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  1. #1
    Good Enough vcooper3's Avatar
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    Default Article: How The 96 VMAs Cost Van Halen Their Chance At Being More Than 80s Greats

    In 1985, when lead singer David Lee Roth quit Van Halen, they were one of the biggest bands in rock and roll. Of their six records, two were certified Diamond, and four certified Platinum, theyd toured the world more than a half dozen times and their songs dominated the charts. Despite their future briefly looking uncertain, the band hired vocalist Sammy Hagar to replace Roth, and Van Halen managed to reinvent themselves, ushering in a new era for the band that would last another 11 years. That is, until Hagar left Van Halen in the summer of 1996 over the direction the band was headed, thanks in part to new management, once again throwing their existence into turmoil.

    On Sept. 5, 1996, however, the band shocked the world when they appeared on stage with their original frontman at the MTV VMAs. The excitement in the room was overwhelming, and along with thunderous applause, they also got a standing ovation from the crowd. Immediately, everyone anticipated this was the beginning of a full-fledged reunion, though it turned out that their appearance that night would open old wounds and bring back a lot of animosity between the former bandmates that couldnt be overcome. The fallout from the event was considerable; so much so that Rolling Stone called it both one of the most outrageous moments in VMA history, and a defining moment in one of the all-time great rock and roll feuds.

    So, what exactly happened that night that turned a one-off appearance into a months-long PR nightmare for the band? Lets take a look at the moment in question.

    CHAPTER 1
    Dave Being Dave And The VMA Blowback

    From the second he set foot on the stage, Roth was beaming with delight. This is the first time weve stood on stage together in over a decade, he said, grinning from ear to ear. At first, it really did seem like a joyous and pitch-perfect moment so long as you ignored the surrounding awkwardness. While Diamond Dave waxed philosophical about how much MTV had changed since they were last seen in public together, things seemed to grow increasingly tense the more he hammed it up for the crowd, mugging in the background while Beck gave his acceptance speech for Best Male Video of the year. The longer they were up there, the more distance Eddie Van Halen put between himself and Roth.

    Talking to the MTVs Kurt Loder afterwards, questions about when this apparently reunited Van Halen would be hitting the road were inevitable and abundant. Eddie Van Halen did his best to try to quiet the excitement, repeatedly bringing up his upcoming hip-replacement surgery, and even mentioning that the band was still auditioning other singers at a press meeting to which Roth quipped that they wouldnt find anyone better than me.

    Later, brothers Eddie and Alex Van Halen would elaborate to MTV News in a joint interview that, after talking to the press that night, Roth had cornered him, declaring that tonights about me, man, not your f*cking hip! The two would almost come to blows, as Eddie Van Halen explained that as his fist was clenched, all those years were right there. Instead, he warned Roth that the next time he spoke to him like that, he better be wearing a cup.

    The two brothers went on to explain how their appearance together felt like an embarrassment to the band, reminding them why theyd kicked him out 11 years prior. They called Roths antics during Becks acceptance speech disrespectful, (even though its worth noting that Beck didnt seem to mind) and reiterated that the plan had been to generate buzz for their upcoming greatest hits record, Best Of Volume 1, which had two new songs that Roth had recorded vocals for. Any further involvement with Roth would be developed with a baby steps mentality, and his behavior on stage that night clearly stopped those baby steps right in their tracks though that wasnt immediately clear to Roth, it seems.

    About a month after the VMAs, Roth went on Howard Sterns radio show to promote Best Of Volume 1 and painted his reconciliation with Van Halen as a warmhearted affair, even speculating on whether hed be singing Sammy Hagar songs if they were to go on tour.

    The three other members of Van Halen had once again explained that theyd gone out of their way to try and temper Roths expectations from the beginning. Eddie Van Halen described their former singers mentality as we didnt even have a song yet and youre pulling a hamstring getting ready for a tour, and the whole problem came about because Roth only hears what he wants to hear.

    In an interview with Guitar World later that same year, Eddie Van Halen elaborated on the entire ordeal, starting with his reconciliation with Roth, and the two songs that theyd worked on together for the Best Of Volume I album. By his account, things were going well, until that fateful night they appeared together at the VMAs, which he described as two minutes on stage and a half-assed standing ovation and he turned right back into the Dave I hated.

