Back in the 50s, there was a man in Holland playing the clarinet for a matinée type of band, always touring the country. He had two kids and his wife decided that the life of a touring musician would be a very bad influence to their young boys. So they moved to sunny Pasadena, California because they had some family down there. The rest is pretty much rock history...
Little Eddie started playing drums, and Alex the guitar, but they always dabbled with the other’s instrument and finally decided to switch. While learning guitar, Eddie devoted all his time playing Clapton records trying to copy every single note. Then along came Michael Anthony, then a wild child showman named David Lee Roth, and Van Halen started rocking high school parties all over L.A. They eventually made it to the clubs on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, where they had to pass out flyers on the street to try to get as many people as possible to attend their shows.

One day, Gene Simmons of KISS saw them play and was so impressed, he took them to New York where he funded a demo tape for the band, and tried to help them get a record deal. But this was when disco ruled and no one wanted to take a chance on a hard rock band like Van Halen. So they just kept on kicking ass at the local clubs where Eddie would turn his back to the audience while jamming his solos, so nobody could see and copy his unique style of playing. And Dave did pretty much anything he wanted on stage, until they finally caught the attention of a record producer, Ted Templeman.
Ted produced their first self titled album, Van Halen, which was released in March 1978. One of the things that make this one of the most important albums in all of rock history is the unbelievable guitar solo on it by Eddie, Eruption. But not only did he do things nobody had ever dreamt of doing before on guitar, the other main part of the success was that David Lee Roth wrote a whole new chapter on the word “cool” in the dictionary, by the way he dressed, his non-stop flow of jokes and comments that the press just couldn’t get enough of, and his awesome charismatic stage showmanship and moves. He actually broke his nose during the photo session for the second album when he did a flying kick, hit the stage lights, and fell. This didn’t stop him from showing up for a concert they did in Italy, though, bandaged nose and all!
Diamond Dave became the first big mega star in a long line of wild and spectacular long-haired party rockers, that included bands such as Mötley Crüe, and dominated the roaring 80s. And Party they did! At an Anaheim, California show, Van Halen parachuted onto the stage in front of 62,000 screaming fans! And everyone has heard the story of how in their tour contract they requested a bowl of M&Ms after their concerts, but specifically without any brown ones. So one night when they found a brown M&M, they went on to completely trash the room.
In early 1979, they went back into the studio and six (!!!) days later they came out with Van Halen II, which included their first top 20 hit, Dance The Night Away, and continued where their début album left off. This album showed the sense of humor of the band, like the “cumumumumum on baby” in Bottoms Up!. You could even here the band laughing during that part while recording this tune! Eddie Van Halen was named guitar player of the year by Guitar Player Magazine and they went on their second world tour in two years.
In 1980 they recorded ...Women And Children First in 2½ weeks. During the taping of Could This Be Magic?, there was so much smoke in the studio that they had to open all the doors. It was a rare rainy day in L.A., and it can be heard in the background when you listen closely to that song! Fools was one of the tunes they used to jam at high school proms, with slightly different lyrics! The album reached #5 in the charts and stayed there for months. In spring 1981 it was time for another album, but not before Eddie married Valerie Bertinelli on April 11th, 1981.
By now the band learned it was a wise move to keep a microphone wherever David Lee Roth went, and certain things they recorded while he did his thing was put on albums. On Everybody Wants Some, they included something they overheard while he was in a dressing room with a girl (do yourself a favor and play that song right now to check it out!). And for the absolute rock classic, Unchained, from their next consecutive platinum selling album, Fair Warning, they included a little conversation he and Ted Templeman had when Dave saw how Ted was dressed:

“Whooooohoo! Hey man, that suit is you! You’re gonna get some leg tonight for sure! Tell us how you do...!”
“Come on, Dave, gimme a break.”
“He he he hey...One break, coming up!”

That break didn’t last for too long because in 1982 they made yet another album, Diver Down, which was criticized because it had 5 covers. I don’t understand what the big deal was, because all five are awesome, especially Big Bad Bill (Is Sweet William Now), a song Dave heard on the radio that amused him so much, he recorded it for the rest of the band, who all cracked up when they heard it. They got Jan Van Halen, Alex and Eddie’s father, to play clarinet on the song. Then there is (Oh) Pretty Woman, for which they made a video where a bunch of midgets kidnap and tie up a transvestite while the band comes to the rescue. Diamond Dave cracked at the video shoot that he had the greatest legs he’d ever seen.
In the meantime Dave started going his own way more and more, taking a lot of adventure trips with his group called The Jungle Studs, and showing up a little too late for concerts.
