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Everybody (Still) Wants Some

vanhalen.jpgRock writer Ian Christe broke major ground with his book Sound of the Beast: The Complete Headbanging History of Heavy Metal. Now, Christe is back with a shockingly clear view of life behind the iron curtain that is Van Halen. Through Everybody Wants Some: The Van Halen Saga (Wiley & Sons 2007), Christe gives his readers a chance to relive the glory days of Sunset Strip glam Metal, while exploring the complex relationships between the brothers Alex and Eddie Van Halen.

The book is divided into three sections, appropriate since Van Halen has employed three different frontmen over 30 years of rock. The first section, “Runnin’ With the Devil” chronicles the formative years, and the time with David Lee Roth. The next section, “Top Of the World” chronicles the band’s time with Sammy Hagar and massive album success. The final section “Where Have All the Good Times Gone?” focuses on short-lived singer Gary Cherone, Eddie Van Halen’s ongoing battle with alcoholism, and the band’s uncertain future.

Starting with the history of the Van Halen family, readers learn how music was available at a very young age to Alex and Eddie. Just as gigs with father Jan van Halen were expected at an early age, so were excesses like smoking, drinking and sex. The book chronicles the frustration of Jan and his attempts to become a professional musician, eventually moving his family from Holland to California and Americanizing his surname in the process. Once the van Halen clan, the family was suddenly Van Halen and looking for work as a band of traveling minstrels.

While explaining the early life of the Van Halen brothers; Christe also intertwines the histories of bassist Michael Anthony (originally Sobolewski) and singer David Lee Roth. For both Anthony and Roth, music as a career choice was met with some disdain from their respective families. Only Jan Van Halen gave his sons carte blanche to their future when it came to musical aspirations. One of the most amusing facts in The Van Halen Saga is when Christe recalls that Eddie Van Halen’s mother worried about her son’s future so much she insisted he enroll in computer classes at DeVry Institute of Technology in Phoenix, Arizona. He never attended a single class.

Readers gain an understanding and appreciation of the work ethic that the Van Halen brothers, Anthony and Roth all put into making their band the biggest act in the land. Playing nearly every night at any gig available, Van Halen got a great start through word of mouth and a few hundred popular cover tunes. Alex Van Halen ran the business end of things for quite some time while Roth put every ounce of his energy into creating a stage show bigger than any other band on the Sunset Strip. Eddie Van Halen and Michael Anthony practiced their craft and created the music of a generation.

The book takes a painful turn when talking about the initial departure of Diamond David Lee Roth. Recalling the split, Christe shoots down the middle, careful to not take sides in this ongoing turf war. While the Hagar years seemed happy and successful to many on the outside looking in, the Van Halen Saga paints a less-rosy picture. Constant bickering, creative differences and alcoholism eventually tore this version of the band apart. The problems that started with Roth only snowballed with Hagar, pitting the Van Halen brothers against the more docile Hagar and Anthony. While Hagar would fight back, Michael Anthony remained a laid-back diplomat. Eventually, it becomes clear that Alex and Eddie Van Halen were taking Anthony for granted and effectively began to write him out of the band.

Christe recounts with gory details the nasty departure of Sammy Hagar. While Hagar went on to build a tequila empire the Van Halen brothers began bouncing back and forth, looking backward to Roth and forward to a new singer. As Michael Anthony’s role in the band began to constantly diminish, he started performing with Hagar, further incensing the Van Halen brothers.

Throughout the entire history, Christe is exceptionally careful in his word choice. While some would use the words “painful,” “embarrassing” or “disrespectful” to describe the way Eddie and Alex treated David Lee Roth after the Hagar departure, Christe simply recounts the facts and lets readers make their own judgments.

Toward the end of the book, Christe recalls the mistake of hiring Gary Cherone as new lead singer and the recording process of Van Halen III. Here, readers learn that Eddie Van Halen played the bass lines for Michael Anthony, further relegating him to the back of the bus. Christe ends the book with the very embarrassing Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony and the surprising absence of David Lee Roth (Anthony and Hagar attended). Only at the very end of the work does Christe inject his opinion, expressing the desire for a reunion tour with David Lee Roth. While we all know the band is planning a massive fall stadium tour, it is without bassist Michael Anthony. Instead, Eddie’s teenage son Wolfgang will fill the role. Like many, Christe sees this as a slap in the face of fans, and an undue pressure on a young boy. Most would vehemently agree.