    Roth responded to the entire ordeal by circulating an open letter to the press near the end of 1996.

    I told Edward [Van Halen] at the time that I didnt think it was a good idea for the band to go to [the VMAs] half-cocked; and that I didnt want to imply by our presence there that we were back if it was just a quickie for old times sake. It sickens me that the reunion as seen on MTV was nothing more than a publicity stunt. If I am guilty of anything, Im guilty of denial. I was an unwitting participant in this deception.

    CHAPTER 2
    A Lost Era Of In-Fighting

    Of course, Van Halen would tour the world again, just not in a way that anyone expected. Before all this drama began to unfold, the band had indeed been auditioning new singers for their upcoming album Van Halen III, and had hired former Extreme frontman Gary Cherone before their appearance on the VMAs that year which does explain some of that on-stage tension.

    All the bad press and public feuding aside, their tour supporting Van Halen III was well-received the following year, but while the album was certified Gold, its success paled when compared to their records, a reminder of the bands once-considerable popularity. Cherone amicably parted ways with the band after three years, citing the ubiquitous creative differences.

    In the years since, personality clashes and on-again, off-again relationships have taken center stage. Despite the second, very public, break-up with Roth, it was rumored that he had written some songs with Eddie and Alex Van Halen between 2000 and 2001, though there was never an official statement on the matter. Van Halen was also on hiatus at the time, with Eddie Van Halen dealing with both a divorce and cancer surgery. Hagar had his own reunion drama with Van Halen in 2004, teaming up for a tour to support another greatest hits album, though hed later say, What happened on that reunion tour in 04 was some of the most miserable, back-stabbing dark crap Ive ever been involved with my whole life.

    Hagar also recounted the experience in his memoir, Red: My Uncensored Life In Rock, when he implied that Eddie Van Halen was lost in a deep state of addiction during the tour. Which Van Halen said was embellished and an instance of Hagar painting a picture of something that never happened in a Billboard magazine interview. Though, in the same breath, he also acknowledged being an angry drunk at the time.

    The 2004 tour also marked the end of original bass player Michael Anthonys time with the band due to (what else?) in-fighting. In that same 2015 interview, Van Halen vented about Anthony, as well, dissing his abilities as a bass player. Anthony has continued working with Hagar (who came to his defense when Van Halen spoke out about Anthony) in the years following his break from Van Halen.

    CHAPTER 3
    What It Is And What Might Have Been

    Down to just Eddie and Alex Van Halen from the original band, Roth, at long last, officially re-joined Van Halen for a world tour in 2007, 11 years after their disastrous appearance on the VMAs, this time bringing Eddies then 16-year-old-son, Wolfgang, along for the ride as bass player. Roth and the band toured again in 2012 to support the release of their album, A Different Kind Of Truth (which consisted of a number of reworked demos from the 70s and 80s) and in 2015, with much success and little fanfare.

    While the relationship seems to still work when it comes to the business of touring, its hard to imagine Roth and Van Halen coming together to create all new music anytime soon, with Eddie Van Halen telling Billboard,Its hard, because there are four people in this band, and three of us like rocknroll. And one of us likes dance music [] And that used to kind of work, but now Dave doesnt want to come to the table.

    Whether that hurdle can ever be cleared is ultimately up to Roth and the current incarnation of Van Halen, two entities who so clearly need each other a realization that they have been much slower to grasp than the general public has. While plenty of great bands are still capable of churning out reliable mid-level hits for their adoring fans in their silver era, Van Halen has spent the 20 years since the 1996 VMAs breaking up, reuniting, and living almost exclusively off of their past hits, and only seeming to make headlines when talking badly about one-another. Would that have been the case had the band and Roth been able to make things work back then? Well never know, but its a frustrating thing to ponder when you look back.

    http://uproxx.com/music/van-halen-feud/


  2. #2
    Atomic Punk Raldo's Avatar
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    The last line says it all.
    Remember the Heroes - 9/11/01

    In 2012, the phoenix has risen!!

    "High speed, low drag."

