Stop The Presses!

August 6-13: Van Halen To Party Like It’s 1984

Lyndsey Parker
Stop The Presses!

"Come witness rock history as Van Halen makes an announcement of monumental proportions," declared a press-release email that landed in our inbox this week, and we reacted as any self-respecting rawk fans would: By leaping from our desks and highkicking in a gravity-defying, pants-splitting manner not witnessed since David Lee Roth was still peacock-prancing around in the "Jump" video. We might have even dislocated our hips in the process, a la Eddie Van Halen himself, but we were just too on top of the world (heh heh) to contain our joy.

Of course, we're assuming that, you know, the Van Halen dudes aren't going to get up in front of all those paparazzi types at L.A.'s Four Seasons Hotel on Monday, August 13, and say, "Hey guys, just wanted to let you all know we still hate each other's guts. So Dave's going to do another bluegrass album. Oh, and we've re-hired Gary Cherone. See ya!" Nay, this monumentally-proportioned announcement can only be about one thing: the long-rumored, long-shelved, oft-cancelled reunion of the classic Diamond Dave-era VH lineup.

By the way, for those of you needing a Van Halen refresher course, here's the Cliff Notes: Over the past quarter-century, original frontman Roth was brutally ousted (although some say he left of his own free will); second singer Sammy Hagar departed under supposedly similarly acrimonious circumstances (again, that's up for debate); and then, in an instance of shark-jumping bad enough to make even Fonzie himself cringe, VH recruited Extreme crooner Cherone for the career-killing Van Halen III album. Meanwhile, in true how-the-mighty-have-fallen fashion, Dave struggled through failed attempts as a Vegas lounge singer and Howard Stern DJ replacement, he reunited with former foe Hagar for the ill-fated "Sam & Dave" tour, and he (yes) appeared on an album of bluegrassy Halen covers most unfortunately titled Strummin' With The Devil. Seriously.

Anyhoo, THEN Van Halen got inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, and while the original bandmates managed to get along well enough to collaborate on a superbrief joint statement about this milestone ("It is an honor and a privilege and we would like to thank the fans and the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame committee," they--or their respective publicists--blandly remarked), when the actual ceremony took place earlier this year, the only original band member in attendance was bassist Michael Anthony. Ironically, Michael had already been replaced in the current VH lineup by Eddie's most unfortunately named 16-year-old son, Wolfgang. D'oh!

Phew! Got all that? OK, back to the present...

Sooooo, as you've probably figured out by now, that reunion never happened. Eddie checking into rehab probably had something to do with that. But now it looks like old-school VH fans will finally get their chance to dance the night away, when Dave, Eddie, Alex, and, um, Wolfgang hit the road this fall! So get ready for the most dysFUNctional band reunion since, well, that time that Eddie and Dave shared the stage at the 1996 Video Music Awards for about 38 disastrous seconds. We just hope the guys hold it together long enough to make it to an arena near us; but hey, if everything falls apart before they get a chance to perform that Cabo Wabo dreck from the Van Hagar years, we'll sorta be OK with that.

All right, moving on to the other side of the Atlantic...speaking of rehab, the famously rehab-resistant Amy "You Know I'm No Good" Winehouse was back in the news this week. Seems the woman with the most appropriate surname in showbiz cancelled yet more gigs (she's flaked out so many times now, bookies have started taking bets on whether she'll show up to her concerts) after collapsing and reportedly having her tiny concave stomach pumped in a London hospital. Amy's publicist, of course, said she was hospitalized for "severe exhaustion." (Funny, wasn't that what Eddie Van Halen was treated for?) Either way, just get well soon, Amy. We're worried about you.

Amy's fellow behaving-badly Brits, Lily Allen and Pete Doherty, also made headlines this week--Lily for mysteriously having her U.S. visa revoked (did her party-girl ways, or recent scuffle at a London nightclub, have anything to do with that?), and Pete for mysteriously managing to avoid prison for at least few more weeks (the judge is going to give the Babyshambolic rocker one more chance to detox--um, yeah, right). Crikey! Let's hope all three of these Limey louts--the treacherous trio of Amy, Lily, and Pete--start saying yes, yes, yes to rehab in the very near future.

And finally, sorry to end this blog on a sad note when it started off so frickin' joyously, but we simply can't sign off without bidding adieu to songwriter Lee Hazlewood, who sadly passed away this week at age 78. Even if you've never heard of Hazlewood, certainly you've heard his awesome anthem, "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'," popularized by '60s sex-kitten Nancy Sinatra. Of course, that tune was also covered by Jessica Simpson, Crispin Glover, Billy Ray Cyrus, and, er, David Hasselhoff...but hopefully those versions won't tarnish Lee's lasting legacy. No matter what, many red-blooded men out there should gratefully honor the artist who, among other achievements, penned the sensational song that inspired a micro-mini'd Nancy to shimmy in thigh-high go-go boots and a bikini-clad Jessica to writhe on the hood of a soapy Dukes Of Hazzard muscle-car. Yep, come to think of it, Hazlewood was the real General Lee.

All right, much like Van Halen and David Lee Roth in the past (but hopefully not in the future), we must split. But do come back next Friday for more amusing, confusing, and downright excitement-oozing news, Until then, goodnight, and good music.



1) Shine On, You Crazy Diamond - Diamond David Lee Roth & Van Halen are finally getitng their act back together.

2) Going Out In A Hazlewood Of Glory - The "These Boots" songwriter passes away.

3) Fading Back To Black - Amy Winehouse is hospitalized for "exhaustion." Again.

4) U.S. Immigration Authorities Don't Smile On Lily Allen - Her visa is revoked for reasons unknown.

5) Anti-Trust Superstar - Marilyn Manson is being sued by his ex-bandmate for $20 million.

6) Papa's Got Some Brand-New Kids - DNA testing reveals that James Brown fathered at least two more children before his death.

7) Jennifer Lopez Throws The Book At Her Ex - J.Lo is awarded nearly $545,000 in a lawsuit over her first husband's memoirs.

8) Unhappy Mondays - Manchester music guru Tony Wilson (the man behind the Happy Mondays, New Order, and Joy Division) dies at age 57.

9) Cheap Trick Want To Be A Pepper Too - The '70s band recreates all of the  Beatles' Sgt. Pepper album in an historic Hollywood Bowl concert.

10) Pete Doherty's Get-Out-Of-Jail Card Still Working - A judge gives the Babyshambles frontman one more chance. Too bad Kate Moss wasn't as forgiving.

written by Lyndsey Parker 8/10/07

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