DEVIL’S ADVOCATE PART 1: WHY I LIKE ‘VAN HAGAR’ BETTER THAN VAN HALEN
Despite the fact that the Van Halen brothers are all peachy with David Lee Roth again, have a highly successful reunion tour under their belts and Eddie swears up and down that a new album is in their future, I have a strange feeling we’ll have a new president in office before we get a new VH album on the shelves. Therefore, the only thing we VH loyalists have left to do (besides stand here holding our dicks, of course) is to reminisce about the times Van Halen was, y’know, active.
Now it’s no secret that despite the band selling a FUCKTON of records with Sammy Hagar, most Van Halen fans probably prefer the original era, when David Lee Roth was fronting the band. Some fans even insist that the only true “Van Halen” was with DLR, and so the name “Van Hagar” was coined to separate the two. Perhaps it’s the fact that my first true exposure to VH was in ’96 (when Sammy was still technically in the band), but despite loving all of Van Halen’s stuff (yeah, even a couple of songs from Van Halen III), I’ve always gravitated more towards the Sammy era.
Three reasons why, after the jump…
- Sammy was the better singer. Not the better frontman, mind you (who could be a better frontman than Diamond Dave?) but on a strictly technical level, Sammy was the better singer, with a much bigger vocal range.
- The band was more versatile with Sammy. Musically and lyrically. As great as VH with David Lee Roth were, they were also a bit one-dimensional. A song like “Right Now”, for instance, wouldn’t have been possible in the DLR era (and if you don’t like “Right Now”, you can go right on and fuck yourself) and although they didn’t sound quite as good in comparison, the band was still able to cover a lot of the DLR-era songs with Sammy in concert. That could never happen the other way around, now that Dave’s back in the fold.
- The band rocked harder with Sammy. “Get the fuck outta here”, one might say, and cite the numerous borderline-sappy power ballads that Van Hagar produced. But songs like “Poundcake”, “Judgment Day” and a lot of the stuff from the album Balance are heavier than anything they’ve done with David Lee Roth, while “Humans Being” (from the Twister soundtrack, and the song that really got me into the band) is a straight up headbanger.