New VH: What Do You Want to Hear?

August 24, 2010 | By | 20 Replies More

Here’s My List!


My 8-year-old son makes me listen to only Van Halen and Led Zep in the car (he’s a good kid!), so to keep it interesting I started to pick out some highlights of Dave-era VH albums – and wondered, wouldn’t it be cool to have some of these things on the new VH album. So here they are in album order. Chime in below with what you’d dig.

I’m the One speed
FAST boogie-type riff, almost unbelievably fast. Can Ed still fly at this speed with those 54-year-old muscles and fingers? Even though he kinda struggled with this tune on the last tour, I’m voting yes.

Runnin’- and Ain’t Talkin’-type simple solos
Solos that are simple, memorable, not real fast. Ed’s note choices are so out of the norm that these are real interesting. He’d kind of moved on from this after the first album, be nice to hear some of it again.

Dance the Night Away mass appeal
Everyone knows this song – everyone of a certain age, that is. How about another feel-good, California sunshine, fun, almost-poppy tune like this. Fun to play too.

Outta Love Again drums
SICK drumming. Go Al! Let’s see more of it! (Also one of my favorite guitar solos ever.)

Light Up the Sky tough-to-sing-over tune
Whenever someone tells me Sammy is a better singer than Dave, my response is, “Maybe so, but Dave can sing over anything.” How would you like to come up with melodies to sing over early VH riffs? This is a prime example. So how ’bout a kick-a** riff that most mortals could not sing over?

[Women and Children First note – This isn’t a favorite album for a lot of folks, but it is for me. Just some crazy playing, great variety – sort-of-blues taken to the maximum level.]

Cradle Will Rock simplicity
A relatively simple tune with a great pounding groove.

Loss of Control speed
Wow! The whole band gets an F1 for this.

Take Your Whiskey Home
Can there be a sicker rock-blues tune? Getting chills just thinking about it….

In a Simple Rhyme drums
Another example of Al’s immense riffing musicality, just like his bro. More, Al!

Mean Street intro
I’m not sure if even Ed can top himself here – or even equal it somehow – but it would be super F-ing cool if he could.

Unchained “grab you by the throat” factor
You know what I’m talking about, and yes, Ed does have more of these riffs in him. I should add “Mean Street” and “Sinner’s Swing” in here too.

Here About it Later/So This is Love fun feel
These are major-scale poppy tunes that are just great. One of these on the new album would be…great.

Push Comes to Shove solo
One of the best, craziest, most-tasteful rock guitar solos ever on record. I’m sure Ed has many more in him. C’mon Ed!

Hang ‘Em High “just going for it”
This tune seems to teeter at the edge of what’s possible. I don’t know what to say about the “Hang ‘Em High” riff except no one else would come up with that – though in some ways, that can be said about every riff on every VH album. (Side note: I’d bet money that on this tune and/or “The Full Bug,” Ed was using a different amp or cab, or some kind of pedal.)

Drop Dead Legs groove
Just beautiful. Not a deep groove in the funk or boogie sense, but it’s own thing.

Hot for Teacher drums
‘Nuff said!

Girl Gone Bad/House of Pain bizarreness
Okay, “bizarreness” may not be an actual word, but how else would you describe these two tunes? Eclectic? And yes, once again, Dave has no problem finding a melody to sing over them.

Me Wise Magic
Still one of my favorite VH tunes. Unfortunately can’t be played live because it sounds like they cranked up Dave’s pitch on the recording, but a great song and monument to what could have been…and still may be.

No Covers
Not needed. Talkin’ to you, Dave!

More Bass
Since Mike is out of the band – kind of a bummer for us long-time fans – and Wolfie is in, can we assume that this time the bass will actually be heard in the mix?

No Electronic Drums
Like Ed, Al can make anything sound good, but forget the e-drums this time Al please. My son requests that you play maple Ludwigs or Vistalites with either your signature snare or a 6.5×14 Supraphonic snare. (I told you he’s a good kid!)

Here's Zakk holding the "grail" (Zakk Wylde photo).