Dangerous Toys Recall

As the countdown to Rocklahoma 2008 continues, several glam Metal fans continue to speculate about next year's lineup.

One of the bands being tossed around as a possible performer is Texas based Dangerous Toys. The band released a debut album in 1987, plus three more albums after their debut before disbanding. Not so long ago the band reunited announcing plans for a new album.

Here's the video for "Scared" from the self-titled debut album.

So, what are your thoughts on this "Teas'n Pleas'n" band?


Tickets (May Be) Needed

Yesterday, Van Halen issued a new press release, proclaiming the immediate success of their upcoming fall tour.

Several cities, including Toronto and Chicago sold-out immediately, and the band added a second show in those cities. The band also added a show in our nation’s capitol.

Here’s the press release:

(LOS ANGELES, CA) August 20, 2007 Tickets for the first Van Halen tour in more than 22 years with David Lee Roth as lead vocalist went on sale this weekend and resulted in immediate sell outs in multiple markets around the country, including Charlotte, Detroit (Palace), 2 shows in Toronto, 2 in Chicago and one in Philadelphia. Tour producer Live Nation immediately added additional shows in Philadelphia (WachoviaCenter 10/3) and Detroit (Joe Louis Arena 10/20) which will go on sale this Saturday, August 25th.

An additional stop was also scheduled for Washington, DC's VerizonCenter (11/1), extending Van Halen's historic trek to 29 dates in all. Tickets for the Washington, DC date will go on sale this Friday, August 24th. In addition, tickets for the band's October 30th show at Boston's TD Banknorth Garden go on sale this Saturday, August 25th.

A complete list of confirmed dates is attached and more information and tickets are available at Additional announcements regarding on sale dates will be made in the coming weeks. Individuals who have the Citi® / AAdvantage® card, the official credit card of the tour, will be offered access to purchase preferred seats to all U.S. shows.

Fans can enjoy the ultimate Van Halen experience including concert pre-show parties, backstage access, premium seating and more. For additional details go to Fans are encouraged to also check in at for additional information.

Van Halen remains one of the most important and influential bands of all time. Formed in Los Angeles in 1974, the band quickly won a loyal hometown fan base with their electrifying live shows. From the moment they released their self-titled 1978 debut album, Van Halen shook the foundations of rock, thanks largely to Roth's peerless showmanship, Eddie Van Halen's revolutionary guitar virtuosity and their songwriting abilities. It changed rock music forever.

The band's first album proved one of the biggest selling rock debuts, with key tracks like "Eruption," "Running with the Devil," "Jamie's Cryin'," "You Really Got Me" and "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love" leading the way. The next year, the band followed up with "Van Halen II," which included the hit "Dance the Night Away."

Subsequent albums like "Women and Children First" (1980), "Fair Warning" (1981) and "Diver Down" (1982), along with worldwide touring, solidified the band's reputation for innovative and unparalleled live performances. Classic Van Halen tracks from the early 80's include "Everybody Wants Some," "Unchained", "And The Cradle Will Rock", "Beautiful Girls", "Mean Street" and "Somebody Get Me A Doctor" just to name a few.

With their sixth album, released in, and titled "1984", Van Halen rose to stratospheric heights. Recorded at Eddie Van Halen's 5150 Studios, the multi-platinum smash yielded one of Van Halen's signature hits, "Jump," which remained #1 on the Billboard charts for an astounding five weeks straight. Other hits from the album include "Panama," "Hot For Teacher" and "I'll Wait."

The band's record of achievement is hard to top. Presented with two Diamond Award RIAA Certified Status' for their albums "Van Halen" and "1984", Van Halen joins an elite short list of two time Diamond Award honorees in the history of the music industry. The Diamond Award is presented to an artist for album sales of 10 million or more units. They are also in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the most #1 hits on Billboard's Mainstream Rock chart than any other band in history.

Inducted into the Rock 'N' Roll Hall of Fame in March of this year, Van Halen has produced a treasured body of work that fans will admire for decades to come.

The news of the immediate sell-out sent me into a panic. What if I don’t get seats? What if I miss one of the biggest concerts of the year (second to only Rocklahoma, of course)?

Is it wrong to buy tickets from a scalper? Does this hurt the band, or are the members of the new Van Halen so rich, should I not care?

Let me know your thoughts on scalpers.

I tend to hate these illegal ticket brokers, but if it means getting a good seat to see a legendary band, I guess I’ll go there.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to secure a handful of tickets, through the (almost illegal) Ticketmaster.


