VH Big Bad Bill
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Thread: VH Big Bad Bill

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    Default VH Big Bad Bill

    1982's Diver Down always seems to be somewhat criticised for the cover tunes. Yadda,Yadda, Blah ,Blah, Blah....

    The fan's read & hear EVH's interview comments about the cover tunes on Diver Down & subsequently being the catalyst to build the 5150 Studio in his backyards raquetball court in 1983. The overall connotation being that Edfie would " rather bomb with his own stuff than score a hit with a cover tune" . Or whatever the exact quote was. Something about " sticking it to Ted Templeman & David".

    So the EVH synchophantics ultimately disregard & fail to appreciate the magnasonic genious & sheer brilliance contained within every single second of supersobic sound that brilliantly permeates via Diver Down in all its glorious rambunctious celebration.

    Theres not ONE single second of wasted space on Diver Down. EVERY SINGLE NOTE is Absolutley vital & necessary to paint the picture of Van Halen in 1982.

    Diver Down is in fact THE absolute most diverse Van Halen album in the catalog. The variety is widespread and open. Free like the American dream.

    Even the album cover signifies a certain state of mind. Red swoosh flag. Diver Down. Swimming under water.

    You'd never see Judas Priest have an album cover like that.

    Anyhoo.....



    But Big Bad Bill, (IMO), is an absolutely magnificent example that showcases Van Halen's

  2. #2
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    Hang tight- There's a few cool things to add to this thread trivia factoids & stuff & some cool studio pics & audio interviews etc etc, but can see now theres several spelling errors in my above post so will continue later on in the future.

    The purpose of this thread is all about Big Bad Bill & Jan Van Halen Eddie & Alex's Dad recording this track & the diversity it shows from David's input & separated VH from the other big time heavy rock acts at the time. Also the charts scans & studio notes & trivia stuff.

    And Ry Cooder recorded the same song in 1978 on his Warner Brothers album JAZZ. Theres a connection to be elaborated upon.






  3. #3
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    "Big Bad Bill (Is Sweet William Now)"

    Dave: "I think it's a great song. And there's been this thread winding its way through all of Van Halen's music and all of our albums since beginning with 'Ice Cream Man.' I played acoustic guitar and songs like this for quite a while before I ever joined Van Halen. It's music. Why do I have to bang my head to every single song on every single album? I don't think the audience has that much lack of creativity or imagination."

    Eddie: "It was Dave's idea to do 'Big Bad Bill'. He bought himself one of those Sanyo Walkman-type things with the FM-AM radio, and you can record off the radio if you like something you hear. He was up in his bedroom at his father's house and he found that if he stood in a certain spot and pointed his antenna a certain way, he picked up this weird radio station in Louisville, Kentucky. He recorded 'Big Bad Bill' and played it to us, and we started laughing ourselves silly and going, 'That is bad! Let's do it!' Dave suggested, 'Hey, we can get your old man to play the clarinet.' We said, 'sure.'

    "It's so funny, because I couldn't play the song for you right now. I had to read because there were so many chords, I just couldn't remember it. So here's my father to the left of me, sitting on a chair with a music stand in front of him, and I'm sitting next to him with sheet music in a stand. Mike was there, too, playing like an acoustic guitar bass – the kind they have in Mexican restaurants where they come up, play in front of your face, and aggravate you. We had a great time. It looked like an old '30s or '40s session. I used some thick Gibson hollowbody with f-holes. My father hadn't played in a long time because he had lost his left-hand middle finger about 10 years ago. He was nervous, and we told him, 'Jan, just have a good time. We make mistakes! That's what makes it real.' I love what he did, but he was thinking back 10 years ago when he was smokin', playing jazz and stuff. He played exactly what we wanted."

    Dave: "I think when you hear Mr. Van Halen playing, you'll have an idea it's a shadow of where Eddie and Alex are now. There's a sense of humour in there, a lot of technique and a whole lot of beer!"
    TT: "Wow, you can play acoustic guitar?"
    EVH: "Sure. What's the difference? It's got six strings... It's a guitar!" - 31.12.1978
    ___________________________________

    "Van Halen is entertainment. Van Halen is entertainment delivered at maximum impact, but it's entertainment." DLR

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    One of my favorite VH tunes.
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    Agree on Diver Down except for one thing: the album cover art and album title. Truly the worst of the VH catalog. It's a happy sounding album there is no reason to use a negative in the title - the words "Diver Down" have nothing to do with the songs on the record. And mentioning a Judas Priest cover art?!? The cover art for Defenders, released at the same time, destroys Diver Down. Terrible album cover compared to its predecessor (Fair Warning) and successor (1984) which are true visual classics.
    Little Dreamer

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    Everything about it was rushed so they could capitalize on Pretty Woman being a hit.