    "Look at all the people here tonight!!!" - 10/5/07, 5/20/08 Mohegan Sun

    Congratulations to Van Halen as part of the Class of 2007 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!

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    orig VH fan x craps champ edwardv's Avatar
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    " Van Halen has spent the 20 years since the 1996 VMAs breaking up, reuniting, and living almost exclusively off of their past hits, and only seeming to make headlines when talking badly about one-another. Would that have been the case had the band and Roth been able to make things work back then? Well never know, but its a frustrating thing to ponder when you look back."

    They would have made a lot more $$$$ for sure.
    EVH 1979: Well, actually it's not much of a vacation, because we run everything ourselves. We design our own album cover, we have to be in the office every day to sign checks - the whole corporation revolves around us. Nothing can be done without our approval. We even have photo approval.

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  6. #4
    Atomic Punk Dave's Dreidel's Avatar
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    You know, it is what it is.

    Incredibly wasted opportunity. I felt they were really hitting their stride with Sam on a more mature sound with Balance on some of the songs, an almost "In through the Out Door" type of possibilities. I know a lot on here don't like Balance, and there are songs on there that are throwaways for sure, but some of it to me is among their best work.

    And to get rid of Sam, tease DLR, and then hire Mitch Malloy and then when he comes to his senses and turns down the gig and hire Gary Cherone, I mean, Ed and Al were out of their fucking minds. Or their egos had gotten so large after 18 years of unabated success that they thought they could do it with anyone behind the mic.

    There is a great line by DLR is in his book, "I don't have to like you to make great music with you."

    Too bad, either with Sam or DLR, I love how Ed was writing and playing in 1996, then it seemed to be a totally different sound and player a short two years later.

    It's like Sam contacted his alien friends and they abducted the real Van Halens and DLR and put dopplegangers in their place.
    Taylor Swift is nice to look at. Adele can sing.

    Emperor Brett - "I can't believe you guys are analyzing song-by-song Van Halen III? What next, analyzing the script of Stroker Ace looking for some shred of Citizen Kane?"

    David Lee Roth did the impossible. He made Van Halen better. Deal with it!

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    Forum Frontman fudd's Avatar
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    A 1996 tour would have set box office records. Fuck the Eagles. Van Halen would have been on top of the world.

    And I would've cashed in my trust fund to go across the country. At 16. Lol.


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    Forum Frontman fudd's Avatar
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    I just watched that video and you can tell how pissed they are. Even Mike is like " hey al aren't we supposed to be doing something?"


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    Atomic Punk Dave's Dreidel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fuddman5150 View Post
    A 1996 tour would have set box office records. Fuck the Eagles. Van Halen would have been on top of the world.

    And I would've cashed in my trust fund to go across the country. At 16. Lol.


    Sent from my iPhone using Hillary Clinton's email server.
    I can remember industry heads talking about the demand for that tour at the time and how it was going to be ridiculous.

    And a mere two years later I am watching Gary Cherone front Van Halen in front of a 20% capacity crowd. Shows how quick it can happen.
    Taylor Swift is nice to look at. Adele can sing.

    Emperor Brett - "I can't believe you guys are analyzing song-by-song Van Halen III? What next, analyzing the script of Stroker Ace looking for some shred of Citizen Kane?"

    David Lee Roth did the impossible. He made Van Halen better. Deal with it!

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  10. #8
    Atomic Punk Little Dreamer's Avatar
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    Good read of things we already know. However, the title is misleading. VH had already established a solid "90s presence" before the VMAs. You could say the VMAs killed VH's momentum post 96. Also I do think of VH as a 70s band. The debut record is pure 70s, so making them an 80s band, I suppose on the strength of 1984, seems wrong. IMHO.
    Little Dreamer

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    orig VH fan x craps champ edwardv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave's Dreidel View Post
    I can remember industry heads talking about the demand for that tour at the time and how it was going to be ridiculous.

    And a mere two years later I am watching Gary Cherone front Van Halen in front of a 20% capacity crowd. Shows how quick it can happen.
    Me too probably same venue as you Nissan Pavillion......was a joke attendance. That tour really almost killed Ed he went into serious drugging til rehab in 07 or so.
    EVH 1979: Well, actually it's not much of a vacation, because we run everything ourselves. We design our own album cover, we have to be in the office every day to sign checks - the whole corporation revolves around us. Nothing can be done without our approval. We even have photo approval.

