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  1. #1
    Hang 'Em High
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    12.16.17 @ 05:15 AM
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    The Dark Side of Van Halen: Fair Warning & Balance

    Hey all,

    This is a topic I feel has not been pointedly addressed to date. Say what you will about Sam vs. Dave (actually please don't), but I think we can all agree that when you look at either era and pose the question "what album showed their darkest, heaviest, ballsiest sounds?" you would chose one of these two. Tension may have told the story of Van Halen's demise, but it is too seldom pointed out that their tension created some of the absolute best material we have ever heard. Here's my view:

    Fair Warning: We all know Dave and EVH were on the outs, and apparently EVH was considering canning Mike then. Whatever the case may have been, Eddie displayed the brown sound in full form. The lyrics of mean street, the sound of dirty movies, and the all out explosion of one foot out the door, these songs dripped with character, tension and brilliant musical ability. Although I like the album, Diver Down all but abandoned this ballsy sound, perhaps because it was rushed.

    Balance: Not comparable to the Dave era because it's like two different bands, but this album was a far cry from 5150, OU812 and FUCK. The split between the bros and Hagar was imminent, and in retrospect this album signaled it, the many instrumentals were a pretty good hint. I liked the fact that Humans Being had the same tone, and of course Crossing Over was great too. Even in 2004, Learning To See seemed like a logical continuation of this trend. Although we know Dave and the band returned to the mainstream sound following Fair Warning, we'll never know what could've been following this dark turn for the Hagar era. Seventh Seal, Don't Tell Me (written about Kurt Cobain's suicide, for those who don't know), Feelin', this album had Ed showing the closest to the Brown Sound since 1981 (in my book). Look at it this way, Marching To Mars was a glorious, lyrically driven solo accomplishment by Hagar, just imagine that focus in another VH album.

    Anyways, post any synopsis, thoughts, critiques, etc. This was probably my most enjoyable post in awhile, and I really look forward other takes on these albums and what they meant or displayed.

  2. #2
    Little Dreamer
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    04.28.08 @ 02:18 PM
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    Default Excellent analysis, but a few points

    Very valid points about the dark sounds but let me throw a few more things out:

    ** Intruder isn't exactly the happiest thing on Diver Down and is certainly EVH's most darkest instrumental piece, even more so than OFOTD.

    ** Don't discount the darkness in 1984. The last three songs -- I'll Wait, Girl Gone Bad and House of Pain -- are some of the heaviest songs they've recorded. Not so much in musical content, but tone. I'll Wait's content is only masked by its keyboard background.

    ** That being said, Balance is about is "angry" as 1984. I like Balance but it has some of breeziest songs they ever recorded -- Deja Vu, Can't Stop Lovin' You and Not Enough. If that's anger, then they must have went to the Pat Boone School of Rock to record those.

    Anyway, excellent post; just wanted to add my two cents.

  3. #3
    Hot For Teacher IntoTheEther's Avatar
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    04.29.10 @ 08:00 PM
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    I've always thought of Fair Warning as the equivalent of Balance.

    same heavy vibe, lots of drop d songs, both the 4th album and both made during the highest moments of tension in VH chronology.
    'The III Brigade' - show your support for Van Halen 3 by wearing this sig

    "Van Halen is the 'Get the fuck off the sidewalk if ya don't like our driving' kinda music!" - Roth

    I was trying to take the band in a direction that I thought was appropriate, and Roth was trying to take the band in more of a Las Vegas direction. And there he is. - Ed


    I - On Fire
    II - Light Up the Sky
    WACF - Romeo Delight
    Fair Warning - Dirty Movies
    Diver Down - ....lol
    1984 - House Of Pain
    RDM3410 - Mailman
    5150 - 5150 (LWAN)
    OU812 - Mine All Mine
    FUCK - Judgement Day
    Balance - Crossing Over
    III - Fire In The Hole

    ---

    Demos - Big Trouble
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    Best Of II - Learning To See

  4. #4
    Hang 'Em High
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    12.16.17 @ 05:15 AM
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hammer On, Pull What? View Post
    Very valid points about the dark sounds but let me throw a few more things out:

    ** Intruder isn't exactly the happiest thing on Diver Down and is certainly EVH's most darkest instrumental piece, even more so than OFOTD.