Two for the Road

vanhalen.jpgIt's vacation time, and while preparing for my cruise I purchased two books for the trip. Most people read trashy romance novels or mysteries.

I read heavy metal.

I'm really looking forward to Everybody Wants Some: The Van Halen Saga. With a release date of August 24, I got lucky when the Borders Books by my house screwed up and placed the book on the shelves days early. The latest work by rock writer Ian Christe, The Van Halen Saga is the "first definitive biography of the American rock band."

Here's what the official editorial review has to say about Everybody Wants Some:

How did a pair of little Dutch boys trained in classical music grow up to become the nucleus of the most popular heavy metal band of all time? What's the secret behind Eddie Van Halen's incredible fast and furious guitar solos? What makes David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar so wacky? And, are all those stories about groupies, booze bashes, and contract riders true? The naked truth is laid bare in Everybody Wants Some—the real-life story of a rock 'n' roll fantasy come true.

kissmakeup.jpgThe other book I picked up is Gene Simmons: Kiss and Make-Up. This is a 2003 title and I'm anxious to learn more about the money mogul. For all the flack Gene Simmons receives from fans, I must admit he is a marketing genius and the man can turn water into cold hard cash. He created the biggest marketing brand in music and classic KISS are still favorites of millions of rockers.

I'll be reading the Van Halen book first. My goal is to have a review posted before the street release date so you can make an informed decision on whether or not to purchase the book. Since this is a first run release, it's currently available in hard cover only, and costs around 30 bucks. The KISS book is paperback and available for about 15 dollars.

Hopefully, I'll be reading in just a few short hours. I have to stand on-line during the lengthy embarkation process, then pass muster before I can lounge by the pool.


Come Sail Away


vincecruise.jpgEach year, Eric and I take a vacation to celebrate our birthdays, which are in the same week. Later today, we'll be heading for the Caribbean and a cruise. I'm looking forward to the time off from my day job, but I'm taking my computer so I can write posts for Bring Back Glam! just like any other day. If the posts come at odd times or are short, please be forgiving. Internet access on cruise ships is not free -- and sometimes it's not reliable.

Speaking of cruises, a small announcement dear readers.

Eric and I will be among the many rockers on the Motley Cruise this January. I booked our cabin last Sunday, and by Friday the cruise was completely sold out.

Vince Neil will perform on the cruise, along with special friends RATT, Slaughter and Skid Row. I'm very excited about this trip for many reasons. First, Ohio winters are terrible and going to the Caribbean will be refreshing. Second, I want to see John Corabi in the pool without his shirt on. Third, I'm looking forward to the intimate concerts and the meet and greets. Perhaps I'll even interview one of the artists while on the boat. Of course, I'll report on my booze cruise in real time regardless.

The bad thing about my vacation today is that Hurricane Dean is threatening my good time. Right now, Dean is a category 4 storm and headed for Jamaica. I'm cruising the other direction, and I hope Dean just swirls in the water and doesn't hit any land. Lord knows none of the islands or the southern U.S. need any more hurricane damage.

Back to the Motley Cruise. Before Vince became a constant solo performer, the Crue were a real hit making machine. Back in the mid-80s, MTV launched a promotion around the band, giving the winner a trip on the "Motley Cruise (to Nowhere)."

Here's the promotional movie for that prize package. While completely cheesy, the video does have some foreshadowing elements. It's great to look back when Motley Crue were still a band and Tommy Lee wasn't enamoured with becoming a DJ and Nikki Sixx wasn't so caught up on making clothes with his latest bedmate. Turns out, Vince Neil and Mick Mars are most loyal to the Motley Crue brand. Watch and enjoy!



Let it Rock: Great White Live

greatwhite2_wm.JPGLast night, a reunited Great White swam into Columbus, Ohio and the Alrosa Villa. Part of the 25th anniversary tour, all original members played to about 400 very rowdy fans.

lardiemcnabb_wm.JPGGreat White took the stage around midnight, after a handful of more than decent local bands. When singer Jack Russell, lead guitarist Mark Kendall, rhythm guitarist/keyboardist Michael Lardie, bassist Sean McNabb and drummer Audie Desbrow finally took the stage, the crowd was more than ready to rock. Jack Russell was energetic as always, whipping around his mic stand only slightly terrifying a few people in the front row.

