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 Hair metal: is the term accurate or useful? 
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Space Ranger
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Post Re: Hair metal: is the term accurate or useful?
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one of the main things that VH brought to rock music was the general theme of prioritising technical skill and flashy playing over actual song writing and memorable tunes


Eh? You don't know Van Halen very well, do you? Quite the opposite, in fact: One of EVH's greatest assets was/is his rhythm playing: Eruption aside, his soloing on the first album was pretty restrained. I know his soloing gets all the headlines, but everything he does has an inherent musicality about it.

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Mon Jul 10, 2017 9:46 pm
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Space Ranger
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Post Re: Hair metal: is the term accurate or useful?
Yeah, he's a great guitarist, but the fact remains that I still don't think VH were good song writers at all, and that most hair metal bands grew up listening to them and subsequently latched onto the idea that being technically proficient at one's instrument is the number 1 priority of being in a band instead of writing memorable tunes. VH1 is still one of the most underwhelming things I've ever heard in music.


Mon Jul 10, 2017 10:18 pm
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Post Re: Hair metal: is the term accurate or useful?
Van Halen's early albums are full of brilliant songs. Fair Warning alone should guarantee their place at the top of the tree. Even with something like 5150, which is an album I've always found to be a little too polished and measured (as well as being very much of it's time sonically) there was no doubting their ability when it comes to composition.

The fact that legions of players copped his "tricks" but missed the point that EVH developed a unique playing style, and used his ability to create memorable songs doesn't change that.

Van Halen are simply one of the best rock bands of any kind, ever. Aside from AC/DC in their pomp, I can't think of a single band that so personifies all that is exciting and life affirming about rock 'n' roll music generally as prime era Van Halen. Not only were they leagues ahead of most of their peers and proteges on their early albums, they were much better than the vast majority of more critically acclaimed bands.

Not all of the more insubstantial acts of the 80's had technically accomplished players anyway, half of the bands who turned up later were copping more licks from the Stones, the Dolls and AC/DC than Eddie Van Halen, and there were plenty of acts before them who were both musically adroit and flamboyant (or showy in some manner) anyway, like Queen, Deep Purple, or Scorpions with Uli.

And Van Halen should be placed more in their company than fucking Micheal Angelo Batio.

Van Halen are no less song oriented than Iron Maiden, or Judas Priest.

The difference is Eddie just happens to be one of the guys who moved the goalposts as far as what could be achieved in lead playing, and Roth happened to have a greater sense of showmanship and an understanding of how to sell yourself for your time than other acts of the period.

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Last edited by The One True Wretch on Mon Jul 10, 2017 11:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Mon Jul 10, 2017 11:01 pm
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Post Re: Hair metal: is the term accurate or useful?
Slash once rightly pointed out that his followers tended to lack the same strong blues element that made Eddie's playing so appealing and less 'sterile' than the copycats.

VH definitely changed the game in terms of sound. After their debut rock bands were looking to really polish their sound to give it a similar 'high tech' sheen. It wasn't just Eddie's soloing. He was just on another level in the late 70s/early 80s.

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Mon Jul 10, 2017 11:07 pm
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Post Re: Hair metal: is the term accurate or useful?
I remember Blackmore comparing him to Gershwin at one point.

The likes of Les Paul admired his ability too, and I hardly imagine he was listening to the Shrapnel catalog or Warrant's 'Cherry Pie'.

Granted Clapton rubbished his blues credentials, but he was already ten years past his sell by date and well into MOR territory at that point, so he hardly had his finger on the pulse. He is also a grumpy, and often petty cunt.

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Mon Jul 10, 2017 11:15 pm
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Space Ranger
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Post Re: Hair metal: is the term accurate or useful?
The One True Wretch wrote:

Van Halen are simply one of the best rock bands of any kind, ever. Aside from AC/DC in their pomp, I can't think of a single band that so personifies all that is exciting and life affirming about rock 'n' roll music generally as prime era Van Halen. Not only were they leagues ahead of most of their peers and proteges on their early albums, they were much better than the vast majority of more critically acclaimed bands.


I really struggle to identify much with VH's music. I think DLR is an amusing and entertaining frontman, but the actual songs just seem so lightweight to me. The general argument is that VH are a great party-hard rock n roll band who are great for cranking up the stereo to, but I've maintained for some time now that AC/DC already fulfil that role perfectly. For my requirements in that area, Back In Black alone renders VH's entire catalogue redundant. Heavier, better riffs, just better songs.

I suppose 1984 is OK if you don't take it seriously.