    They probably had a stock image laying around and said "sure, this looks good."
    If I don't respond to you it means I have you on ignore, which means you are a douchenozzle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave's Dreidel View Post
    Everything about it was rushed so they could capitalize on Pretty Woman being a hit.

    They probably had a stock image laying around and said "sure, this looks good."
    Pretty Woman being the worst song on the record by far...
    Little Dreamer

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    Big Bad Bill is another one of those things that sets VH apart from their contemporaries. You can hear the musical training in their background with the effortless transition into this style. The fact that Jan plays on it and is forever immortalized as a result is such a great bonus.

    The humor in the song fits VH perfectly, Dave's vocal treatment reaches back into his own influences, and you just hear the smiles on their faces in the music.

    The fact that VH could pick such an off the wall song and yet give it a credible treatment that still screams Van Halen, it just speaks at how far above their peers they were.
    CNN may think my opinion matters, but you shouldn't.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Simon Ribeiro View Post
    "Big Bad Bill (Is Sweet William Now)"

    Dave: "I think it's a great song. And there's been this thread winding its way through all of Van Halen's music and all of our albums since beginning with 'Ice Cream Man.' I played acoustic guitar and songs like this for quite a while before I ever joined Van Halen. It's music. Why do I have to bang my head to every single song on every single album? I don't think the audience has that much lack of creativity or imagination."

    Eddie: "It was Dave's idea to do 'Big Bad Bill'. He bought himself one of those Sanyo Walkman-type things with the FM-AM radio, and you can record off the radio if you like something you hear. He was up in his bedroom at his father's house and he found that if he stood in a certain spot and pointed his antenna a certain way, he picked up this weird radio station in Louisville, Kentucky. He recorded 'Big Bad Bill' and played it to us, and we started laughing ourselves silly and going, 'That is bad! Let's do it!' Dave suggested, 'Hey, we can get your old man to play the clarinet.' We said, 'sure.'

    "It's so funny, because I couldn't play the song for you right now. I had to read because there were so many chords, I just couldn't remember it. So here's my father to the left of me, sitting on a chair with a music stand in front of him, and I'm sitting next to him with sheet music in a stand. Mike was there, too, playing like an acoustic guitar bass – the kind they have in Mexican restaurants where they come up, play in front of your face, and aggravate you. We had a great time. It looked like an old '30s or '40s session. I used some thick Gibson hollowbody with f-holes. My father hadn't played in a long time because he had lost his left-hand middle finger about 10 years ago. He was nervous, and we told him, 'Jan, just have a good time. We make mistakes! That's what makes it real.' I love what he did, but he was thinking back 10 years ago when he was smokin', playing jazz and stuff. He played exactly what we wanted."

    Dave: "I think when you hear Mr. Van Halen playing, you'll have an idea it's a shadow of where Eddie and Alex are now. There's a sense of humour in there, a lot of technique and a whole lot of beer!"
    Very interesting quote by Dave - "Why do I have to bang my head to every single song on every single album? I don't think the audience has that much lack of creativity or imagination..."

    Only certain fans online, Dave.
    I always liked the slower/mellower stuff Van Halen did their entire career, along with the scorchers and experimental stuff.
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    "Van Halen was never about the singer..." - A very wise fan.
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    I enjoy BBB and it should be there for sure. DITS and PW can go and be replaced by She's The Woman & Big Trouble, add in Let's Get Rockin', and we're good. Combine all that with the amazing sound of Diver Down, and i'm sold.
    If you always search for bullshit on the Internet, all you ever read is bullshit

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    Only Edward Van Halen could design a song that has 4 separate riff intro sections before the vocal starts... most writers can't get 1 intro working well


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    Never thought about it that way. Yeah, you sometimes lose sight of how awesome these fuckers were.
    If I don't respond to you it means I have you on ignore, which means you are a douchenozzle.

    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!

    A man's rights rests in three boxes: the ballot box, the jury box, and the cartridge box

    Hurricane Halen - Let's all gingery touch our sword tips!!!

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  17. #13
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    BBB is a cool tune.
    Remember the Heroes - 9/11/01

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    Epic tune
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."

    A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.

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    The Van Halen version is better than previous versions of that song. No disrespect, but after you heard VH's version, the other ones sound almost ridiculous.
    Little Dreamer

 

 

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