Here's Zakk holding the "holy grail" (Zakk Wylde photo).

Ed’s Tone
Man oh man this is a tough one. I think at this point we have to be cool with the fact that Ed is not returning to the old Marshall days – though the 5150 III can almost get there, and his #1 Marshall Super Lead is in for repair right now (see pic with Zakk Wydle holding it at the repair shop). If there has to be a compromise, I’ll again point to his tone in Me Wise Magic as sort of a hybrid between his old, raw, super-Woody tone and his Sammy-era fat, wide tone. Whatever it ends up being, I can’t wait to hear it.

That’s my list. What else you got?

Category: Alex Van Halen, Edward Van Halen, Van Halen

Comments (20)

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  1. @Bob453 says:

    Simple: I want from VH what Ed wants from his Guitars – they should kick ass and scream. Do it with some Unchained tone and I'll be first in line to buy it.

  2. Crazy Buzz says:

    I want to see them get back to quintessential Early Dave-era VH: Crunchy guitars that makes the hair on your neck stand up. Thundering drums that make your crotch throb. Unapologetic lyrics about girls and booze. No need for radio friendly, mass appeal crap. Hopefully Ed can still shred (with more crunch than scream), Al can still pound, Dave can resurrect his status as the Clown Prince of Rock and Roll, and Wolfie can keep up.

  3. Zakk says:

    I'm The One, Mean Streets, Somebody Get Me A Doctor, Dance The Night Away, Take Your Whiskey Home, Secrets, Panama, Jamie's Cryin', Light Up The Sky, Little Guitars, Hang 'Em High, House Of Pain these are a few of my fave VH moments, also loved Me Wise Magic too

  4. Ken_A says:

    Ed's playing has some moments that sound purely joyous, like it's exploding with energy. It's a hard quality to describe, but you can hear it in those harmonics in the last chorus of "Me Wise Magic," all the way back to those endless leads in "I'm the One." You can practically hear the grin on his face.

    Anyway, that's what I want to hear: that sense of joy. A lot of hotshot guitar players play stuff that sounds like hard work, but Ed plays stuff that sounds like a hell of a lot of fun, and that's what first drew me to the instrument.

  5. Blake says:

    The Tone Had Going For Me Wise Magic and Can't Get This Stuff No More Sounded Cool. I can tell Ed had something up his sleeve for that but it didn't get anywhere! Do what you want to do Eddie! Your my inspiration for music!

  6. epg says:

    Great article!! Love the examples! We need more VAN HALEN!!

  7. Mike says:

    I will miss Mike Anthony's vocals. A very important ingredient in the VH recipe. you've hit the nail on the head for the most part otherwise. I'd like it if they have a mass-appeal couple of songs (i.e. Jump, Panama) on the new record too. Agree – no covers! not on the record and not in concert. I am ok with never hearing them play You Really Got Me again. Their covers are great, but not nearly as good as their own music.

    I think a key to success is a strong producer, who isn't afraid to make Eddie get from A to Z on this.
    Tampa, FL

  8. Josh says:

    1. Tone, Alex – great snare tone, bit more bass and punch in the kick
    Eddie – Raw guitar tones from early VH and not the cleaner sounding tones from the 90s stuff (or different tones on each song).
    Wolfgang – louder bass

    2. Vocals – VH harmonies (wolfgang seems to be able to hit mikes pitch), fun, catchy lyrics, get dave to try do the squeal things

  9. Josh says:

    3. Music, awesome drums (groove and fast stuff), insane guitar especially signature EVH solos and sound, bass catchy licks, vocals new and classic sounds. No covers completely awesome VH to take 2011 :P

    4. Radio Hits (jump, cradle will rock, maybe even some synth songs), Groove (Little Guitars, so this is love, drop dead legs), Heavy and Rockin (unchained, drop d, Romeo Delight) , Shuffles (I'm the one, hot for teacher etc), Fast ( Hang em High, Loss of Control) and even a guitar solo to match eruption :D

    5. To be released in awesome quality, making of dvd box set (etc), Music Videos (so they can release a volume 2) and memorable album art :) with at least more than 12 songs and release another album the year after :D

  10. josh says:

    Most of all I want Van Halen to release a new record by next year and a single released this year to tease your tastebuds :D

  11. josh says:


  12. Kelly says:

    like a dueling synth vs guitar kinda thing.
    that would be awesome.