    ** Don't discount the darkness in 1984. The last three songs -- I'll Wait, Girl Gone Bad and House of Pain -- are some of the heaviest songs they've recorded. Not so much in musical content, but tone. I'll Wait's content is only masked by its keyboard background.

    ** That being said, Balance is about is "angry" as 1984. I like Balance but it has some of breeziest songs they ever recorded -- Deja Vu, Can't Stop Lovin' You and Not Enough. If that's anger, then they must have went to the Pat Boone School of Rock to record those.

    Anyway, excellent post; just wanted to add my two cents.
    good points for sure, although I admit I treated the aforementioned pop songs such as "Deja Vu" as omitted from my general concept of these two albums. "So this is love?" is in the same boat I think. I think Intruder was a glimpse of Fair Warning, whereas the tracks you mentioned from 1984 are good examples of a dark tone, although I'd probably dispute i'll Wait. House of Pain is pretty rough sounding, maybe because it had been kicking around since 1977 when they hadn't broke through yet.

  5. #5
    Hot For Teacher IntoTheEther's Avatar
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    04.29.10 @ 08:00 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hammer On, Pull What? View Post
    ** Intruder isn't exactly the happiest thing on Diver Down and is certainly EVH's most darkest instrumental piece, even more so than OFOTD.
    no way, sunday afternoon in the park and one foot out the door are really fucked up... in a good way.
    'The III Brigade' - show your support for Van Halen 3 by wearing this sig

    "Van Halen is the 'Get the fuck off the sidewalk if ya don't like our driving' kinda music!" - Roth

    I was trying to take the band in a direction that I thought was appropriate, and Roth was trying to take the band in more of a Las Vegas direction. And there he is. - Ed


    I - On Fire
    II - Light Up the Sky
    WACF - Romeo Delight
    Fair Warning - Dirty Movies
    Diver Down - ....lol
    1984 - House Of Pain
    RDM3410 - Mailman
    5150 - 5150 (LWAN)
    OU812 - Mine All Mine
    FUCK - Judgement Day
    Balance - Crossing Over
    III - Fire In The Hole

    ---

    Demos - Big Trouble
    Best Of I - CGTSNM
    Best Of II - Learning To See

  6. #6
    Good Enough darthadv's Avatar
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    01.05.12 @ 09:51 PM
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    i thought dave said he pulled together intruder on a synthesizer as filler for the video, because they had shot way too much footage...
    Runaround... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around...

  7. #7
    Little Dreamer
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    04.23.08 @ 12:48 AM
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    Fair Warning was a bad time for VH.
    a) Ed just got married
    b) Ed had just split with Charvel in a bad lawsuit
    c) Ed wanted MA out of the band
    d) Dave and Ed werent mixing well (oil and water)
    e) Ed also admits to wanting to leave his band to join Kiss. I think it was Paul Stanley that told him not to.

    Balance was dark. But this is apple and oranges. As far as tone, to compare the EBMM on the F.U.C.K record had it. It was brighter and punchier but it was still there.

    I agree about all of the instrumentals on Balance being a good hint.

    Awesome thread and great posts here.

    John

  8. #8
    Hang 'Em High
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    12.16.17 @ 05:15 AM
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    Quote Originally Posted by LetsrockDDLR View Post
    Fair Warning was a bad time for VH.

    e) Ed also admits to wanting to leave his band to join Kiss. I think it was Paul Stanley that told him not to.


    John
    Well we know it wasn't Gene!

  9. #9
    Top Of The World
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    06.19.12 @ 08:25 PM
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    Here is another question that this very good thread (I might add) makes be wonder:

    If Eddie had joined Kiss in the early 80's, would it have hurt his reputation and would he still have the respect that we all give him today. In other words, would he be "Eddie Freakin Van Halen" as we think of him today, or would he be "the great guitarist who replaced Ace Frehley".

    I'm asking this, because I have ZERO respect for Kiss. Yes, they are interesting on stage, but they really offer nothing (in my humble opinion) as far as production value goes. Van Halen, on the other hand, is 100 times better on the production value and musicianship side.