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    Gird your loins Daisy Hill's Avatar
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    look at how many bands make it work (if only for a little while) because the music matters the most

    Simon/Garfunkle...Jagger/Richards.... Lennon/McCartney..... Guns and Roses....but the sheer closeness that is required in order to be in a band that writes together, rehearses together, tours together, promotes together..it's all encompassing.......man, if at the core of things you dislike each other, it makes for a miserable existence.

    to me the worst of the feuds are always the family ones...the Kinks, Black Crows, Everly Brothers, Beach Boys, Oasis


    as for DD comment "And to get rid of Sam, tease DLR, and then hire Mitch Malloy and then when he comes to his senses and turns down the gig and hire Gary Cherone, I mean, Ed and Al were out of their fucking minds. Or their egos had gotten so large after 18 years of unabated success that they thought they could do it with anyone behind the mic."

    that pretty much sums it up...but you can't let management off the hook...the same ones who let Eddie produce with Mike WTF Post , were probably feeding that mentality. No one was reining back the horses. Definitely a case showing that when you start to believe your press you are in big trouble

    the one who blew it the biggest tho was Roth. He was a grown man and he couldn't manage to navigate one public appearance. ONE!!!!! and I do not believe he was misled...in his massive enthusiasm, he just saw this whole reunion thing the way he always imagined it would happen ever since he left the band...he completely missed the reality of the situation and it caused the rest of the band to go into a sort of panic
    Last edited by Daisy Hill; 08.27.16 at 08:05 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Little Dreamer View Post
    Good read of things we already know. However, the title is misleading. VH had already established a solid "90s presence" before the VMAs. You could say the VMAs killed VH's momentum post 96. Also I do think of VH as a 70s band. The debut record is pure 70s, so making them an 80s band, I suppose on the strength of 1984, seems wrong. IMHO.
    VH are an 80's band in the same way Led Zep are a 70's band. That was the era when their influence was biggest, and most noticeable.

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    to me the worst of the feuds are always the family ones...the Kinks, Black Crows, Everly Brothers, Beach Boys, Oasis
    That's one thing that always amazes me about VH. They're about the only big band that has brothers who have always been tight and not feuding. It's everyone who is not family that they feud with.

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  18. #13
    Atomic Punk I Coulda Hada VH's Avatar
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    A good read, although some of the timeline of events from 1996 is inaccurate.
    "It's so lonely at the top because it's so crowded at the bottom" - Diamond David Lee Roth

    "The past ain't what it used to be"

    "Music is like candy. You throw out the rappers"

    "Be careful what you wish for because you just might lose what you already have"

    "Women and Children First ... The REAL Van Halen III"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daisy Hill View Post

    the one who blew it the biggest tho was Roth. He was a grown man and he couldn't manage to navigate one public appearance. ONE!!!!! and I do not believe he was misled...in his massive enthusiasm, he just saw this whole reunion thing the way he always imagined it would happen ever since he left the band...he completely missed the reality of the situation and it caused the rest of the band to go into a sort of panic
    How do you figure? You actually believe Ed and Al's Beck excuse? Beck didn't even see anything wrong with it. And why don't you believe Dave was misled since we know through Gary and Mitch that they both had the gig when the VMA's aired?
    "He has a swaggering retro machismo that will give hives to the Steinem cabal" -Camille Paglia on Donald Trump

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    "But being number one doesnt really mean jack fuck all. We sold twice as many records as other records that year (1984) that landed in the Number One position." ~Eddie Van Halen

  20. #15
    Atomic Punk I Coulda Hada VH's Avatar
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    The truth is almost always somewhere in the middle.
    "It's so lonely at the top because it's so crowded at the bottom" - Diamond David Lee Roth

    "The past ain't what it used to be"

    "Music is like candy. You throw out the rappers"

    "Be careful what you wish for because you just might lose what you already have"

    "Women and Children First ... The REAL Van Halen III"

 

 

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