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  1. #1
    Little Dreamer
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    06.14.05 @ 10:36 AM
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    Default Thoughts on VH,Sammy, Dave, Gary : Some Kind of Monster (Metallica comparison)

    This is REALLY long and I myself probably wouldn't even read it if I were you..except I DO think its interesting. I've been a LONG time lurker with only a scant couple of posts...when I do I usually combine a lot of thoughts into something that, hopefully, will get a decent discussion going and at least be thought provoking. So it IS long...but think of it as what I would have posted in 234 posts crammed into one. Anyway, I apologize in advance.

    I have never been a big fan of Metallica, I know the basics of them firing Mustaine, and losing their bass player in the accident. That said, I'm not up on their inter-band history going way keep that in mind.

    I found myself catching Some Kind of Monster on VH1, and watching some of the show on the history of the band preceding it. Through it all I continually associated the events with Van Halen..sort of a "What If" parallel running in my brain alongside as I watched. The show was fascinating and strange......the 3 band members appearing far more mature than the "drunk every moment" days, and actually hiring a therapist. Here is your first comparison with Van Halen...there clearly was a dynamic between Hetfield and Ulrich that was one of competition and a struggle for control of the band's direction. I found it really telling when Hetfield comes back from his rehab and is babbling about not liking how he is "out of the loop" and not in control....and Kirk Hammett saying "well now you know what I'VE felt like for all these years".

    Thinking about this in terms of Van Halen.....a hard rock/metal band has, for the most part, contained two popular poles of power..the lead singer and the guitarist..the rest of the parts of the band are almost always interchangable as it relates to public perception {not always, but think of Bon Jovi/Richie Sambora..Jagger/Richards....even bands like Creed...Termonti/Stapp and the crappy Limp Bizkit...Durst/<guitar guy whose name I forgot>..and even Hall and Oates..who the hell is one without the other? }....Metallica having 3 different bassists makes little difference in the big scheme of relevant popularity. What helped Metallica IMMESURABLY is that Hammett doesn't have an ego....he is the lead guitarist and is obviously the odd man out in the power scheme...almost any other guitarist I can think of would have left long ago....he is the Michael Anthony.....the problem is that Mike is the most disposable of all parts, the bass player. Notice when Jason Newfield had problems with Metallica they didn't shed a tear on him leaving.

    That leaves Ulrich and Hetfield to have the friction...the difference? Van Halen "appears" to be ten times more volatile...see the Hetfield Ulrich arguments and replace it with Sammy vs Eddie and Dave vs Eddie....mentally.......on 11...those personalities go to 11..a little extra on the would make GREAT TV..but it would be hellacious compared to Some Kind of Monster. Hetfield and Ulrich, while they argued and bitched and moaned like washed up cheerleaders on Dr.Phil, always kept the big picture in focus and seemed far more able to not cross the line beyond the point of no return....having emotion but not letting it overtake "the band".

    The other dynamic is that Alex and Eddie are blood...Alex, IMO, seems rational and far more like Kirk Hammett other than the fact he would get caught in the middle because he has to protect his blood relationship....working with family, as they say. We have already counted THREE dynamics working against Van Halen that weren't as bad in Some Kind of Monster...substitute Eddie Van Halen's personality for Kirk Hammett in that band and they would have never made it to the peaks of the Enter Sandman days before imploding. Substitute Hammett's personality into Van Halen and there probably isn't a problem, he would get along great with Dave OR Sammy and especially Alex and Mike. Dave makes his solo album and comes back....Sammy takes a break for the birth of his problem.

    Let's look at the facts...Dave and Sammy both have put out music on their own, there is little evidence that either of them is lazy or doesn't want to put out product.....and to his credit EVH put out an album with Gary 2 years or so after Sammy. Upon relistening to VHIII, I like it more than before. I loaded it onto my mp3 player recently (I use it when I run), and Once and Joesephina and Without You and From Afar sound FAR BETTER with headphones on (odd..I heard stuff I never noticed before on the background..I took my headphones off once because I thought I heard a freaking ghost voice was background stuff I had missed) had been so long since I listened, it was like a new CD...THAT made me realize that Eddie really branched out and probably took the reaction to III hard.

    THAT IMO was the closest we'll ever come to an EVH solo album....and he would have gone more in that vein if it hadn't all fallen apart, business AND musical. Afterward he seemed like an abused puppy or something. I LOVE some of the work on that album, that was EVH branching out and trying new things and really being excited to WORK....I think the death of VHGary soured him (not to mention you add on marriage issues and the alcohol AND the cancer AND the hip..what a list!)...needless to say, the re entry into VHSammy had to be a little sour for him because of the perceived failure of 3. Sammy comes back in to a band with FAR more issues psychologically than before........a situation that, going back to the Some Kind of Monster premise...was already waaay too tough a dynamic.