Then it was time for 1984, the album and year that made Van Halen from superstars into rock legends. On New Year’s Eve, David Lee Roth introduced the album live on MTV. He wrote all the lyrics while being chauffeured through the Hollywood Hills for inspiration, except for House of Pain, which is a song they used to play back in the old club days before they were signed. On Hot For Teacher, they cut Alex loose completely and let him have a long drum solo intro to the tune. The biggest hit on the album (as if you didn’t know already ) is Jump, and the video for it (which only cost $5000) finished second in the MTV video of the year awards behind Mike Jackson’s Thriller, which cost $500,000! Many people believe Eddie Van Halen jump started Michael’s career into overdrive with the guitar solo he did for Beat It. But it can also be said that Jackson helped VH reach a more mainstream audience with that exposure, and maybe even warming up the masses to a more rock/guitar sound. Because of the solo they had to redo the song, make it faster, and it did reach the mainstream audience becoming a huge hit.
Unfortunately, Eddie had a heavy drinking problem at this point that eventually wound him up in the Betty Ford clinic, just like his brother Alex. Meanwhile, Michael Anthony took his drinking to yet another level when he bought a patch of land from the Jack Daniel’s distillery, and designed his bass guitar in the shape of a J.D. bottle, something the company eventually saw as good advertising and started doing for him.
After the touring was over, Dave tried to start a movie career which never really succeded. It was for a movie called Crazy From The Heat, which was never finished because the investors folded. However, his soundtrack/solo album, called Crazy From The Heat, was released with four cover songs on it. The singles, Just A Gigolo/I Ain’t Got Nobody and California Girls became huge hits!
Rumors started floating around that the band had broken up, which were denied at first until Dave officially announced he quit. While Dave was gathering some of the finest musicians in the business for his new band, Sammy Hagar (whose solo career was nice but not exactly sizzling hot) ended up being DLR’s replacement. Ed and Sammy hooked up when Ed took his car to Claudio, his friend and mechanic, who also happened to be friends with Sammy. He suggested Sammy to Ed, and Ed actually called him up from the shop that day.
They jammed, it clicked, and in 1986, Van Halen was reborn and released 5150, which is police terminology for a lunatic that’s on the loose. It is also the name Eddie gave to the studio he built at his house.
Meanwhile Dave and his new band (Steve Vai - guitar, Billy Sheehan - bass, and Greg Bissonette - drums) released Eat ’Em And Smile, and his wild videos for California Girls, Just a Gigolo... (both from Crazy From The Heat), Yankee Rose, Going Crazy (from Eat ’Em And Smile) ruled and rocked MTV.
Van Halen’s response to Eat ’Em And Smile was 0U812, pronounced “Oh, you ate one too!?!”. Most of the lyrics for that album where written in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, by Sammy Hagar who was really inspired there by the white beaches and golden tequila (so much that he even wrote a song about it on the album called Cabo Wabo), but the only thing was that he had no place there to play and try his new stuff, so he talked the rest of the band into opening a club there with good food and a stage so people could jam whenever they wanted. So on April 22nd, 1990, the Cabo Wabo Cantina opened and they all jammed with some other famous musicians that where invited.
Two years before that David Lee Roth released his third solo album, Skyscraper, named after one of his favorite hobbies which is mountain climbing (guess what his other favorite hobby is?). They spent a lot more time resampling this album and putting little details in, than they did on any Van Halen album before that. The result was fantastic, as were the concert performances of his world tour.
But all good things must come to an end, and after Steve Vai got into a fight with the record company, Dave got himself a new band again with which he recorded A Little Ain’t Enough, the album released in early 1991.
Later that year, Van Halen comes back strong with their first album in three long years; For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge. One day, a guy from the stage crew left a drill laying next to Eddie’s guitar, and when he came back, Ed was running the drill past his strings so that the electromagnetic field produced an all new sound, which he used as the intro to F.U.C.K.’s first song, Poundcake.
As expected, people didn’t always react too kindly to the album’s title, and when a kid got arrested in a small midwestern town because he was wearing the “F.U.C.K. World Tour” t-shirt, the band paid his fine when they found out about it. Another thing, Sammy Hagar had to pay for the funeral of one of his relatives, which made him think about how it costs money when you are born, and also when you die! This caused him to write the lyrics for the song, In and Out. The album was followed by another world tour which finally brought the Van Halen brothers back to their native country of Holland, a show which kicked more ass than a nuclear bomb! The tour resulted in the first official live album, Right Here Right Now, a double CD.