    Long live Van Halen!

  13. ME! says:

    What do I want?

    The OLD brown sound.
    Ted Templeman.

    They need to pull a Metallica and just get back to basics.

  14. dodgerman5150 says:

    It’s funny and sad that there’s hardly been any mention of the Sammy era songs. I for one would like to hear some synth from Eddie like we heard in “Why Can’t This Be Love” and “Mine All Mine”. Why is it that people want to pretend that the Sammy era music didn’t exist? Like it was a bad dream? It’s almost prophetic that Van Halen made a song with Dave entitled “You Can’t Get This Stuff No More” since we’ll never hear Van Halen sing some of their biggest hits and no one wants to hear anything like them. That’s a tragedy.

  15. WorryRock says:

    I would love to hear something fantastic from Van Halen but honestly I think Ed's creative/innovative days are behind him. In the late '70s and early '80s he was fueled primarily by two things: his youth and a hunger to succeed; to make a difference. He has neither now. I truly believe that much of the early VH sound that we all love was his youth talking. That's gone and it's irreplaceable; there's no substitute that even comes close. Yes, they'll put out something that has some interesting hooks here and there, but overall I think many of us are being setup for disappointment.

    I'll always love the mighty VH, but their greatness is forever in the past. This is not a criticism of Ed or the band. Rather, it's a realistic assessment of what to expect. Perhaps I'm cynical and miss my youth. I accept that. But please don't expect a blistering release from VH that's anything close to their hits of the past.

    Moreover, we the fans aren't in the same place that we were as when we first fell in love with the mightly VH. It's not unlike what they say about meth addicts: they get that first intense high and then they're forever chasing it. They'll never find it. And we'll never rediscover VH with the same intensity as we once has for the band.

    Having unloaded this heap of what some may call cynicism, I'd loved to be proved wrong.

  16. bgibson72 says:

    style and sound from Fair Warning with Andy Johns producing. Loved and agree with the Outta Love Again comment–very underrated stuff! Doubt Al would go to vistalites, will boycott if he sells out to DW. I think his loyalties rest with Ludwig but if I see another big-name drummer go to DW’s, I’ll puke. Also doubt the use of edrums since he really only used them on 1984/5150, and they were “in” then. They’ve come a long way, but not long enough for this band/drummer…

  17. Electric Plastic says:

    The main thing I really want is to hear Wolfgang singing lead vocals on at least one of the songs. He’s perfectly capable of it and I think it would really help out the group.

  18. KhrissBliss says:

    I think VH still had it. The bootleg I heard had em playing better than the 80s, at the right tempos, and Dave singin more verses, not just slurrin em out like Vince Neil. I got to talk to Gary Cherone about his VH …trip. Eddies got a hyperactive personality, so if he has too much control, it gets too proggy. You need Dave to say – dudes, I’m the one – let’s do barbershop breakdown. Or whiskey, fullbug, ice cream man. And as much as I love em, let’s pretend they’d be as huge w out YouReallyGotMe and Pretty Woman. If Dave has lots of sway w out jeopardizing Eddies sobriety, I’m in, lots will be. If Crue, Sabbath and Aerosmith can pull their mess together, I’m sure VH, after a long absence from relevance, can play like aCalifornia 70s backyard ” big rock” band. Mebbe Ted Templeman should at least be present. We owe him for Eruption.

  19. Alex says:

    Top Jimmy and Dirty Movies.

  20. brokrguy says:

    What all of us want to hear – same thing we've wanted to hear for the last 12 years…A NEW VH ALBUM. Period. End of discussion. If it's great, GREAT! If it isn't, OK, just PUT ONE OUT!

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