Introduction: In what promises to be an ongoing series, Billy Florio takes a look at what's wrong with the music industry. The first installment deals with the Sam and Dave tour, the former lead singers of Van Halen touring without their previous backing band.
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Article by: Billy Florio
Over the summer, Van Halen fans were "treated" to a kinda special tour. Two former front men that led one of the most popular bands of the 80's joined together on the same bill and tried to go one step further than the other. David Lee Roth (1973-1985, 1996) and Sammy Hagar (1986-1996) put aside any animosity towards each other (temporarily) and headlined together "The Sam and Dave tour" to try and regain some popularity using the songs of their former band mate, Eddie Van Halen.
Hagar and DLR have decided that to have a Van Halen reunion tour that they don't even need the guy whom the band is named after. You got to be kidding me; this is like having Thanksgiving Dinner without the Turkey! How do you have a Van Halen tour without the master guitarist Edward Van Halen? Well, they seemed to have figured it out. DLR and Hagar would rotate off every night to designate the main act (though their singing both took a backseat to the arguing). While up on stage they would perform Van Halen songs from their respective time periods. Apparently they don't believe anyone's gunna care that Old Eddie aint backing them up on guitar! This seems to be the same logic another fading 80's star, Axl Rose, is using. "Who cares if there's no Slash, or Duff or Iggy? It's me Axl, I'm all that matters, and whatever band I front is GNR!" I'm still trying to figure out how they can get away with singing Eddies songs...I mean shouldn't there be some conflict there...I don't believe Robert Plant sings the songs that Jimmy Paige wrote. It puzzles me how Mr. Van Halen allowed them to do it, but I mean it's not like DLR and Hagar had another choice, what were they gunna do, sing the songs from Sammy Hagar's great song book? I mean how many times can you sing "I can't drive 55"?
Now Hagar and Diamond Dave had only met for the first time earlier this year. At that meeting they decided that it would be fun, and profitable to tour together. And only after 3 months, they've decided never again. I guess now we must assume that Eddie was right...Dave and Sammy are asses. Now just to make this tour even more of a smack in Eddie's face, Van Halen's longtime bassist, Michael "The Traitor" Anthony is touring with Hagar. This now makes it officially Van Halen without the Van Halen brothers! Now while I call Mike Anthony's actions pure treason, and DLR and Hagar's purely deconstructive, they may have set the first stone for rebuilding the Van Halen legacy. Eddie and Alex might actually realize that this is what people want, and get their thumbs out of their asses, and try to reunite with the new Van Halen. But as that may be a positive, there is also a negative that may happen. This may lead the way for another Van Halen reunion with Van Halen's 3rd front man, Extreme's Gary Cherone (1998-1999)...oooo, can't wait for that one! At least Dave and Sammy can sing hits...Gary will be stuck with billowing "more than words" (Extreme's only hit) over and over. But I don't think we'll ever have to worry about that...what would they call it? The Sam, Dave, and Gary tour? It just doesn't flow right.
The flamboyant Diamond Dave and the low key Sammy Hagar have already decided that they wont tour again, that they've got other more important things to do...Like what? Does Sammy have to go back to bingeing on Cabo Wabo? Does Dave have to go back to doing nothing? C'mon! Sammy says he doesn't need DLR to sell out stadiums...BULL!!!! Sammy of all people needs Dave. Dave was the better and more popular front man, him and Eddie were awesome together. I think the success of this past tour was due to DLR. He was the quintessential front man. Sammy on the other hand, while he had good songs with them, he and Van Halen just didn't really click (and it took 10 years to find that out). Sammy has no desire to rejoin the band...DLR though is practically begging (But I don't think his constant complaining about "Howdy Duty mountain" is helping his chances). These two were practically nowhere without Van Halen, aside from a few solo hits (or covers in DLR's case). They were like Joe Piscopo without SNL...(Doing Frank Sinatra impressions on the corner don't get much money).
So what's happening on "Howdy Duty Mountain"? Why don't the Van Halens care? Hasn't Eddie's cancer receded? When's there gunna be a new album? Is Michael Anthony a Traitor? With Anthony's side switching is there still a real Van Halen? Should we ever trust people with two first names? Are Eddie and Axl friends? We hear absolutely nothing from them, (But we never heard anything from Alex anyway). People are yearning for a revival of the Van Halen of the 70's and 80's. They want a real reunion, they want another great album, they want another 1984.
In the early 80's Van Halen were awesome. David Lee Roth was the man, the best front man out there. Then they broke up. Roth stormed out after being kicked out, and the former Montrose front man, Sammy Hagar took his place. After I think 3 albums, differences within the band forced Hagar out and Roth came back in 1996 for a very short time. Roth was gone again and in 1998 Gary Cherone took over, but he was gone a year later, then after that, there were rumors that Roth would be back again, but unfortunately Eddie was hit with tongue cancer. Van Halen was starting to turn into the New York Yankees of the 70's and 80's, with Eddie as Steinbrenner, and The front men as the managers. Roth was back and fired more times than Billy Martin. But the Yankees recovered in 1996 (after like 15 manager changes), so maybe Van Halen can too. Maybe they can have a platinum album again. Maybe Eddie and Dave can reconcile, or if they don't, maybe Eddie will get Joe Torre to sing lead on their next album, anyway the fans want a real reunion. I love Van Halen, I think they were awesome, I think DLR was one of the greatest; Eddie Van Halen is one of the best guitarist. They have so many great songs from "Dance the night away", to "Hot for teacher", to "When it's love" to "eruption" but if they don't get their act together soon, I don't think they're gunna have another hit...ever.
Rock on Gary!
PS: Look for another one when I get the time, and read my parodies, lol.
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