That said, at least I can get a few laughs out of the DLR era. And I can see why people like it, even if I find it very overrated and insubstantial. Van Hagar, on the other hand, is genuinely some of the worst music I've ever heard by anyone - no balls, no substance, nothing but slick, vapid synths and vomit-inducing choruses. I genuinely cannot understand why anyone would try and defend that era of the band, unless they were American, because it's like all the most saccharine elements of US radio rock taken to the most polished, glossy extreme.


Mon Jul 10, 2017 11:37 pm
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Post Re: Hair metal: is the term accurate or useful?
F.U.C.K. is an album I love, and Balance for the most part, although I'd happily never hear "Can't Stop Lovin' You" again.

The other two are hit and miss for me, and took some time to get used to, but the tracks I enjoy I absolutely love, and the other stuff is well crafted, if a bit tame in some cases. Although I I do think peoples view of those albums is coloured by the poppy singles, and I have developed a new appreciation for the sound on much of 0U812, particularly on the more rocking tunes like A.F.U. and Source Of Infection.

Even Van Halen 3 has a few songs I like, and some nice little ideas pop up throughout, but is generally a confused mess.

Loved the comeback with Roth. Sadly he was fucking abysmal live. Not that he was ever the best live vocalist, but there was a time when he put some effort in (pre 1984, and early on with his solo band) and made the best of what talent he did have. Now he simply cannot sing in any sense of the word, and he doesn't even have Micheal Anthony to cover for him, or the athleticism of yore.

Unless they do another tour with Hagar in the next year or two, they are pretty much finished in any form. Roth seems completely uninterested in new material or touring even if he could perform, the fans won't accept another new singer, and they haven't released a full album of all new material in 20 years.

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Tue Jul 11, 2017 1:34 am
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Post Re: Hair metal: is the term accurate or useful?
The One True Wretch wrote:
Sadly he was fucking abysmal live. Not that he was ever the best live vocalist, but there was a time when he put some effort in (pre 1984, and early on with his solo band) and made the best of what talent he did have. Now he simply cannot sing in any sense of the word, and he doesn't even have Micheal Anthony to cover for him, or the athleticism of yore.


Trunk claims that Roth actually puts more effort into singing now that he can't move around as much. His voice is just shot to hell so it doesn't make a big difference.

The One True Wretch wrote:
Unless they do another tour with Hagar in the next year or two, they are pretty much finished in any form. Roth seems completely uninterested in new material or touring even if he could perform, the fans won't accept another new singer, and they haven't released a full album of all new material in 20 years.


I think it has become increasingly apparent that Hagar's take on Eddie's writing problems was essentially correct and not just the result of bitterness and egomania. He claims that Eddie leaned on him heavily for ideas during his tenure, and look what we got after his departure: Van Halen III, which was essentially a waste of everyone's time, and A Different Kind of Truth, which is fine but mostly old reworked material.

Eddie either suffers from permanent writer's block or a serious case of the can't-be-fucked.



Trunk is correct that it's hard to account for decades of sporadic output.

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Tue Jul 11, 2017 2:12 am
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Post Re: Hair metal: is the term accurate or useful?
Chinese Whispers wrote:

Interestingly with Ugly Kid Joe, their cover of "Cats In The Cradle" is often mistaken for Guns N' Roses (and also strangely the original by Harry Chaplin is often mistaken for Cat Stevens).



And interestingly too, lots of people mistakenly call Harry Chapin Harry Chaplin. :P

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Tue Jul 11, 2017 7:15 am
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Post Re: Hair metal: is the term accurate or useful?
Cosmic Equilibrium wrote:
Cinderella were a genuinely good band, though, despite their links to the hair scene.


No they fucking weren't!

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Tue Jul 11, 2017 7:16 am
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Post Re: Hair metal: is the term accurate or useful?
Cosmic Equilibrium wrote:
Yeah, he's a great guitarist, but the fact remains that I still don't think VH were good song writers at all, and that most hair metal bands grew up listening to them and subsequently latched onto the idea that being technically proficient at one's instrument is the number 1 priority of being in a band instead of writing memorable tunes. VH1 is still one of the most underwhelming things I've ever heard in music.


Apparently it's blasphemy to say so, but I said the same in a review.

http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/review/best-of-volume-1(compilation)/311196

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Tue Jul 11, 2017 7:20 am
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Post Re: Hair metal: is the term accurate or useful?
The One True Wretch wrote:
Van Halen's early albums are full of brilliant songs. Fair Warning alone should guarantee their place at the top of the tree.



Here! Here!


The One True Wretch wrote:
Van Halen are simply one of the best rock bands of any kind, ever.



Mmmmm...................no.