In the meantime, Dave moved from L.A. to downtown Manhattan, NY, cut his hair, got arrested for buying a $5 bag of weed, and released a new album in 1994 called, Your Filthy Little Mouth. Some of the songs are not at all what you’d expect or even like to hear from him, like the reggae flavored No Big ’Ting, or the country-ish Cheatin’ Heart Café (a duet with country star, Travis Tritt!). But it does contain some of his best songs, which continue in the DLR tradition of great, ass kicking, rock n roll. Like the first single/video (which MTV didn’t air. What’s new?), called She’s My Machine, Everybody’s Got The Monkey, and Big Train. ...Machine is amazing in how much it sounds like a VH tune that should be on 1984 between Girl Gone Bad and House Of Pain. And Big Train sounds like it should be on VH’s ...Children First album somewhere between Fools and Loss Of Control. Land’s Edge is another awesome song that deserves credit, along with Experience, and the Frank Sinatra styled, Night Life, which is reminiscent of Easy Street. Put it this way, Roth’s worst is better than most people’s best, so this album still kicks ass even though it throws a few curveballs and changeups. DLR’s lyrics are also as great and as witty as ever! ...After a tour and some rest, Dave decided to change his tune completely and concentrate more on the entertainment part of rock. He started doing some shows in the big Las Vegas casinos. Since that’s where I live I didn’t have to go far, and though many people condemn Dave for how he changed, I was pleasantly surprised by his new gig. Still too loud for some of the really older folks, and not hard enough for some metal fans (people from both categories walked out). He combined cool stories, swinging tunes, daring jokes and of course some of the all time favorites like Ice Cream Man (which he introduced kinda like he used to with VH, saying, “Who’s in the mood for licking some ice cream? I’ve got two flavors, vanilla and dick! ...Oh, and I just heard we’re out of vanilla!”) and Jump, and served it all up with a style and class that I hadn’t seen from him in a long time. His voice was also back to his unique and excellent level.
In that same year, Van Halen released Balance, which had its world live premiere at a club gig in Holland. Only 300 fans had the opportunity to see that performance. Among them was Edward, the creator and founder of this site (The ROCK GALLERY). This album contained a short version of Eddie trashing a piano in a Malibu beach house he borrowed from a friend, which he accidently recorded. His place of birth was used for the song Amsterdam, and the video clip for it got banned by MTV (oh, how so politically correct of them...) because it showed the band members walking among prostitutes in the Red Light District, and smoking a joint in the coffee shops! But they did show the video on a huge screen at their concert tour.
In early 1996, Van Halen wrote two songs for the movie, Twister, and shortly after that the seemingly impossible happened! Rumors floated around everywhere that Sammy Hagar was kicked out of the band and replaced by David Lee Roth. The band wanted to do a Greatest Hits album and Sammy did not, causing a fight that, on top of Hagar’s problems with Van Halen’s new manager, led to his departure from the band. Then it turned out that while this was going on, David Lee Roth had heard that there would be a Greatest Hits album, so he called up Ed to see what it was about and how he’d be represented. While they talked, the two of them decided to forget what happened in the past, and Ed invited Roth to come down to the studio to work on some songs.
Dave, Eddie, Alex, and Mike, appeared together publicly at the MTV Awards show on September 4th, 1996 for the first time since their breakup about 10 years before. Shortly after that they released the two songs they had recorded together, Me Wise Magic and Can't Get That Stuff No More, which appeared on the VH album called Greatest Hits Volume 1.
When Dave appeared on the Howard Stern radio show, he was already talking about touring with the band, but before that show aired on Howard’s E cahnnel t.v. show, he posted an open letter claiming the band had betrayed him! It turned out they had already hired a new singer, Gary Cherone (former vocalist of Extreme), before they appeared on MTV together where they gave the impression that Roth was back to stay (Click here for DLR’s press release, and more, about the situation). In the months that followed, Sammy ripped on Van Halen in interviews and released a solo album; Edward and Alex Van Halen ripped on both Sammy and Dave while working on their new album; and David Lee Roth, while wild crowds at the premiere party for Howard Stern’s movie, Private Parts, yelled “Eddie Sucks, Eddie Sucks”, DLR graciously said: “Eddie doesn’t suck, he just made a little mistake.” That, right there, is pure class.
A little later, Roth released an explosive, shocking, and hilarious autobigraphy called, Crazy From The Heat on October 23rd, 1997. Followed soon after by a Greatest Hits album called The Best, which contains 16 tracks including a new song called Don’t Piss Me Off, on October 28th. It was only going to be released in Japan, but due to very popular demand, plans started being made to release the album in North America as well once word got out about it.
Then a little later, Diamond Dave released an excellent album, DLR Band, which is among his best work to date, right up there with Eat ’Em... . And Van Halen released an album, III, their first with new vocalist Gary Cherone. This is a really good album too, [ED by dm - It SUCKED!] but unfortunately didn’t sell well...