Tag: Alex Van Halen

Graphicity: What Makes Van Halen Great?

Graphicity: What Makes Van Halen Great?

Funny Stuff, Music
I've been listening to A Different Kind of Truth regularly since it came out. Despite being an excellent album, I still read a lot of griping from Van Halen fans about how it's not really Van Halen because Michael Anthony's not there. I can see where they're coming from, but I think that's stretching things a bit. But really, people have been arguing about Van Halen for years. If it's not Michael Anthony, it's the vocalists. So I decided to go through the Van Halen catalog and perform a scientific analysis of their sound. I wanted to know -- what really makes Van Halen tick? What, more than anything else, really makes a Van Halen record sound like Van Halen? Is it Mikey's signature background vocals? Eddie's guitar pyrotechnics? Alex Van Halen's thunderous drumming? David Lee Roth's ...
Track By Track: Van Halen — A Different Kind of Truth

Track By Track: Van Halen — A Different Kind of Truth

Music
Because I dread the thought of writing yet another album review where I spend hundreds of words trying to frame an album in the proper context, or where I try to find yet another way to write about chord progressions, I’m just going to take it one song at a time and share my first impressions. So here we go with the long-awaited Van Halen album, A Different Kind of Truth. Let's do some level setting here before I get into this album. I have developed a belated appreciation for the Sammy Hagar era of Van Halen, but I am first and foremost a fan of the original lineup. Those first six albums are immortal. I've been a David Lee Roth fan for years, and like all of his solo albums. I make no apologies for this. I was inclined to like A Different Kind of Truth, and not assume it would
Listening booth — Van Halen, “Tattoo”

Listening booth — Van Halen, “Tattoo”

Listening Booth, Music
The day is finally here kids! It's the first song from a David Lee Roth-led Van Halen since 1996, and the first single for a DLR-led VH since 1984. From A Different Kind of Truth, it's "Tattoo." First impression? Well the video is clearly an afterthought so no point dwelling on that. As for the song, it's decent but not mind-blowing. It's clear that Dave had a hand in the arrangement and writing as the verses sound like his solo stuff, particularly from the DLR Band album. The rest reminds me of Balance-era Van Halen. I hope Alex brings it a little more on the rest of the disc, as he sounds rather plodding here. And it's still weird to not hear Michael Anthony singing those background vocals, but what are you gonna do? I'm still going to buy the super duper deluxe version ...
Listening booth — Van Halen, “I’m So Glad” (Caracas, Venezuela 1/16/83)

Listening booth — Van Halen, “I’m So Glad” (Caracas, Venezuela 1/16/83)

Listening Booth, Music
Guess what? I got Van Halen fever, and the only prescription is... more Van Halen! So here's one of my favorite VH boots, from the Diver Down promotional tour (dubbed the Hide Your Sheep Tour). It's I'm So Glad, a mono soundboard show sourced from the first night of the South American leg. It was the first of three shows in Caracas, Venezuela. The sound quality isn't fantastic for a soundboard, but it's a great setlist and the band is totally raging. I'm sure that playing in South America for the first time lit a fire under their collective asses. Eddie is in peak form as you would expect, while Alex and Michael are rock-solid as usual. As for Diamond Dave? Well, Dave is Dave. You know what to expect when you go to see VH with him as frontman, so you either love it or hate it. I lov
Album cover of the week: Fair Warning

Album cover of the week: Fair Warning

Album Cover of the Week
One look at the grim and violent imagery on 1981's Fair Warning, and you know that this isn't your typical Van Halen album.  In truth, Eddie Van Halen almost quit the band prior to its recording and had to be talked out of it by brother Alex.  The tensions amongst the band revealed themselves in a set of songs that was far darker than anything on the three previous albums, and is probably the reason why it was the lowest-selling VH album of the David Lee Roth era. The artwork is, I feel, quite reflective of the inner turmoil the band was undergoing.  Whether or not it actually came to blows I don't know, however. Credit for this rather sinister and memorable artwork goes to the late William Kurelek (1927-1977), a Canadian artist and author.  Kurelek painted "The Maze" - the work