    THIS seems to me the crux of the matter....Dave and Sammy are a lot more alike than any of the warring camps like to admit...both were not great wordsmiths but brought a special "sauce" to the table..Dave's cleverness, tongue in cheek lyrics and an outlandish on stage persona. Sammy lacked lyrics, but made up for it with one of Rock's best voices ever, and energy. The only difference is Sammy doesn't "need" Van Halen because of his business'...he can be happy being Jimmy Bufett of hard rock. Dave had early success solo, but now is at a point where he might "need" least more than Sammy. Dave screwed up the MTV thing..but that also shows how Eddie Van Halen is hard to deal with far more than it says anything about Dave IMO. So Dave might suck it up and could get through one more tour or album...if he had the chance.but again...imagine VH in Some Kind of Monster with Dave as Hetfield....Eddie as Lars..and Alex not only as Kirk..but Eddie (Lars' brother)...with all the issues on top of it...trying to make an album? He and Sam both are cut from the same cloth...they would tell EVH...F U and walk out. In other words, I don't think its possible for it to last for either Dave or Sammy as we might dream--as things stand now. If only they could each get through one more album, we'd have 20 more songs for posterity...hopefully something will change. But almost assuredly, it HAS to be a change in Eddie Van Halen. The "I wish I could get closer to Eddie" comments say it all.

    Bottom line...if Sammy is happy and having fun, he would be in the studio tomorrow making a new VH album...if Dave is happy and getting a shot and accepted by a less volatile Eddie (as in lighten up..its FUN)...he could be in the studio working too...neither Dave nor Sammy are lazy men...and I don't think Alex and Michael are either. I think its simply that the fun of making something together is gone when Eddie is on 11, and it combines with an ego. Looking back, the best hope for VH to exist, with Eddie being as he is, was that Gary and III was accepted.....he seemed far more like Kirk too...which probably pacified Eddie...and Eddie got to do his thing with a little bit better of a lyricist. Gary's personality is and was probably a LOT more calming on Eddie in that he wasn't the typical lead singer. I now think that the collective reaction to III combined with all the other personal issues is what ended the Eddie Van Halen train....and sadly I actually really like III now, when I didn't then. Of course, lead singers aren't normally interchangable parts. It was against all logic and laws that VH could survive ONE lead singer change, 2 was simply an impossible dream. Still, I think 1 million units would have made EVH happy with the state of affairs....and would not have lead to the pulling of the plug on VH3. Gary, I think, oversang on III to try and match Sammy's voice. On another attempt, he possibly would have found a true voice...and Eddie would probably have been doing some amazing new things.

    I feel like sending an apology to wasn't his fault, he was in an impossible situation. And I don't hate Sammy or Dave. I like them both...and don't blame either of them. Its just one of those things, like arguing in high is what it is.

    Obviously I would have PREFERRED Dave to stay and/or Sammy to stay..but that could only happen if Dave and Sammy just let EVH be whatever he is at the time and NOT be themselves, which wouldn't work. If only they would suck it up for ONE ALBUM! Given a choice between Gary and Nothing....I take Gary. I realize some would rather have one or the other or nothing..its all in what you liked about the band I suppose. I would be happy with just an hour and half of Eddies noodling a la Twister and III. The Santana guest vocalist thing even.

    Given the fact that Eddie PROBABLY won't change, Gary's peronality, of the three, seems on the surface to be more in line with Eddie producing work....whereas Dave and Sammy need Eddie to be more like Some Kind of Monster...or for Eddie to somehow get happy again...the latter would be a great thing.

    Whew....I need a nap after that...sorry again for the length!

  2. #2
    Eruption lal5150's Avatar
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    06.16.12 @ 02:16 PM
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    interesting thoughts . but long winded. that from a friend who read it after i did . but wasnt brave to comment himself . but through me.

  3. #3
    On Fire Van Heineken's Avatar
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    09.17.10 @ 11:12 AM
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    Excellent post. Well thought out and I agree with everything with the exception of the band continuing on with Gary. Ed does not need a yes man. Conflict makes for great music which is why things worked so well for the likes of Eddie/Roth, Jagger/Richards, Lennon/McCartney, Townshend/Daltrey, etc.

    I too watched "Some Kind of Monster" and the thing that really reminded me of VanHalen is how out of touch these guys are with reality. They're lucky enough to make music for a living and they act like it's the toughest thing in the world. What they don't realize is the rest of the world has to go to work with people we don't necessarily see eye to eye with all of the time too and we don't get paid millions of dollars to do it.

    Ironically, in VH's case, it's the singers who seem to be a little more grounded than the guitar player who's been in la la land for the last decade. Sam's running a profitable business and Dave is/was seeing life up close and personal as an EMT. These are not the actions of prima donnas. I think the party animal image is something they conjure up when they need to, but there seems to be a little something more beneath the image for both of them.

    The best hope for Van Halen is Ed getting an attitude adjustment to remind him that he's damn lucky to be doing what the rest of us only dream about.

    Frank Zappa said it best. "Shut up and play your guitar."
    “Bring on a brand new Renaissance...cos I think I'm ready."

    The Tragically Hip - Three Pi

    It's not the best music I've ever heard; but it's sure as fuck the best porno music I've ever heard!




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