    Eddie is a guitar god, if not THE GUITAR GOD. Would joining Kiss have hurt his respectability? My thoughts.....YES. Had he made that decision, we would have been without some of Van Halen's defining albums that eventually put the band into the rock and roll stratosphere (1984, 5150, F.U.C.K., etc).

    I'm just glad that this is only a hypothetical question and we're not having to talk about it in reality!
    "France has neither winter, nor summer, nor morals. France is miserable because it is filled with Frenchmen, and Frenchmen are miserable because they live in France." - Mark Twain

  10. #10
    Good Enough darthadv's Avatar
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    01.05.12 @ 09:51 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDBoy View Post
    Here is another question that this very good thread (I might add) makes be wonder:

    If Eddie had joined Kiss in the early 80's, would it have hurt his reputation and would he still have the respect that we all give him today. In other words, would he be "Eddie Freakin Van Halen" as we think of him today, or would he be "the great guitarist who replaced Ace Frehley".

    I'm asking this, because I have ZERO respect for Kiss. Yes, they are interesting on stage, but they really offer nothing (in my humble opinion) as far as production value goes. Van Halen, on the other hand, is 100 times better on the production value and musicianship side.

    Eddie is a guitar god, if not THE GUITAR GOD. Would joining Kiss have hurt his respectability? My thoughts.....YES. Had he made that decision, we would have been without some of Van Halen's defining albums that eventually put the band into the rock and roll stratosphere (1984, 5150, F.U.C.K., etc).

    I'm just glad that this is only a hypothetical question and we're not having to talk about it in reality!
    eddie would not have been as big a name... he would've gotten lost in the shuffle of the gene and paul marketing machine... how much autonomy did vinnie vincent and bruce kulick get, the two who lasted longest in the 80s? how much do you think they shared in the profits?
    Runaround... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around...

  11. #11
    Good Enough pal1800's Avatar
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    06.02.16 @ 09:13 AM
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    Before I go further, I like both Dave and Sam, different styles, but great results. I really liked the direction they were headed with Balance and subsequently with Humans Being. To me, it was heavier and more aggressive and I thought that was great. Would have loved to see what Sam and the band would have done next. But unfortunately that was not to be and we have had no new album since 1998. That is still hard for me to accept, you can't get those years back.

  12. #12
    Hang 'Em High
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    12.16.17 @ 05:15 AM
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    Quote Originally Posted by pal1800 View Post
    Before I go further, I like both Dave and Sam, different styles, but great results. I really liked the direction they were headed with Balance and subsequently with Humans Being. To me, it was heavier and more aggressive and I thought that was great. Would have loved to see what Sam and the band would have done next. But unfortunately that was not to be and we have had no new album since 1998. That is still hard for me to accept, you can't get those years back.
    That's what prompted me to start this thread, the whole scenario surrounding the band's momentum and where it could have taken them.

  13. #13
    Good Enough pal1800's Avatar
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    06.02.16 @ 09:13 AM
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ain't Talkin' Bout' Love View Post
    That's what prompted me to start this thread, the whole scenario surrounding the band's momentum and where it could have taken them.
    Too bad that we will never know. I just doesn't seem like Ed has been the same since 1996. It seems like he has a totally different personality. Maybe the years of alcohol abuse took a toll on his personality. It happens.

  14. #14
    Atomic Punk
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    06.25.15 @ 09:06 AM
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    Quote Originally Posted by pal1800 View Post
    Too bad that we will never know. I just doesn't seem like Ed has been the same since 1996. It seems like he has a totally different personality. Maybe the years of alcohol abuse took a toll on his personality. It happens.
    Nope. It was all Ray Danniels
    "I respect that youre passionate about this but what your saying is complete idiocy..." - MF5150 on McDonald's "preying" on young kids.

    "He was born a human, he's a horse's ass by proxy." - It's Mike on Eddymon.

  15. #15
    Good Enough pal1800's Avatar
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    06.02.16 @ 09:13 AM
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    Quote Originally Posted by vhrocks2005 View Post
    Nope. It was all Ray Danniels
    I have heard of him before, but how exactly did he effect the last 9-12 years of Van Halen.

 

 

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