:|

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Tue Jul 11, 2017 10:36 am
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Post Re: Hair metal: is the term accurate or useful?
Vim Fuego wrote:
Chinese Whispers wrote:

Interestingly with Ugly Kid Joe, their cover of "Cats In The Cradle" is often mistaken for Guns N' Roses (and also strangely the original by Harry Chaplin is often mistaken for Cat Stevens).



And interestingly too, lots of people mistakenly call Harry Chapin Harry Chaplin. :P


:lol: :mrgreen:
Much like UGK I guess.

As for Van Halen, I will concede that they certainly had a large influence on the LA glam scene, but very, very few bands from that time had what Van Halen possessed (not too mention how far ahead of the curve they were with their debut coming out in '78) and their songwriting chops are seriously underrated for the most part. I know it is easy to write it off as 'party songs' because of DLR's character, but EVH wrote some great riffs and at least early on the was very little fat in the songwriting.

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Tue Jul 11, 2017 1:51 pm
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Post Re: Hair metal: is the term accurate or useful?
Not entirely sure if I'd class VH as being ahead of the curve. Listening to Rainbow's live stuff from about 1976 or so and it's clear that Blackmore was doing all that kind of guitar playing before EVH. I do agree that VH took it to the masses though.


Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:26 pm
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Post Re: Hair metal: is the term accurate or useful?
Eddie was definitely drawing on Deep Purple and early Rainbow, who they covered in their early years, up until just before they were signed as far as I know.

I think they were influenced just as much by ZZ Top though, a lot of Eddie's riffs are like supercharged Billy Gibbons. Ronnie Montrose and James Gang era Joe Walsh too.

The one guy he name checks most (aside from Allan Holdsworth) is Clapton, who is no doubt in the mix, but I wouldn't have guessed he was his biggest inspiration at all. As far as that generation of guitarists go, he seems more reminiscent of Jeff Beck in spirit, and closer to a less sloppy Jimmy Page to my ears.

Tommy Bolin is another name I've seen mentioned in regards to EVH, and you would expect him to have impressed most guitarists during his time with James Gang and Billy Cobham (probably more so than his tenure with Deep Purple) but I don't hear much of him either. Or in any of the guitarists who name check him really, Viv Campbell, Jake E Lee, or even Bill Steer.

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Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:33 pm
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Post Re: Hair metal: is the term accurate or useful?
Gibbons is a player that I've learned to appreciate more with time. He is damn good. Both loose and precise.

I still don't get why some fans make excuses for VH III. It is a serious clunker, right up there with St.Anger and Virtual XI and it's probably worse than those albums too.

Why the hell did Eddie hire the Hill Street Blues theme guy to produce that album :lol: He did a shit job too. The drum sound is drier than a dead dingo's donger and there are no great guitar tones either.

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Wed Jul 12, 2017 1:48 am
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Post Re: Hair metal: is the term accurate or useful?
I have never heard a Van Halen album. True story.

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Wed Jul 12, 2017 3:11 am
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Post Re: Hair metal: is the term accurate or useful?
Solaris wrote:
I have never heard a Van Halen album. True story.



I stop caring about their back catalog after Fair Warning. True story.


To add my bit, I've never heard an Anthrax album.

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Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:16 am
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Post Re: Hair metal: is the term accurate or useful?
The first four albums are savage, I would recommend them to anyone who likes classic hard rock and metal.

I really love 1984 too though, there are only two songs on there that aren't in line with what they had done previously, and they are little earworms too.

And 'Diver Down' isn't nearly as bad as people make out. It is clearly a stop gap, but at it's best - which is most of the songs - it is excellent.

Stat_Rad wrote:
Why the hell did Eddie hire the Hill Street Blues theme guy to produce that album :lol: He did a shit job too. The drum sound is drier than a dead dingo's donger and there are no great guitar tones either.


It just adds to the confusing nature of the whole thing. Even when they come up with a decent idea - and there is the odd flash of, if not brilliance, then at least potential there - it is rendered unlistenable, before it just degrades into another uninspired mess.

Cherone sounds horribly strained on a lot of it too, the likes of 'One I Want' are painful to listen to vocally. And the lyrics are fucking abysmal.

I do like 'Without You', which would lead you to believe they still had something to offer, if not amazing, then at least solid. But that was by far the best thing on there, which is kind of sad when you think about it

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Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:25 pm
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Post Re: Hair metal: is the term accurate or useful?
I disagree with the arguement that glam became all about technical proficiency on the basis of C.C Deville. The guy only got the Poison gig as he looked the part and his guitar skills were shit. Even Abu Hamza would be a better guitarist.

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