. I’ll be really curious. I think they owe the fans that. I would love to see them make a great record. They have some of the most loyal fans in rock, and they’ve been treated so, so bad these last 20 years. I’m a real fan friendly guy.

The fans aren’t too happy that they threw Michael Anthony out of the band.
It didn’t bother me when they threw me out. I’m a solo artist. I can start a new band. But Mike? He’s the most loyal guy, and the best bass player in the world – and the best background singer on the planet. His vocal sound is as much a part of Van Halen as anyone’s. When they threw him out, I just thought “WHY? This is so wrong. This is so damned wrong!” Then to go back to Dave, FINALLY – but they threw Mike out first. Once again, it’s not a fan friendly band. Eddie could have played a solo album with Wolfie. He could have produced it and gone on tour and played theaters with him.  He could have done so many different things. He did not have to make Wolfie the bass player in Van Halen.

I find it interesting that David Lee Roth has barely made a peep in public since he rejoined the band. Before that, he wasn’t exactly a press shy guy.
Yeah, this isn’t very Dave-like. Obviously, he’s trying to make it work. Look, I’ve been there. It’s not an easy camp. It’s gotten crazier and wackier, every day. I think that Dave has just learned that if he wants to make it work, he needs to shut up and hang in there and do what he can, and do what they say. It’s a very strange situation.

Look, back in the day, Dave was the boss. He was running the damn show. When I came in, I was the boss. I was running the show, but I didn’t want that job. It was always, “Well, what do you guys want to do?” They’d be like, “I don’t know. What do you want to do?” Then all of a sudden, it became this wicked, freaking dictatorship – and nothing has happened since.

I think nothing would be more fascinating than a Some Kind of Monster-style documentary about the making of this new record. Can you even imagine?
I’d be curious to be a fly on that wall. I heard this record is old outtakes from the old days. I mean, stuff from before I even joined the band. I heard this five years ago though. Michael Anthony was curious if his background vocals would wind up on the album. I don’t think it’s a bad idea. It’s kind of interesting. Bob Seger did it, and so did the Rolling Stones. I think it’s an interesting thing to do in your old age if you can’t come up with fresh, good stuff – or you can’t get along. Because from what I heard, they aren’t working with new material. Ed and Dave didn’t actually write new songs. They took old stuff from previous sessions, and then maybe Dave had to go in and add vocals because they just had scat vocals, or even no vocal part at all.

That’s bizarre, because in the few interviews that he does, Ed is always talking about how many great new guitar parts he’s written.
Ed talks really weird about all that stuff recently. He goes, “I have all this music! So much music . . . ” Well, they really aren’t songs [laughs]. They’re really not. It was always easy for me to write songs with Ed. He had all these parts, and I had these ideas. I’d be like, “Oh, go to B over there for a bridge – write a bridge, Ed.” He’d do it, and it would be some bad ass shit. But it wasn’t like he wrote instrumentals and I just had to write lyrics over them, like I do now with Joe Satriani. Joe writes friggin’ instrumentals. Ed doesn’t have any songs. I’m sorry. I love the guy’s guitar stuff, but play me a song, will you?


Rolling Stone finally gets it right; Music Critics Still Assume It’s Wrong

24 11 2011

Rolling Stone magazine, in my estimation, is a joke.  It does, however, sometimes get its (meaningless) top _____ lists right.  2003’s list of greatest guitarist had arguably the best hard rock guitarist of my generation, Eddie Van Halen, way down at 70.  Now he’s in their top 10.  Why the change?  Critics say that RS simply wants to be in good with EVH as a new Van Halen album approaches.  Apparently, critics think Clapton’s rated too highly.  I’m not a big EC fan, but his influence justifies his placement on the most recent list.

The Beatles’ 100 Best Songs, according to me (21-30)

9 09 2010

Continued from prior posts…


21.  Yesterday I feel almost duty-bound to include this one on my list earlier rather than later.  There’s no doubt it’s an incredible composition both musically and lyrically.  It is said to be the most covered song in pop music history.  Sadly, though, it no longer speaks to me on the emotional level it once did.  Perhaps that’s because it’s a sentimental favorite, a staple of oldies radio.  Who knows?  Whatever I might (or might not) feel about it, Yesterday must be acknowledged as a monumental pop music achievement.

22.  Come Together I love the swampy bass and the nonsense lyrics.  It’s one of John’s best later numbers.

23.  I Should Have Known Better I know this song from its American release on the Hey Jude” compilation album, but it’s from A Hard Day’s Night.   The vocals, I think, capture a certain feeling.  I like the change between major and minor chords.

24.  I Wanna Be Your Man At the risk of overstating its significance, I have put I Wanna Be Your Man this high on my list because I see it as essentially proto-punk.  This is the kind of song that spawned the music of the Ramones and, thus, much of the rest of the Punk and New Wave movements.  It’s simple and its quality is in its simplicity and raw energy.

25.  Nowhere Man Near perfect guitar pop.  The Beatles hit a home run when they decided to crank the treble up to 11.  It’s one of the rare instances in which all that jangly crunch is pleasing to the ears.  I also suspect, like McCartney does, that Lennon was being at least semi-autobiographical.  It comes at the tail end of what he described as his own “Fat Elvis” period.  The lyrics are quite meaningful, layered.

26.  Happiness Is A Warm Gun Talk all you want about this being a drug song.  It really is more complicated than that.  It’s probably about Yoko more than anything.  You get 3 songlets in one, sort of a micro rock opera.  The fuzzy guitar’s velvety smooth.  It’s acid-drenched do-wop.

27.  Michelle Some unexplained force or feeling compels me to list this song at this point.  It’s easily dismissable as sentimental drivel.  If you don’t believe me, just read the lyrics by themselves.  But when you understand that Paul was going for a Nina Simone feel with “I love you, I love you, I love you,” and you listen to the bass and lead guitar, you hear it as a jazzy ballad.  The French, while at first blush cutesy, is actually a pleasantly clever trick, a change-up American pop love songs.  Once again, it shows the Beatles taking a pinch of work done before them and making it into their own one-of-a-kind sound.

28.  Hey Bulldog Lennon dismissed it as a song that “means nothing,” in his typical cynical fashion. Who cares what the song means, it rocks!  There are a lot of chord changes and progressions.  The guitar’s great and the bass is just plain frickin’ sick!  This song is a great example of why McCartney is revered as a rock bass pioneer.  It was a good preview of the crunchy rock to follow on the so-called White Album.

29.  Got to Get You into My Life The horn section intro sets the table for scrumptious plastic soul.  It’s McCartney doing white-boy Motown…and kicking ass in the process.  It really doesn’t sound like Motown to me.  It sounds like the bloody Beatles !  To think that Paul was barely 24 when he wrote put together this gem.

30.  She Came in Through the Bathroom Window This one’s said to be inspired by a real groupie that got into Paul’s place through a bathroom window.  It’s more abstract than that and has the day of the week word play reminiscent of “Lady Madonna.”  Once again, the rhythm section carries the song.  Paul and Ringo are at their best on this track.  Joe Cocker can stick this one up his goofy, spasmatic, gyrating arse.  The Beatles’ version is the best.

If there was any doubt left about Rolling Stone magazine being garbage…

29 06 2009

this erased all doubt!


You’d never see Brit music magazines put these semi-talented, overhyped kids on their covers.  Never!