Where Have All The Good Times Gone

Eddie Van Halen
Eddie Van Halen 1978

for Van Halen ?

After all the will they won’t they with both ex-singers Van Halen got back with David Lee Roth’s replacement Sammy Hagar last year for the greatest hits package, Best Of Both Worlds, and US tour but it looks like this version of the band is finished again, if not the band as a whole.

From Launch –

I don’t get along with Eddie anymore, and that’s all there is to it…I think the whole world knows that he’s changed. And I don’t know what his problem is, but he’s miserable and he likes to make everyone around him miserable. And I’m the happiest guy on the planet, and anybody who makes me miserable I don’t want to be around. And so, that’s a simple way to put it.

Maybe he’ll change, you know. He used to be a great guy. He used to be a fun guy and wasn’t miserable. You know, I mean, he went through the cancer thing and all that, but he should be grateful and not miserable. That’s the way I look at it. Maybe he’ll change. If he changes, we can do it again. Sammy Hagar

It was one one of the things that stood out in interviews from the late 80’s early 90’s how well Sam & Ed got on, living next to each other, laughing and joking all the time, after the distance that was between Roth and Ed, thought they could rekindle that friendship I mean if Fred Trueman & Geoff Boycott can become friends, after years of disliking each other, due to Boycs throat cancer.

But I don’t hold any hope for the band – Michael Anthony looks to have made his choice by playing more with Hagar and the Wabaritos, Alex Van Halen looks to be in a tough spot loyal to his brother but…

His brother can’t even stand to be around him, but his brother is his brother, so he goes over and tries to deal with him all the time.Sammy Hagar

Sammy Hagar told Doug Podell of Detroit’s WRIF 101.1 FM –

It’s really a shame… I don’t know what happened. But, you know, Eddie [Van Halen] and I… everybody knows… I thought it was gonna be OK, and it wasn’t OK. We did some great shows – don’t get me wrong; we did some amazing shows in the Detroit area and some [other] places – but there were times off stage when him and I were… they were holding us back. We don’t get along anymore.

This guy… I’m sure he’d tell you a whole different story, but from my perspective, he doesn’t know how to have fun, he doesn’t wanna have fun, he wants to be a miserable human being and make everyone around him miserable. He just goes around firing people, and he tried to fire some of my people, [and I went], ‘Get the hell outta here, man. This guy works for me, not you.’ He’s not any fun to be around.

David Lee Roth was more fun to be around. [laughs] Unless he changes to where Mike [Anthony] and I can even handle being around… His brother can’t even stand to be around him, but his brother is his brother, so he goes over and tries to deal with him all the time.

If the guy wants to come around and say, ‘Hey, look, let’s go back to being friends and being happy musicians and playing music for the people,’ and get rid of these $150, $200 dollar ticket prices and all this crap, then we could probably do it again. But I would never do it again for those prices – never ever ever. And I can say never ever ever. People say, ‘Don’t ever say never.’ Well, I’m saying it. [laughs] but that’s part of the deal. And the other thing, I wouldn’t do it unless we could become friends, and he’s gotta change, ’cause I’m happy – I’m having a blast. Sammy Hagar

I don’t know if I would have payed those prices to see them, know guys that did and were happy they did and others that were mighty pissed at the performance or lack of it.

Might have been worth it to see them at their youthful best going back to ’78 and their first tour to the UK when with Roth fronting the band which blew Black Sabbath off the stage back when they could handle the booze & drugs, something it seems in 2005 after years of trying Eddie Van Halen sadly isn’t managing, back when Eddie was great new guitar hero.

Yes others had customised their guitars but none the way Ed had, what guitar shop could you go into through the 80’s without seeing a one humbucker Floyd Rose equipped “strat”. Others had tapped the fingerboard with the fretting hand but nobody did it the way Ed did on “Eruption”, you couldn’t go into a shop in the 80’s without someone tapping away and it wasn’t just kids in shops every metal bands guitarist tapped away on a one ‘bucker Floyded guitar.

Yup I striped my guitar, ripped out the front 2 pickups and put in a Floyd Rose, “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love” was the first track I learnt to play all the way through and “Eruption” made my jaw drop on first hearing, might never get to see Ed play live, might never get any new material from the band but will always have Van Halen I to listen too and the knowledge that no matter what is happening now Eddie Van Halen changed guitars and guitar playing and was the most influential player of the last 30 years.

Van Halen I

Recorded at Sunset Sound Recorders, Hollywood, California in 1978.
Quite simply put, no-one had seen or heard anything like it. Roth’s flamboyant showmanship, with the microphone dangling provocatively between his legs on the cover, and Eddie Van Halen’s monstrously inventive guitar playing became a textbook for air guitarists the world over. From the instrumental blow-out of “Eruption” the gritty teen pop of “Feel Your Love Tonight” to the strutting riff around which “Ain’t Talkin’ Bout Love” was built and the grandiose reworking of The Kinks’ “You Really Got Me”, Van Halen set their own absurd standards. One of the truly great rock and roll/metal debut albums.

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