During this Back to the Rhythm tour stop, the band played a mix of both classic hits and new tunes. The set list looked like this:

Desert Moon
Old Rose Motel
Standin’ on the Edge
Face the Day
On Your Knees
House of Broken Love
Rolling Stoned
Save All Your Love
Rock Me
Can’t Shake It
No Quarter
Once Bitten, Twice Shy

handrussell_wm.JPGAs the band played on, the crowd surged forward, pleasing Russell. Eventually, he started dumping multiple bottles of water on the sweaty mob. At one point, Russell put the brakes on the set, and addressed the Station Nightclub fire from four years ago and the fatal shooting spree at the Alrosa Villa in 2004 that claimed the lives of five people, including guitarist Dimebag Darrell. Yesterday, the Associated Press made mention of the Great White concert calling the event a “match made in hell” (the title came from a quote by a concert safety expert based in Los Angeles). To be sure, there was a television news crew staged in the parking lot across from the club, in the event anything unsavory happened. True professionals, Great White played their best, and said that they would never forget either club tragedy. Jack Russell then raised his bottled water and said, “Tonight, let’s celebrate rock n’ roll.”

The show rolled on.

kendall_wm.JPGThere were several small solos, including some really great guitar playing by Mark Kendall. During another brief pause in the music, Russell raised a portable coffee mug and said “before you read about it in the papers tomorrow, there is just tea in this cup!”

While a horde of fans rushed to be near the stage to dance, several people stood watching, just observing the entire scene. Jack Russell still has an amazing voice, and the band’s version of “No Quarter” sounded eerily similar to the original Led Zeppelin recording.

Ironically, the flattest part of the performance came during the band’s biggest hit “Once Bitten Twice Shy.” An extended version, the band stopped mid-song for a rousing round of the Mickey Mouse Club theme. Still, keyboardist Michael Lardie seemed bored, playing the notes with one hand, his other perched on a hip. That’s what happens when you play the same song 17,893 times over a 25 year career.

lardie1_wm.JPGIn all, fans of 80s music got their money’s worth proving once again that classic artists can bring back glam.


Kip Winger: Solo and Acoustic

kingsings2_wm.JPGIt isn't so often that national touring acts come to little Centerville, Ohio but last night Kip Winger stopped by for a lively solo show.

Kip and his 12 string appeared at Centerville's Soft Rock Cafe, a place he's played in the past.

Venue management sold about 150 tickets at $15 each, so the show was very intimate.

Yellow Sky opened the evening of music.

The male/female duo performed a lot of really famous songs. Some were expected like "Gold Dust Woman" and "Heart of Gold." Others, like "Man in the Box" and "You Oughta Know" were more adventurous for an acoustic set.

Yellow Sky were on stage for more than an hour, and the crowd really enjoyed their performance.

Overall, I would say the duo have a bright future.

Just minutes after Yellow Sky left the stage, Kip Winger appeared with a green twelve string in hand.

Immediately, he started in with a set of nearly 20 songs, and the crowd loved him.

Kip sang a collection of both Winger and solo tunes including "Headed for a Heartbreak," "Blue Suede Shoes," "Runaway" (from a forthcoming release), "Daniel," "The Lucky One," "Madaline," and "Seventeen."

Last night, Kip proved that he can still hit the high notes and sing the hell out of his songs.

As the crowd grew more rowdy, Kip performed the favorites "Down Incognito," "Easy Come, Easy Go" and "Miles Away."

The talented Kip also sang "Hungry" twice: once during the show, and once during the encore.

kipsings4_wm.JPGAt one point, Kip asked the audience for requests.

All night, one man kept screaming "Four Leaf Clover!" Kip would immediately quip "No!" or "I don't know that song!"

So, as the man continued to drink, he became more intent on hearing "Four Leaf Clover."

Kip finally started laughing at the crazed fan.

Toward the end of the show, the drunk man screamed "Four Leaf Fucking Clover!" to which Kip screamed "God Damnit!'

Mr. Winger himself eventually explained that he felt guilty for not knowing the riff well enough to play solo.

He also said he "sucks."

This was met with screams of "You don't suck!'

Kip threw up the devil horns, and said that would be his new slogan: "Kip Winger doesn't suck!"

When it was time for the encore, Kip asked for requests.

kipssings_wm.JPGHe got a lot of suggestions including, of course "Four Leaf Clover" and anything by Slayer.

In the end, we got a reprise of "Hungry" and "How Far Will We Go."

Most people in the crowd were die hard Winger fans as evidenced by classic tour shirts. Still, I think Kip won over a few people on the fence about his music.

The show was more than worth the $15 investment.