Blog Archive

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Circle

I just got At Your Service, the new live album from Sammy Hagar and The Circle (Michael Anthony, Vic Johnson and Jason Bonham).  Listening to it now, for the first time, I'm impressed at how tight the band is.  I don't know how much post production was done on the album, and I don't really care because it sounds great.

And the Van Halen songs sound like, well, they sound like Hagar era Van Halen.  The reason for this is Sammy's got Michael Anthony there providing his signature background vocals.  And say what you want about Vic Johnson, but he nails the guitar parts. And, let's face it, Jason Bonham is an incredible drummer. He's got good DNA.

It's really a great live CD.  Sammy & Co. really nail it.  Probably for the first time since Right Here, Right Now was on record shelves, a live CD captured the Van Halen songs as true to the originals.  This includes the much-anticipated Live At The Tokyo Dome.

Well done, Mr. Hagar.  You've still got it.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Open Letter to Edward Van Halen

Back in 1986, I had the utmost respect for you.  Even during a time when  you were bashing David Lee Roth at every turn.  I guess I was blinded by your incredible music.

Most of that respect for you flew out the window in 1996 when you unceremoniously gave Sammy Hagar an ultimatum that ejected him from the band.

But, over the years, I started to forgive you.  After all, you were an addict, and oftentimes, that's the way addicts behave.  When you finally cleaned yourself up a few years ago, and put the band back together with DLR and your son, I decided to give you the benefit of the doubt.

As a guitar player, myself, I couldn't help but have been influenced by your playing, along with a plethora of other players.

But the way you feel the need to elevate yourself over other players that incorporated some of your techniques into their playing by bashing on them is, quite frankly, disappointing.  In your latest interview you make the claim that, because you grip the guitar neck when you tap, it somehow affects your sound.  Got any evidence to support that claim?

But, the final straw was the way you threw Michael Anthony under the bus in that interview.  Before I go on, I'm going to go on record and say that, yes, there are bassists out there that are better than Michael Anthony.  Flea. Les Claypool. Billy Sheehan.

But, let's get one thing clear.  I heard your bass playing on I Never Said Goodbye. You couldn't carry any one of those three guys' jock straps.  Your bass playing isn't anything special, mister.  So, you can go ahead and elevate yourself over other guitarists all you like. In some cases it's true that you're the better player.  In other cases, it's not.  For example, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai and Dweezil Zappa can all blow your sorry ass away.

But, I digress.  You had absolutely no right to say what you said about Michael Anthony.  I sincerely doubt the veracity of that claim.  If you're going to make claims like that, you better be ready to provide some evidence to back up that claim.  See, I've changed over the years.  I don't accept too many claims without evidence.  I'm a skeptic.

But, even if it's true, it's about the least classy thing I think you've ever done. And that says alot, considering that you fucking airbrushed Mike out of the album covers.

And you actually complain that Dave doesn't want to be your friend?  I wonder why, considering the way you treat your "friends".  Sammy Hagar called you friend at one time.  Michael Anthony called you friend at one time.  If that's how you treat your friends, I wouldn't want to be your friend either.  I am so done with you, I don't care if you never release another note of music again. Not interested.

Really, go fuck yourself, Ed.

Eddie Van Halen

So Eddie Van Halen recently told Rolling Stone that David Lee Roth doesn't want to be his friend.  Well, no shit, Sherlock. Why should he?  It's clearly good business for both of you to put your differences aside and perform for your fans.

Really, when you have thrown everyone you've ever performed with, with the exception of Alex and Wolfgang, under the bus publicly, it's no surprise he doesn't want to be your friend.  But here's the thing, so many of your fans are willing to overlook the fact that you have backstabbed pretty much everyone you've ever been professionally involved with if you'll just swallow your pride and get on stage with the people that made your last name a household word.  Including Michael Anthony.

I get that you want to perform with your son.  That's admirable. But it would be a whole lot more admirable if you didn't trash talk Michael Anthony in the process.

And, what's the deal with you thinking that you can prevent Sammy Hagar from performing the songs you wrote with him while he was with your band?  Unless he signed away his publishing to you at some point, you're just wasting everyone's time.

It's pretty sad whenever you see someone trying to erase history.  But here's a fact that you're going to have to live with: Michael Anthony was a member of Van Halen for years.  Van Halen was a successful band while Sammy Hagar was singing with the band.  Iconic music was recorded over the course of both eras of Van Halen.  The fact that you were too drunk and coked up to remember writing the tunes doesn't mean it didn't happen.

As far as Sammy goes, it would be really nice if he would just stop bringing up Van Halen in his interviews.  His autobiography was a pretty good read, when he wasn't dishing gossip about shit that went on offstage with his former bandmates.  I really would have liked to hear more about how he came up with some of the iconic music he created over the course of his career and less about how fucked up his relationship with the brothers became.

It sucks that you guys parted ways in the manner in which you did, but, really, get the fuck over it. Great music was made. Fortunes were made.  You really want to look back on it with vinegar and sour grapes?

Life is short. As far as anyone knows, this is the only one you get and there is no lovely world you go on to after you become a lifeless pile of meat. Why not make the most of what time you have and stop talking trash at each other.

For my money, the only guys in all of this that have shown any class are Michael Anthony who has, generally, taken the high road every time he's been asked about Van Halen, and Wolfgang, who hasn't said much of anything, publicly, about Van Halen.

I hope Wolfgang is paying close attention to the damage that Eddie has done to his own reputation over the years as he embarks on his career.  I'm sure he loves his old man (at least, I hope that Eddie has treated his son in such a way that he can love him), but I hope he can see that all of this public back and forth has done nothing but alienate fans.



Interestingly, Sammy Hagar had something to say about Eddie's bashing of Michael Anthony.  Normally, I think Sammy shouldn't address Van Halen at this point in his career, unless it's necessary.  But in this case, I think he's spot on.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

The dangers of air travel

So a friend of mine just related a story to me about an airline flight that had to return to Heathrow Airport because some guy took a crap in the loo. 

Now that's a powerful dump.  It makes me wonder a few things:

  1. Has Rush Limbaugh been traveling to the UK recently?
  2. What does one have to eat to take down an airline with just a dump?
  3. Did they have to call in a cleanup crew?
I've taken some nasty dumps in my time, but I haven't ever managed to get an airline return to the airport as a result.  I'm going to have to add that to my "to do" list.